Tuesday, April 26, 2011

You've Been Warned: Beowulf, Dragon Slayer #2

Let me begin by stating that, as a general rule, I am not a big fan of the sword and sorcery genre. When it's done well (like good Conan stories), I really like it, but I don't really have much time for you typical [Insert Name] the Warrior books. I picked up the first two issues of this series for 50 cents apiece, so I did not invest all that much into the venture. The first issue was quite intriguing, and I admired by Michael Uslan's ambitions and Ricardo Villamonte's stylish artwork. The second issue, however, was a complete disaster. The story bordered on incomprehensible and the dialogue consisted of that terrible pseudo-Thor/Conan English that comes across as stilted. Beowulf himself has zero personality, and we are given no insight into his motivations. Villamonte's artwork also took a step down. I'm not sure if it was a rush job, but his moody inks and interesting layouts were gone. To be perfectly honest, this makes Wulf the Barbarian look brilliant.


Man of Bronze said...

I vaguely remember owning a copy of DC's BEOWULF #1 but I remember nothing else about it. Since I never tried to get the other issues from this short run, I'm guessing it didn't impress me much... Heh.

About the same time (I think it was just a few months before the infamous DC Implosion), DC tried out quite a few other Sword & Sorcery series, aside from 1 series, none went beyond a very short run (mostly half a dozen issues or less). There was STARFIRE (with a female main character), WEIRD WORLDS (with Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and Grey Mouser adapted by Howard Chaykin!), CLAW (a pale imitation of Michael Moorcock'S Corum), and Mike Grell's long running WARLORD.

But, IMHO, the real gem of that DC wave of Sword&Sorcery titles was STALKER by the great Steve Ditko with gorgeous Wally Wood inks. Even if you don't like the genre Scott, you have to try this all-too short series (IIRC it was only 4 or 5 issues) if only for the amazing art team.

Scott M said...

I have 2 of the 4 Stalker issues, and I do quite like them, as it is a great concept. I love Wood inking Ditko. Gorgeous!