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Conan The Barbarian #3


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#21 Slashing Sword

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 12:24 PM

This is really bad, destroying the most awaited series. Why would the mating dance be eliminated? Why is Belit personality changed??? This destroys the entire essence of the story/character.

Edited by Slashing Sword, 04 April 2012 - 12:26 PM.


#22 cimmerianbloke

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 12:56 PM



Personally, I'm fine with losing the mating dance. It works well in the world and story REH created, but when seen with modern eyes in a modern comic book, it might come off as laughable and an easy target for the "Conan is just ridiculous male fantasy/escapism" argument.
Not sure how I feel about changing Bêlit, though... I'll wait and read the book before raging.


One of the most iconic scenes in the entire Conan canon? Yeah, I'm fine with losing it, too, just like I would be fine with losing the crucifixion scene in A Witch Shall Be Born, or the battle with Baal Pteor in Man-Eaters of Zamboula. For anyone who didn't manage to pick up on it, that's sarcasm, btw. <_<

Still, the first two issues were excellent, so I'm going to try to keep an open mind and see where they're going with it.


Personally, I'm fine with losing the mating dance. It works well in the world and story REH created, but when seen with modern eyes in a modern comic book, it might come off as laughable and an easy target for the "Conan is just ridiculous male fantasy/escapism" argument.
Not sure how I feel about changing Bêlit, though... I'll wait and read the book before raging.


You take out the mating dance, you change Belit right there. However, there's always the opportunity to do it later. It is absolutely an important part of the story and I do expect to see it, but if it works better later on as say the climax (no pun intended) of the first year, I can see doing it that way.


All I'm saying is that I understand why Wood felt it wouldn't work in THIS version of the story. He is attempting to expand and add more subtlety to the story and characters, therefor something as audacious as a woman ripping her clothes off and dancing to seduce Conan probably wouldn't work the right way in this comic. The only reason I'm okay with it is because I have already accepted and understand that this will be very different from the original story.


Sure, the original story is not subtle enough and the characters don't have a strong enough build... Lame excuses! I believe this and the regular bad news will make this QOTBC the worst adaptation ever published. As far as I am concerned, it already is. I cannot have any respect for doodlers and writers that do not show any respect for the original material. As for Flower of the Black Coast, that had me in tears of laughter, well done. Maybe Mr Woods should dig in the idea, it has a better potential for sales. Make sure Conan looks like the vampire fella in the teen movies and Bêlit looks like Kristen Stewart, it will sell even better...

#23 Crom

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 06:05 PM


And if it's a directive from DH, what's got into them? What does Paradox think of this? This is diluting and distorting the Conan product.

.

He didn't go into specifics, but I got the feeling that the directives were from Paradox. I don't want to speak for him or make it sound like I know more than what I know .... just a 10 minute chat or so, but that is the what I gleand.


If true, I find this an odd directive coming from Paradox. I'll see if I can get Jay to drop around and comment.

And Taranaich, as I have said (several times now) I don't think anyone should be holding out for a later mating dance. Anything is possible I suppose. But I really, really, really doubt that Brian is planning on it.


*sigh* This 'adaptation' is turning into a real disaster.

#24 Aquilonia

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 06:11 PM

Maybe after all this is not Queen, indeed...
But everyone here cannot deny: it has been a very good original story of the Flower of the Black Coast.

Edited by Aquilonia, 04 April 2012 - 06:12 PM.


#25 ZackDavisson

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 06:47 PM

If true, I find this an odd directive coming from Paradox. I'll see if I can get Jay to drop around and comment.


Yeah, I don't know for sure. Like I said, it was a brief chat in the middle of a busy Con, so I am just taking my best guess on what he meant. I could be totally off base, but ... and it wasn't specifically about the mating dance, but just Brian saying that he wish fans understood that not all of the choices for this series are his.


But as I have said, I am actually enjoying this more the further it gets away from being an adaptation. Brian has solid storytelling skills, and is giving us a great tale. And you just can't argue with those sales figures. This is the biggest Conan hit Dark Horse has had for a long time.

Edited by ZackDavisson, 04 April 2012 - 06:48 PM.


#26 Crom

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 06:50 PM

But as I have said, I am actually enjoying this more the further it gets away from being an adaptation. Brian has solid storytelling skills, and is giving us a great tale.


All the more reason he should be doing a pastiche.

#27 ZackDavisson

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 06:53 PM

All the more reason he should be doing a pastiche.



Yeah, but he was hired to do this. Don't forget, Dark Horse sought him out to adapt this tale, not the other way around.

Oh, and when I talked to Dark Horse editor Patrick Thorpe, he confirmed that Dark Horse did purposfully launch this alongside of Phoenix on the Sword. Tim Truman is a diehard and passionate Howard fan, and by serving up both stories at once they were hoping to satisfy both long-time readers as well as hit new markets of people who had never picked up a Conan title before.

And, as said, judging by sales figures it is a total success. Brian's looser adaptation is much more popular than Truman's closer adaptation.

