Thursday, June 16, 2016

Recent Reads

On a whim I picked up a copy of Andrew J. Offutt's Conan and the Sorcerer at the used book store last week.  I just finished reading it, and I was pleasantly surprised.  The story was suitably Conan, if a bit "fluffed," and the writing, while not quite up to the Howard standard, was still a pretty good entry for the genre.  I'd say Offutt would place about three notches above DeCamp, and a notch above Lin Carter.  Overall, a fun read.

The edition I have was laden with illustrations by Esteban Maroto, who was largely responsible for how I viewed Conan in my minds eye early on (aside from the Frazetta covers, and before I discovered Buscema's work).  This volume had a lot of action shots, and not a few depictions of the naked female form.  And although I could tell that they were there to plump the page-count, I didn't really mind so much.  I may hit up the book store again and get Conan the Mercenary and The Sword of Skelos, as I am told they form a loose trilogy with this one.

In other reading, I've been digging into a few graphic novels from the library, as well as a few comics.  In the same trip where I grabbed the Offutt Conan, I also grabbed a few old issues of Marvel's Conan the Barbarian color comic from 1977.  These were pretty cool to read, but the real treat was the Buscema artwork, inked by Ernie Chan.  Man, I really wish I had discovered Conan at that time.  I'd love to collect a bunch more of these issues, if I can find them.

I also recently read Captain America - Man out of Time, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  A really fun take on Cap's first few days after being thawed out.  Paired with some scenes of WWII, it really gives you a good picture of how Steve Rogers has had to cope with sleeping through so much history.  The artwork was pretty good, and I found myself really engaged with the story.  Highly recommended.

And finally, I breezed through Skull Kickers Treasure Trove Volume 1.  I had been collecting this series, but only managed to grab the first 4 or 5 issues before having to stop.  So, it was cool to see the whole story play out.  This is a really fun comic, filled with action, humor, great art, and snappy dialogue.  Also highly recommended.

Aside from those, I have started and stopped a couple of books.  They were interesting, but they weren't what my brain craved at the time.  Right now I'm still on a Sword & Sorcery kick, and more specifically, a Conan kick.  So, from my own shelf I grabbed Conan the Marauder by John Maddox Roberts.  Back in my days at the forums, people often mentioned his were the best that the Tor series had to offer.  So, I thought I would give him a go now too.

Not much in the way of writing.  I have been thinking a lot about it lately, but I can't settle myself on a specific project.  I did manage to submit a sci-fi story that had seen a few rejections to another magazine, so there's that.  I'm also reading Steven Pressfield's latest, Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t.  It's as chock full of good advice as his previous works.  And it's actually helping me organize some things in my head.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

Offutt did a number of pastiches, including 5 or 6 on Cormac. They're generally not badly written. But wow, when you read his historical porn novels you find some incredibly bad writing.