Underrated: Thrud the Barbarian
This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Thrud the Barbarian
Another week, and yet another case of “Alex bought something for Underrated without knowing anything about it beforehand,” or it would be had Alex not received Carl Critchlow‘s Thrud the Barbarian a few years ago from the now defunct Comic Bento. Published by Titan Comics, the trade paperback collects the original Thrud the Barbarian five issue miniseries, as well as a couple of single page shorts from White Dwarf magazine, and was originally published in 2013. If you missed this when it first came out, don’t be surprised – I’m not sure it was ever released on a large scale outside Britain.
Thrud the Barbarian is what I’d consider a quintessentially British comic; it blends in equal parts the violence , chaos and destruction that one would expect from a Conan parody with the silliness and tongue in cheek humour that wouldn’t feel out of place in a Monty Python skit. But with a lot more smashed heads and limbs flying free of bodies. The Titan Comics collection consists of five stories that can be read independently of each other (seven if you’re counting the bonus strips), or in one go – which is what I did when rereading it recently.
Honestly, I reread it because I was reorganizing my bookcase and saw the cover again and wanted something fun, easy and not too deep or involved to read. Thrud was certainly that, and I loved every irreverent thought, every stunningly painted cover, and the computer coloured artwork. It was exactly the kind of book that I needed to read after a busy week, a book that I am glad I own, and one I am even happier that I noticed on the shelf.
As a fan of heroic fantasy books, I loved Critchlow’s send up of the genre; the visualization and sight gags and some brilliant punchlines across all the stories in in the collection. I loved every aspect of this book; the sound effects, the dumb-as-a-post hero just wants his beer and the cartoon-like hyper violence that ties it all together in such a lovely package.
Without a doubt this is one of my favourite books I’ve ever written about for this column, even if I did forget I owned it for a little while.
And yet, had it not been for the Bento box, I would never have heard of this book. Which is easily one of the best aspects of the online blind box subscription thingies – the introduction to new and exciting books and comics you otherwise would never have been exposed to. Consequently, this is a book I don’t see getting the love it deserves – that’s why the book is Underrated.
Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.