Welcome to the Flaming Faggot

Callovia is called "the boundless empire" yet you have managed to find its northern border - a notorious roadhouse deep within the Madrasan Marches on the edge of the wilds of Llanvirnesse. The sign above the door reads "Flaming Faggot," which would suggest a cozy, homey inn with fresh biscuits served at teatime if not for the severed troll heads mounted on pikes at the gate.

As you cross the threshold the raucous din quiets momentarily as all eyes dart to the door and calloused hands drop instinctively to well-worn sword hilts. The threat, instantly assessed, is dismissed and roadhouse patrons go about their business hardly missing a beat.

Grim, hard-eyed men huddle around tables in close conversation thick with conspiracy; caravan guards gamble away their earnings; Caemric rangers sit close to the fireplace cooking the damp of the Black Annis from their clothes as they warm their innards with Red Dragon Ale; minstrels play and buxom wenches dance for the pleasure of men who pay them little attention - until they need a companion to warm their bed.

As you approach the bar, a huge, bald barman with a greatsword slung across his back slides a mug of freshly-pulled ale towards you, its frothy head dripping over the rim.

"Pull up a seat, lad," he says, "and let me tell you a tale of high adventure."

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Epic Thursday!

Issue #5 of Epic Illustrated saw the magazine switch from quarterly to bi-monthly publication.  Almuric and the Elric story, The Dreaming City concluded in this issue, which is unfortunately missing from my collection.

Issue #6 from August, 1981, features a cover by Barry Windsor-Smith, an artist whose style I've never been able to appreciate.  He was the artist on the earliest issues of Savage Sword of Conan, and I always felt that his portrayal of Conan was too effeminate, his style too delicate for Savage Sword.  He also served a short stint as guest-artist on X-Men in the mid-'80's, which also didn't suit my fancy.  Nonetheless, his cover for this issue of Epic isn't bad at all, and though I dislike his characters I admire the scenery in this piece.

This issue was a bit weak, consisting mainly of short stories to fill the gap left by the end of two of the magazines previous serials.  Short stories are tough things to write well.  Since there is little time for character and plot development, many authors fall back on trick endings and try to be profound and clever.  Most fail, and the stories in this issue were well drawn, but are of little note.

In this installment of Jim Starlin's Metamorphosis Odyssey, Lord Aknaton and Vanth return to pick up their allies, Juliet, Za, and Whis'par.  Aknaton reveals his plan to use the Infinity Horn to destroy the galaxy and end the Zygotean threat, hopefully paving the way for a new and better beginning.

The group's deliberations are interrupted by the arrival of a pair of Zygotean cruisers.

They board Vanth's heavily armed light cutter, which makes short work of the cruisers, but they are out of the frying pan only to land in the fire, as they find a Zygotean Dreadnought waiting in orbit.

Vanth employs some sneaky tactics to exploit a weakness in the Dreadnought's defenses, destroying it, and then the group is off to their last stop - a planet called Dreamsend.

There were some nostalgiac advertisements in this issue, including one for the Heavy Metal movie, which was released in August, and the first of a series of Dungeons & Dragons Adventure ads, which I'm sure many  of us will recall:


ze bulette said...

Epic was great for a while there. They were wise enough, IIRC, to keep their covers slightly more tame than their counterpart's (HM). Mom's eyebrows hardly even moved.

Sean Robson said...

This is exactly why I was allowed to buy Epic, while my mother frowned upon Heavy Metal.