Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Today in Comics History, May 25: Happy birthday, Barry Windsor-Smith!

Happy birthday to comics writer, illustrator and painter Barry Windsor-Smith today! You may remember him from such films comics as Conan the Barbarian, Avengers, Weapon X, Machine Man, Uncanny X-Men, Solar: Man of the Atom, Archer and Armstrong, Rune, Barry Windsor-Smith: Storyteller, Monster, and lots more indeed! He's the co-creator of Red Sonja (comics version), Lady Deathstrike, Archer and Armstrong, Starr the Slayer, and others.

from Savage Tales #3 (Marvel, February 1974)

Note above how Barry says he's influenced by Jack Kirby. Here's how Jack responded:

from Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics (Ten Speed, July 2020), script and art by Tom Scioli

While Marvel had been already publishing some stories by Windsor-Smith for a few months, the biggest and greatest was yet to come. Can you guess the hinted-at "mildly sensational" book he was to be working on?

from "Bullpen Bulletins" in Marvel Comics cover-dated May 1970

Yep, it was Conan the Barbarian, definitely more than just "mildly" sensational. Conan brought in a new generation of fans and readers and spurred on a re-interest in Robert E. Howard's works and in barbarian/savage warrior comics over the next decade and a half.

cover of Conan the Barbarian (1970 series) #1 (Marvel, October 1970), pencils by Barry Windsor-Smith, inks by John Verpoorten, letters by Sam Rosen

"Bashful" Barry raps with the readers on the splash page of this horror story. Hey, no talking in the theater!

from "The Demon That Devoured Hollywood" in Tower of Shadows #5 (Marvel, May 1970), script by Roy Thomas, pencils by Barry Windsor-Smith, inks by Dan Adkins, letters by Sam Rosen

Happy birthday, Barry!

from (top) Barry Windsor-Smith: Storyteller #1 (Dark Horse, October 1996), by Storm Photo, and
(bottom) FOOM #15 (Marvel, September 1976)

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