Writer: Virginie Augustin, Robert E. Howard | Artist: Virginie Augustin. Published by ABLAZE Publishing.
I’ll admit, I put this series on my pull list because the issue 2 cover looks great. In fact, I only wanted issue 2, but then number one showed up and I bought it. I’ve dabbled in the Conan mythos here and there over the years but never dove in. Despite having amassed a fair amount of paperbacks and black and white magazines over the years. I think all that changes this year thanks to this title.
The Cimmerian title features comic book retellings of Robert E. Howard’s original Conan stories from the pulps. Marvel Comics has the rights to do Conan officially in comics. But they do not own all of the Howard stories. While the cover says Cimmerian, this is Conan on the inside of the book. Also, and I’m trying to find more details or translate a site into English, but these titles may have been published in France initially which would also have different copyright rules and might make it easier to bring this series to the States.
The story originally appeared as Shadows in the Moonlight in 1934. Part of that story is reprinted at the end of this comic, and I’m guessing the rest will be included in future issues. Augustin does an amazing job of taking Howard’s actual words and adapting them in the best ways to the comic format. Including the Howard story allowed me to flip between the original and Augustin’s interpretation and really showcases what comics can do that no other medium can.
As amazing as Augustin’s adaptation skills are, I was stunned to see she’s the artist too. So much power should not be in the hands of one mortal. I knew right away this comic had a more “European” style, and I use that as a catch all term. That style immersed me more into the world of Conan. Right up there with the handful of magazines I’ve already read, and a much different take than the version of Conan in Savage Avengers. (Nothing against that title, just saying they’re different takes.)
Everything was fantastic but also real. Conan is huge but believably so. He’s a beast, but is dirty and wounded. Olivia is beautiful, but obviously has wounds both on the surface and beneath. There is beauty, there is danger, there is an artist that is finally making all of Conan click for me.
Where Conan, the Cimmerian, excels and other barbarians fall short is the immersive world. I’ve never felt that world to be as enveloping as Augustin portrays it here. Every location, every ruin, every rock holds the promise of its own history.
A pretty cover has now yielded a monthly addition to my pull list and an overflowing world of adventures ahead of me.