Conan the Barbarian (also known as Conan the Cimmerian) is a fictional sword and sorcery hero who originated in pulp fiction magazines and has since been adapted to books, comics, several films (including Conan the Barbarian and Conan the Destroyer), television programs (cartoon and live-action), video games, role-playing games, and other media. The character was created by writer Robert E. Howard in 1932 in a series of fantasy stories published in Weird Tales magazine.
|Conan the Barbarian|
Illustration of Conan by Mark Schultz
|First appearance||Weird Tales (December 1932)|
|Created by||Robert E. Howard|
|Portrayed by||Arnold Schwarzenegger (Film) |
Michael Donovan (Animation)
Phil Hayes (Animation)
Ralf Möller (Live-Action television)
Jason Momoa (Film)
Conan the Barbarian was created by Robert E. Howard in a series of fantasy stories published in Weird Tales in 1932. For months, Howard had been in search of a new character to market to the burgeoning pulp outlets of the early 1930s. In October 1931, he submitted the short story "People of the Dark" to Clayton Publications' new magazine, Strange Tales of Mystery and Terror (June 1932). "People of the Dark" is a remembrance story of "past lives", and in its first-person narrative the protagonist describes one of his previous incarnations; Conan is a black-haired barbarian hero who swears by a deity called Crom. Some Howard scholars believe this Conan to be a forerunner of the more famous character.
In February 1932, Howard vacationed at a border town on the lower Rio Grande. During this trip, he further conceived the character of Conan and also wrote the poem "Cimmeria", much of which echoes specific passages in Plutarch's Lives. According to some scholars, Howard's conception of Conan and the Hyborian Age may have originated in Thomas Bulfinch's The Outline of Mythology (1913) which inspired Howard to "coalesce into a coherent whole his literary aspirations and the strong physical, autobiographical elements underlying the creation of Conan".
Having digested these prior influences after he returned from his trip, Howard rewrote a rejected story, "By This Axe I Rule!" (May 1929), replacing his existing character Kull of Atlantis with his new hero, and retitling it "The Phoenix on the Sword". Howard also wrote "The Frost-Giant's Daughter", inspired by the Greek myth of Daphne, and submitted both stories to Weird Tales magazine. Although "The Frost-Giant's Daughter" was rejected, the magazine accepted "The Phoenix on the Sword" after it received the requested polishing.
"The Phoenix on the Sword" appeared in Weird Tales cover-dated December 1932. Editor Farnsworth Wright subsequently prompted Howard to write an 8,000-word essay for personal use detailing "the Hyborian Age", the fictional setting for Conan. Using this essay as his guideline, Howard began plotting "The Tower of the Elephant", a new Conan story that was the first to truly integrate his new conception of the Hyborian world.
The publication and success of "The Tower of the Elephant" spurred Howard to write many more Conan stories for Weird Tales. By the time of Howard's suicide in 1936, he had written 21 complete stories, 17 of which had been published, as well as a number of unfinished fragments.
Following Howard's death, the copyright of the Conan stories passed through several hands. There is a report of a Miss Merriman who was helping Doctor Howard clean up Robert's papers finding a written will. She handed it to Dr. Howard and it was never seen again. As such, Dr. Howard then inherited all of Robert's writings and books. As he aged, Dr. Howard moved to Ranger to help his friend Dr. Kuykendall at his clinic. He passed in 1944 while living at the clinic and he left all his worldly goods to Dr. Kuykendall for his kindness. To be sure, Dr. Kuykendall was ignorant of publishing and had no idea of the potential value of the writings he inherited and basically trusted the Howard's old agent Otis Adelbert Kline to guide him. As this was just going into the WWII years the market was poor for this type of fiction so it netted him little except for the release of the 1946 Arkham House book Skull-Face & Others.
