“The Slithering Shadow”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from story by Robert E. Howard
Artists: John Buscema and Alfredo Alcala

Conan is lost in the desert. This only companion a former slave girl that he rescued named Natala. Conan was a mercenary employed by the rebel prince Almuric in his rebellion against the King of Koth. The defeated army moved south through Shem and Stygia. At the border of Kush the army was destroyed by the combined armies of Stygia and Kush. Conan taking the girl rode into the desert on a camel. The camel died and it looks like the two don’t have long.

Miraculously they see a city in the distance. Going to it they find the gates not locked and what looks like a dead man lying on the ground. Only the man isn’t dead and attacks the two. Conan kills him and then throws the body down the well in frustration at not being able to retrieve the water. They wander the city and explore one of the buildings. Inside they find a table set with a meal and help themselves. They later find sleeping figures and a mysterious shadow that goes around eating up the figures.

They finally meet a woman named Thalis. She tells them they are in Xutotl. The inhabitants are always drugged up with Black Lotus. Also their god Thog goes around and eats up people. Thalis has fallen in love with Conan and kidanps Natala. She ties her up and starts whipping her but doesn’t notice that Thog comes up and eats her. Conan searching for the women meets up with the inhabitants and has to fight them. Fleeing he runs into a room where a girl pulls a cord and he finds himself falling through a trap door. He lands in the chamber Natala is captive and battles Thog. He blinds the creature and it falls back into the pit it came from. Later severely wounded it looks like Conan has had it. Only Natala finds the healing elixir the people use which heals Conan. The two take food and water and head for the nearest oasis.

“Sing a Song of Sonjas”
By Roy Thomas
Photos by Al Satian

A photo essay of two Red Sonja cos-players at Comicon in San Diego.

“Solomon Kane’s Homecoming”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapting poem by Robert E. Howard
Artists: Virgilio Redondo and Rudy Nebres

Solomon Kane comes back to his home village of Devon. He tells about his time fighting the Spaniards. His battles with vampires and other undead creatures before leaving to continue to wander the Earth.

So we get another excellent adaptation from Howard. He seems to excel at spooky lost cities filled with strange people and even stranger creatures. This stuff never gets old with me. I love this setting of a city filled with drugged out users and a blob like creature. Conan is at his finest. Also once again it the duo of Buscema and Alcala producing some beautiful artwork.

We get an article of beautiful women dressed as Red Sonja. That never gets old with me either.

Finally Roy gives us the poem written by Howard but with illustrations to go with it. Howard was an accomplished poet and it was an added bonus to get an illustrated story with it. Another outstanding issue in the series.

One thought on “SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #20

  1. I always loved this issue.Possibly my favourite of the Savage Sword mags – I loved the cover, loved the main story (the art by Buscema and Alcala is possibly the best the two of them did together)- at this point the Savage Sword mag had reached perfection and while I didn’t know it, it was really sadly downhill from here. Why can’t every REH adaptation and Conan mag be as good as this one? I damn near wore my copy out over the years from re-reading this one, so particularly looking forward to its appearance in the next Savage Sword Omnibus. I bet they’ll be reprinting that Red Sonja article too. Bonus!

    Liked by 1 person

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