Pg. 5; Barry Windsor-Smith pencils; Dan Adkins inks; 10" x 15"When Barry Windsor-Smith and Roy Thomas teamed to create Conan the Barbarian for Marvel Comics, the undertaking was seen as a risky proposition, as the muscular barbarian had no connection to the Marvel Universe of superheroes, existed in a different time period, and took part in adventures that had adult themes. The gamble paid off. Not only did Conan the Barbarian become an instant cult success, but the character was then spun off into two black-and-white magazines, Savage Tales and The Savage Sword of Conan.
This page, from the series' first issue, depicts Conan selling his services to Olav, the leader of the Aesir, a band of warriors. The pair discusses their business arrangements and battle strategy as readers are provided an introduction to the Cimmerian warrior and his straightforward personality. Smith's take on Conan was that of a youthful adventurer, who was still developing into manhood, with human weaknesses, very much the opposite of John Buscema's indestructible musclebound death machine. The early issues of Conan are considered to be some of Smith's best, and his fluid line work and strong sense of composition were the perfect fit for Marvel's foray into the world of Sword & Sorcery. When it comes to Conan fans you can't ask for more than a page from the first issue of the revered, long-running series.
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Smith rose to prominence thanks to his incredibly detailed and beautiful work on Marvels' Conan the Barbarian, which employed an approach that had never been seen in comics before. The artist worked on several titles at Marvel in the Silver Age before launching his own pin-up publishing house Gorblimey Press, which he used to release impressive lithos to his fan base. Working through the decades, Smith became more and more disillusioned about the comic industry and its unfair treatment of artists, so he slowly started to withdraw from the business. Occasionally popping up with the odd series of graphic novel. Smith is commonly recognized as one of the great artists in the history of comics. He once created a fictional comic book for Oliver Stone's movie "The Hand" which was based on Conan, and Michael Caine played the lead, a character that was a comic book artist that bore a striking resemblance to Smith.
Dan Adkins is an American comic book artist/ illustrator who's mainly worked for comics and science fiction magazines. Dan's most notable works include Marvel's Doctor Strange and Famous Monsters of Filmland.