Thrud the Barbarian, Written and Illustrated by Carl Critchlow

Thrud the barbarianA review by Ross Joseph

Thrud the Barbarian Issues 1 – 6 are collected here in one single hardcover edition. Although connected by world and characters (kind of), each issue is mostly a separate story.

Thrud is a Barbarian in the simplest of terms. He is half naked, big, dumb and strong. There are others in the story, but frankly you won’t care, it’s all about Thrud. This is his story and to be very honest, not much of a story at all. Don’t get me wrong at all, this is not a bad thing.

You see, Thrud likes to drink. He drinks a lot. Everything in these 6 issues revolves around Thrud getting to his next beverage. If that means fighting his way through an entire army of soldiers, then so be it. Using a giant animal to cross the snow covered mountains and an old creaky bridge, Thrud will do it. Nothing matters, because once he has that drink, Thrud is one content Barbarian.

While reading this hardcover, a few things caught my attention. Not only did Carl Critchlow write these comics, he was also the illustrator. Seriously gorgeous to look at, which is saying a lot because often times, the story means absolutely nothing. Sadly, that’s one of the problems I had with this hardcover. I just couldn’t get into the stories. Was there a story? Apparently there was. One issue had Thrud being hired to help two people find a treasure. Thrud spent the money on beer, had a funny action scene, travelled to a few locations, and the issue ended with nothing resolved… it all felt very uneventful, but completely enjoyable. And might I add a very funny issue at that.

Truth is, the story took a backseat to the art. Remember those comic panels in newspapers from years ago? That simple yet detailed art which practically told the story without words… well that’s what you have here.

If you flipped through this hardcover without words, you would have just as much fun. And because of the excellent art style, I couldn’t help but really get into the humour. See, that’s another thing. This has some amazing humour. At times, I was having to stop myself from laughing just so I could continue moving through the pages.

Yes the (same) joke got old after a few times, but then it got funny again. I know that doesn’t sound normal, but it’s how it is. Thrud was just intentionally funny.

Thrud isn’t a character I had ever heard of before and probably not a comic I ever would have picked up off the shelf, but for a bit of comedic reading, yeah I had fun. The art and story move along quite quickly. The action scenes are fairly brutal and Carl Critchlow sure knows how to make Thrud look like a guy bursting with muscle. To be honest, Thrud reminds me a lot of Mr. Bean. A character that would often find himself in the middle of a situation and come out the other end unscathed.

Thrud the Barbarian is worth a read thanks to the fast pacing and excellent art. Worthy of a read if you want something fun.

★★★★☆  4 out of 5 stars