“The Tower of the Elephant”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from story by Robert E. Howard
Artists: John Buscema & Alfredo Alcala
In a tavern at night in the City of Thieves a boisterous Kothian brags about women stealing. He mentions the Tower of the Elephant and a young barbarian asks him about it. He tells of the jewel known as the Elephant’s Heart and how its guarded by magic. A fight breaks out and Conan has to kill the braggart. He later decides to steal this jewel from the tower. Climbing over the wall he finds a dead guard and runs into Taurus of Nemedia. Considered the greatest thief he is there also to steal the jewel. The two decide to join forces.
First they have to battle lions but Taurus has a powder of Black Lotus which kills them. Then they climb the tower and Taurus is killed by a giant spider. Conan manages to defeat the spider. Then he finds Yag-Kosha a man with the head of an elephant. Only Yag’s limbs are broken and he is blind. Conan takes pity on the poor creature and listens to his story. Yag and others had to flee their world and came to Earth. They lost their wings and witnessed the rise of man. Yag was the last of his kind and discovered by the evil wizard Yara. Yara tricked him into teaching him some powerful magic that was used to enslave Yag. He begs Conan to kill him and cut his heart out. Then squeeze the blood onto the gem and take it to Yara.
Conan does this and takes the gem to Yara. It shrinks Yara and he goes into the gem where a vengeful Yag awaits him. Then the tower starts to shake and Conan runs out in time before the whole tower comes crashing down.
“Swackles, Thuds and Blunders”
By Don & Maggie Thompson.
An article on Amra a fanzine about Conan. The name for this title comes from the names the publication gives its editorials and letters.
“Fionn McCumhal Day in East-Mere or How Conan Might Spend a Sunday in Buffalo, New York”
By Michael C. Mahaney
Photos by Larry Stachniak and Greg Puchalski
An article with pictures of the Society for Creative Anachronism celebrating the day to honor the Gaelic folk hero.
Poem by Robert E. Howard
Artists: Barry Smith & Tim Conrad
A poem by Howard put to an artistic rendition.
So Roy Thomas loves this story. He already adopted it back in the Conan comic series but wanted to expand it with double the pages and new artists. I will say that this isn’t my favorite Conan story but it does have a very poignant quality to it. Yag-Kosha comes as such a tragic figure you can’t help but feel sorry for him. It also has a young Conan in his thief days battling various supernatural threats. The expanded version does do the story justice. We do get some beautiful artwork with expanded fight scenes with the giant spider.
Otherwise the articles were average. Neither real good or real bad. The Howard poem they have printed before but putting it to a visual story was new. Smith and Conrad drew a very beautiful story to a haunting poem by Howard. A good issue if not one of the best.