A parody of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Conan the Barbarian and other classic fantasy comics, Thrud The Barbarian will bring a welcome laugh to fans of fantasy stories. As a comic strip first published in the pages of the role-playing game magazine White Dwarf, Thrud’s sound-effect laden panels (FOOM! THWOP! WHUMP!) became a staple for regular readers. The new edition from Titan Comics reprints Issues #1-5 of the limited comic book series, as well as some original single page stories. Thrud The Barbarian first came from the mind of 18-year-old Carl Critchlow back in 1981, and developed into a solid parody series.
Thrud manages to poke fun at nearly all of the conventions of fantasy stories, but does it in a wink-wink manner like Monty Python. It’s funny and quirky with in-jokes aplenty. Thrud is big and mean and dumb. He’s a barbarian after all. And he, and his free-swinging axe, are pretty funny.
Critchlow’s art style mimics the varied styles of Conan the Barbarian and Tarzan comic books across the decades and it has similar character and background styles as Mike Mignola and Alex Niño–long before we knew their work. And it was created a few years after Sergio Aragonés’ similar themed (and far more successful) Groo the Wanderer series.
Beautiful painted art covers of Thrud the Barbarian single issue comics are interspersed through the book. They are close enough in style to Frank Frazetta’s Conan covers you’d swear at least one of these was painted by Frazetta.
Each of the five chapters is a classic fantasy send-up, a wanderer’s tale, an epic journey, with plenty of old world violence, carnage, beheadings. Thrud’s motivation is simple: Make Thrud happy. This usually translates to: Find more beer. When he has good intentions and decides to help someone, he kills the good guys thinking they are the bad guys. But keep reading. He’ll probably end up killing the bad guys, too.