Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Sheffield's Most Wanted. Part 14: Savage Sword of Conan #1.

Marvel UK, Savage Sword of Conan #1
In its latest gift to the internet, mere days ago Steve Does Comics somehow managed to demonstrate that Conan the Barbarian is Scottish.

No doubt he comes from Cumbernauld and began his descent into barbaric fury whilst trying to navigate that town's legendarily inconvenient centre. The glorious perverseness of that place means Cumbernauld has always featured high in my affections even though I've never been there.

Likewise high in my affections even though I've never experienced it is Marvel UK's Savage Sword of Conan #1.

In their time, Marvel UK launched at least two comics called Savage Sword of Conan, one of which was a later, magazine-sized, monthly of which I had one issue.

The earlier, weekly, comic was launched in 1975 and, in a tragedy worthy of Shakespeare himself, I never had a single copy.

I did however see it advertised on TV and saw Stan Lee plugging it - possibly on ITV's classic kids' show Magpie.

It was thanks to that very interview that I discovered that Conan is pronounced Coe-nan and not Connan. It was as big a shock to the system as discovering that, "Sub-Mariner," isn't pronounced Sub-Mareener. Who says television can't be educational?

Sadly, despite my desire to own it. I never had issue #1 and had to wait many a moon before finally reading its fateful featured tale, in The Essential Conan which I then threw away to make room for other objects.

Happily, that book is now selling for over £90 on Amazon. And so the business genius that has made me the man I am today, once more showed its fearful face.


tharg said...

Strange to see the word "colour" on the front page of a SSOC!

I had a few of these at some stage. This comic always seemed to be merging with something else (Planet of the Apes, Tomb of Dracula).

Robert E. Howard had a bit of an obsession with Scotland but Conan was of course Irish ;-)

Kid said...

Actually (honest injun), apparently it was once common in some parts of the States to pronounce 'Sub-Mariner' as 'Sub-Mareener'. I remember reading about it somewhere once, so it must be true.

Gey Blabby said...

I could rattle off a long list of names and places that I pronounced a certain way as a youngster, only to discover later on that I was a bit off - Cimmeria and Melniboné, for instance.

Marvel UK's Savage Sword of Conan wasn't my first introduction to the character - that was in Savage Tales #4 (with a great Adams cover, similar to the one featured in your last post) - but it was my first chance to collect all the early Barry Smith stories. Man! I couldn't wait for Friday afternoons to arrive back then.

Writing about Cimmeria, Howard wrote that 'a gloomier land never existed on earth' and that people who lived there grew 'moody and strange,' - sounds a lot like Cumbernauld to me, from the days when I couldn't avoid visiting relatives who lived there.

Anonymous said...

I have more difficulty pronouncing some US artists names likes Frank Giacoia, Sienkiewicz, Chris Giarrusso to name a few in my mind there names are very different from reality.

I think it was more that Howards "Atlantis" (where Cimmerians and Valusians originated from) was located where Ireland and Scotland are now , rather than Conan himself being Scottish, if anything I think Conan was more Irish (with a bit of Scots) -

His character, Bran Mak Morn was more based on Scotland (the Picts) than Conan - He had a bit of an obsession with Scotland (his father being Scots , his mum Irish) and he studied Scottish history becoming fascinated by the Picts in particular

I always feel a bit sorry for poor old Cumbernauld it gets a lot of stick but the amazing thing was it won a lot of MAJOR awards in town design in the early days (and again in 1993) beating of Madrid (honest) and other cities - saying that I.m not a fan of the town - McScotty

Jon Gray said...

Any idea where an unschooled gentleman such as myself can sell his copy of the UK edition Savage Sword #1, and his 2 copies of the 2nd issue?

Steve W. said...

Hi Jon. The most obvious places to sell them are on eBay or eBid.

On eBay, you'll probably find it easier to attract a buyer but the charges are higher.

On eBid, the charges are much lower but it oftens takes a long time to find a buyer.

You can also sell comics on Amazon these days. I've never tried that, so I couldn't comment on what it's like.

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