The Michael Moorcock Library Vol. 1 – Elric Of Melnibone by Michael T Gilbert, Roy Thomas and P Craig Russell (book review).

April 22, 2015 | By | Reply More

This compact volume, ‘The Michael Moorcock Library Vol. 1 – Elric Of Melnibone’, reprints the version of ‘Elric Of Melniboné’ that first saw the light of day in Pacific Comics back in the eighties. Six issues are collected here and the story is the original yarn about Elric’s conflict with his evil cousin Yyrkoon, who thinks the weak albino is an unfit emperor and he should sit the ruby throne himself. As I’ve read the original prose version and also just reviewed the latest graphic interpretation, I’m familiar with the story. But in case you’re not…


The Melnibonéans are an ancient race who have ruled the world for ten thousand years from their island city of Immyr. Now they are in decline and the human races of the young kingdoms dare to challenge their power. An invasion plot is discovered and Elric leads the war fleet out to stop it. An albino, he is a powerful sorcerer and trained in the martial arts but needs drugs to give him strength. Yyrkoon uses the melee of battle as an opportunity to turn on his unloved cousin and that’s all the plot I’m giving away.

The script is by Roy Thomas, practiced and skilled at adaptations of the prose works of Robert E. Howard after his long tenure on ‘Conan’ at Marvel, he‘s an ideal choice to adapt Michael Moorcock. I haven’t referred back to the original work but this seems to follow it faithfully. There a quite a few narrative captions in the first few pages, accompanied by very decorative and beautiful splash panels.

The art is an unusual team effort. Normally, in the good old days, a penciller drew it and an embellisher inked it to make it fit for printing. The colourist was often a separate person altogether, sometimes whoever was free back at the office and had some crayons handy. On this book, at least the first part, P. Craig Russell did layouts and inks while Michael T. Gilbert did the finished pencils. They shared the colouring. The same team did the whole book but later credits are less particular on who did what. It matters not. The result owes something to Beardsley and Rackham and is very lovely to look upon. The figures tend to be longer and leaner than is usual in real life, especially nowadays, but that adds to their ethereal fantastic quality and suits the text.

There’s loads of story and lots of lovely art at a bargain price. Many will be glad that Titan have reissued the works in this quality format and it’s highly recommended.

Eamonn Murphy

April 2015

(pub: Titan Books. 176 page graphic novel hardback. Price: £18.99 (UK), $22.99 (US), $25.95 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-78276-288-1)

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Category: Comics, Fantasy

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