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Chronicles of Conan Volume 7: The Dweller in the Pool and Other Stories [Paperback]

Roy Thomas , John Buscema


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Book Description

May 10 2005 Chronicles of Conan (Book 7)
Throughout his adventures across the mythic Hyperborean world, the barbarian called Conan crosses swords with many colorful and dangerous characters, somehow always finding himself on the wrong end of a wizard's wrath, or staring down the hungry jaws of a nightmarish beast. Proving himself more than a match for whatever comes his way, Conan has become one of the most enduring and strangely endearing characters in all of popular culture. The stories in this edition feature more tales of thrilling adventure and chilling betrayal as only writer Roy Thomas and artist John Buscema could deliver.

• Presenting more of the celebrated Roy Thomas/John Buscema Conan the Barbarian run. Featuring completely remastered color, all proving once again why Conan is considered the greatest and most savage fantasy character of all time.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Books (May 10 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593073003
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593073008
  • Product Dimensions: 25.9 x 17 x 0.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #529,068 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MID-70'S CLASSICS FROM THOMAS & BUSCEMA April 6 2006
By Tim Janson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Chronicles of Conan Volume 7 is a special volume for me. It collects issues # 43 - 51 of the Conan the Barbarian comic from Marvel Comics which is the exact time I first started reading Conan some 32 years ago. I probably haven't read these since first buying them way back then but it's amazing how much I still remember about the stories all these years later. The stories are by Roy Thomas (although adapted from other writers, notably Gardner Fox) with art by penciller John Buscema and a host of inkers included Ernie Chua, Dick Giordano, Joe Sinnott, and The Crusty Bunkers...which was Neal Adams or some of his prot?g?s. The color has been re-mastered and anyone who complains about this fact obviously never saw, or has forgotten just how drab the pixilated color looked on old newsprint. The re-mastered, lush coloring is gorgeous and is a major attraction of the reprint.

In the first, two issue story arc, Conan and Red Sonja find themselves on the run from a band of bounty hunters and enter a mysterious valley enshrouded by red fog. They find a tower but soon find themselves dazed and pass out. They are prisoners of brother and sister sorcerers Morophla and Uathacht. The pair were cursed by Stygian wizard Thoth Amon, and now live as vampires, feeding off the blood of others to survive. Rather than hunt, they have a herd of human cattle to feed on but over the years these have degenerated into loathsome life forms, barely able to sustain the blood-suckers. They now plan to use Conan and Sonja to mate with the savages to revitalize them.

The story "Curse of the Conjurer" is freely adapted from the Gardner F. Fox Kothar novel called "Kothar and the Conjurer's Curse". Now this is an odd dynamic. Kothar is obviously Fox's version of Conan, written in 1970 just as the Conan comic debuted...and now here's Roy Thomas taking a Kothar story and turning it into a Conan story with little changed. Conan is hired by a mage to deliver a mystical amulet to the Regent of Phalkar. Along the way he finds a woman about to be killed by a mob after she is accused of being a witch. Conan rescues Stefanya, and she takes him on a detour to get back to her master, the wizard Zoqquanor. Zaqquanor is found dead and she insists they take his body with them to Phalkar. Along the way Conan faces numerous challenges such as the guards who kidnap Stefanya and tie Conan to the ground to be devoured by rats. Then there is that Lovecraftian Monstrosity that rises out of the pool to try and devour Conan, before finally facing the demon-spawned Unos.

Both stories are solid and show Conan at his brawling, sword-wielding best. As always, the other treat to these books are the recollections by Roy Thomas who comments on the various stories and how they were developed. Another outstanding collection from Dark Horse!

Reviewed by Tim Janson
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Why Conan And Magic Don't Mix July 13 2009
By Bill Slocum - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There's one reason a Conan completist will want this volume of the collected Marvel Comics collection: Red Sonja, Conan's most famous ladyfriend, appears here for the first time in her chainmail bikini. For a guy like me, scarlet and peachtone never went together so well!

But Volume 7, collecting Marvel issues first published in 1974 and 1975, is a sharp letdown otherwise, especially in story quality. Using creator Robert E. Howard's outlines and stories for a springboard, scripter Roy Thomas previously developed a sensibly down-to-earth Conan. Here, he lets magic and monsters run riot to the point where Conan's only contributions to his own stories is to grunt and hack away with his sword.

