Review: Wulf the Barbarian #1

Wulf the Barbarian #1 cover
Cover by Larry Hama (and probably Klaus Janson)

Wulf the Barbarian #1
Published and © by Atlas (Seaboard), February 1975

Title: “Wulf the Barbarian”
Synopsis: Coming of age in distant Azerebajia, an orphaned Prince Wulf trains to fulfill his blood oath against Mordek Mal Moriak.

Writer: Larry Hama
Penciler: Hama
Inker: Klaus Janson

Review: Like much of the Atlas (Seaboard) line, Wulf the Barbarian brings little new to the table. But this series gets off to a strong start, thanks to the fine work of writer/artist Larry Hama. This is clearly a labor of love for Hama, and his passion for the material infuses new life into otherwise worn genre tropes. He also has a nice knack for both characterization and world-building; in limited space, he creates a complex world and hints at future stories. Hama’s art is also quite nice, aided by the more-detailed-than-usual inking of Klaus Janson. Overall, a fine debut.

Grade: A-

Second opinion: “Wulf is a decent-looking book, but the story is a mish-mosh of elements appropriated from every fantasy novel and comic book released prior to 1975.” – Mike Hall, Comic Effect #34, April-May 2003 … “Of the many sword-and-sorcery books produced in the 1970s, this, although not particularly original, was one of the best. … Recommended.” – The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003

Cool factor: A surprisingly enjoyable comic. It’s similar to Mike Grell’s Warlord (see reviews) in that the creator’s love for the material really sells this series.

Character quotable: “… there’s a howling demon within me now … and it screams for … BLOOD!” – Wulf the Barbarian, hungry man

Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Comics Bronze Age on July 10, 2010.

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