“The Citadel at the Center of Time”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artists: John Buscema and Alfredo Alcala
Conan is chieftain of the Zuagirs and is raiding caravans around the city of Akbitania. One caravan only has a captive saber tooth which gets loose and Conan has to kill. On questioning the woman in charge Conan learns that the cat came from a mysterious Ziggurat that suddenly materialized in the city. Occasionally the wizard inside trades jewels or exotic animals that are sold north for arenas. Conan decides to check out this Ziggurat and see if he can’t liberate some wealth from the wizard.
So he goes into the city and at a local tavern is drugged by a dancing girl. He finds himself captive of the wizard Shamash Shum-Ukin. Shamash was a king of Babylon until the armies of Assyrians were about to conquer his city. He used the Well of Time to escape back into the past. Now he gives sacrifices to the well and it gives back stuff like man-apes, cave bears, neanderthals and a T-Rex. Conan manages to escape and in the ensuing fight the T-Rex escapes and destroys the temple. Luckily Conan manages to use the giant crossbow the wizard had conveniently hanging around.
“Crom and Mitra: Gods to Swear By part II of The Gods of the Hyborian Age.”
By Robert L. Yaple
This article deals with the gods that Conan swore most by. Ymir of the north. Crom from his native Cimmeria and Mitra from the Hyborian kingdoms. Tells a brief history and worship of these gods.
“The King is Dead part IV of Chronicles of the Sword”
By Lin Carter
An article that deals with the huge success of Conan after the failure of the Kull stories. A high point in Howard’s work that was tragically cut short by his suicide.
“Lines Written in the Realization That I Die”
By Robert E. Howard
Illustrations by Barry Smith
A poem by Howard that was dark and beautifully written.
“The Hyborian Age chapter I: The Pre-Cataclysmic Age Circa 10,000 B.C.”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist Walt Simonson
A history of the Hyborian age that fictional age created by Howard. It starts with the Pre-Cataclysmic Age. The age of the Thurian civilization and Kull. Ends with a great upheaval that sinks continents.
So this was the longest non-Howard adaptation of a Conan story to date. I found it a very original story. I loved the idea of this Babylonian who travels back to Conan’s era and uses this mysterious well to bring prehistoric creatures to Conan’s world. I know that this was later used as a What If? issue that brought Conan to the the present circa 1977. My favorite What If? that will appear on this blog someday.
The articles were informative and an enjoyable read. Most of the articles in this magazine were of high quality.
The poem was a smart idea after reading about Howard’s suicide. Gives a feel that the man had some serious inner demons.
Finally the history of the Hyborian world is an excellent idea to present in illustrative form. Amazing to the detail that Howard went into for his fictional world.