It’s been awhile since I looked at a book and record set from Power Records, so this week, I’ve picked the Conan The Barbarian Book and Record Set (#PR-31) to share. This original story; “the Crawler in the Mists” was created for this publication. The script was written by Len Wein & J.M. DeMatteis. The cover artwork, for both the front and rear covers was done by Neal Adams. I’m not certain, but the inks for the covers might be by Neal himself, or if not, then certainly by Dick Giordano.
Here is the front cover:
The interior artwork appears to be a merger of artists. I’d say that the breakdowns were provided by John Buscema, Marvel Comics artist on the newsstand Conan comic, but it appears that Neal Adams provided the finished art, with possible help from Dick Giordano. This gives it a nice gloss effect that Buscema’s work didn’t usually have.
The story begins with Conan riding a camel across a desert apparently while unconscious. He awakes and finds himself in chains, a captive of Rasto and a group of “traders” bound for the slave marketplace at Messantia. Conan is chained to Rasto, which Rasto finds out quickly was a very bad idea, as Conan pulls Rasto from his own camel and uses Rasto to fend off the other slavers.
Upon his victory, Conan finds that Rasto has lost the key to the chians that bind them together. Conan picks up Rasto and heads out away from the rest of the slavers. They soon find a “lost city” among the vast desert and they entered the gates. Though they find they are in the accursed city of Kamalla. They choose to rest within the city but during the night they are set upon by a giant glowing white slug.
The chain between Conan and Rasto are severed by the slug, and the slug makes off with Rasto. Conan is forced to follow the slug through the mists, only to encounter another slug, this one coal black. Conan battles this slug and eventually overcomes it.
He continues in his search for Rasto and finds him before sunrise. As Conan confronts the slug, it reveals itself to be sentient and able to communicate through their minds. As it turns out the monster slug is not evil, it doesn’t harm the inhabitants of Kamalla, but cures the frail, the crippled, the aged and the infirm, by taking them into another dimension.
The slug denies Conan entrance into the other dimensional paradise, as there is no place for the fury of his heart and the violence within his soul. Conan is forced to turn away and once again rides his camel into the desert sands. A very different Conan tale, I’d say.
Interestingly, Marvel liked the story and art and decided to reprint this story within their own Conan comic book. It appeared in issue # 116, cover dated 1980, or about four years after it saw it’s first publication in 1976 by Power Records, a division of Peter Pan Industries.
Marvel used the splash page of the Power Record story as their cover to this issue and had artist, John Buscema add an additional three pages to the beginning of the story that did not appear in the original story in the Book and Record set.
So this was a rare case where the original comic story did not first appear in the comics, but was later reprinted in the comic. A different twist on the way things normally go, don’t you think?
That’s it for this week’s Fabulous Find, but I’ll be back next week with a new RETRO REVIEW. Til Then, be seeing you …