However, the Conan stories were so dynamic that they were never destined to be too long out of print. In 1950, 14 years after the last Conan tale appeared in Weird Tales, a returning G.I. Marty Greenberg, started Gnome Press Publishing to preserve some of the great stories from the pulps and introduce new SF writing by such as Asimov, Heinlein and de Camp. Between 1950 to 1957 Gnome published all of the 17 original Weird Tales stories plus extra found and edited by de Camp, and unsold eastern tales that de Camp converted to Conan tales plus one story submitted by Swedish writer Bjorn Nyberg. After that, it was but another 8 years until paperback versions appeared courtesy of Lancer Books, a deal brokered by L. Sprague de Camp. The Lancers ran from 1965 to 1973 when Lancer went bankrupt for some rather strange reasons, leaving the final Conan paperback unpublished, although a cover proof had been created. De Camp with the help of Lin Carter had completed a number of drafts, synopses, and created new stories to add to Conan's adventures. The bankruptcy kept the rights to the stories in legal limbo for four years when Prestige Books acquired the assets from the auction. Of note were the highly successful images of Conan by fantasy artist Frank Frazetta on most of the Lancer covers.
In the meantime as of January 1974 Sphere Books in the UK started printing the series of 12 books. The latest printings of the Sphere books found to date by Mr. Scotty Henderson, a Howard scholar and researcher, is September 1989 with the various books managing print runs of 8 to 13 printings.
Shortly Prestige approached Ace books to print and distribute the books as they did not have the resources. Just prior to that, Glenn Lord, who had become the estate agent for the Howard heirs found a loophole in the contracts and hired Karl Edward Wagner to edit a series of original pure Howard books via publisher Berkley Books. They issued three volumes using the earliest published form of the texts from Weird Tales, but by this time Conan Properties Inc. had been formed and to put it mildly, de Camp, one of the stake holders in CPI was very unhappy about this as he wanted his edited versions published. He made no commission off the Berkley books. These books would have sold well if continued but in order to gain control again, de Camp and the CPI lawyer made some deal to have Ace books buy out Prestige books and the rights were acquired by CPI from Ace, while Ace were guaranteed a very lucrative printing and distribution contract. Part of the deal also was that Berkley stop publishing their books. Glenn Lord, the copyright holders, de Camp, and lawyer Mr. Bronfmann were the board of CPI. Mr. Lord conceded probably due to the fact that the 12 books in the Ace lineup represented a better deal for the heirs than the Berkley deal at the end of the day. After that the Ace editions continued well into the 1990's before the printing contract ran out. The latest printing to date found by Mr. Scotty Henderson was May 1994 with at least two books, Conan and Conan the Freebooter having 22 printings. Chances are there may have been no cutoff in the printing contract, just market conditions dictating that the print runs had decreased to the point that it wasn't worth do more as by that time they were marketing pastiches by other writers.
In 2000, the British publisher Gollancz Science Fiction issued a two-volume, complete edition of Howard's Conan stories as part of its Fantasy Masterworks imprint, which included several stories that had never seen print in their original form. The Gollancz edition mostly used the versions of the stories as published in Weird Tales.
The two volumes were combined and the stories resorted into chronological order as The Complete Chronicles of Conan: Centenary Edition (Gollancz Science Fiction, 2006; edited and with an Afterword by Steve Jones).
In 2003, another British publisher, Wandering Star Books, made an effort both to restore Howard's original manuscripts and to provide a more scholarly and historical view of the Conan stories. It published hardcover editions in England, which were republished in the United States by the Del Rey imprint of Ballantine Books. The first book, Conan of Cimmeria: Volume One (1932–1933) (2003; published in the US as The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian) includes Howard's notes on his fictional setting, as well as letters and poems concerning the genesis of his ideas. This was followed by Conan of Cimmeria: Volume Two (1934) (2004; published in the US as The Bloody Crown of Conan) and Conan of Cimmeria: Volume Three (1935–1936) (2005; published in the US as The Conquering Sword of Conan). These three volumes combined include all of the original, unedited Conan stories.
The various stories of Conan the Barbarian occur in the pseudo-historical "Hyborian Age", set after the destruction of Atlantis and before the rise of any known ancient civilization. This is a specific epoch in a fictional timeline created by Howard for many of the low fantasy tales of his artificial legendary.
The reasons behind the invention of the Hyborian Age were perhaps commercial: Howard had an intense love for history and historical dramas; however, at the same time, he recognized the difficulties and the time-consuming research work needed in maintaining historical accuracy—and moreover, the poorly-stocked libraries in the rural part of Texas where Howard lived just didn't have the material needed for such historical research. By conceiving a timeless setting—"a vanished age"—and by carefully choosing names that resembled human history, Howard shrewdly avoided the problem of historical anachronisms and his need for lengthy exposition.
