Monday, 26 August 2019

Brak The Barbarian: Spell Of The Dragon!



How's brawling blonde battler Brak The Barbarian doing on the never-ending road to Khurdisan? Well, in the only other Bronze Age appearance for the sword & sorcery superstar that never was, he's inexplicably and unceremoniously shoved in the back of The Chamber Of Chills, suggesting a inventory piece that languished in a draw for a while.
But, not only is this an original piece by Brak's creator John Jakes, it's drawn by Val Mayerik & Dan Adkins, who make a great art team.
I always liked Val's plasticy, surreal characters who looked ( as the witch does here ) like they were half-melted candles, and his strange style would've worked great on an ongoing sword & sorcery strip.
I always liked Brak too, maybe because I'd read the books at this time as well, and still think he could've been a contender. Unlike Conan, he occasionally had moments of self-doubt, and his world had room for both Lovecraftian gods and Christian priests. He was just different enough to make a mark, but sadly never did.










12 comments:

  1. Dan Adkins still had the strong stamp of Wally Wood upon his work. His inks brought some solidity to Mayerik's sometimes wobbly pencils, but also lost some of their sensitivity---a difficult trade-off.

    Regards,
    Chris A.

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    1. You have it backwards, Chris. The credits say Adkins did the layouts, Mayerik the pencils and Joe Sinnott the inks. I can see some of the Woodyism in the opening page or two, but Sinnott's Marvel "house style" dominate the middle of the story.

      - Neil

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    2. Oops!

      Regards,
      C.

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  2. "I guess I'll never really know..."

    That's how "Ghost of the Killer Skies" by O'Neil, Adams, and Giordano ends in Detective Comics 404. The Batman wonders if his dead opponent really thought he was Enemy Ace, or if he were simply a war lover.

    Gene Poole

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  3. There's some heavy Gil Kane swiping going on with the dinosaur too.

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  4. I thought it looked familiar! From one of the Spidey in the Savage Land stories (with Ka-Zar) or an old 1969 House of Mystery story about a dragon slayer? I'll have to look.

    Regards,
    Chris A.

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  5. Didn't Mayerik also draw Thongor for Marvel? Perhaps thats why they didn't really try too hard with this - its not like they hadn't already had a few goes at another Conan.

    Sorry Pete, I have to disagree on Brak being different; maybe they should have tried something less obviously similar - the only one of those 70s fantasy-type series really to go the distance in an on-going title was DCs Warlord (unless you stretch the genre to include Kamandi).

    -sean

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    1. Excepting Conan, of course.

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  6. Er, yeah - that should have been "the only one of those 70s fantasy-type series that came after Conan..." Duh.

    -sean

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  7. Well, let's be honest, when you're talking S & S characters and differences between them, those differences are usually wafer thin to quote Mr. Creosote.
    But I was more referring to the Brak in the books anyway...

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    Replies
    1. I thought Brak was a Space Ghost villain.

      - Neil

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