Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Kull and Conan

I really enjoyed Kull: The Shadow Kingdom by Arvid Nelson and Will Conrad. It is an adaptation, and expansion, of The Shadow Kingdom by Robert E. Howard

It features an introduction by Mark Finn, author of the essential Blood and Thunder: The Life and Art of Robert E. Howard, explaining the complexity of the relationship and differences between Kull and Howard's more famous creation, Conan. It's a nice essay and segues well into the book, which is a well-told adaptation, even while being wonky in its accuracy. It certainly moves at a ripping pace and features plenty of action and intrigue.

Nelson follows the book with another essay on Kull. He prefers Kull to Conan, and makes a number of good points in defense of the point, including how much of John Milius's Conan the Barbarian. It's entertaining and, as I say, makes good points, but by the time I'd finished Finn's essay and then Nelson's, it felt like perhaps he doth protest too much, but that could just be my pro-Conan bias. If I'd written a similar book about Solomon Kane or El Borak, I'd have been tempted to write a similar essay.

In optimistic news, I've come to understand that Sean Hood, writer of the always entertaining blog Genre Hacks will be taking over writing duties on the upcoming Conan movie. I'm hoping he can address some of the concerns I wrote about in Ruining Conan (most of which I admittedly borrowed from Conan the Rehash by Al Harron). As I've said, I think a good solid Conan movie would be something that could be enjoyed as easily by a mass audience as it would to fans... Certainly I think mass audiences would indeed prefer a well-adapted Conan to what has been described, if given the opportunity, just in good old fashion storytelling terms.

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