According to "The Phoenix on the Sword", the adventures of Conan take place "Between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the years of the rise of the Sons of Aryas."
Conan is a Cimmerian. From the writings of Robert E. Howard (The Hyborian Age among others) it is known that his Cimmerians are based on the Celts or perhaps the historic Cimmerians, based on the described geography and the existence of said people. He was born on a battlefield and is the son of a village blacksmith. Conan matured quickly as a youth and, by age fifteen, he was already a respected warrior who had participated in the destruction of the Aquilonian fortress of Venarium. After its demise, he was struck by wanderlust and began the adventures chronicled by Howard, encountering skulking monsters, evil wizards, tavern wenches, and beautiful princesses. He roamed throughout the Hyborian Age nations as a thief, outlaw, mercenary, and pirate. As he grew older, he began commanding vast units of warriors and escalating his ambitions. In his forties, he seized the crown of the tyrannical king of Aquilonia, the most powerful kingdom of the Hyborian Age, having strangled the previous ruler on the steps of his own throne. Conan's adventures often result in him performing heroic feats, though his motivation for doing so is largely to protect his own survival or for personal gain.
A conspicuous element of Conan's character is his chivalry. He is extremely reluctant to fight women (even when they fight him) and has a strong tendency to save damsels in distress. In "Jewels of Gwahlur", he has to make a split-second decision whether to save the dancing girl Muriela or the chest of priceless gems which he spent months in search of. So, without hesitation, he rescues Muriela and allows for the treasure to be irrevocably lost. In "The Black Stranger", Conan saves the exile Zingaran Lady Belesa at considerable risk to himself, giving her as a parting gift his fortune in gems big enough to have a comfortable and wealthy life in Zingara, while asking for no sexual favors in return. Reviewer Jennifer Bard also noted that when Conan is in a pirate crew or a robber gang led by another male, his tendency is to subvert and undermine the leader's authority, and eventually supplant (and often, kill) him (e.g. "Pool of the Black One", "A Witch Shall be Born", "Shadows in the Moonlight"). Conversely, in "Queen of the Black Coast", it is noted that Conan "generally agreed to Belit's plan. Hers was the mind that directed their raids, his the arm that carried out her ideas. It was a good life." And at the end of "Red Nails", Conan and Valeria seem to be headed towards a reasonably amicable piratical partnership".
George Baxter noted that "Conan's recorded history mentions him as being prominently involved, at one time or another, with four different pirate fraternities, on two different seas, as well being a noted leader of land robbers at three different locales. Yet, we hardly ever see him involved in, well, robbing people. To be sure, he speaks about it often and with complete candor: "We Kozaks took to plundering the outlying dominions of Koth, Zamora, and Turan impartially" he says in "Shadows in the Moonlight". But that was before the story began. And "We're bound for waters where the seaports are fat, and the merchant ships are crammed with plunder!" Conan declares at the end of "The Pool of the Black One". But this plundering will take place after the story ends. When we see Conan onstage, we see him do many other things: He intervenes in the politics and dynastic struggles of various kingdoms; he hunts for hidden treasure; he explores desert islands and lost cities; he fights countless terrible monsters and evil sorcerers; he saves countless beautiful women and makes them fall in love with him... What we virtually never see Conan do is engage in the proper business of an armed robber, on land or by sea—which is to attack people who never threatened or provoked you, take away their possessions by main force, and run your sword through them if they dare to resist. A bit messy business, that. Armchair adventurers, who like to enjoy a good yarn in the perfect safety and comfort of their suburban homes, might not have liked to read it."
Conan has "sullen", "smoldering", and "volcanic" blue eyes with a black "square-cut mane". Howard once describes him as having a hairy chest and, while comic book interpretations often portray Conan as wearing a loincloth or other minimalist clothing to give him a more barbaric image, Howard describes the character as wearing whatever garb is typical for the kingdom and culture in which Conan finds himself. Howard never gave a strict height or weight for Conan in a story, only describing him in loose terms like "giant" and "massive". In the tales, no human is ever described as being stronger than Conan, although several are mentioned as taller (such as the strangler Baal-pteor) or of larger bulk. In a letter to P. Schuyler Miller and John D. Clark in 1936, only three months before Howard's death, Conan is described as standing 6 feet (180 cm) and weighing 180 pounds (82 kg) when he takes part in an attack on Venarium at only 14 years old, though being far from fully grown. Conan himself says in "Beyond the Black River" that he had "...not yet seen 15 snows".
