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Conan the Cimmerian: The Black Stranger review

aka Conan Le Cimmérien - Le Maraudeur noir

Clearly inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter and never published during his lifetime, The Black Stranger by Robert E. Howard gets poorly adapted in France. Robert just can't get a break.

The amateurish art of Jean-Luc Masbou is not ready for prime time.

The human form is not mastered at all. Enthusiasts of anatomy will be severely upset.

Faces look all too often like boiled potatoes or rotting pumpkins.

Nonetheless lots of work is put in the vegetation of the Pictish wilderness, rock formations, the fort, masted sailing ships, weapons and clothes.

The strange black Stygian mage/demon also disappoints by not being consistent or creepy enough.

The terrible lettering makes the tale almost illegible.

The pin-ups for The Treasure of Tranicos are all embarrassing except for the one by master Philippe Druillet, but it's cropped. Cropped? What the heck? Yes, and this is extremely disrespectful. Shame on you Glénat, Jean-David Morvan and Patrice Louinet!

The exclusive introduction by Patrice Louinet is always informative and as usual smells somewhat of arrogance.

I give it a 1/10. Roy Thomas, Gil Kane, John Buscema, Josef Rubinstein and Klaus Janson did a much, much, much better job of adapting this story in Savage Sword of Conan #47-48. Seek it out.

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