GIANT-SIZE CONAN #5

“A Sword Called Stormbringer!”
Writers: Roy Thomas story by Michael Moorcock and James Cawthorn
Artist: Barry Smith

A reprint of Conan #14.

“The Green Empress of Melnibone”
Writers: Roy Thomas story by Michael Moorcock and J. Cawthorn
Artist: Barry Smith

A reprint of Conan #15.

“Tales of the Hyborian Age! The Blood of the Dragon!”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: Gil Kane

A reprint of Conan #12.

So the final Giant-size was nothing but reprints. The Hour of the Dragon was not finished but will be in the Savage Sword which I will someday hopefully get to soon. So I hope you enjoyed the bonus reviews that I did this week of my Christmas vacation.

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GIANT-SIZE CONAN #4

“Swords of the South!”
Writer: Roy Thomas based on adaptation of novel “The Hour of the Dragon” by Robert E. Howard
Artist: Gil Kane

Conan and Albiona leave Tarantia in an Asuran boat. Disguised as pilgrims they will not be bothered. In Poitain Conan finds his loyal friend Count Trocero in charge. A priest of Asura comes and informs Conan that the Heart of Ahriman was stolen from the thief and taken to a bandit’s castle. So Conan goes there disguised as a mercenary seeking employ. After proving his worth he is assigned to help torture the information on how to open an iron box that the jewel is located in. Zorathus has his last laugh as he gives instructions on how to open the box but it also poisons the opener. A thief Beloso knocks Conan out. So Conan gives chase and his horse trips. When Conan comes to he has to fight a cannibalistic ghoul. Then he makes it to Messantia in Argos and looks up an old contact from his pirate days. He finds the location of the thief but is too late as Stygians have taken the jewel.

“The Lurker Within!”
Writer: Roy Thomas based on story “The God in the Bowl” by Robert E. Howard
Artist: Barry Smith

A reprint of Conan #7.

So Conan’s quest takes him further from his kingdom. A lot happens in this story. Conan finds that Poitain is all but declared its independence and wants to make Conan its king. But Conan has to regain all of Aquilonia and must retrieve the Heart of Ahriman. So another disguise and more adventures with a bandit band. Ghouls and old fences from his pirate days. Now he has to go to Stygia and on his trail are the four mysterious Khaitains that Valerius sent after him.

GIANT-SIZE CONAN #3

“To Tarantia–And the Tower!”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from novel “The Hour of the Dragon” by Robert E. Howard
Artists: Gil Kane & Tom Sutton

Conan has escaped captivity and now is back in Aquilonia. He rescues an old woman from Nemedian deserters. The woman named Zelata is a witch and takes him back to her cabin. There she shows what has happened in the capital. The people have lost hope and submitted to Valerius who is crowned the puppet king. She gives him the advice to find the heart of his kingdom to regain it. So Conan goes to Tarantia in disguise and finds out a loyal countess Albionia is to be beheaded for refusing the new kings advances. So Conan sneaks into the tower and frees her. They are later rescued by hooded men. They are followers of Asura and grateful for Conan allowing them to practice their religion. They test him by having him fight a statue that comes alive. Then they say that the Heart of Ahriman is the only thing that can defeat Xaltotun’s sorcery. Conan knows a thief was dispatched to Zingara to throw it in the sea but figures the thief will instead try to sell it. So off to Zingara he goes to recover the Heart of Ahriman.

“Devil-Wings Over Shadizar”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: Barry Smith

A reprint of Conan #6.

So now Conan finds out his kingdom is lost. Yet he is determined to regain it. He finds allies and is pointed in the right direction. So now a quest is in the works. A very epic Conan tale that gets more exciting as it goes. A very Byzantine tale with even the puppet kings having their own retinue of wizards. In this instance Valerius has four Khitai wizards who he sends out to kill Conan. I just love the intrigue from the various players that are conspiring to stab each other in the back now that they have won.

GIANT-SIZE CONAN #2

“Conan Bound!”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from novel “The Hour of the Dragon” by Robert E. Howard
Artists: Gil Kane & Tom Sutton

Conan wakes up and finds himself prisoner of Xaltotun. Seems the ancient wizard wants to install Conan as his puppet on the Aquilonian throne. Of course Conan is no ones puppet. So he gets thrown back into his cell to think about it. Here a young woman named Zenobia comes to rescue him. She has fallen madly in love with Conan so she drugged the guards and brought him the keys and a dagger. Conan unlocks his chains and goes through a secret passage. There he has to fight a man-eating ape. Then he comes on King Tarascus and almost manages to kill him. He finally makes it to Zenobia who waits for him and tells him of the horse she left him. Conan leaves telling her he will be back for her. At the place the horse is supposed to be he is found by a Nemedian adventurer. The adventurer tries to take Conan’s head but instead it is his armor and horse that Conan appropriates after killing him. Thus he rides to his kingdom.

“Zukala’s Daughter”
Writer: Roy Thomas inspired by poem “Zukala’s Hour” by Robert E. Howard
Artist: Barry Smith

A reprint of Conan #5.

So we get to meet Zenobia who will become Conan’s future queen. Conan does have it tough with all these young women falling madly in love with him. Another excellent Howard story. Conan is shown as one mean badass. He kills one of his jailers for taunting him. Kills a giant ape with a dagger. Pulls out bars on windows and shows that he is one tough dude. A true classic.

GIANT-SIZE CONAN #1

“The Hour of the Dragon”
Writer: Roy Thomas based on novel by Robert E. Howard
Artist: Gil Kane

In Belverius the capital of Nemedia three men are conspiring for power. Amalric a baron of Tor. Tarascus brother to the king of Nemedia and Valerius the rightful heir to the throne of Aquilonia. Orestes a former priest of Mitra who turned to the dark arts is resurrecting Xaltotun an evil wizard of ancient Acheron. With the revived wizard a plan is set in motion. First a plague kills the king of Nemedia and his sons and thus Tarascus is made the king. Then an invasion of Aquilonia to put Valerius on the throne. The invaders are met by an army lead by Conan the king of Aquilonia. During the night Xaltotun comes and paralyzes Conan. Thus a young inexperienced man impersonates Conan during the battle. He leads the men into a trap and the Aquilonian army is destroyed. Conan gathers enough strength to go out fighting but is subdued. Xaltotun has plans for Conan.

“Acheron: A Revisionary Theory”
By Robert Yaple

An article by a history professor that outlines the pseudo-history of Howard’s Acheron using past literary works. Also includes a map of pre-Hyborian Acheron.

“Conan the Unconquered”
By Roy Thomas

An editorial on how the Giant-Size issue came about and choosing the only novel written by Robert E. Howard to adapt.

“The Twilight of the Grim Grey God!”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from “The Grey God Passes!” by Robert E. Howard
Artist: Barry Smith

A reprint of Conan #3.

So the first of the Giant-Size Conan. Back in the early seventies Marvel did a lot of Giant-Sized issues. They would mix original stories with reprints. So basically you were paying for more than you wanted. Still the original work was worth it. For the Conan ones they chose to adapt Howard’s only novel which happened to be a King Conan story. The story is filled with wizards and political conspiracies. An epic of Conan regaining his lost throne. For the first part we see how he lost his throne. The article on Acheron was informative as well as the map. A very enjoyable adaptation of a Howard story.