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Kevin Sorbo was the best that they could find to play this guy? Really? – Kull the Destroyer #13

October 6, 2010

I always think of Kull as a low-rent substitute for Conan. I couldn’t be more off-base with that historically — Kull was actually Robert E. Howard’s forerunner of the more famous barbarian, and Conan’s first story was a reworking of a rejected Kull tale. It’s sort of like those people who were born too late for the Beatles and thought that they were just cheap knockoffs of the Monkees.

I figured it would be a kind of justice to take a look at a Kull comic on this blog before I tackled a Conan story. So here we go.

“Torches of Hell!” comes to us from Steve Englehart, Mike Ploog and Al Milgrom, and finds the Kull-ster a fugitive, having been deposed from his throne in a previous issue. One of his old courtiers finds him and tells him of the troubles the new ruler has brought to Kull’s former kingdom. It turns out that the usrper is actually the evil wizard Thulsa Doom in disguise, and his arbitrary rule is corrupting Kull’s old holdings.

This does not sit well with Kull.

With Brule, a muscular ally whose physique, along with Kull’s, would seem to indicate that anabolic steroids were easily obtained in olden times, he sneaks into his former capital and uses hidden tunnels to access the palace. There he confronts Doom, who unleashes the pocket Balrog from the cover:

Thank whatever gods Kull worships that Brule tagged along, because he thinks outside of the prehistory box to figure out a way to beat this thing:

The flammable liquid causes the fire creature to burn itself up. Memo to Batman — Add some perfume to your utility belt.

After this debacle, “stealth” is no longer an option. Kull and Brule hightail it out of the city, beating up several guards along the way, and the story ends with Kull contemplating the dismal failure of their mission:

This was sort of a fun issue to read, but I want a little more blood and guts in my Kull (and Conan) stories. I know that was hard to do in comics of this period, but still…  I want some “Conan the Librarian” style cleaving:

Is that too much to ask?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 6, 2010 9:12 pm

    I think there are enough differences between Kull and Conan to make their adventures sufficiently distinctive. For instance, Kull had no interest in women whatsoever: that’s a far cry from our lusty Cimmerian! Kull was also given to much greater bouts of introspection than Conan, to the point where he would make some really bad decisions due to his predisposition to philosophising.

    It’s a mite unfair to criticize the physiques in the comic: it isn’t as if superheroes had similarly muscular builds, regardless of whether they actually had mutations or super-serums. It’s an art style more than anything else. Still…

    • October 6, 2010 10:01 pm

      Good to hear from someone who’s a fan of Kull. You make some nice points that I’m sure become clearer with more extensive reading — to a relative neophyte in these worlds (like myself), both Kull and Conan seem like the same guy. Half-naked, swords, surrounded by sorcery, straight dark hair, etc. And just to be clear about the physiques — I wasn’t criticizing them. It was a joke. A half-assed tongue-in-cheek joke, but a joke nonetheless.

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