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No. 112: Know, oh prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Numenor...

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Know, oh prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Numenor...

First | Previous | 2017-03-15 | Next | Latest

Strip by: Ian Boreham

{Inset is a panel of the John Buscema illustration "Conan vs Tarzan".}
caption: Last week: Conan vs Tarzan

{Main panel shows Conan the Barbarian gripping an invisible Bilbo Baggins by the neck.}
title: Conan vs Bilbo
Conan: By Crom!
Conan: What devilry is this?!
Bilbo (singing):
Big barbarian,
sweaty and hairy man
Big barbarian can't see me
Stupid Cimmerian
I'm disappear-ian
My sword sting...

The author writes:

Sadly for Bilbo, this was not an occasion on which turning invisible, taunting his enemy with song and stabbing him with Sting was enough to win. Once Conan gets his hands on your neck it's all over.

I'm not sure if this strip is going to make any sense at all to anyone other than me, but whatever.

I had fun drawing Conan for this. When I was a kid, I sometimes tried copying the illustrations from the syndicated Conan comic in the Sunday paper, but it was hard work. John Buscema, the long-time illustrator (often pencils and inks) did an amazing job on it. Considering how little time is available to draw an individual panel, he put a fantastic amount of artistry into it. He also set the standard for drawing muscular heroes.

I've drawn Conan largely in the style of Buscema, but I found after pencilling it and then comparing it with some original art, my idea of Conan's anatomy didn't quite match. Buscema's Conan has enormous "traps" (Trapezius muscles - joining the shoulders to the neck and back), and he doesn't have the bodybuilder's prized V-shaped torso. His "lats" (latissimus dorsi) come down and join his torso relatively high up, and he has a straight midriff (midriffius bodius). He also looks almost bow-legged in some of the drawings.

After I finished inking his face, I also found myself thinking my version looks a bit like a more butch version of Freddie Mercury during his long-haired phase.

Conan the Barbarian was supposed to live in the mythical Hyborian age (c. 10,000 BCE or possibly much earlier) of our earth, whereas Bilbo is supposed to have lived in the mythical Third Age (and Fourth) of our earth (c. 4,000 BCE according to one of Tolkien's letters). So I guess they couldn't have met. In any case, the histories are totally inconsistent. Both did have an Atlantis sinking episode. In Conan, it was 6,000 years earlier; in Tolkien it was about 3,000 years earlier (the Downfall of Numenor, also called Atalantë). I need to come up with some kind of parallel-universe timeline-merging incident to explain it all.

Drawn in Krita and Inkscape.