Although Conan is muscular, Howard frequently compares his agility and way of moving to that of a panther (see, for instance, "Jewels of Gwahlur", "Beyond the Black River", or "Rogues in the House"). His skin is frequently characterized as bronzed from constant exposure to the sun. In his younger years, he is often depicted wearing a light chain shirt and a horned helmet, though appearances vary with different stories.
During his reign as king of Aquilonia, Conan was
Howard imagined the Cimmerians as a pre-Celtic people with mostly black hair and blue or grey eyes. Ethnically, the Cimmerians to which Conan belongs are descendants of the Atlanteans, though they don't remember their ancestry. In his fictional historical essay "The Hyborian Age", Howard describes how the people of Atlantis—the land where his character King Kull originated—had to move east after a great cataclysm changed the face of the world and sank their island, settling where Ireland and Scotland would eventually be located. Thus they are (in Howard's work) the ancestors of the Irish and Scottish (the Celtic Gaels) and not the Picts, the other ancestor of modern Scots who also appear in Howard's work. In the same work, Howard also described how the Cimmerians eventually moved south and east after the age of Conan (presumably in the vicinity of the Black Sea, where the historical Cimmerians dwelt).
Despite his brutish appearance, Conan uses his brains as well as his brawn. The Cimmerian is a highly skilled warrior, possibly without peer with a sword, but his travels have given him vast experience in other trades, especially as a thief. He is also a talented commander, tactician, and strategist, as well as a born leader. In addition, Conan has advanced knowledge of languages and codes and is able to recognize, or even decipher, certain ancient or secret signs and writings. For example, in "Jewels of Gwahlur" Howard states: "In his roaming about the world the giant adventurer had picked up a wide smattering of knowledge, particularly including the speaking and reading of many alien tongues. Many a sheltered scholar would have been astonished at the Cimmerian's linguistic abilities." He also has incredible stamina, enabling him to go without sleep for a few days. In "A Witch Shall be Born", Conan fights armed men until he is overwhelmed, captured, and crucified, and goes an entire night and day without water. However, Conan still possesses the strength to pull the nails from his feet, while hoisting himself into a horse's saddle and riding for ten miles.
Another noticeable trait is his sense of humor, largely absent in the comics and movies, but very much a part of Howard's original vision of the character (particularly apparent in "Xuthal of the Dusk", also known as "The Slithering Shadow.") His sense of humor can also be rather grimly ironic, as was demonstrated by how he unleashes his own version of justice on the treacherous—and ill-fated—innkeeper Aram Baksh in "Shadows in Zamboula".
He is a loyal friend to those true to him, with a barbaric code of conduct that often marks him as more honorable than the more sophisticated people he meets in his travels. Indeed, his straightforward nature and barbarism are constants in all the tales.
Conan is a formidable combatant both armed and unarmed. With his back to the wall, Conan is capable of engaging and killing opponents by the score. This is seen in several stories, such as "Queen of the Black Coast", "The Scarlet Citadel", and "A Witch Shall Be Born". Conan is not superhuman, though; he needed the providential help of Zelata's wolf to defeat four Nemedian soldiers in Howard's novel The Hour of the Dragon. Some of his hardest victories have come from fighting single opponents of inhuman strength: one such as Thak, an ape-like humanoid from "Rogues in the House", or the strangler Baal-Pteor in "Shadows in Zamboula". Conan is far from untouchable and has been captured or defeated several times (on one occasion, knocking himself out drunkenly after running into a wall).
Howard frequently corresponded with H. P. Lovecraft, and the two would sometimes insert references or elements of each other's settings in their works. Later editors reworked many of the original Conan stories by Howard, thus diluting this connection. Nevertheless, many of Howard's unedited Conan stories are arguably part of the Cthulhu Mythos. Additionally, many of the Conan stories by Howard, de Camp, and Carter used geographical place names from Clark Ashton Smith's Hyperborean Cycle.
A number of untitled synopses for Conan stories also exist.
