Tuesday, August 21, 2018

FRANK FRAZETTA's Dan Brand & Tipi meet George Washington (1949)

"Blood on the Frontier" was the second adventure of Frazetta's dynamic frontier duo (the first is HERE). It first appeared in The Durango Kid #2 back in 1949, and thereafter had the same history as that first appearance. Want to see more? Twist my arm. Or not. 

Saturday, August 18, 2018

HARVEY KURTZMAN'S Pot-Shot Pete meets the McYetnit Boys (1952)

This pre-MAD dust-up with Pot-Shot Pete appeared in Billy the Kid Adventure Magazine #9, from March 1952. I found it on comicbookplus, as uploaded by "movielover." Stay tuned. Pete will ride again!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Forgotten Books: CONAN THE DEFENDER by Robert Jordan (1982)

After picking up The Further Chronicles of Conan at Goodwill recently, containing Robert Jordan's fourth, fifth and final Conan novels, I decided to go back and reread the first two. (I read all six back in the '80s, so for some this is the third time through.)

I jabbered about the first novel, Conan the Invincible, a couple of years ago (HERE), so it's now time to say a few words about the second.

Conan the Defender takes place a year or two after Invincible, and involves two Jordan creations introduced in the first book. Most important is Hordo, a one-eyed former bandit chieftan who's now involved with a smuggling ring. In this book, he ably fills the role of Conan's sidekick and drinking buddy. The other returnee is a flame-haired she-devil named Karela, formerly known as the notorious bandit leader The Red Hawk. She, too, is a good character, but that's all I'm going to tell you about her, because to say more would be a SPOILER. 

Conan, a thief in the fist book, has graduated to mercenary, and has set his sites on forming his own Free Company (which is a whole band of mercenaries). He's left Shadizar behind, and now has just arrived in Belverus, capital of Nemedia. As usual, there are several nubile maidens on hand, and the obligatory evil sorceror dabbling with forces beyond his control. Of greater interest, there's a plot to usurp the throne of Nemedia from an unpopular king.

Robert Jordan made no attempt to ape Howard's style. Instead, he created his own, which lacks the poetry and rhythm of REH, but still has its charms. His Conan is more thoughtful, a bit more scrupulous, and has a wider-ranging sense of humor. He'd be a good guy to go carousing with. Finishing one of these books makes me want to start right in on the next, which is as it should be. 

Strange to say, parts of this story seem somewhat dated, a problem I never encountered in the Howard stories published sixty years earlier. How did this happen? Well, as part of the plot to overthrow the king, the conspirators stir up unrest among the city's artists, poets and free-thinkers. This little band of radicals believes in the power of peace and love, and hopes to bring about politcal change without tarnishing their ideals with violence. How quaint. That may have reflected the climate when this book was published in 1982, but if it were written today the protestors would be wearing masks and helmets, and throwing bottles at the City Guard.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Moments in Paperback History: LANCECON '87

 Lance Casebeer, beer in hand, points the way (probably to the keg).
I have no drinking problem, says his shirt. I drink. I get drunk. I fall down. No problem.

Books . . . 

books . . . 

 . . . more books.

Tom Lesser scores a stack of digests.

The noble profile of Cap'n Bob Napier

Me and somebody's head.

More of the usual suspects.

Bruce Taylor surveys the scene.

The booking never stops . . . 

. . . never.

Murder for auction.

Marilyn makes an appearance.

Who remembers the USFL? Dick Wald does. The Portland Breakers was our pro football team (for almost two whole years).

Lance's legendary basement . . .

 . . .  where it was wall-to-wall paperbacks. 

The Cap'n hoarding his booty.

The guy who put the Lance in LanceCon.

Pics, as always, thanks to the Official Photographer of LanceCon, Arty Art Scott.