The writing is sometimes pretty labored: "And, amid it all, the Wolf-Woman twirls her rock-laden sling...and deadly is the short song thereof!" Climbing a hill with Red Sonja, Conan makes like Roger Moore: "Why so quiet, girl? Catamount got your tongue?"

Red Sonja, or Son-Ya, as she is often called here, figures in the first of Vol. 7's three storylines, a two-issue adventure which pits them against brother-and-sister vampires looking for new mates - for both themselves and their collection of human livestock. It's not a bad story, but it's not a Conan story, and Red Sonja seems especially unnecessary in it, except visually of course.

Story #2, a one-issue affair, has Conan meet with a bard with a sad history he relates in song. The lyrics are actually taken from a Howard poem, a nice touch by Thomas, but despite a good beginning the story doesn't really develop, cramped as it is within a single 18-page issue with a long poem running through its middle. Again, Conan watches and gapes too much of the time as various wondrous deeds unfold.

Story #3 was a six-issue story run that lasted the entire first half of 1975, and doesn't nearly justify its length. Conan is given an amulet by a wizard and a mission to find another wizard in need of its magic protection. He meets up with more wizards, along with various women, including that wolf-woman, who turns out to be strangely connected to his own past.

Based on a novel, "Kothar And The Conjurer's Curse", by comics and fantasy writer Gardner F. Fox, it's an uncomfortable fit for a Conan tale, too convoluted and packed with the kind of mystical backstory that requires much expository dialogue and flashbacks. Perhaps knowing he had a tough sell, Thomas throws in numerous giant monsters, giving penciller John Buscema and his assistant artists a lot to work with but stretching the bounds of credulity as to what even a muscle-bound Cimmerian could handle. Conan in the past had at your giant snake or gorilla, but here he simultaneously fights off a kraken and a garden of flesh-eating plants.

Perhaps because of this over-fantastic element, Buscema's work does stand out as worthy eye candy, aided no doubt by the computer enhancements of Dark Horse. And at least Conan is recognizable from Howard's original work, even if the stories aren't. Alas, reading through the never-ending "Conjurer's Curse" is a loyalty test no Conan lover should have to endure.

Even Thomas seems to acknowledge this in his Afterword, calling the content of Vol. 7 "a series of potboilers...without being among his most memorable adventures." That's putting it a little too kindly, but those in the know will agree with him that the series had better days to come.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TWO SORCERY FILLED ADVENTURES April 5 2006
By Tim Janson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Chronicles of Conan Volume 7 is a special volume for me. It collects issues # 43 - 51 of the Conan the Barbarian comic from Marvel Comics which is the exact time I first started reading Conan some 32 years ago. I probably haven't read these since first buying them way back then but it's amazing how much I still remember about the stories all these years later. The stories are by Roy Thomas (although adapted from other writers, notably Gardner Fox) with art by penciller John Buscema and a host of inkers included Ernie Chua, Dick Giordano, Joe Sinnott, and The Crusty Bunkers...which was Neal Adams or some of his protégés. The color has been re-mastered and anyone who complains about this fact obviously never saw, or has forgotten just how drab the pixilated color looked on old newsprint. The re-mastered, lush coloring is gorgeous and is a major attraction of the reprint.

In the first, two issue story arc, Conan and Red Sonja find themselves on the run from a band of bounty hunters and enter a mysterious valley enshrouded by red fog. They find a tower but soon find themselves dazed and pass out. They are prisoners of brother and sister sorcerers Morophla and Uathacht. The pair were cursed by Stygian wizard Thoth Amon, and now live as vampires, feeding off the blood of others to survive. Rather than hunt, they have a herd of human cattle to feed on but over the years these have degenerated into loathsome life forms, barely able to sustain the blood-suckers. They now plan to use Conan and Sonja to mate with the savages to revitalize them.

