Saturday, November 22, 2014

MY FAVORITE COMICS - Kull the Conqueror

To some, Kull the Conqueror might be remembered as a second rate version of Conan the Barbarian. Fair enough, I can understand that point of view, even if I disagree. You see, I had the privilege of being introduced to Kull through the art and craft of Ross Andru teamed up with Wallace Wood, followed by subsequent stories drawn by Marie and John Severin. To a nine year old kid, that artwork was transcendent and seemed like something retrieved from an ancient time and place, very much in tune with the story contents. John Severin's inking gave weight to the figures and a degree of ruggedness and texture to the backgrounds that echoed Hal Foster's work on Prince Valiant, creating a unique world, as beautiful and frightening as our own, at least to a child's sensibility. 

Unlike the cimmerian barbarian, which I found stupid and brutal, there was a tragic nobility to King Kull's character, a sort of romantic dimension, that I found incredibly captivating as a kid and which I could not find on Conan. Still, that might not have charmed me if it were not for the artwork. Sure, John Buscema was "the artist" on post-Kirby marvel comics and as far as I'm concerned his Conan is the ultimate version of the character, but Andru/Wood and the Severin sister/brother team brought an eye to detail and setting which grounded the artwork and made Kull and, most importantly, his world, every bit as visually appealing as the cimmerian's (if not more imho).

Personal favorite after the "origin" tale : The King And The Oak, which, ironically, wasn't published on Kull's own mag but on Conan the Barbarian #10. Check it out! 

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