Nov 13

Lemme go. I'm a freebooter but the boots aren't free.Click for larger image

Tor Mented Comments: Not sure if it is a two-headed gorilla with one head missing, a headless gorilla behind the gorilla in front, or something else entirely.

Published 1968

Actually, that cover IS a classical work of art!I would touch it without protective gloves.I've seen worse. Far, far, worse.Interesting, but I would still read it in public.Middlng: Neither awful nor awfully goodWould not like to be seen reading that!Awful... just awful...That belongs in a gold-lame picture frame!Gah... my eyes are burning! Feels so good!Good Show Sir! (Average: 7.45 out of 10)

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36 Responses to “Conan the Freebooter”

  1. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Is this book based on a heated debate between two nine-year-old boys?
    “Conan versus King Kong — who’d win?”
    “Conan, ‘cos he’s got a big sharp sword!”
    “Yeah, but King Kong can grab his foot!”
    “But then Conan chops off his hand!”
    etc. etc.

  2. Francis Boyle Says:

    But that’s just baby King Kong. And the one who has been relieved of their head is a mere toddler. Just wait, Conan, until the parents get here.

  3. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    Looks like Conan the Freeloader has a pacifier in his mouth.

  4. fred Says:

    Faux Tarzan.

  5. Bibliomancer Says:

    Reminds me of my favorite Red Skelton character, Freddie the Freebooter.

  6. Tom Noir Says:

    This is a masterpiece. Only a true master could show such utter disregard for proper perspective.

  7. Tat Wood Says:

    Memories of a 70s Christmas: finally finding a use for last year’s novelty Conan bottle-opener when given a novelty after-shave bottle in the shape of a giant gorilla.

  8. B. Chiclitz Says:

    I know we don’t often indulge in personal narrative here, but every time a Conan shows up on GSS it reminds me of the summer of my boyhood (aged 11 or 12) when I discovered him. I was so enthralled, even more so upon reading about the strange sad life of Robert E. Howard down there in Texas, and the crazy trance states he’d go into when he plunged himself back into the Hyperborean Age (12,000 years ago), which I totally believed then must have existed (maybe I still believe it). Even at that tender age I was developing a kind of Conan-snobbishness, to wit, any cover not by Frazetta was inferior and the stories Howard left unfinished or in outline form which were eventually completed by L. Sprague De Camp and/or Lin Carter are inferior to the ones Howard wrote himself (not much, really, since he died so young).

    Thanks for the indulgence. By the way, this cover sucks, if only for its ludicrous failure to understand perspective, as @Tom Noir points out. The Spanish version is a little better, especially since it displays the weirdest knee-calf rendition I’ve ever seen. But it’s not a Frazetta either.

  9. Mellie M. Says:

    I always pictured Beowulf just like this.

  10. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    @Mellie: what, with a huge number 3 hovering over his head?

  11. fred Says:

    Arms being chopped off seems to be an old illustrative theme with this story.

  12. THX 1138 Says:

    “This one’s for Neil Sedaka!”

  13. Anna T. Says:

    I think Conan just decapitated Kong’s friend, hence the large red spot on the page.

    And yes, the pose he’s in does look exceptionally ridiculous.

  14. JuanPaul Says:

    Kong seems to be screaming, “Jaysus, man! Get some underwear!”

  15. Tracy Says:

    So many gaffes here. If the other creature’s head has been lopped off, why is it just standing there? And what is Conan bracing his left foot on? The gorilla’s shoulder can’t be that high, and its ear wouldn’t offer much stability. For that matter, what surface is he bracing his right foot on? The gorilla is holding him pretty gently, not trying to yank him off. In fact, he’s holding Conan like he’s a lollipop. How can Conan remain upright in such a position?

    Also, Conan’s sword seems way too flimsy to chop through a giant gorilla’s neck.

  16. Tor Mented Says:

    My first GSS cover. Yay!
    I reread the book after sending in the cover. The gorilla is supposed to be of normal size and not a mini-Kong. Even with the cover in front of me, I cannot tell where the background foliage ends and the ape’s right side begins. There is a frond or vine on the left side of the cover that looks for a moment like the ape’s right rib cage, which means it would have to be lying on its left side. All in all, a terrible painting made worse by memories of Frazetta.
    And its head does not seem to be attached to the rest of the body. Perhaps an anatomical issues tag is suitable.

