Barbarian Lord – written and illustrated by Matt Smith
Despite the name, Matt Smith is not related to Jeff (Bone, RASL) Smith. At least not that I’m aware of. However despite not being related to Jeff Smith by blood, he certainly seems to be related to him by influence. Matt draws in a style that is definitely Jeff Smith inspired, though whether that’s by choice or just a strange coincidence I’m not sure. What I am sure about is that Matt Smith’s Barbarian Lord is a lot of fun.
Despite the main character being named Barbarian Lord, BL seems relatively peaceful.. or willing to be peaceful. Sometimes things happen that don’t allow that to happen. I think that if he had the chance though, BL would be content to just be on his farm, raising his sheep, and occasionally writing some poetry. However events conspire to keep him from that, so there is often cause for him to raise up the sword and do some serious smiting. In the case of this story, those events are put in motion by Skullmaster and I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that if you have a character called Skullmaster he’s going to be the bad guy.
Once Skullmaster’s plan is put into effect, it leads to Barbarian Lord having to take a journey and encounter quite a few predicaments of different sorts. The story moves along fairly quickly, but never feels rushed, and while I’ve said that Smith’s artwork is reminiscent of Jeff Smith, the tale itself owes more to Conan than Bone. That said, Barbarian Lord is no Conan knock-off. It’s definitely a more talkative character for one thing, no doubt owing to Smith’s interest in the Icelandic Sagas, which puts a lot emphasis on poetry.