The character of Conan has proven durably popular, resulting in Conan stories by later writers such as Poul Anderson, Leonard Carpenter, Lin Carter, L. Sprague de Camp, Roland J. Green, John C. Hocking, Robert Jordan, Sean A. Moore, Björn Nyberg, Andrew J. Offutt, Steve Perry, John Maddox Roberts, Harry Turtledove, and Karl Edward Wagner. Some of these writers have finished incomplete Conan manuscripts by Howard. Others were created by rewriting Howard stories which originally featured entirely different characters from entirely different milieus. Most, however, are completely original works. In total, more than fifty novels and dozens of short stories featuring the Conan character have been written by authors other than Howard.
The Gnome Press edition (1950–1957) was the first hardcover collection of Howard's Conan stories, including all the original Howard material known to exist at the time, some left unpublished in his lifetime. The later volumes contain some stories rewritten by L. Sprague de Camp (like "The Treasure of Tranicos"), including several non-Conan Howard stories, mostly historical exotica situated in the Levant at the time of the Crusades, which he turned into Conan yarns. The Gnome edition also issued the first Conan story written by an author other than Howard—the final volume published, which is by Björn Nyberg and revised by de Camp.
The Lancer/Ace editions (1966–1977), under the direction of de Camp and Lin Carter, were the first comprehensive paperbacks, compiling the material from the Gnome Press series together in chronological order with all the remaining original Howard material, including that left unpublished in his lifetime and fragments and outlines. These were completed by de Camp and Carter. The series also included Howard stories originally featuring other protagonists that were rewritten by de Camp as Conan stories. New Conan stories written entirely by de Camp and Carter were added as well. Lancer Books went out of business before bringing out the entire series, the publication of which was completed by Ace Books. Eight of the eventual twelve volumes published featured dynamic cover paintings by Frank Frazetta that, for many fans, presented the definitive, iconic impression of Conan and his world. For decades to come, most other portrayals of the Cimmerian and his imitators were heavily influenced by the cover paintings of this series.
Most editions after the Lancer/Ace series have been of either the original Howard stories or Conan material by others, but not both. The exception are the Ace Maroto editions (1978–1981), which include both new material by other authors and older material by Howard, though the latter are some of the non-Conan tales rewritten as Conan stories by de Camp. Notable later editions of the original Howard Conan stories include the Donald M. Grant editions (1974–1989, incomplete); Berkley editions (1977); Gollancz editions (2000–2006), and Wandering Star/Del Rey editions (2003–2005). Later series of new Conan material include the Bantam editions (1978–1982) and Tor editions (1982–2004).
In an attempt to provide a coherent timeline which fit the numerous adventures of Conan penned by Robert E. Howard and later writers, various "Conan chronologies" have been prepared by many people from the 1930s onward. Note that no consistent timeline has yet accommodated every single Conan story. The following are the principal theories that have been advanced over the years.
The very first Conan cinematic project was planned by Edward Summer. Summer envisioned a series of Conan films, much like the James Bond franchise. He outlined six stories for this film series, but none were ever made. An original screenplay by Summer and Roy Thomas was written, but their lore-authentic screen story was never filmed. However, the resulting film, Conan the Barbarian (1982), was a combination of director John Milius' ideas and plots from Conan stories (written also by Howard's successors, notably Lin Carter and L. Sprague de Camp). The addition of Nietzschean motto and Conan's life philosophy were crucial for bringing the spirit of Howard's literature to the screen.
The plot of Conan the Barbarian (1982) begins with Conan being enslaved by the Vanir raiders of Thulsa Doom, a malevolent warlord who is responsible for the slaying of Conan's parents and the genocide of his people. Later, Thulsa Doom becomes a cult leader of a religion that worships Set, a Snake God. The vengeful Conan, the archer Subotai and the thief Valeria set out on a quest to rescue a princess held captive by Thulsa Doom. The film was directed by John Milius and produced by Dino De Laurentiis. The character of Conan was played by Arnold Schwarzenegger and was his break-through role as an actor.
This film was followed by a less popular sequel, Conan the Destroyer in 1984. This sequel was a more typical fantasy-genre film and was even less faithful to Howard's Conan stories, being just a picaresque story of an assorted bunch of adventurers.
The third film in the Conan trilogy was planned for 1987 to be titled Conan the Conqueror. The director was to be either Guy Hamilton or John Guillermin. Since Arnold Schwarzenegger was committed to the film Predator and De Laurentiis's contract with the star had expired after his obligation to Red Sonja and Raw Deal, he wasn't keen to negotiate a new one; thus the third Conan film sank into development hell. The script was eventually turned into Kull the Conqueror.
