Conan Library Review. Conan Chronicles 2 – The Heart of Yag-Kosha

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Las crónicas de Conan


Kurt Busiek, Cary Nord, Mike Mignola, Timothy Truman and other authors bring The Elephant Tower and other stories to us in the second volume of The Conan Chronicles, published by Panini Comics.

Conan is getting a great treatment at Panini Comics, and every month we’ll have multiple volumes where Cimmerian is the main character, either in the classic Marvel Comics platform, currently by Jason Aaron, as a ally of the Avengers. Or, for many, the character’s heyday was at the turn of the century when Kurt Busick and others like Mike Mignola or Timothy Truman updated their classic adventures with a more modern tone.

The second installment of this collection of comics comes to us titled The Conan Library. Conan Chronicles 2 – The Heart of Yag-Kosha.

Swords, spells, treasures, monsters and more.

By the time this series began publication, every story written about Conan had been adapted into a comic at least once. However, while the humor that the likes of Roy Thomas and John Buscema did for Marvel Comics decades ago was for many readers, this dark horse comics series was intended to be more ambitious…

It wasn’t just about updating. The idea is not to repeat the same stories, but with a narrative that is in line with fashion and a graphic style that is more attractive to young readers in the 21st century. John Byrne didn’t want to do what he did with Spiderman: Chapter One, because it was, with all due respect, doing better with his predecessors.

Kurt Busiek had the disagreeable idea of ​​repeating the endless trick of a wizard who wants to summon a Lovecraftian monster when an attractive young woman destroys Conan’s army with a sword. The result is this, which we have already seen in the first volume and which is even more interesting in this second: the aim of translating, not content with adapting and skipping over the writings of Robert E. Howard. Enrich them and give them new content.

Conan, Panini Comics

Elephant Tower

The story of The Elephant Tower (originally written in 1933) is a story we’ve seen turned into vignettes, first with the art of Barry Windsor-Smith and later with the art of Buscema, in both cases with Thomas as screenwriter. Here we find a young Conan on a stage where compromising people’s things is his way of life, and there’s no better place for that kind of living than in Samurai.

There, Cimmerian hears the story of a treasure known as the Elephant’s Heart, found in none other than the dreaded Wizard’s Tower. It is clear that he takes ten seconds to decide to look for the treasure, but he is not the only one who has such an idea that night, so he ends up being forced to join a thief named Nemedia Taurus. To attack the tower, a group condemned to be separated for treason.

After fighting off some fantastic supernatural creatures, Conan arrives at what he thinks is a treasure, and it’s actually a creature with a human body and an elephant’s head called Yag-Kosha, which seems to have been taken from a story by Conan’s friend. Howard, HP Lovecraft (for both his form and power and the phonetic resonance of his name).

In conclusion, Conan realizes that there is someone who wants wealth and honor from this selfish and cruel loner, and he agrees to help Yag-Kosha to avenge the witch who kept him imprisoned for so long. For hundreds of years to harness its power.

Busiek develops this story, one of the best-known of Cimmerian, in the first three issues collected here, with a much longer length than the previous versions, which allows it to be very faithful to the original work (in this case the story deserves the year). And with Cary Nord, Mike Kaluta and Dave Stewart nailing it, there can be no complaints about the visual work.

Conan, Panini Comics

Mignola and company

Beyond the great story with which this volume opens, we find many notable chapters for various reasons. For example, in Hall of the Dead we have the great Mike Mignola as the screenwriter of the story, which initially only has two pages of story. Fortunately Mignola was able to enrich it with his signature touch, showing his love for Lovecraft’s mythos. Unfortunately, as an illustrator, here we only see Mignola on the covers, which by the way are extremely delicious…

In Narrator, we get a cover of the great Tony Harris, where we see the image of Conan in the familiar and immortal face of Robert E. Howard. This version, beautifully drawn by Eric Powell, is a clear tribute to legendary creators like Solomon Kane or Cool. And Raphael Kayanian will star in Tara-Tez Tower, an issue that revolves around the painting of this artist, who is unique in showing amazing action scenes.

The fact is that each of the new issues included here is an adaptation of Howard’s story or something new, written by Busick or a guest author and set in Conan’s adulthood or youth. And graphically speaking, this size is very different but in no way disappointing. Therefore, it can be considered another success for the followers of Cimmerian. Let’s hope the next episode doesn’t take too long to wait…

As for the amazing edition, the hardcover edition by Panini Comics contains 504 color pages measuring 17 x 26 cm. And includes the American edition of the character’s regular series from #20 to #39, translated by Joan Joseph Musara, plus the final volume with coverage of all issues included and a large amount of additional material. The recommended retail price for this size is €47 and it goes on sale in September 2023.

Chronicles of Conan

Conan Library. Conan Chronicles 2 – The Heart of Yag-Kosha

With “Elephant Tower” and other stories! Conan the Barbarian stars legends of swords, wizards, giant spiders and giant creatures, based on the original works of Robert E. Howard. Stealing the elephants’ hearts, a priceless jewel, from an unguarded tower seems like child’s play, but nothing is easy for Conan!

Next, a flirtation with a judge’s wife spells trouble, and Conson’s adventures in the City of Thieves continue to face dangers both human and inhuman.

Authors: Tony Harris, Mike Mignola, Kurt Busiek, Carrie Nord, Dave Stewart, Mike Kaluta, Eric Powell, Raphael Kayanian and Timothy Trueman.