Edited by ZackDavisson, 04 April 2012 - 06:58 PM.


#28 johnnypt

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 08:03 PM

Oh, and when I talked to Dark Horse editor Patrick Thorpe, he confirmed that Dark Horse did purposfully launch this alongside of Phoenix on the Sword. Tim Truman is a diehard and passionate Howard fan, and by serving up both stories at once they were hoping to satisfy both long-time readers as well as hit new markets of people who had never picked up a Conan title before.

And, as said, judging by sales figures it is a total success. Brian's looser adaptation is much more popular than Truman's closer adaptation.


Interesting question that can never be answered: Would it have been any less successful if it had stuck a little closer? People who've never read Conan before wouldn't have known the difference. But did the changes to the story (both large and small) have to be done for it to be this successful? Can't really answer it, but the results are the results. This is a business and sales speak, period.

#29 ZackDavisson

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 08:53 PM

Yep. And I agree with you johnnypt. I am enjoying the series, but I wish Wood had used more of Howard's dialog, and not made what seem to be arbitrary changes.

#30 Taranaich

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 10:16 PM

The thing that bothers me about leaving out the mating dance is that it's so easy to "justify" it. I can't tell you the number of reviews of the story where people viewed this as mere titillation, and dismissed it as the product of an adolescent mindset with women - completely and utterly missing (or, in extreme cases, choosing not to see) the mythic and symbolic significance of the act. Belit was one of the best things about the comic for me, but it's clear Clood's pulling a Jackson here.

And Taranaich, as I have said (several times now) I don't think anyone should be holding out for a later mating dance. Anything is possible I suppose. But I really, really, really doubt that Brian is planning on it.


Darn missed those, thanks for your patience.

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#31 Gin-Wulf

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 10:32 PM

i think the only reason this arc has sales is because the writer and artist have fans, all them "new" sales will be gone once they leave.
but by doing this to one of if not the most loved conan story is just wrong.
i can also see a writer , tell a fan at a Con that " that isn't my fault, i was told to do it" so as not to be yelled at for screwing up a good story.
changing Belit,s character to a softer person ruins the hole thing and doesn't seem that that flower could command a ship of black corsairs let alone capture the heart of a Cimmerian .

#32 ZackDavisson

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 11:20 PM

Don't get me wrong -- Belit is hardly a flower. She is still a mighty, powerful warrior. She is just softer to Conan, not to the world at large. She yields to Conan as a lover, rather than takes him as a commander. It works in the context of the story Wood is telling, but it makes Belit a different character than Howard wrote.

But she is still bad-ass.

#33 amster

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 11:36 PM

The thing that bothers me about leaving out the mating dance is that it's so easy to "justify" it. I can't tell you the number of reviews of the story where people viewed this as mere titillation, and dismissed it as the product of an adolescent mindset with women - completely and utterly missing (or, in extreme cases, choosing not to see) the mythic and symbolic significance of the act. Belit was one of the best things about the comic for me, but it's clear Clood's pulling a Jackson here.


I tend to agree. I never viewed the scene as mere tintallation. The scene works on a variety of levels. It brings to mind primitive fertlity rituals that one can imagine were practiced by savages in the remote remote corners of Africa or the South Pacific, so it represents Belit's rejection of her former civilized life and her embrace of a barbaric one. It establishes the relationship between Conan and Belit, her being the Commander of the ship, but he being the one in charge in the bedroom. And finally, Howard's prose elevates the scene above a mere accounting of the events:

And she danced, like the spin of a desert whirlwind, like the leaping of a quenchless flame, like the urge of creation and the urge of death. Her white feet spurned the blood-stained deck and dying men forgot death as they gazed frozen at her. Then, as the white stars glimmered through the blue velvet dusk, making her whirling body a blur of ivory fire, with a wild cry she threw herself at Conan's feet, and the blind flood of the Cimmerian's desire swept all else away as he crushed her panting form against the black plates of his corseleted breast.

It is, quite simply, out of hundreds of thousand of words, some of the best stuff that Howard ever put to paper, and as far as adaptations go, all that comic fans have to look to was the heavily censored Thomas/Buscema version. After the first two issues, I was really looking forward to seeing Cloonan putting Howard's words to paper visually. I believed she was up to the task.
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--Robert E. Howard to Harold Preece, ca. June 1928--

#34 ZackDavisson

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 12:10 AM

It establishes the relationship between Conan and Belit, her being the Commander of the ship, but he being the one in charge in the bedroom.


Woah! Interesting!!!!

Because that is EXACTLY the relationship that Wood establishes between Belit and Conan, and it is one that I have never read into the books. I never saw the mating dance as any sort of submission to Conan, but more like a way for Belit to show her sexual power to Conan the way she had shown her marial power, and thus claim him.

But I have alway read their relationship as being Belit in charge, all the time and everywhere, with Conan in the subordinate position. When I say that Wood changed Belits character, it is into exactly what you describe above.

#35 amster

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 12:44 AM


It establishes the relationship between Conan and Belit, her being the Commander of the ship, but he being the one in charge in the bedroom.


