Thursday, February 4, 2016


"and there did rule wisely and justly till the end of his days...and they were many." 
The Chronicles of Zardath.  

Starr the Slayer was a trial run for Conan by writer Roy Thomas and artist Barry Smith, the original creative team of the Marvel Conan the Barbarian comic books. Starr looks and acts like Conan, but was created before Marvel Comics got the rights to do him.there was a lot of material packed into this slice of melancholy.

Marie Severin's original concept for the cover of Chamber of Darkness #4.
Starr the Slayer was the barbarian king of Zardath, and fought off invaders such as the wizard Trull and his Man-Dragon. His adventures appeared in the dreams of 20th century writer Len Carson, who wrote stories about Starr for magazines. When Carson developed ulcers, he decided to give up writing, and intended to kill off Starr in his last story, but Starr confronted him on his way to the mailbox. He claimed that Carson himself had summoned him there (apparently through his subconscious) and identified Carson as a wizard. To preserve his own life, Starr killed Carson.  

Marie Severin's Starr the Slayer concept cover for Chamber of Darkness #4!
Starr then awoke from his dream-like experience to find himself back in Zardath, with his minstrel friend Morro nearby. He told Morro that he had just won a battle to save his very soul, and Morro was interested in turning his adventure into a song.

Chamber of Darkness #4
"Sword of the Sorcerers"
Novelist Len Carson (considered a tip of the hat to Conan paperback writer Lin Carter) plans to write one final story in his popular sword and sorcery series to kill off the protagonist, Starr the Slayer, but his creation comes to life and kills him in self-defense.
Written by Roy Thomas with Barry (Windsor-) Smith art.

This little gem has been reprinted in Conan the Barbarian #16, Conan Saga #6 (stunning new Conan cover), Essential Conan #1 (even though it sports a John Buscema cover, only one of the stories is illustrated by him) & Barry Windsor-Smith Conan Archives #2.

Nice Brandon Peterson cover art!

Warren Ellis's Newuniversal Marvel Comics series Newuniversal: Conqueror#1 includes another version of Starr the Slayer. In the universe of Newuniversal, some areas of space are part of an artificial construct, the 'Newuniversal structure', and do not entirely obey the standard laws of physics. Earth has drifted into this structure on several occasions, and was within it for at least part of Starr's lifetime

Later, a new version of Starr the Slayer by writer Daniel Way & artist Rich Corben was published the four issue mini-series under the Marvel Comic's MAX Comics imprint.

I like nothing better than a great page of Corben artwork, Starr the Slayer #1!
I think we can view the publication of Starr the Slayer in Chamber of Darkness #4 as an important step for our enjoyment of Marvel Comics Conan the Barbarian. I mean, can you imagine Barry Windsor-Smith having not done Conan? I know I can't. 

Conan vs. Rune #1 An unlikely, but amazing crossover!

Live Large My Friends!

Thank You!
Back to some early Barry (Windsor-) Smith artwork from Conan the Barbarian.

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