“The Pool of the Black One”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from story by Robert E. Howard
Artists: John Buscema and Sonny Trinidad
Sancha is the daughter of a powerful noble in Zingara. She was captured by the freebooter Zaporavo and is now his captive woman. While lounging on the deck she is surprised that a big barbarian crawls on the ship from nowhere. Conan had to flee Tortuga in a leaky rowboat and managed to make it to the deck of the Wastrel. Zaporavo decides that Conan can join the crew and after a fight with one of the crew that breaks the crewman’s neck, Conan is accepted as one of them.
The ship makes it to a deserted island far out in uncharted waters. Sancha is ordered to stay on the ship as the crew goes ashore. There the crew pick and eat the fruit as Zaporavo goes off into the jungle alone. Conan later follows after him. Sancha decides to check this out and swims to shore. There she follows the two into the jungle and comes on the dead body of Zaporavo. She is then confronted by something that causes her to scream.
Conan has followed the captain to kill him and take over the ship. So he does confront Zaporavo and his superior skill does take out the captain. Conan then explores the island and comes on a strange city. Inside he observes these giant black demons at a pool of green water. They have one of the crew captive and throw him in the pool. Conan ducks and later sees the creatures leave with one putting a figure on a ledge before he leaves. Exploring the pool he finds the ledge filled with little figure including the crewman that he saw thrown into the pool. Just then one comes back with Sancha captive. Conan manages to kill it and rescue the girl. Only now the others are coming back carrying the captive crew.
“Sea Hawks Maritime Trade and Piracy in the High Hyborian Age”
By Robert Yaple
Art by Rick Hoberg
An article on sea trade in the Hyborian age. It includes the major maritime powers and what was traded. Also includes the major pirate factions.
“The Chaykin Barbarians”
Art by Howard Chaykin
A portfolio of Howard Chaykin’s drawings of Conan, Red Sonja and Solomon Kane.
“Voice of the Bloodstained God”
By Fred Blosser
A review of an LP released with L. Sprague DeCamp reading two of his Conan stories. One “The Bloodstained God” and the other “The Curse of the Monolith”. Gave it a very positive review.
“The Dragon at Castle Frankenstein”
Writer: Don Glut
Artist: Sonny Trinidad
Solomon Kane comes on three knights dragging a young woman somewhere. Naturally he intervenes and kills two of the knights. From the survivor he finds out that the knights are working for Baron Frankenstein. So Kane with the young girl named Cathryn goes to the castle to confront the baron. There he finds that the baron was taking the girl for sacrifice to a dragon. Seems years ago his brother slayed a dragon but also died in the attempt. Now another dragon has come and the baron is a coward and chooses to sacrifice young women than slay the dragon. Kane lives to fight evil and forces the baron to show him the lair. He fights the dragon and Cathryn sacrifices herself to distract the dragon so Kane can kill it.
Well another excellent issue. This one has another adaptation of a Howard story. Another creepy one with a lost city on a desert island filled with creepy demons. Howard did like these kind of stories but always kept them fresh with new creatures and magic. The only real complaint is I would have liked this to be all in one story but I guess deadlines.
They did fill it with some good backup articles. I find these pseudo-historical articles by Robert Yaple quite informative.
Finally the Solomon Kane story was another excellent one. This Frankenstein must be an ancestor of the famous one. Kane is drawn just as I would envision him and the writer captures the guy’s Puritan fanaticism very well.