Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Michael Golden Covers for Savage Sword of Conan Make Barbarians Quite Fashionable

savage sword conan 150 cover by Michael Golden 1988 

I like to feature Marvel artwork, characters, or stories that are either offbeat or hard to find.  I searched through over 100 Savage Sword of Conan covers looking for stuff, and noticed that most of them have the same elements:

  1. Conan with a huge sword fighting a demon.
  2. A bikini clad babe in the foreground looking at Conan in horror.  If Conan wins, he gets the babe.  Spoiler alert: Conan always wins.
  3. If the editors really needed a sales boost, they put two bikini clad babes on the cover.  Or Red Sonja.

Most of the covers could have been done for the pulp magazines in the 30s, and feature these elements against a bland background.

Enter Michael Golden.

The above 1988 cover to Savage Sword #150 is a perfect example of how he uses all those elements but does so in a stylish way.  You've got Conan with a sword and a babe standing next to him, but the way they are adorned and colored makes them visually appealing.

I gotta wonder about that red-haired chick in green, though.  Wouldn't it be hard to sit down with a dagger in the middle of your underwear?

savage sword conan 117 cover by Michael Golden 1985

The Savage Sword #117 cover features Conan in a Frazetta-like pose, but Golden details every little bit of the headdress, armor, and horse that he can.  Conan's helmet and the horse's head-gear are particularly impressive.

Notice that the babe is hiding shyly behind Conan's back.  Doesn't that make her more tantalizing that just spreading her out in front like a Maxim magazine cover?

savage sword conan 124 cover by Michael Golden 1986

Savage Sword #124 eschews the babe for a classic shot of Conan leaping in mid-air to attack an army of stooges.  Don't they know those spears will just bounce off Conan's steely hide?

The Dragon-relief on the wall behind Conan is the most interesting thing about the cover, symbolizing what Conan is doing in the foreground.

savage sword conan 101 cover by Michael Golden 1984

Savage Sword #101 features a sea-venturing Conan encountering an angry sea-god.  It's kind of a risky move, as you don't see Conan's face, and the threat of the sea-creature's tentacles is very subtle.  Still, this cover is a cut above most of the Savage Sword dreck.  Nuff Said!