There were rumors in the late 1990s of another Conan sequel, a story about an older Conan titled King Conan: Crown of Iron, but Schwarzenegger's election in 2003 as governor of California ended this project. Warner Bros. spent seven years trying to get the project off the ground. However, in June 2007 the rights reverted to Paradox Entertainment, though all drafts made under Warner remained with them. In August 2007, it was announced that Millennium Films had acquired the rights to the project. Production was aimed for a Spring 2006 start, with the intention of having stories more faithful to the Robert E. Howard creation. In June 2009, Millennium hired Marcus Nispel to direct. In January 2010, Jason Momoa was selected for the role of Conan. The film was released in August 2011, and met poor critical reviews and box office results.
In 2012, producers Chris Morgan and Frederick Malmberg announced plans for a sequel to the 1982 Conan the Barbarian titled The Legend of Conan, with Arnold Schwarzenegger reprising his role as Conan. A year later, Deadline reported that Andrea Berloff would write the script. Years passed since the initial announcement as Schwarzenegger worked on other films, but as late as 2016, Schwarzenegger affirmed his enthusiasm for making the film, saying, "Interest is high ... but we are not rushing." The script was finished, and Schwarzenegger and Morgan were meeting with possible directors. In April 2017, producer Chris Morgan stated that Universal had dropped the project, although there was a possibility of a TV show. The story of the film was supposed to be set 30 years after the first, with some inspiration from Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven.
There have been three television series related to Conan:
Conan the Barbarian has appeared in comics nearly non-stop since 1970. The comics are arguably, apart from the books, the vehicle that had the greatest influence on the longevity and popularity of the character. Aside from an earlier and unofficial Conan comic published in Mexico, the two main publishers of Conan comics have been Marvel Comics and Dark Horse Comics. Marvel Comics launched Conan the Barbarian (1970–1993) and the classic Savage Sword of Conan (1974–1995). Dark Horse launched their Conan series in 2003. Dark Horse Comics is currently publishing compilations of the 1970s Marvel Comics series in trade paperback format.
Barack Obama, former President of the United States, is a collector of Conan the Barbarian comic books and a big fan of the character and appeared as a character in a comic book called Barack the Barbarian from Devil's Due.
Marvel Comics introduced a relatively lore-faithful version of Conan the Barbarian in 1970 with Conan the Barbarian, written by Roy Thomas and illustrated by Barry Windsor-Smith. Smith was succeeded by penciller John Buscema, while Thomas continued to write for many years. Later writers included J.M. DeMatteis, Bruce Jones, Michael Fleisher, Doug Moench, Jim Owsley, Alan Zelenetz, Chuck Dixon and Don Kraar. In 1974, Conan the Barbarian series spawned the more adult-oriented, black-and-white comics magazine Savage Sword of Conan, written by Thomas with art mostly by Buscema or Alfredo Alcala. Marvel also published several graphic novels starring the character, and a handbook with detailed information about the Hyborian world.
The Marvel Conan stories were also adapted as a newspaper comic strip which appeared daily and Sunday from 4 September 1978 to 12 April 1981. Originally written by Roy Thomas and illustrated by John Buscema, the strip was continued by several different Marvel artists and writers.
Dark Horse Comics began their comic adaptation of the Conan saga in 2003. Entitled simply Conan, the series was first written by Kurt Busiek and pencilled by Cary Nord. Tim Truman replaced Busiek when Busiek signed an exclusive contract with DC Comics; however, Busiek issues were sometimes used for filler. This series is an interpretation of the original Conan material by Robert E. Howard with no connection whatsoever to the earlier Marvel comics or any Conan story not written or envisioned by Howard supplemented by wholly original material.
A fourth series, Conan the Barbarian, began in February 2012 by Brian Wood (writer) and Becky Cloonan (artist). It ran for twenty-five issues, and expanded on Robert E. Howard's Queen of the Black Coast.
A fifth series, Conan the Avenger, began in April 2014 by Fred Van Lente (writer) and Brian Ching (artist). It ran for twenty-five issues, and expanded on Robert E. Howard's The Snout in the Dark and A Witch Shall Be Born.
