- Publisher: Donald M. Grant Publisher, Inc. (13 December 2016)
- ISBN-10: 0937986755
- ISBN-13: 978-0937986752
- Package Dimensions: 23.2 x 16.7 x 2.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
Robert E. Howard's Kull Hardcover – 12 Dec 2016
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"The Shadow Kingdom" is, in my opinion, the obvious standout, and it should have been the basis for the ill conceived Kevin Sorbo fiasco. Kull battles a race of serpent men who can assume human form and have infiltrated all levels of society.
"By This Ax I Rule" was never published during Howard's lifetime, and was rewritten as the first Conan story, "The Phoenix on the Sword", which is also a better story in my opinion. The climactic fight scene, which is virtually the same in both versions, is trademark Howard: extreme graphically described violence and headlong action at a breakneck pace. That's one of the things that makes Howard's stories so fun to read over and over; they thrill you on a purely visceral level. When it comes to writing an exiciting action scene, Howard has no peers, past or present.
One of the most enigmatic things about the character Kull, which Howard never clarifies, is his asexuality. Kull has no interest in the opposite sex at all. Is he a virgin? Howard seems to be saying that he is. Why? Howard never explains. Anyone who has read the Conan stories knows that his sexual prowess is almost as legendary as his prowess with a broadsword. Why is such a manly character as Kull, so full of testoterone, so disinterested. I was hoping that the editor would give his thoughts on the subject, but he says very little about it.
The artwork is spectacular. I hope that they'll be releasing a deluxe full color edition in the future, but Wandering Star is now already a year behind on releasing "Conan of Cimmeria volume 3", which leads one to wonder about the financial health of this publishing house.
All and all, this is a good read for the casual fan Sword and Sorcery, and an essential addition to the serious Howard collector's library of works. I'm withholding giving it 5 stars simply because the latter Conan stories are so much better.
Howard had to refashion the Kull stories presented in this book, altering them into what would later become the Conan mythos.
As a kid growing up, I couldn't quench my proclivities for the Kull comic-books, so,when I read this book I was sorrowly disappointed in Howard's lack of vision for this great character. I began pondering to myself, what went wrong? Well, what went wrong with this book was that there wasn't any romance or passion to pass the time. Kull was just existing with no rhyme or reason. Howard never gave Kull a reason to exist and that's why these stories failed to capture an audience.
I know this is going to seem like I'm being somewhat wishy washy, but I do have a profound admiration for this character, the movie with Kevin Sorbo was a unmitigated treat, and I reiterate the comics were totally awesome.
If you want to enjoy the full effect of Kull I strongly suggest buying Marvel Comics' back issues at your local comic-book retailer.
Brule the Spear-slayer. He deals with a bevy of supernatural
problems. They run the gamut from nobles trying to overthrow him to Serpent Men trying to assassinate him with
the zombie of a long-dead king, to Thulsa Doom, and Tuzun
Thune. Those are just some of the characters. Do you think
I'm going to tell you anything more? Think again.
Still, I think it's clear that the Kull stories represent an earlier, less developed phase in Howard's meteoric writing career. In these stories, we can see Howard's story telling mastery in an earlier stage of development than in the Conan stories. It's noteworthy that Howard's first Conan story was based on one of his last -- and unsold -- Kull stories, "By this Axe, I Rule!"
For anyone who loves Howard's work, the stories in this volume represent an essential stage in Howard's development as a writer and story-teller. Also, Conan's Hyperborian world was quite literally built upon the ruins of Kull's Atlantean/Valusian world. To really understand and appreciate Conan, you have to know Kull.
Even if Conan had never been created though, it would still be worth the readers trouble to meet Kull. These are superb stories and very important to the development of the American school of fantasy writing -- what would later become known as "Sword and Sorcery" writing.
Don't let the awful movie from a couple of years color your impressions of what these stories are. You'll find some echoes of them on the screen, but their true power can only be found in this anthology, the only place that I know where all Howard's Kull tales have been collected.