This week, we’re taking a look at the popular sword and sorcery adventurer Conan the Barbarian.
Created by Robert E. Howard and first published in 1932, Conan is a barbarian hero from the nation of Cimmeria in the Hyborian Age.
At age 15, Conan was already a fearsome warrior and taken with wanderlust. He travelled the nations of the Hyborian Age as a mercenary, thief and pirate.
Conan possesses natural leadership and strong skills in linguistics as he is able to speak and read several languages. He has many adventures in his travels and eventually usurps the throne of Aquilonia, the greatest of nations.
Marvel Comics was the first publisher to produce Conan comics starting in 1970 up until 1993. The series ran for a whopping 275 issues. The first 115 issues were written from 1970 until 1980 by Roy Thomas, who had obtained the rights from the literary estate of Howard.
Thomas returned to the series in 1991 to write the final 35 remaining issues, an impressive span of work.
Dark Horse Comics gained the Conan license in 2003, producing several of its own titles along with reprinting some of Marvel’s classic tales.
Marvel Comics has since reacquired the publishing rights for Conan and started printing a new main series of Conan the Barbarian along with several spinoff series and collections of the old stories, which are due for release soon.
The first pair of issues for Marvel’s new Conan the Barbarian series are action-packed and on the shelf.
The story starts in the fighting pits of Zamora, with a young Conan honing his sword skills to earn money for wine and revelry.
Conan is careless with his festivities and finds himself caught in the clutches of a hag witch.
When will he learn?
The witch is convinced the blood of a warrior who cheats death is infused with death magic and can be used to conjure her master the dark lord Razazel, the Red Rod of Doom.
Conan is not about to give up without a fight. The witch did not account for the strength of young Conan as he’s able to break free of his bonds. Irate, the witch animates a host of undead thralls in an attempt to contain Conan, but he will see freedom yet.
This new Marvel series is written by Jason Aaron who recently worked on the Star Wars and epic Thor storylines, including the new female Thor.
Aaron is a great choice on Marvel’s part for writing Conan and the story has hit the mark for both character and setting. The visuals of artist Mahmud Asrar are stunning; the action scenes are packed with dynamic movement.
As an extra bonus, the issue finishes with part one of a 12-part novella titled Black Starlight, written by John C. Hocking and dedicated to Roy Thomas.
I’m excited for more issues of Conan and there have been rumours of some crossovers with Marvel’s superhero titles, so we’ll see how that goes, being that the characters are from separate universes.
Randy Wagner is assistant manager of High Octane Comics. For more, visit 250 Third Ave. or call 250-377-8444.