Thursday, April 05, 2007

Two-Fisted Bob

Charles passed along to me a copy of Savage Sword of Conan #200, which he had acquired twice via some lot purchases on eBay. He recommended I give it a try, and I'm glad he did; it's the sort of story for which I am the ideal target audience.

I really enjoy stories that blend creator and creation, and Roy Thomas's "Barbarians of the Border" is just such a story. Basically, Thomas has interwoven a story of Robert E. Howard's adventurous trip to San Antonio in 1932 with a fairly traditional Conan tale--but the two not only work in a parallel way, it turns out that one influences the other, paving the way for Howard's creation (or perhaps I should say discovery) of Conan the Cimmerian. Even though it appears rather late in Marvel's Conan history (August 1992), it's a far more inspired story than many of the Conan tales published in the same period.

The idea of "racial memory" was something that appealed to Howard--this concept that the experiences of the experiences and knowledge of countless generations of the human race that came before us was somehow imprinted on us, and could possibly be tapped into by some as a sort of genetic heritage--so I'm sure he would have been amused by this story. It's well worth tracking down, in spite of the goofy Joe Jusko cover that looks more like a Mad Magazine parody of Conan than a true Conan cover.

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