Ahoy Captain Cats here and today we are going to look into a series that turns 50 this year and was first a book series before making its way to comics and that series is Conan the Barbarian.
Conan the Barbarian was created by Robert E. Howard, who many regard him as the father of the sword and sorcery genre and introduce the world to Conan in 1932. From 1932 up to his death in 1936, Howard released 28 Conan stories, 10 were published years later after his death, and out of the 10, only 4 were left unfinished.
It wasn’t until 1970 that the Cimmerian would be in his first of many comic book series for the next 50 years. He was first introduced into the comic book world by Marvel with Conan the Barbarian # 1 in October of 1970 by writer Roy Thomas and artist Barry Windsor-Smith. The main Conan series, Conan the Barbarian went on from 1970 till 1993 with 275 issues under its belt. During the main series run, Marvel released a more mature series that was published all in black and white and was titled Savage Sword of Conan and ran from 1974 till 1995 with a total of 235 issues under its belt and was done by Thomas and Windsor-Smith. Marvel Comics last comic they did with Conan was Conan the Savage, which was a reboot of the Savage Sword of Conan but sadly only lasted 10 issues and was published from 1995-1996 and in 2000 Marvel Comics stop publishing all Conan books and in 2003 Dark Horse Comics obtain the rights to Conan.
Conan’s time in Dark Horse Comics was great as they were dark and bloody and was on par, if not better then Marvel’s The Savage Sword of Conan. From 2003 till 2018 Dark Horse published 240 issues which include one-shot stories and mini-series. During this time the main series was broken into 6 series and they were, Conan, Conan the Cimmerian, Conan: Road of Kings, Conan the Barbarian, Conan the Avenger, and Conan the Slayer. Like The Savage Sword of Conan, Dark Horse had a second series titled King Conan and ran during Road of Kings and ended during Conan the Slayer. In 2018 Marvel got the publishing rights back from Dark Horse and Conan went back to Marvel and has been there for the past 2 years and Marvel took some lessons from his time at Dark Horse and his current run is solid.
Over the years the comic series of Conan had introduced us to many characters such as Fafnir, the red-beaded Vanir warrior, Yezdigerd, the ruler of Turan, Zukala the evil sorcerer and of course Red Sonja, which she was based on Red Sonya of Rogatino from The Shadow of the Vulture story that was written by Howard back in 1934.
With over 750 issues within the past 50 years between 2 comic publishers, Conan the Barbarian is worth the read and you can go with any of the series run in either Marvel or Dark Horse and if you want a small sample of what to expect from the comic series here is a quote that might get you ready for what to is to come in your comic adventure:
“Between the time when the oceans drank Atlantis and the rise of the sons of Aryas, there was an age undreamed of. And unto this, Conan, destined to wear the jeweled crown of Aquilonia upon a troubled brow. It is I, his chronicler, who alone can tell thee of his saga. Let me tell you of the days of high adventure!” – Mako the Wizard