I was nineteen years
old when Barry Smith’s illustrated version of Red Nails hit the stands in 1973
. . . To backtrack a little, I had been a hardcore comics fan for ten years and
had become pretty jaded by this point in time. It was hard for me to become overly
excited about any comic book that was currently being published, and rightly so.
After all, I had witnessed the birth of Marvel Comics with Jack “King” Kirby at
the helm, and experienced the growing explosion of fantastic storytelling and
artwork in the 1960s by other such greats as Steve Ditko, John Buscema, Neal Adams,
Joe Kubert, Gil Kane, Gene Colan, Frank Frazetta—and the list could go on! Now
for me, just a few years later, the comic world had lost a little of its magic.
in 1972 I experienced a strange, almostforgotten sensation when I read Conan the
Barbarian #19, “Hawks from the Sea.” I had been reading the comic book Conan since
the first issue and enjoyed the series a lot; A Final Word however, the artwork
in the earlier books was only a foreshadowing of the heights Barry was later to