  17. Tor Mented Says:

    @ Tracy: Conan cut off the ape’s right arm in the story. The cover makes it look like an entirely separate gorilla is behind the first one.
    @ B. Chiclitz: Much the same here. Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft formed my transition from reading Marvel comics to reading fiction. Even in my teen years, I always thought that the super-macho descriptions of Conan were absurd. I identified more with Lovecraft’s neurotic protagonists.

  18. Mellie M. Says:

    Dead Stuff: Totally with a big #3 over his head! Only it’s a rune. And next to it is “Grendel wuz here.”

  19. B. Chiclitz Says:

    @Tor M—Yeah, the over the top part was delightful to my adolescent hero fantasies. I recall one scene where this gigantic torturer comes by to break Conan’s neck and Conan’s neck muscles are just so strong that the guy can’t choke him. Conan naturally turns the tables on the would-be executioner and says something like: “Fool, try to break the neck of a Cimmerian bull as I did before I was twelve years old.” Then of course Conan snaps the torturer’s neck like twig.

    As I mentioned, I don’t like to write about the books themselves on GSS, but Conan is a special kind of guy and just gets me sailing down memory lane.

  20. Tor Mented Says:

    @ B. Chiclitz: In one of the stories in this collection — it might be this very story, Shadows in the Moonlight — Conan tells a delicate woman that he can lie down naked in the snow and go to sleep with no harm.
    I was amazed as a kid about how tough he was, until I realized that having muscles does not make you invulnerable to hypothermia!

  21. Tat Wood Says:

    @Tor (17): Five years ago I was a four-stone apology… Wrestle poodles and win!

  22. Tor Mented Says:

    I suspect that the artist originally painted this cover without the gorilla. Conan might have been standing on the steps of a temple, the deck of a pirate ship, etc., fighting a horde of generic foes. Then the artist was ordered to add the gorilla from Shadows in the Moonlight. Instead of starting from scratch, he/she crammed the ape in there any old which-way.
    Note how the arch of Conan’s sword swing does not match any of the action, the trail of blood notwithstanding.
    Perhaps experts at the Louvre can do a spectroscopic analysis to determine if there are any painted-over figures.

  23. Tor Mented Says:

    @ Tat: Had to Google the lyrics: I am two separate gorillas. Spot on!

  24. B. Chiclitz Says:

    Now let’s all go check out “Rusty (Champion Thrust).”

  25. Raoul Says:

    Unless the gorilla’s playing with his Stretch Armstrong, I’ve got some anatomical issues with that right thigh.

  26. GSS ex-noob Says:

    Conan the Freeballer.

    (Can’t believe nobody said that yet.)

    Maybe Kong’s holding Conan up and is about to smack him against a tree? We’re just seeing him mid-swing?

    @Mellie M: I pictured Beowulf as wearing more clothing, as befits Scandinavian weather.

    @THX: obscure reference FTW.

    I agree both Conan and the ape need the “anatomical issues” tag.

  27. Bibliomancer Says:

    L. Sprague de Camp: Conan the Rebooter

  28. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    Is it an original novel? IS IT AN ORIGINAL NOVEL? I must know, is it an original novel? Why, why is there no blurb to tell me whether it is an original novel or not? Oh, the horror, the shame!

  29. Captnlunch Says:

    If boots are free, why isn’t he wearing any?

  30. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    @Captnlunch: Earlier today I passed up the opportunity to take a television set because I had my hands full of bagels. Maybe Conan is too busy for the free booties.

    Love your meal, BTW, big fan.

  31. Tor Mented Says:

    Hmm. Maybe if Conan is always giving away free boots, that’s why he doesn’t have any.
    If they wanted to make this book appeal to a young demographic, they might have called it Conan the Retweeter.

  32. Hammy Says:

    Conan the Freebaser.

  33. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    In Cimmeria, the leading treatment for migraine is amputation.

  34. A.R.Yngve Says:

    The sequel CONAN VS. GODZILLA was only released in Japan.

  35. GSS ex-noob Says:

    No, being Japan-exclusive, it was titled GOJIRA VS. CONAN.

    Guess who won.

  36. Verylatetotheparty Says:

    Even when Conan is free of his boots – no attempt is made to paint his feet.

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