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Monday, November 2, 2009

The Saga of Solomon Kane. Dark Horse Books (2009)

This is a very welcome omnibus reprinting of the Solomon Kane stories that ran in the Savage Sword of Conan and other Marvel comics. They are a wonderful collection of pulp fantasy action stories starring Robert E. Howard's Puritan,adventuring, god fearing, avenger, Solomon Kane. Kane was born in Devon and started his wanderings when England became politically inhospitable for Puritans under the Tudors, he travelled to the Far East, sailed with Sir Francis Drake and Sir Richard Grenville, was captured and tortured by the Spanish Inquisition, escaped and travelled Europe and Africa, returned home briefly before taking to the seas again.
The stories all take a wonderful, deeply serious and suitably extravagant treatment of the material, they bring out the pulp glory in the stories. The action is fast and furious, the settings are gloomy remains of ancient cities in Africa and Satanic castles in the Black Forest. Solomon Kane sees himself as God's instrument of vengeance and retribution and he is presented in exactly the larger than life stature that he requires. His passion is allowed to shine brightly and the desire for action and adventure that underlie it freely acknowledged.
The art is as generous as the writing, the range of styles is very great and the quality is consistently very high. The drama of the black and white art is relished by the artists as is the freedom to draw the swashbuckling action and the beautiful women. Great fun.

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