Woah! Interesting!!!!

Because that is EXACTLY the relationship that Wood establishes between Belit and Conan, and it is one that I have never read into the books. I never saw the mating dance as any sort of submission to Conan, but more like a way for Belit to show her sexual power to Conan the way she had shown her marial power, and thus claim him.

But I have alway read their relationship as being Belit in charge, all the time and everywhere, with Conan in the subordinate position. When I say that Wood changed Belits character, it is into exactly what you describe above.


I've always been of that opinion, and I'm really surpised that other people don't share it. I always took it as sort of a given. In addition to the poem that proceeds each chapter, I've always used this passage in particular as reference:

"I have lain in your arms, panting with the violence of our love; you have held and crushed and conquered me, drawing my soul to your lips with the fierceness of your bruising kisses."

...but it was the supplemental material in the Del Rey that really sold me, the stuff in Howard's earlier draft, where she explicity states that she kept herself a virgin:

"I am Tameris (her original name) queen of the Black Coast, and I have known the embraces of no man! No man, black or white, can say he had the gift of my lips and my love! Always I have kept myself inviolate for the man I knew I would someday meet."

-Patrice Louinet, Hyborian Genesis

Now I'm really interested to read this issue.
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Money and muscle, that's what I want; to be able to do any damned thing I want and get away with it. Money won't do that altogether, because if a man is a weakling, all the money in the world won't enable him to soak an enemy himself; on the other hand, unless he has money he may not be able to get away with it.
--Robert E. Howard to Harold Preece, ca. June 1928--

#36 ZackDavisson

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 12:57 AM

Interesting to see how much interpretation there is. I always think of the line:

Hers was the mind that directed their raids, his the arm that carried out her ideas.


I am sure Conan was an able stud for Belit, but I always got the sense that she was the one in command, and he had exactly as much power in the bedroom as she let him have.

#37 amster

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 02:53 AM

Interesting to see how much interpretation there is. I always think of the line:

Hers was the mind that directed their raids, his the arm that carried out her ideas.


I am sure Conan was an able stud for Belit, but I always got the sense that she was the one in command, and he had exactly as much power in the bedroom as she let him have.


But playing second fiddle to anyone really doesn't fit the character of Conan at all. I can't think of any other story where that's the case. It was her ship and her crew, and she knew the geography of the Black Coast, and was a much more experienced sailor than he was (arguably, the Tigress was his first experience with piracy), so of course he's going to defer to her judgement when it comes to strategy, but I don't interpret the story as Conan being "whipped" or Belit having any sort of feminine power over him. That's just not how he rolled. That's not to say that Belit wasn't exceptional in the sack and that they didn't share a special relationship, but she was hardly Conan's first lay. What made Conan unique for her was the fact that he wasn't going to fall on his knees and kiss her ass like she was accustomed to.

Obviously, since I haven't read issue #3 yet, I'm at a disadvantage as to how faithful it is in that regard. I'm still bummed out about the absence of the mating dance..
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Money and muscle, that's what I want; to be able to do any damned thing I want and get away with it. Money won't do that altogether, because if a man is a weakling, all the money in the world won't enable him to soak an enemy himself; on the other hand, unless he has money he may not be able to get away with it.
--Robert E. Howard to Harold Preece, ca. June 1928--

#38 ZackDavisson

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 03:27 AM

But playing second fiddle to anyone really doesn't fit the character of Conan at all. I can't think of any other story where that's the case.


Which is exactly what makes "Queen of the Black Coast," and Belit, unique. It is the one story where Conan, with his instinctual nature, meets someone more primal than himself and steps into line accordingly.

I don't think of him as being "whipped"--that is a modern term and thought-process that doesn't fit with Conan and Hyborea. But he is definitely in a subordinate role to Belit, the Second-in-Comand who bows to her wishes.

But then again, the Belit/Conan debate has been going on longer than I have been alive, with different opinions everywhere. It is no surprise that we would disagree!

#39 deuce

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 03:57 AM


It establishes the relationship between Conan and Belit, her being the Commander of the ship, but he being the one in charge in the bedroom.


Woah! Interesting!!!!

Because that is EXACTLY the relationship that Wood establishes between Belit and Conan, and it is one that I have never read into the books. I never saw the mating dance as any sort of submission to Conan, but more like a way for Belit to show her sexual power to Conan the way she had shown her marial power, and thus claim him.

But I have alway read their relationship as being Belit in charge, all the time and everywhere, with Conan in the subordinate position. When I say that Wood changed Belits character, it is into exactly what you describe above.


Actually, I've been saying that for years, as Taranaich and (I believe) Amster can testify. Charles Hoffman has alluded to it. I tried to get Steve Trout to write about it on the TC blog, but he passed.

THIS is what I was saying Roy Thomas couldn't write about in his adaptation, even if he wanted to.

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#40 ZackDavisson

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 04:29 AM

That's the relationship that Brian apparently saw as well, because that is how he writes their relationship. Different than the way I see them, however.