Ryan Thomason

Conan and the People of the Black Circle #1 – Review

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Nothing pleases me more than princess stealing, Sword and Sorcery.

Conan and the People of the Black Circle #1
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Ariel Olivetti
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Price: $3.50
Release Date: October 23rd, 2013

People of the Black Circle was originally published by Robert E Howard across three issues of Weird Tales magazine in 1934, considered one of his greatest Conan stories and gives more insight into the Magic and Magicians than any of his other stories. So, taking up the task of putting this into comic book form with the writing of Fred Van Lente and artistry of Ariel Olivetti might be a bit daunting. Thankfully, in this first (of four) issues, this team is creating a fantastic piece of moving art.

This first issue is essentially the setup for the storyline, the King of Vendhya is dieing, evil sorcery is at play when the stars the Serpent is in the House of the Elephant. The kings soul is at stake, and his sister, Devi must do what a sibling shouldn’t be asked of. All because of a lock of hair. Confusing? Yes, I’m trying to be blunt, the point of these stories is that you should experience them yourselves. I’ll say, storywise, that the setup in this first issue will deliver on a fun run of comics if you were to oblige yourself. Yes, Conan does steal a princess. But, he’s got reasons, man. He’s only threatening to burn a whole fortress down because they captured some of his men.

It’s a reasonable request.

I want to say though, that the artwork by Ariel Olivetti is very well done. Every page is a high quality painting within itself, while some Dark Horse Conan comics sometimes have harsh, gritty artistry to fit with the Cimmerian. Ariel is able to pull off all the grit, all the harshness of the world in a truly beautiful way. Maybe I’m just a sucker for good art, but this just adds so many layers for the imagination and expanding on the excellent start of the story by Fred Van Lente. I’ll point out that my favorite page in the whole comic is when the Wazuli Radiers are attacking, I want that framed, minus any words on it. It’s just such a great piece of work, I can’t wait to keep up with the next issue.

If you want to buy it for yourself (Seriously, it’s worth it) do so here: Conan and the People of the Black Circle #1

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