The Chronicles of Kull 1: A King Comes Riding and Other Stories

chronicles of kull volume 1 a king comes riding and other stories cover trade paperback tpb
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 8/10

Kull is a fun Conan alternative

Dense storytelling

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Creatures on the Loose!/Conan the Barbarian (Volume 1)/Monsters on the Prowl/Kull the Conqueror (Volume 1)

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics/Marvel Comics

Writer:  Roy Thomas/Gerry Conway/John Jakes/Len Wein

Artist:  Bernie Wrightson/Ross Andru/Wally Wood/Marie Severin/John Severin

# of Issues:  12

Release Date:  2009

creatures on the loose #10 cover 1st kull

Creatures on the Loose! #10

Reprints Creatures on the Loose! #10, Conan the Barbarian (1) #10, Monster on the Prowl #16, and Kull the Conqueror (1) #1-9 (March 1971-July 1973).  Valka and Hotath!  Exiled barbarian swordsman Kull finds himself king of Valusia through a hostile takeover orchestrated by men within the kingdom.  When Kull decides to stay and rule Valusia, he finds that the men that betrayed their king are also not the most loyal subjects.  While battling threats from outside like the menace of Thulsa Doom and political intrigue from within, heavy is the crown that Kull wears!

Written by Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway, John Jakes, and Len Wein, The Chronicles of Kull Volume 1:  A King Comes Riding and Other Stories is a Dark Horse Comics sword-and-sorcery comic book collection.  The comic book focuses on Kull who was created by Robert E. Howard and first appeared in “The Shadow Kingdom” (Weird Tales August 1929).  The series is a reprint of Marvel Comics’ Kull adventures and the first part of his first series.  The collection features art by Bernie Wrightson, Ross Andru, Wally Wood, Marie Severin, and John Severin.  Issues in this collection were also collected as part of Kull the Destroyer:  The Original Marvel Years Omnibus.

Conan the Barbarian was king at Marvel when I was growing up.  You had Conan movies and Conan comics and magazines…Kull was just a weird outlier.  I had received one of the Kull the Conqueror comic books from someone once and never was quite sure how he fit in into the whole mythos of Conan.  Following Kull from his first adventures, he is a nice alternative to Conan.

While Kull and Conan are separated by time, they are often virtually the same.  The comics largely consist of Kull battling wizards, warriors, and demons much like Conan.  The difference is that Kull also has political storylines.  He’s the king of Valusia and commander of the Black Legions.  This did distinguish him from Conan for a while.  When King Conan began publication, it felt like Kull was a bit redundant.

kull the conqueror #1 cover

Kull the Conqueror (1) #1

The big villain in this collection is Thulsa Doom who first appears in the one-shot storyline in Monsters on the Prowl #16 (April 1972).  Like Kull, Thulsa Doom was created by Robert E. Howard in The Cat and the Skull and proves to a good foil for Kull.  The character later went on to be the named character of Conan the Barbarian (though that Thulsa Doom is closer to Thoth-Amon).  In these comics it is nice to see a “super villain” since it feels like most of the comics are one-offs where there bad guy dies.

The series also has a nice supporting cast.  While Kull has some allies like Brule, the fun characters are those almost outwardly working against Kull.  Kull knows this but continues to allow them to be around him.  It is almost a game to him which I wish was played up more.

The Chronicles of Kull 1:  A King Comes Riding and Other Stories is a fun start to a series of Kull adventures.  It is odd to see the issues so clean and crisp in their transfers and you could argue that it takes away from the pulp nature of the publications.  Kull isn’t Conan, but like Conan, it reads dense…so be prepared for a slow ride.  The Chronicles of Kull 1:  A King Comes Riding and Other Stories is followed by The Chronicles of Kull 2:  The Hell Beneath Atlantis and Other Stories.

Related Links:

The Chronicles of Kull 2:  The Hell Beneath Atlantis and Other Stories

The Chronicles of Kull 4:  The Blood of Kings and Other Stories

Kull the Conqueror (1997)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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