Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 342: Conan the Cimmerian #2
Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. As it’s now December, I will be examining the LAST pages of random comics, so watch out for SPOILERS! Today’s page is from Conan the Cimmerian #2, which was published by Dark Horse and is cover dated August 2008. This scan is from the trade paperback Conan volume 7: Cimmeria, which was published in 2009. Enjoy!
In this issue of Conan, that old dude tells a story of Conan’s grandfather, and then reveals quite a bit about himself before walking away. So Tim Truman, who wrote this, is linking the story of a werewolf to Conan himself, because there’s quite a bit about Conan that is lupine. The old man has himself a pack, and so that’s why he’s telling Conan that he might lead one too, but he’s not completely sure that it’s in Cimmeria, where Conan grew up. The premise of this arc is that Conan, sick of the corruption of the cities, returns to his homeland. But, of course, you can never go home again, and the old man is just pointing out that maybe things won’t be how Conan thinks they will be. It’s all deep and shit!
Richard Corben draws most of this issue, as a flashback, but this page is by Tomás Giorello, and he and José Villarrubia do a fine job with it. We’re seeing this from Conan’s point of view for the first four panels, so the wolves staring at us is almost the first thing we see when we turn the page. The provide a guard for the old man – Conan, as is his wont, has threatened to kill the old man – and even though they’re fierce, we can tell they’re protective. The old man is off to the right a bit, leading us toward Panel 2, and notice the sense of movement throughout the first three panels. The old man gets further away (we have to exercise some creative license in Panel 3, because would we be able to hear the old man when he’s that far away?), and the wolf slowly turns to follow him. That’s nice work by Giorello – the scene isn’t that exciting, but Giorello is able to create the illusion of movement to add some dynamism to the scene. By Panel 4, the old man is a speck on the hill, and when Giorello pulls back to show Conan (who needs no sleeves, because he’s a tough guy!), the old man is gone. So we get the illusion of movement and of a lot of time passing, as it would take very long for the old man to reach the crest of that hill. Comics do this very well – movies would require editing, but in comics, the editing is built into the gutters, and Giorello does a nice job with it. Villarrubia colors the page wonderfully – the blues suggest cold, of course, but notice that the old man’s cloak, while brown, is tinged with blue, as he belongs to that world, while Conan remains brownish because he is now part of the desert world of the south. After pages on which Conan and the old man were sitting around a fire, this page reminds us that they’re in the mountains, and the world is freezing.
This isn’t a particularly exciting page, but it is pretty dramatic. Conan’s journey isn’t finished, but he’s learned some things about his grandfather and the place to which he’s returning. He has a lot to think about!
Next: Another Jemas-era Marvel comic, so you can probably guess it’s going to be a bit outré. Find some more from that era in the archives!