“The Abode of the Damned”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from “The Country of the Knife” by Robert E. Howard
Artists: John Buscema and Yong Montaro
Mellani of the many men got her name from being a very successful prostitute. Now she just runs a tavern and enjoys her retirement. One night a man knocks at her door. When she open it she finds someone knifing the man who was pounding on the door. She reacts by smashing a jug into his face. This takes out an eye and the murderer tumbles down the stairs. He decides to flee when he hears the approach of people. Mellani finds out the man being stabbed is her brother. He tells her about the Black Tigers from the Abode of the Damned in the wastelands run by a prince whose real name is Nikolav Yvonn. Then he dies.
Mellani decides to seek revenge so hires some men to take her to this Abode of the Damned. Along the way they are ambushed and she is taken prisoner. The group will take her to the Abode but to sell her. Along the way a man calling himself Shirkuh of Zamora joins up as do three strange men. The men look like triplets are bald and have dark eyes. They can also control mentally other men.
So at the Abode of the Damned Shirkuh is revealed to be Conan who has decided to back one of the factions lead by Bellisar Khan. At the auction for the slave Conan challenges the current emir. The emir was secretly a Turanian who infiltrated the abode but found he liked the power and planned to carve himself an empire instead. He wants the girl to kill her and keep her knowledge of his real name. Well the auction results in a fight where Conan manages to rally the populace to his man. But unfortunately someone recognizes him as Conan the head of their former enemies the Zuagir. So now they attack Conan. He manages to rescue Mellani and with the three strangers escape the city. The strangers were aliens that came to stop a creature from hatching from an egg in the treasure chamber. They do this by blowing up the city.
“El Borak and the Barbarians”
By Fred Blosser
An article on the release of the stories of Francis X. Gordon or El Borak. He was a Texan adventurer in contemporary Asia that Howard created. Many stories including the one in this issue were adapted by Thomas into Conan stories.
“The Scribes of Hyboria”
By Fred Blosser and Roy Thomas
A review of four fanzines for Robert E. Howard fans.
“Conan and the Tower of Vinyl”
By Ed Summer
A review of an available record with recordings of two Conan stories.
So this story was an adaptation of an El Borak story changed to a Conan one. Like many of Howard’s stories they were easily adapted to Conan. This one was just beautiful. A story of intrigue and double dealing. Conan has to negotiate the various tribal politics of this den of thieves. He also has to deal with some aliens who have come to stop some creature from destroying the world. Plus free the prostitute who just wanted to revenge her brother. A very rich and detailed story with a wonderful cast of characters and beautiful artwork.