On one of my book buying whims awhile back I picked up a cheap copy of The Freebooters by Barry Windsor-Smith. After reading some of his old Conan stories, I was curious about his rare, more recent work in comics (though even this is from awhile ago now). It's a beautifully illustrated sword and sorcery story about a has-been hero (Conan stand-in, clearly) and company in a pseudo-arabian setting. The setting gives BWS an excuse for a certain type of decorative visuals (lots of fabrics and colors) that would be absent in a more European medieval type setting. It's a decent enough story, but nothing that isn't mostly shopworn, and the only female characters in the whole thing are all these half-naked serving girls at the tavern the hero owns, who act as a kind of twittering background noise in various scenes. Only one of them really differentiates themselves, and that for being mute and interested in the young man who shows up with a prophecy of doom for the hero.
The uncredited long text about the story, BWS, and it's original failed serialization that threads throughout the book is truly a marvel of ego stroking and fanboy praise. It makes BWS and the story into some kind of revolutionary pinnacle of comics. Strange, coming from a book from Fantagraphics, as the perspective seems very much stuck in relation to conventional superhero comics.
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