Dark Horse's sixth series, Conan the Slayer, began in July 2016 by Cullen Bunn (writer) and Sergio Dávila (artist).
In 2003 the British company Mongoose Publishing bought a license and acquired in turn the rights to make use of the Conan gaming franchise, publishing a Conan role-playing game from 2004 until 2010. The game ran the OGL System of rules that Mongoose established for its OGL series of games:
In 2010 Mongoose Publishing dropped the Conan license. In February 2015, another British company, Modiphius Entertainment, acquired the license, announcing plans to put out a new Conan role-playing game in August of that year. Actually, the core rulebook was not launched (via Kickstarter) until a whole year later, in February 2016, reaching by far all funds needed for publication. Long after the Kickstarter ended the core rulebook was launched in PDF format on January the 31st, 2017. The physical core rulebook finally started distribution in June 2017 :
"Black Tears" is a short story by American writers L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter, featuring the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian created by Robert E. Howard. It was first published by Lancer Books in the paperback collection Conan the Wanderer (1968), which was reprinted several times, first by Lancer and later by Ace Books through 1982. It has since been published by Orbit Books in the omnibus paperback collection The Conan Chronicles 2 (1990).Conan (Marvel Comics)
Conan is a fictional character based on Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian. He was introduced to the comic book world in 1970 with Conan the Barbarian, written by Roy Thomas, illustrated by Barry Smith and published by Marvel Comics.
The highly successful Conan the Barbarian series spawned the more adult, black-and-white Savage Sword of Conan in 1974 (published as part of Marvel's line of black-and-white magazines). Written by Thomas with most art by John Buscema or Alfredo Alcala, Savage Sword of Conan soon became one of the most popular comic series of the 1970s and is now considered a cult classic.
The Marvel Conan stories were also adapted as a newspaper comic strip which appeared daily and Sunday from September 4, 1978, to April 12, 1981. Originally written by Thomas and illustrated by Buscema, the strip was continued by several different Marvel artists and writers.
Marvel ceased publishing all Conan titles in 2000. In 2003, Dark Horse Comics acquired the license to publish the character. In 2018, Marvel reacquired the rights and started new runs of both Conan the Barbarian and Savage Sword of Conan in January/February 2019.Conan (comics)
Conan the Barbarian by Robert E. Howard was first adapted into comics in 1952 in Mexico. Marvel Comics began publishing Conan comics with the series Conan the Barbarian in 1970. Dark Horse Comics published Conan from 2003 to 2018, when the rights were reacquired by Marvel Comics.Conan the Barbarian (1955 collection)
Conan the Barbarian is a collection of five fantasy short stories by American writer Robert E. Howard, featuring his sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian, first published in hardcover by Gnome Press in 1955. The stories originally appeared in the 1930s in the fantasy magazine Weird Tales. This collection never saw publication in paperback; instead, its component stories were split up and distributed among other "Conan" collections. A later collection with the same title but different contents was issued in paperback by Del Rey/Ballantine Books in 2011.Chronologically, the five short stories collected as Conan the Barbarian are the second in Gnome's Conan series; the stories collected as The Sword of Conan follow.Conan the Barbarian (1982 novel)
Conan the Barbarian is a 1982 fantasy novel written by L. Sprague de Camp, Lin Carter and Catherine Crook de Camp featuring Robert E. Howard's seminal sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian, a novelization of the feature film of the same name. It was first published in paperback by Bantam Books in May 1982. The first hardcover edition was issued by Robert Hale in 1983, and the first British edition by Sphere Books in April 1988. A later novel with the same title by Michael A. Stackpole was issued by Berkley Books in 2011 as a tie-in with the 2011 remake of the 1982 film.While the authorial role of Catherine Crook de Camp is not credited in the book, it has been acknowledged that the novel was a three-way collaboration, with Lin Carter writing the first draft, L. Sprague de Camp the second, and Catherine Crook de Camp the third. L. Sprague de Camp stated that "Credit for such virtues as this novel may possess should go to her."Conan the Barbarian (2011 collection)
Conan the Barbarian is a collection of six fantasy short stories written by Robert E. Howard featuring his seminal sword and sorcery hero of the same name, first published in paperback by Del Rey/Ballantine Books in July 2011 as a tie-in with the movie of the same title. The stories originally appeared in the 1930s in the fantasy magazine Weird Tales. An earlier collection with the same title but different contents was issued in hardcover by Gnome Press in 1955.Contents:
"The Phoenix on the Sword"
"The People of the Black Circle"
"The Tower of the Elephant"
"Queen of the Black Coast"
"Rogues in the House"Conan the Barbarian (2011 film)
Conan the Barbarian is a 2011 American sword and sorcery film based on the character of the same name created by Robert E. Howard. The film is a new interpretation of the Conan mythology, and is not related to the films featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger. It stars Jason Momoa in the title role, alongside Rachel Nichols, Rose McGowan, Stephen Lang, Ron Perlman, and Bob Sapp with Marcus Nispel directing. Morgan Freeman narrates the film.
