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  • Greg O'Driscoll

Conan heads to Faring Town

Cover art for Conan the Barbarian from Marvel Comics. Art by Gil Kane and Pablo Marcos.

The Demon of the Deep is once again a comic freely adapted from a REH original by Roy Thomas. This time is is Out of the Deep. The art is by Val Mayerik with inks by the Tribe. Winding down from the previous issue's crossover with Red Sonja and King Kull, readers are treated to what can only be a filler story. Conan tells his lover, pirate captain Belit, an adventure of his youth. This is from back when he was still selling his sword to help the Aesir in their blood feud with the Vanir.

Visually, this means Conan makes a brief return to the yak-horn helmet and necklace of three medallions from the earliest days of the comic, though the helmet doesn't last very long. Captured by the Vanir, Conan returns to one of their villages as a captive. Soon enough he is taken into the war chief Lireigh's confidence and becomes embroiled in a mystery. A young Vanir warrior called Fallon is discovered dead, washed up on shore after drowning. The only suspect is Fallon's rival for the love of a village girl and soon enough, the girl is found dead as well.

Conan confronts a shape changing sea-dweller in Conan the Barbarian #69.

Longtime Howard hounds will have identified this as one of the Texan author's Faring Town stories. Two-Gun Bob wrote more than one tale of supernatural vengeance set in the creepy fishing village. It is not in fact the dead man Fallon but an evil water spirit that has assumed his likeness and begun to prey upon the Vanir fishing village. After several more victims, the villagers retreat to the safety of their shacks, leaving the Cimmerian as the last man between the the sea-creature and its returning to the ocean depths. The cover art by Gil Kane and Pablo Marcos is a classic composition that evokes memories of similar scenes from different artists both before and after this one. There is something about that hunched monstrous form in the foreground, facing away from the reader, creeping toward the hero. Mayerik and the Tribe do pretty well with the interiors but it lacks the dynamic bombast of Buscema and Chan. Mayerik certainly produces much more impressive work for Conan in the years after this.

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