Saturday, April 30, 2011

Conan the Barbarian

Conan by Cinar
Last week I finished my first Conan book.

When reading several of the Tarzan novels I was surprised to find that the common conception of the character, Tarzan, is far from Burrough's actual portray. Screen media would have us believe Tarzan an un-educated feral man. It was the very same thing with Conan the Conqueror. He was very well spoken and quite intelligent, he was a king after all. My previously limited exposure to the franchise was mostly the Schwarzenegger films which portray him as rather uneducated.

The plot relied on an over abundance of coincidence (very much like Burroughs' writing) and many of the scenes in this one book started to look repetitive. In spite of that, Howard's writing is often unpredictable which was refreshing.

I could not help but note many slangs and terminology that marked the story with an after recorded history. For example at one point characters were discussing Purgatory. It is possible that the religious of the Hyborian age would have a concept of Purgatory, but rather unlikely. Other lines of dialog jolted me out of pre-history.

The shortcomings of this kind of literature is the nature of pulp fiction, as that is what Conan is and cannot be faulted for being so. Howard's writings are a solid cornerstone to the fantasy literature genre, of that there is no question.

Dark Horse Comics currently has the Robert E. Howard license and are producing Conan ongoing. They are doing an amazing job with the property. Perhaps there never has been nicer comic book representation of Conan- not that Marvel's handling of it was bad. They're run is renowned. Any Conan comic fan needs to check out the Dark Horse run.

Incidentally, Dark Horse also is doing a nice job with Howard's other properties, namely Solomon Kane.

Conan the Barbarian comes out in August 2011. I expect the film to be not very good. One reason is this awful fad of 3D. There is so much emphasis on 3D with Conan that I fear the cinematic quality suffered, just to make sure the effects were in there. I'll still see it. Even if the trailer is pretty bland. He speaks like a typical barbarian would here. Not so much in line with the books so far. Jason Momoa is cast as the barbarian here as well as the new HBO series Game of Thrones. Suddenly he's typecast!

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