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Barry Windsor-Smith Conan Archives Volume 1 Hardcover – January 26, 2010

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Barry Windsor-Smith Conan Archives Volume 1 + Barry Windsor-Smith Conan Archives Volume 2 + The Savage Sword of Conan, Vol. 1 (v. 1)
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Product Details

  • Series: Barry Windsor-Smith Conan Archives
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Books; Reprint edition (January 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595824413
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595824417
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 6.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #932,534 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Fan favorite Windsor-Smith has been drawing comics and Pre-Raphaelite-influenced fantasy illustrations for more than four decades but remains most closely associated with his first major work, Marvel Comics’ adaptation of the pulp-magazine hero Conan the Barbarian. Windsor-Smith illustrated the character for only the first three years of its long comic-book run, yet it’s widely felt that none of the artists who followed equaled his seminal rendition. These early stories, which established sword-and-sorcery as a popular comics genre, possess a freshness that vanished once the genre’s limitations became evident. Thomas’ scripts, many adapted from Robert E. Howard’s original stories, supply the requisite blood and thunder, but it was Windsor-Smith’s ornate, meticulous art that turned the barbarian into a property whose popularity rivaled that of Marvel’s most popular superheroes. The 11 issues in this first of two volumes reprinting Windsor-Smith’s too-brief run aren’t his strongest work—the earliest stories, in particular, are a bit stiff and tentative—but they already demonstrate the melding of elegance and power that made him one of comics’ most popular creators. --Gordon Flagg

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Customer Reviews

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The paper quality is wonderful and the colors jump off the page.
Dean T. Sinclair
This first volume collects the first 15 issues or so of the Conan the Barbarian first series and I'm glad to get my hands on a book like this.
The cimmerian
Of course Howard adaptions like "Tower of the Elephant" are also well executed.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Richard A. Tucker VINE VOICE on January 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A little history:
Way back in 1970 Roy Thomas and artist Barry Windsor Smith (back before the Windsor middle name was used) started working together to really change the face of mainstream comics. Conan the Barbarian was the first of it's kind. Barry gave us art that evolved from one issue to the next and he delivered on visualizing Robert Howard's Age Undreamed of in spades. Roy wrote the tale of a thief, a reaver, a slayer, a man who would become a king by his own hand. If this sounds cliche' it wasn't in 1970. Conan is often described as heroic. Well, he definitely of heroic proportion and effort but he was really just a man and not a superhero in tights. He was a resilient, tough, smart, cunning and determined man. As a barbarian from the untamed north he was a large man among other, smaller men in both size and aspiration. Barry and Roy delivered in a way that's hard to describe, but it's hard to argue that Conan the Barbarian wasn't something new to the mainstream heroic comic genre.

When this book collecting those comic formatted stories was first announced a lot of people were encouraged by the proposal that stated that the original color guides would be used for this volume. Newer readers who discovered Barry Windsor Smith's art for the first time in this contemporary period had mixed but mostly favorable reactions to Dark Horse Comics reprints of the Conan the Barbarian series now collected in trade paperbacks called The Chronicles of Conan. However, for many of us who read the original comics off of the old spin racks the Chronicles were a mixed bag. One annoying reason was due to the lack of the covers being reprinted to go with the tales, but the biggest reservations were for the revised coloring. It ran the gamut from decent to very annoying.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By M J Heilbron Jr. VINE VOICE on February 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wow. I just got this in the mail, and I had to leaf through it immediately. What a package!

First of all, the cover is done in a beautiful faux-leather, with an inset full color image of Conan. It simply feels wonderful to just hold.

The artwork, in the bold colors described in the previous review, is vividly reproduced on heavy stock. There's a ribbon bookmark sewn in.

If you're a fan, you know and love these stories, and probably have them in several iterations.

This is the keeper. (Besides, you know, the actual comics themselves...)

I own hundreds upon hundreds of hardcover comic collections...and this has instantly joined the short list of the nicest ones I own...
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Zack Davisson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I have a confession to make. For the longest time, I thought Barry Smith, who did some random Marvel work along with the amazing Conan comics from the 70s, and Barry Windsor-Smith, whose elegant and stylish artwork appeared on so many series throughout the 80s and 90s, were two separate people.

In fact, I always assumed they had a father/son John Adams/John Quincy Adams-type of thing going, where "W" used his middle name to separate himself from his famous father who was in the same profession. Of course, I was wrong. Fortunately, Dark Horse Comics has cleared up any such misconceptions with their release of "The Barry Windsor-Smith Conan Archives volume one."

Reprinting the first half of his legendary run on Marvel's Conan from 1970-73, this beautiful hardback puts Windsor-Smith's name proudly on the cover, corrects the coloring issues seen in previous reproductions, and delivers a fitting tribute to a ground-breaking comic. Almost like a smaller version of the Dark Horse Hellboy Library Editions rather than the existing Archive Editions, "The Barry Windsor-Smith Conan Archives" comes complete with a faux-leather hardbound cover, the reproductions of all of the Windsor-Smith Conan covers, and a lengthy introduction by writer Roy Thomas.

Windsor-Smith's run on the original series truly shows the development of an artist and the evolving format of the American comic book. With the first few issues, Windsor-Smith is little more than a skilled Kirby-imitator, and writer Roy Thomas is just laying down chunky plots as if he were writing a standard 70s-era Marvel superhero comic. However, along the way something magical happened.
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20 of 28 people found the following review helpful By ernie on July 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I love Barry Windsor Smith's Conan. I bought the originals as a kid and I still treasure them. Yes, I am old. Still, I was excited as I tore the shrink wrap off this volume........ (#***###!!&&***###) What a train wreck!!! The glossy paper is all wrong except for the covers. The colors are loud, and heavy handed. The originals with the soft colors bleeding into that absorbent pulpy paper made the line work stand out and almost gave the impression of watercolors. This is an abomination!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By emanuel maris on October 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover
It's too bad that what could have been a major publishing event as regards the Barry Windsor Smith Archives: Conan, volumes 1 and 2, was ruined by Dark Horse (twice!)

Seems that Mike Richardson and his editors never got to read the article entitled 'Still Waiting For The Absolute BWS Conan Volumes' published in Spectrum Super Special #3 (2005; Win-Mill Productions) which commented on the earlier DH trade paperbacks collecting the Marvel Conan stories in sequence. .. and its garish digital recoloring by people who likely never saw the original printings to discover the details, and somber mood, the deft coloring revealed.

This article also contains a letter from BWS that laments that no one asked him to oversee the process to get the coloring right - he reveals who the [uncredited] colorists were for all the Marvel BWS Conan comics - in most cases himself!

Mimi Gold - issues 1-5, 7, 8
Stan Goldberg - 6
Mimi and BWS - 9-13
BWS - 14-16, 19, 20, 24 [doesn't know who did 21-23]

Also, BWS colored the Red Nails color version in Marvel Treasury #4, as well as adding additional detail work on the splash page, and other panels for this over-sized presentation, and re-inking himself the last pages of part one (originally inked by Pablo Marcos)

So what do they do when they have a chance to correct their error? Due to their either never having gotten this precious information, or worse, ignoring it, Dark Horse again used that crappy digital coloring in these recent hardcovers, making the use of the name 'Barry Windsor Smith Archives: Conan' on these tomes a lie - after all, if they were to enshrine his work for these stories, how could they NOT include his coloring which was conceived in conjunction with the art???
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