Monday, November 06, 2023

How do I buy so many damn comics at the toy show? Is this one of those 'drive in a parkway/park in a driveway' things?

Admittedly, I didn't buy all of these at the show, and I might not have bought as many toys...because I've bought a lot of toys, yeah. I did get another Deathlok, some Star Wars figures I missed the first time, and one character that I didn't have before that will probably get worked into the plot shortly; so there's that. But the main haul was a ton of cheap Conan and King Conan; then later at EntertainMart, a vein of Jonah Hex. All of those were less than a buck an issue and almost certainly includes some overlap, so I'm probably going to take some time next to sort out those runs, which will be fun even if, um, organization isn't my forte. Also, and I don't mean this as a slight; but both Conan and Jonah Hex are like meat-and-potatoes comics for me: I've known a number of non-comics readers that would still be into either or both of those.
But, we've got time to flip through one, right? From 1983, Conan the Barbarian #152, "The Dark Blade of Jergal Zadh!" Written by Michael Fleisher, pencils by John Buscema, inks by Ernie Chan. Cover by Michael Golden!
Demon Jergal Zadh has a plan: it's been prophesized Conan would be a king someday, so why not take him over now, and use him to "conquer the earthly plane" and whatnot. Step one: put his pawn, the lovely Cleolanthe, in Conan's path and in 'distress,' attacked by a winged monster. Cleo might be playing it a bit thick, screaming for Conan to save her to the point that he's like, geez, settle. He shatters his blade killing the monster, but Cleo helpfully tells him there's a sword nearby he could get, "that's fit to be wielded only by the mightiest of men!" Conan's game, although going into creepy ruins for the sword of a banished demon seems a bit much. No need to worry, though: Jergal Zadh could only return if he stole a human soul; what are the odds of that happening?
Conan takes the sword from a statue of Jergal, more than half expecting it to attack him; but doesn't see Cleo use eyebeams to spawn priest-cultist types for Conan to mow down. Watching through his mystic flame, Jergal explains to his demon crew, every time Conan uses the sword on Cleo's phantoms, more of his life force was sucked into the blade, and if he used it three times in a single night, he'd become "an empty, soulless shell." After just once, Conan is drained and freezing; Cleo tends to him and is already starting to feel sorry for him. Jergal appears to her, to make some veiled threats about what would happen if she betrayed him, and she agrees, creating another monster. This time, the weakened Conan may be no match for it, and he yells to Cleo to save herself. The sword does most of the work then, but still drains Conan even more. Still, Cleo's impressed.
Jergal only needs Conan to use the sword one more time, although the barbarian looks pretty done for the evening. Cleo refuses to help, since Conan had already risked himself for her twice; so Jergal has to send his demon cohorts. Conan goes for the sword, but Cleo zaps him, then all of the demons, Cyclops-style. She also still figures Jergal would probably try something else, so she tosses the sword into a lake. She embraces Conan, now free of her master, but then ages into dust. Conan is left to ponder the power of a woman's love...or a demon's hate, as Jergal Zadh swears vengeance. I'm not sure he would return, though; which is a shame: he resembles a cross between Mangog and Rob Liefeld's Grizzly.

1 comment:

Mr. Morbid's House Of Fun said...

I'm with you on trying to figure out how it is you bought more comics than action a toy show....

I'm glad Cleo was honest with Conan about having a high turnover when it came to sex partners. That kind of honesty is refreshing. Then again, Conan has a high turnover rate as well when it comes to that particular category, so it's not like he'd ever be in a position to slut shame her.

He DOES look like Grizzly, yeah. Wow he hasn't been used in decades right?