The story "Curse of the Conjurer" is freely adapted from the Gardner F. Fox Kothar novel called "Kothar and the Conjurer's Curse". Now this is an odd dynamic. Kothar is obviously Fox's version of Conan, written in 1970 just as the Conan comic debuted...and now here's Roy Thomas taking a Kothar story and turning it into a Conan story with little changed. Conan is hired by a mage to deliver a mystical amulet to the Regent of Phalkar. Along the way he finds a woman about to be killed by a mob after she is accused of being a witch. Conan rescues Stefanya, and she takes him on a detour to get back to her master, the wizard Zoqquanor. Zaqquanor is found dead and she insists they take his body with them to Phalkar. Along the way Conan faces numerous challenges such as the guards who kidnap Stefanya and tie Conan to the ground to be devoured by rats. Then there is that Lovecraftian Monstrosity that rises out of the pool to try and devour Conan, before finally facing the demon-spawned Unos.

Both stories are solid and show Conan at his brawling, sword-wielding best. As always, the other treat to these books are the recollections by Roy Thomas who comments on the various stories and how they were developed. Another outstanding collection from Dark Horse!

Reviewed by Tim Janson
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Conan's Last Adventures Before Belit Oct. 14 2007
By Wessam Elmeligi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Dark Horse's reproduction of Roy Thomas's Conan in the form of The Chronicles of Conan are a real festival not just for for Conan fans, but for graphics novels' readers as well. My favorites are the issues that have John Buscema and Ernie Chan art with Roy Thomas's writing (volumes 5 thru 13). Each volume contains around 6 to 8 issues.
Volume 7 "The Dweller in the Pool" shows the last adventures of Conan before he is accompanied by Belit. What is more, Red Sonja receives a lion's share as co-star.
John Buscema gives us Conan as we have always loved him, brawny, raw, self-confident and down-to-earth. Red Sonja is drawn as a counterpart to Conan. The firey red head is sexy and intimidating at the same time. Buscema manages to give us this combination perfectly with strong contour lines that contrast with feminine details.
Characterization is the strong point in this volume. Thomas highlights Red Sonja's complexities. She is undoubetedly strongly attracted to Conan but her mistrust of men remains stronger. Her independence echoes a rising feminism that seems to have unsettled the machismo Robert E. Howard instilled in his fiction. In the Conan-Sonja advntures, barabarian man and woman are on equal footing. One of my favorite scenes is when Red Sonja knocks Conan unconscious after he has saves her and runs away. She does not want to feel weaker than him, grateful to him or dependent on him.
It is such psychological depth that takes the Chronicles of Conan above most Sword and Sorcery fiction. This is not just the stereotype slay'em all blood and gore. The realistic streak of characterization, both in writing and drawing, makes these volumes unique.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Conan epic slips again this time to ground zero Dec 21 2009
By danny boy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This series has its ups and downs. Now collected in a massive series, one can chart the heady success of the Conan series and its artistic merits, through to scheduling problems, changes in the artists and eventual commercial considerations. The only constant so far is Roy Thomas. Well-placed to bring us the whole Hyborian age and world, his scripting is not consistent.

I do like the idea of using non-Howard material to flesh out Conan's world. However, I note that in the previous volume 6, there were just too many soppy women in the tales. In this next segment, there are as many women but now including just too much sorcery as well. Sorcery has to be done just right otherwise...

There are three overall stories: a Red Sonja tale with vampires, a lost minstrel pining for his birthplace and a longer tale about an amulet to be given over to the regent of Phalkar. The Red Sonja tale is non-sequitur from the previous volume. Luckily Roy Thomas in his afterword, explains that the missing portion was published elsewhere to give some context here. The two vampires have really stupid names Morophla and Uathacht, one wanting to mate with Conan and the other with Red Sonja respectively. To that end, both vampire siblings conspire against each other, placing spells here and there. Another grouse is that stupid mating scene for Conan with those non-human broodstock. Finally, what's with these polite bat things helping and politely thanking Conan and Red Sonja at the end of the tale? Looks like a hurried plot ending.

The lost minstrel story has Conan helping the minstrel find his father who turns out to be a glob of demon who mated with his mother. The mother then declares her true love for the glob. Come on, Thomas, that's crap!

The third story has Conan herded to a wizard who gives him a task to deliver an amulet to the regent of Phalkar. Along the way, Conan, meets and helps Stefanya, who is linked to a comatose wizard Zaqquanor. He meets a bear woman who is a sorceress, meets another wolf woman who is also a sorceress, then he meets the deposed regent and his two wizards, who now has created another sorcerous regent to replace the deposed regent. There are just too many wizards and spells here that I was expecting Dr Strange to put in an appearance.

I bought this volume to complete my Conan collection and was quite disappointed.

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