Thursday, March 6, 2014

King Kull Kovers

King Kull never got the illustrated love Conan received. It's a shame because there's a lush, liana-drapped decadence I associate with the Kull stories that I think would lend themselves to the sort of art folks like Frazetta and Kelly specialized in. Still, there've been so decent to excellent covers over the years.

One of the first and easily my favorite. It captures Kull's balancing act between his savage heritage and Valusia splendor. Plus - serpent man in background with bat/monster.

I'm not a big fan of Achilleos and this only increased my lack of love for his work. The gore doesn't bother me, it's the creepily muscled torso.

 Yeah,....this just isn't good at all.

It's alright. Kelly's one of the best Conan artists but this doesn't quite work for me. Kull's a little too Conanesque for me. I don't know, I expect more than a fur loin cloth. And his right hip's oddly proportioned.

These are my second and third favorites. Murderous serpent men in the first, a battlefield declaration in the second, in both illustrations Kull looks just right. 

I won't, because a) I've got too many other things to be read, b) I'm lazy, but just looking at these pictures really makes me want to read the stories again. Or at least wish the Kull movie didn't stink to high heaven.


  1. Yeah, I'm reading The Savage Sword of Kull Volume 1, and it makes me want to re-read the originals, too.

  2. The interior illustrations by Justin Sweet for the recent Del Rey Kull: Exile of Atlantis (I have the paperback) collection are superb, in my opinion, and captured the character almost exactly the way I imagined him. Plus, there is a dreamy quality to Sweet's black & white line art that lends an atmosphere of forgotten history seen through the dim haze of years to Howard's words. I re-read the Kull stories when that Sweet-illustrated volume appeared, and I was struck by two things: at their best, those stories rival the best of the Conan stories; and how few of those really good stories there are, but how strongly they stood out to me. It was clear that Howard lost interest in the character at a certain point, with Conan apparently already bubbling up from his subconscious.

    For my money, Dark Horse did the best comic adaptation of the character back in 2006 or thereabouts. I have the Savage Sword collections, too, and while they're OK, I just feel Dark Horse really did a good job with the character.

  3. Kull is the great unsung hero of Robert E. Howard. I remember as a kid I liked most the stories of Kull than Conan.