Writer-artist-genius Carl Critchlow has just sent me a copy of Thrud the Barbarian #5: The Bear Necessities, the continuing four-colour adventures of the very stupid fantasy warrior he first created for fanzines which went on to become one of the only reasons for buing the fantasy ropleplaying magazine White Dwarf in the 1980s.
I’m pleased to report that the usual craziness is in abundance, from Heath Robinson flying machines to bizarre creatures for Thrud to (usually) kill. The artwork is a labour of love — detailed, gorgeous and worthy of any major European bande dessines publisher, never mind being printed independently in Southport by a UK-based artist, paid for out of his own pocket, in a country where such producing such publications commercially are an uphill struggle in terms of cost, getting the right look to the printing, and distribution.
‘The Beer Necessities’ finds Thrud on a quest for ancient gold, parodying the Spanish quest for untold riches in Central and South America. Once again, the clever people in the tale get their (deserved) comeuppance and Thrud is at his very stupid best and outstandingly dangerous. (Eexcept when he suddenly turns clever after imbibing a weird jungle juice concoction, and then he becomes even more dangerous than ever!). I particularly liked the battle with snakes and dinosaurs, the name of the ancient god – buy the book and find out what it is for yourself – and the terrific manimal antagonist.
This is simply a funny romp, with a fun script, beautifully illustrated and coloured. Carl isn’t pretending Thrud the Barbarian is something intellectually brilliant. This is no Love and Rockets or Watchmen and has no pretensions of being so. Thrud the Barbarian is simply fun comics at their very best, and it’s to the author’s credit that he continues to self publish to such a continuing, award-winning standard. Recommended!
Check the title out for yourselves at www.thrudthebarbarian.com