The Savage Sword of Kull: Volume Two – Various

Kull 02This is the companion volume that collects the Kull stories from September 1986 to May 1995.

All of these appeared in The Savage Sword of Conan and most were written by Chuck Dixon, John Arcudei or Roy Thomas. Only one story, Exile of Atlantis, is based on a Howard Story, the rest are original creations.

They aren’t bad. Most are single issue tales with a twist at the end. Some previous enemies and characters return. The majority, whist having the feel of Howard’s work, could easily substitute Kull for a generic barbarian hero. It is only the Alan Rowlands piece A Groaning in the Earth that truly captures the spirit, language and existential questioning of authentic Kull.

There are yet more retellings, or even reprintings, of Kull’s origin story, and some alterations to his family tree. The same story, Caresses of Mine Enemy, appears twice, retold with identical plot but different scripter and artist five years later.

The art is the constant black and white newsprint of the era. There aren’t the gimmicks and razzmatazz we see in today’s visually adept comics but the effort goes into the characters. Clear expressions, realistic poses and dynamic action is where these pictures shine. There are also some full page drawings labelled “story excerpts” that are collected together and appearing with appropriate Howard quotes.

These stories are presented in the order they were published meaning writers and storylines alternate and jump around in time. Handily an extensive chronology also appears. This summarises all the Marvel storylines and arranges them into the sequence they would take place in Kull’s lifetime. A handy resource for the Kull scholar.

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