1 hour ago
Friday, July 15, 2016
The Savage Sword of El Cid
Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, the man called El Cid, famous war leader of Medieval Spain, got the comic book treatment from in Eerie Magazine in the mid-1970s--and now a collection from Dark Horse. Though not as gonzo as the history-be-damned romp that was DC's Beowulf (where, I will remind you, Grendel battled Dracula to see who would replace Satan), it kicks history and even legend to the curb to present El Cid as Prince Valiant by way of Conan and the Medieval world as something more akin to the Hyborian Age.
While this approach is not unique in comics (Arak: Son of Thunder did a similar thing--though Thomas borrowed more from myth and legend), The approach of writer Budd Lewis and artist Gonzalo Mayo is different. Lewis tends to write it caption-heavy like a latter day Prince Valiant, albeit with more sword & sorcery paperback prose. Mayo is one of a number of Spanish artists in the Warren Magazines that look somewhat similar (and this is by no means a criticism), so if you recall Esteban Maroto's illustrations in the Ace Conan volumes, then you have the basic idea of how the world of El Cid looks. He does "homage" some poses at at times: Frazetta's ghoul queen at one point, and Racquel Welch on the this page below:
It's pretty standard 70s Sword & Sorcery stuff, but if you like that--and I know a know a number of my readers do--you should check this collection out.