Thursday, May 04, 2017

Reader's Diary #1588- Kurt Busiek (writer), various artists: Conan The Blood-Stained Crown and Other Stories

I've never watched a Conan the Barbarian film but references have come up enough in pop culture that I not only was aware of the character but had also formed an impression of what he was all about: a meathead who solved most of his problems with violence.

Turns out, that's about right. Not to say I didn't enjoy this collection of Conan tales at all, but I've probably read enough for now.

Kurt Busiek, perhaps best known for Astro City, managed to still tell an entertaining yarn and mostly, counter-intuitively, by not focusing on the titular character. Most compelling are the stories that feature characters who themselves are enthralled by the legend of Conan and contrasting those against the "real" deeds of Conan.

Still it's all too much of a macho-grunt fest for me. The fantastical realm is brutally violent and unappealing and the women are eye-candy props for male readers. One female is presented as a capable fighter at least, but even then we're supposed to believe she'd choose to battle in a crop top, intentionally undersized to show as much under-boob as possible.

Art-wise, it's pretty great. Despite an assortment of artists, there's a consistent feel and Will Eisner's influence is everywhere. Plus the colouring and grit complement the tales perfectly.

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