“King of the Forgotten People”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from story by Robert E. Howard
Artist: Gil Kane
Conan is in the deserts of Hyrkania. He is the sole survivor of an expedition that was attacked by bandits. These bandits still pursue him. He has to fight his way through them and manages to have to jump into a river with his horse. The rivers washes them back and the bandits continue their pursuit. Only a giant spider attacks one of the bandits and the others flee. Conan kills this spider with some well placed arrows but has to flee when others approach. He comes on a giant chain and in the distance is a white citadel. A man surprises him and Conan is knocked out.
He wakes to find himself prisoner of Barlonius a Nemedian nobleman. Conan was sent by his wife to find him. Barlonius shows Conan a temple with a giant statue of the conqueror Khengor. Barlonius thinks that he is the inheritor of Khengor’s legacy and thinks of himself as a future conqueror. He wants Conan to bring his wife to him. This angers his concubine Lala and Barlonius slaps her. Conan is angered by this but is once again knocked out by Barlonius and his powers.
Conan is revived by Lala who will free him if he agrees to never bring back Barlonius’s wife. Conan agrees and they make their way out. Only they are confronted by a monster. Conan soon figures out that it is an illusion. He then has to overcome several illusions of rocks and floods caused by Barlonius. Conan manages to defeat his minions and the two get into a swordfight. Lala uses this distraction to steal a giant pearl in the statue. This causes the knife arm on the statue to fall and impale Barlonius. Conan takes Lala with him and escapes the citadel before it collapses.
Another Roy Thomas story they dug up after all this time since he left. That man is a very prolific writer. This one was I believe another non-Conan Howard story converted to a Conan one. It starts out real interesting with Conan’s pursuit by the bandits. He seems to almost escape but finds is way blocked many times. Then it sort of goes into a standard crazy guy with delusions of grandeur that has to be put in his place. This was a good story that kept my interest. Yet it wasn’t the best of Thoma’s or Howard’s work. Gil Kane artwork also just didn’t really work with this story. So for this annual it gets a C grade.