Graphic Novel Review: Savage Sword of Conan: The Cult of Koga Thun (Black & White Edition)

Savage Sword of Conan: The Cult of Koga Thun (Black & White Edition) by Gerry Dugan (writer), Ron Garney (artist), Travis Lanham (letterer), Alex Ross (cover artist). Marvel, 2019. 9781302919993. 128pp. Reprints Savage Sword of Conan #1- 5. Publisher’s Rating: Parental Advisory.

This isn’t one of those high priced hardcovers where you can see the raw art with all of the blue line sketches underneath. This a book that was carefully produced, with all of the inked blacks that were in the comics, with some of the lines and shading turned to shades of grey for effect. It’s glorious, as you can see from the cover. I don’t know why you’d want to read Conan any other way, but there’s a regular (color) edition available too.

It’s worth noting the writing is good, as so much of what’s been produced over the years by Conan licensees has been average. The story opens with Conan clinging to wreckage in the open sea (he seems to have killed a shark with his bare hands)), and he’s soon picked up by slavers. Conan unscrews the shackles from the hold with a finger bone he “borrows” from a crew member and then, chained to a fellow prisoner, he seeks out the ship’s captain. In his cabin Conan finds a monstrous creature and an ornate chest, which starts him on a quest for treasure that includes wizards, lizard men, a lot of bloody fighting, and even a trip to the library.

It’s violent and it’s fun, and the lack of color will make it hard for would-be censors to see the blood.


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