#72 - Conan

Sword battles and non-stop action with Conan the Barbarian

A lot of people know Conan as Arnold Schwarzenegger, the muscle bound ex-governor of California. Well this annoys some graphic novel fans, because Conan has been in loads of comic book series, and he's had a hell of a lot more adventures than have been shown on the big screen. As for me, I'm not elitist about the medium; I think people can be as casual a comic fan as they want to be. It's their money after all, who cares if they dip in and out of graphic novels rather than reading them in exclusion of everything else.

Even so, the Conan graphic novels are 1,000,000 times better than the film. If you want to go deeper into the universe created by Robert E Howard, then the Conan books are a great shout for you. I say books, because to be honest, you can buy the prose or the comic book form, and you'll still experience a rich world full of fantastic adventures. Conan is pure escapism, and when you read it you'll understand why Howard is known as the father of the sword and sorcery genre.

In terms of where to begin, volume 1 is where I'd start. It may seem pretty obvious to begin reading a series at the beginning, but sometimes a series can take a while to warm up, and the early issues are skippable. I don't feel Conan's early days can be missed.

In volume 1, Conan meets the Frost Giant's Daughter, and from there his adventure begins. In a recurring theme of the series, this volume is full of fighting and empty of character development, but this is what many Conan fans look for. If you are searching for something that will put you right in the middle of a character's psyche, Conan isn't for you. If you want to see a barbarian kill stuff in a fantasy-high setting, then get out your wallet.

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