By Matt Smith (no, not that Matt Smith)
First off, huge thanks to creator/writer/artist of Barbarian Lord for the opportunity to check this book out, it turned out to be something that touched on various common interests and, though quick, was a really interesting read. Essentially, Barbarian Lord draws heavily on influences from the likes of Snorri Sturluson (Icelandic Sagas), Mike Mignola (Hellboy), J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert E. Howard (Conan) and many more as described in the back of the book.
But even before getting to this point, those influences are obvious. Sword and sorcery and Norse mythology drip from the pages like ale from a glorious Viking beard. Trolls, serpents, witches, talking ravens and more help to shape and establish the world of the Barbarian Lord whose look seems to borrow from a certain blue-eyed, steely barbarian and might even go to the same barber. But, that’s all fine and good because who doesn’t enjoy a good take-no-bullshit warrior, right?
On the art side of things, Matt Smith seems to draw influences from Mignola, yes, but also other artists that he’s worked with in the vast Mignolaverse. At times Smith’s work resembles Guy Davis or Tyler Crook while others there’s almost a Paul Pope vibe. Really, it works in this context. Barbarian Lord is not meant to be an ultra brutal tale with art that might resemble someone like the mighty James Harren, if we’re sticking to Mignolaverse references, so the cartoony look works. The only thing missing, and maybe this is something for future volumes, might be the odd splash of color. While the black/white/grey look works, it might be nice to add something a little extra. Even if it’s a look similar to say, Space-Mullet or Cowboy Ninja Vikings… though, that might just be a personal preference.
All-in-all, Barbarian Lord was fun. It had lots of elements that struck specific chords for this reviewer and it really comes off as an homage and celebration of everything that Matt Smith loves. If you enjoy any number of the creators, books or general topics mentioned here, than it’s fair to say that Barbarian Lord is for you. Here’s to many more adventures from Matt Smith.
Oh! You can also watch this cool little video on the series