Joining the ranks of all the Vertigo titles I’ve been reading of late is the first in a “new” series by noted SFF author Neil Gaiman, The Sandman: Overture. This series is a prequel to The Sandman that Vertigo used to publish a few years back and is one of Gaiman’s earlier works of fiction, and one of his earliest successes to boot. From what I gather, The Sandman is very much a classic series in the industry, and of its greatest successes and yet owing nothing to the superhero genre at all.
I’ve never read anything by Neil Gaiman before, and this pretty much my first experience of his work as a result. Its been mixed. There are some great strengths of this issue, but there are a lot of weaknesses as well. But as someone approaching this world, this setting for the first time, I’m often left in the dark as to what is going on.
When I reviewed Conan the Barbarian 1-3 by Brian Wood a couple weeks ago, I’d mentioned how much I like the character, and how much I enjoy the Hyborean setting and the associated mythos and all. What Robert E. Howard created in those early days of sword and sorcery is something that’s obviously still very much relevant today, considering how much Conan and Red Sonja are popular right now, whether it be comics or movies or what have you. There’s something in his works, and their modern derivatives that speaks out.
Brian Wood’s beginnings on Dark Horse’s popular Conan the Barbarian title reflects that core draw of the character, and the setting. He writes the character really well and his early explorations with the setting really do speak out as well. Its taken me almost two weeks to finish his first arc on the title, but the time in between has definitely been well worth it.
I’ve held a fascination for the character of Conan ever since I first saw the movie duology featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger as the titular hero ages ago. I’ve seen the duology again and again many times since those days, and I’ve even seen the new reboot with Jason Momoa as Conan multiple times. My fascination with Conan led me to Red Sonja and I’ve had a great time in the last year and a half, reading various Red Sonja comics, and even watching the travesty of the movie that was made with her.
I read a Conan comic last year, Conan and the Daughters of Midora, which was an anthology and featured several stories with the hero. However, that proved to be a rather weak collection. I didn’t get a chance to read another Conan comic until today, when I was just looking for something completely different to the usual superhero comics I’ve been reading so much of late. And you know what, its been a great experience.