Sunday, February 7, 2010

2. Ace Conan #1.1, Conan: The Thing in the Crypt

From Hyborean Apocrypha

The Thing in the Crypt by L. Sprague DeCamp and Lin Carter.

In this installment find our hero newly escaped from Hyperborean slavery, we're told that while others slept, he quietly wore threw one link in his chain in order to break it and escape. Clearly all those people who say Conan isn't a thinking man, haven't read that. He's escaped from the dungeons yes, but not from Hyperborea. He eluded their hounds, sent after him, But not the wolf pack that picked up his scent. Conan is trying to go south over the mountains into Brythunia. And on into Zamora, with its major cities, Shadizar, Arenjun and Yezud..

He reaches the mountains and finds a cave of some sort, journeying in through the cobwebs. A cave? Or more like a Tomb, littered with treasured objects of the dead. A Chariot, and on a throne at the back, sits a giant. Though the narrator stops to ponder of what race this giant belongs, and from whence he came and how long ago.. Conan is rather more pragmatic, his gaze fixes on the sword which lay across the knees of the giant.

Conan takes the sword, after spending a bit of time reflecting on its make. Shocked that its blued iron and not bronze. This is the first real indication of his Fathers profession, which Conan likely would know a good deal about as well.

But all is not what it seems as the mummy lurches slowly upward, seemingly enraged at having its sword stolen. we are treated to a rather lengthy duel between the mummy and Conan. But our protagonist triumphs and after grabbing a few more spoils from the tomb, leaves to continue his march south.

If this scene sounds familiar, its because Oliver Stone incorperated it in his script which was adapted for John Milius's, Conan the Barbarian(1982) Though the skeleton stayed dead in the movie.

The first half of this story, filled with exposition and guesses on the nature of the Hyborian age, and the obvious mechanical fascination involved in wearing down a chain link.. is in my opinion LSDC's contribution.. while the much less interesting second half featuring the battle with the Mummy is Lin Carter's.. He wrote a lot of stories featuring statues and mummys which come to life.

I liked the first half, but not the second particularly.
So I give this one **1/2 out of *****

The Thing in the Crypt -
Locations: the Hyperborean slopes of the Graskill Mountains
Towns, cities and other palces: A Tomb in the mountains
Characters: Conan (age about 15)
Languages Spoken: Cimmerian, Aesir

Up next is Conan the Defiant by Steve Perry.

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