By Roy Thomas & P Craig Russell (Marvel Comics)
Elric is an absolute icon of the Sword and Sorcery genre: the last ruler of a pre-human civilization. The Melnibonéans are a race of cruel, arrogant sorcerers: dissolute creatures in a slow, decadent decline after millennia of dominance over the Earth. An albino, Elric VIII, 428th Emperor of his line, is physically weak and of a brooding, philosophical temperament, caring for nothing save his beautiful cousin Cymoril, even though her brother Prince Yrrkoon openly lusts for his throne.
Elric doesn’t even really want to rule, but it is his duty, and he is the only one of his race to see the newly evolved race of Man as a threat to the Empire. He owns or is possessed by a black sword called Stormbringer: a magical blade that steals the souls of its victims and feeds their life and vitality to the albino.
In this beautifully realized adaptation Elric has been ousted by Yrrkoon, who has cast Cymoril into an enchanted sleep and holds her hostage. The Faustian albino has entered into a devil’s bargain with assorted human rulers and now guides an armada of ships in an all-out attack on the island citadel of Immyr, determined to raze the city and eradicate his entire race if that what’s necessary to rescue his beloved…
The Dreaming City was the first Elric story Michael Moorcock wrote, appearing in the pulp magazine Science Fantasy #47 in June 1961. An instant hit, the last Emperor became the vanguard of a modern revival of the weird fantasy form and an inadvertent foundation stone for the new-born role-playing game market.
This is a stirring, spectacular, entrancing tale of startling power, as are all the Elric adaptations Russell was involved with (see also the eponymous Elric of Melniboné ISBN: 0-936211-01-6 and Sailor on the Seas of Fate ISBN: 0-915419-24-6) and it’s high time somebody collected them and the Epic Illustrated vignette ‘While the Gods Laugh’ into some kind of definitive edition…
© 1981, 1982 Roy Thomas and P Craig Russell. A Star*Reach Production. Adapted from the original story by and © Michael Moorcock 1961. All Rights Reserved.