Monday, May 21, 2018

Puritan Pistolier

Solomon Kane: Red Shadows #1-2 (Dark Horse, April-May 2011, $3.50)
"Skulls in the Stars" Script: Bruce Jones, Artist: Rahsan Ekedal, Color artist: Dan Jackson, Letterer: Richard Starkings and Comicraft, Cover artist: Guy Davis, Cover colors: Dave Stewart.

Based on the work of Robert E. Howard, these comics—whole numbers 10-11 in a series, and the first two parts of "Red Shadows"—adapt the short story "Skulls in the Stars," which was originally published in Weird Tales in January 1929. In #1, Solomon Kane is on his way to Torkertown, when he comes to a fork in the road. One path leads through the moors, and the other meanders along a longer route.

Locals avoid the shorter, more direct path because of "certain death by night" and "something unspeakable." Of course, the Puritan pistolier Kane takes the less-traveled route, encountering "some hellish figure" that flees when provoked by mentions of God and heaven—and presented with the shadow of a cross. A young boy helps Kane to the hut of a miserly hermit named Ezra, who conspires to steal his gold necklace.

In #2, Kane vows to track down Le Loup, a bandit and rapist. This issue is based on the story "Red Shadows," first published in Weird Tales in August 1928—the first Solomon Kane story. Le Loup almost escapes.

Truth be told, these comics are worth getting for the Guy Davis covers alone—wonderful images, and suggestive that he'd be a good fit as penciler generally. As it is, Ekedal's artwork is fine, with #1 including several solid pictures of the three-skulled wraith in the moor and a wonderful p. 20. #2's p. 5 and 19 also resonate, but the artwork is a little too cartoony-realistic for what could be a darkly dense and brooding noir fantasy... closer to Howard's original writing.

Availability: These two issues were collected in Solomon Kane Volume 3: Red Shadows. We also recommend The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane, which highlights Howard's original short stories.

This issue comes from the Henry's Green Cape collection of comics. Thank you for your donation!

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