Barbarian Arithmetic

Yesterday’s post got me thinking on the funny books of my youth.

When I was a kid, I used to pick up a lot of the magazine-sized Conan comics. I loved the gritty black and white art, and the general swashbuckling, but somewhere between thirteen and sixteen I came to realize that Conan’s largest problem year-after-year wasn’t actually the dark magic of Thoth-Amon, it was math.

The Savage Sword Of Conan

In the earliest issues, every fight was a concern. Conan fighting two people at once involved a lot of ornate cussing and some doom-talk from the narrator. The problem was, just as with televisions, there was nowhere to go but up: three, four, five people at once – his enemies began to look less like swordsmen and more like angry soccer teams comprised of late-’80s WWF wrestlers.

If the books are still running, I have to assume by now his enemies are facing him in lengthy, easy to trim, rows – or feasibly they march along in single file as Conan cranks a comically over-sized meat grinder.