The Chronicles of King Conan, Vol. 6
Written by Alan Zelenetz and Don Kraar
Illustrated by Mark Silvestri, Geoff Isherwood, Mike Docherty, and Art Nichols
Rich Parker and Janice Chiang
Colored by George Roussos
Covers by Michael Kaluta
Dark Horse Comics
Release date: October 9, 2013
Cover Price: $19.99
The Chronicles of King Conan, Vol. 6, collects the Conan the King double-sized issues from 26-30, originally released in 1985, and long after Roy Thomas, John Buscema, and Ernie Chan had left the King Conan series, reprinted in The Chronicles of Conan volumes 1 and 2.
And unfortunately, this volume, as with the previous one, is nowhere near the quality of those Thomas/Buscema/Chan collections. It exhibits the signs of Marvel Comics flogging a waning franchise, employing B and C-list creators, and it’s most noticeable in the art dept.
Had writer Alan Zelenetz’s stories been illustrated by the Buscema/Chan team, they could’ve stood alongside Thomas’ stories, with nary a notice in tone. In fact, there’s some good dialog in here.
There’s the definite “pro-am” feel to their art. It’s loaded with distracting gaffes in perspective and anatomy, and is permeated with a sloppy, rushed feel throughout. Mark Silvestri did the breakdowns, with Geoff Isherwood finishing. By comparison, Ricardo Villamonte was a much better match for Silvestri’s pencils in volume 3.
The art here is simply not good enough to stand alongside the work of a competent artists, let alone their legendary predecessors. Silvestri did go on to — for lack of a better term — evolve his style, eventually fitting in with the horrid Image style of the ’90s.
Along with some decent stories, this volume features the return of a fan-favorite and former ally of Conan’s, which was all the more frustrating given the poor rendering of that character. And the cover of this volume, as well as the covers of each of the comics reprinted inside, features the work of Michael Kaluta, which only makes one wish he had done the interiors.
Don Kraar and Mike Docherty contribute only one story to this volume, and artwise, there’s a notable improvement, though it’s still leagues away from former Conan artists. It seems telling that the Dark Horse designer and editor chose a Docherty illustration for the back cover, even though his contribution to this volume is minor compared to Silvestri’s.
Given the overall middling nature of this volume, I’d recommend it for the completiest of completists, or for Mark Silvestri fans. Otherwise, volumes 1 and 2 are probably enough.