“The Stalker Amid the Sands”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from “Conan and the Sorcerer” by Andrew J. Offutt
Artists: John Buscema & Ricardo Villamonte
Conan is on the trail of Isparana who stole the Eye of Erlik. He needs to retrieve the eye to get back his soul from Hissar Zul. At an oasis he is ambushed by two nomads who he has to kill. Later he comes on a Turanian patrol that was after them. From the patrol he finds a short cut he can take but is warned of a Sand lich that ambushes men. Conan decides to ignore that advice and take the short cut. He finds out there is a Sand lich, a creature made of sand. It starts to suffocate Conan but stops when it finds out that he has no soul.
The Sand lich finds out the soul was stolen by Hissar Zul. The Sand lich was once Tosya Zul the brother of Hissar. Back in their youth they tried to overthrow the Khan of Zamboula and had to flee when it was found out. Along the way Tosya finds out that Hissar actually hates him and uses magic to kill Tosya. Only Tosya survived and turned into a Sand lich. He kills everyone who comes to him because he hopes one is his brother. He agrees to help Conan if he kills his brother. So he uses his magic to transport him to an oasis.
By Fred Blosser
An article on the mercenaries of Conan’s time. Also has comparisons with history in the Middle Ages to explain the origin and tactics of these bands. An interesting article.
“The Chan Barbarians”
A two page spread by Ernie Chan of Conan battling Thoth-Amon.
“Wings in the Night Part Two”
Writer: Don Glut adapted from story by Robert E. Howard
Artist: David Wenzel
After his battle with two bat-creatures Solomon Kane gets knocked out. He wakes in a hut. The Bogonda tribe is nursing him back to health. From them he finds out the history of their tribe and the creatures they call the Akaana. The tribe was driven out of their homeland and after fighting through the local cannibal tribe came to this land. Only they found out it was inhabited by the Akaana. Now trapped by the cannibal tribe they are forced to make their home in this land. The tribe started leaving sacrifices but the lower Bogonda rebelled and were slaughtered. Now the upper Bogonda have not been bothered by the Akaana since Kane killed two of them. They think that the Akaana are scared of Kane and will not bother them as long as Kane stays with them. Kane agrees to stay to protect them.
Only a few days later the Akaana attack and slaughter the people. Kane tries with fails to protect them. So he sets a trap by fortifying a hut. Then leaves a cow carcass inside to lure the Akaana in. When they enter he locks the door and sets fire to the hut. Thus getting revenge for the Bogonda tribe.
So apparently Ernie Chan couldn’t do his inking for this story and Villamonte filled in. They could only do half the story instead of finishing it. Which is why it seems so short for the main Conan story. It was a good story filled with an interesting premise. The Sand lich was a new monster for Conan that had some originality.
Because of the abbreviated Conan story we get the Solomon Kane story in two parts instead of three. This was one of Howard’s best Kane story. A fascinating backstory of the tribe and their tormenters the Akaana. A race of bat creatures that Kane feels were the Harpies of old mythology. A well done adaptation.