At first glance a new comic reader might say that Thrud the Barbarian is just a rip-off of Conan the Barbarian, after all they are both Barbarians. Thrud is in fact creator Carl Critchlow’s love note to Conan. Rather than attempt a serious story that would only bare further resemblance to his Robert E. Howard counterpart, Critchlow took the comedic approach. And thank God he did because I’m going to break some hearts and say that I like Thrud more than I like Conan. How could I not our first introduce to the character has him cutting a man’s head smooth off. This collection has several stories of Thrud, but the overall story is called “Carborundum Capers.” The king of Carborundum has made a terrible agreement with a wizard without first consulting his Chancellor. The Chancellor decides that the only way they can get out of the deal with the wizard is to have some knights kill him. They send for Sir Percival Pursuivant and the Magnificent Seven Knights of Saint Simeon the Saintly. The Knights are reached and begin their journey having only a few days to make it there before the wizard returns. Along the way they run into Thrud sleeping under a tree after tiring himself out with murder and drinking. Thrud wakes up and assumes they’re bandits and cuts one of the knight’s heads off. They try to explain that they’re not bandits, but Thrud isn’t one for listening… or logic. They end up fleeing, but Thrud begins tracking them down because he’s fucking crazy and will not be denied their deaths.
Hilarious. That’s the one word I would use to describe this entire collection. Thrud is a bad-ass character, but he’s also dumb as a bag of bricks. He truly lives up to the name of Barbarian and that’s why this book is so much fun. The story is simple, but the dialogue is witty.
The art is gorgeous and a first glance you wouldn’t even know it was a comedic tale. The detail that Critchlow puts into each panel/page is amazing. The comedic violence is one of the things I enjoyed the most about this series. It’s some of the best comic book violence I’ve read and no matter how many times Thrud chopped a dudes head off it was funny. The art and coloring are gorgeous and do an amazing job of creating and supporting the comedy.
Overall I was surprised by how short the collection was, but that’s just because I wanted more. I really hope that there is new life for Thrud though I imagine most of his journeys would be similar. The great thing about this collection is that it shows that you can have a character that’s homage to another, but able to become its own entity. This is a great collection for new and old readers so check it out.
Writer/Artist/Creator: Carl Critchlow Publisher: Titan Comics Price: $19.99 Release Date: 9/25/13