Books: Conan – Cimmeria

In Brief:  Conan – Cimmeria is the 7th compilation of Dark Horse’s excellent Conan series, which brings the barbarian back to the land of his origin after years abroad adventuring, plundering, and reaving.  Written by Timothy Truman, art by Tomas Giorello and Richard Corben, colors by Joes Villarrubia.

Pros:  This is the real Conan – Robert E. Howard’s Conan.  Expertly characterized by Truman, with beautiful, savage artwork.  The story has a mythic yet grounded quality.

Cons:  The cartoonish artwork of Conan’s grandfather’s interwoven story could have been better.  Reading this just makes you wonder why Hollywood didn’t contact Truman and series originator Kurt Busiek to write the recent movie.

Full Review:  The prologue begins with a view of an old typewriter, Weird Tales magazines on the desk and boxing gloves hanging from the wall.  It’s Howard’s room, of course.  Flowing into his haunting poem, Cimmeria, which he penned in the Texas hill country back in 1932 when the idea of Conan was being conceived, we see the view of those hills and a transition to Conan returning to his bleak homeland.  A bloody encounter with a band of Vanir raiders; we know we’re in good hands with this book.

Dark Horse has received many accolades for their series of Conan comics, which began back in 2004 and has continued intermittently since.  This offering by Truman and company is up to that standard.  The story begins with Conan crossing back into his northern homeland of Cimmeria in mid-winter, several years after leaving to adventure in the more civilized lands to the south and east.  He’s not sure why his feet have pointed him north, other than a certain wistfulness and yearning to be away from the treachery and double-dealings of the southrons.  It echoes that time in all our lives when we’ve gone away from home and out into the world for awhile, and now we return.  A few changes, but much has stayed the same.  So it is with Conan – only with much more grim-eyed slaying. Continue reading