The film had spent several years in development at Warner Bros., before the rights were shifted to Nu Image/Millennium Films in 2007, with a clause wishing for immediate start on production. Lionsgate and Sony Pictures entered negotiations for distribution, with the film seeing many directors, prominently Brett Ratner, before settling on Nispel in 2009, and subsequently bringing together a cast and crew. Filming began on March 15, 2010, and concluded June 5, 2010. The film was first released on August 17, 2011, in four countries: France, Belgium, Iceland, and the Philippines prior to the North American release on August 19. The film was a box office bomb, and received largely negative reviews.Conan the Barbarian (2011 novel)
Conan the Barbarian is a fantasy novel written by Michael A. Stackpole featuring Robert E. Howard's seminal sword and sorcery hero of the same name, a novelization of the feature film of the same title. It was first published in paperback by Berkley Books in 2011. An earlier novel of the same title by L. Sprague de Camp, Lin Carter and Catherine Crook de Camp, based on the original film of which the 2011 version was a remake, was published by Bantam Books in 1982.Conan the Barbarian (comics)
Conan the Barbarian was a comics title starring the sword-and-sorcery character created by Robert E. Howard, published by the American company Marvel Comics. It debuted with a first issue cover-dated October 1970 and ran for 275 issues until 1993. A significant commercial success, the title launched a sword-and-sorcery vogue in American 1970s comics.
Marvel Comics reacquired the publishing rights in 2018, and started a new run of Conan the Barbarian in January 2019 with the creative team of writer Jason Aaron and artist Mahmud A. Asrar.Conan the Warrior
Conan the Warrior is a 1967 collection of three fantasy short stories by American writer Robert E. Howard, featuring his sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian. The collection is introduced and edited by L. Sprague de Camp. The stories originally appeared in the fantasy magazine Weird Tales in the 1930s. The book has been reprinted a number of times since by various publishers, and has also been translated into Japanese, German, French, Polish, Spanish, Swedish and Italian.Hawks over Shem
"Hawks over Shem" is a fantasy novelette by American writer L. Sprague de Camp, featuring Conan the Barbarian and published in 1955. It's based on the story "Hawks over Egypt" by Robert E. Howard and is usually credited to both authors.Hyborian Age
The Hyborian Age is the fictional period within the artificial mythology created by Robert E. Howard in which the sword and sorcery tales of Conan the Barbarian are set.
The word "Hyborian" is derived from the legendary northern land of the ancient Greeks, Hyperborea, and is rendered as such in the earliest draft of Howard's essay "The Hyborian Age." Howard described the Hyborian Age taking place sometime after the sinking of Atlantis and before the beginning of recorded ancient history. Most later editors and adaptors such as L. Sprague de Camp and Roy Thomas placed the Hyborian Age around 10,000 BC. More recently, Dale Rippke proposed that the Hyborian Age should be placed further in the past, around 32,500 BC, prior to the beginning of the last glacial period. Rippke's date, however, has since been disputed by Jeffrey Shanks who argues for the more traditional placement at the end of the ice age.Howard had an intense love for history and historical dramas; however, at the same time, he recognized the difficulties and the time-consuming research needed in maintaining historical accuracy. By conceiving a timeless setting – a vanished age – and by carefully choosing names that resembled our history, Howard avoided the problem of historical anachronisms and the need for lengthy exposition.List of games based on Conan the Barbarian
The Conan the Barbarian saga has appeared in a variety of forms in the gaming community from simple boardgames to high tech multiplayer online games. The intention of all these games is to immerse the player in the sword and sorcery world of Hyboria. Robert E. Howard created the original Conan story but he had no hand in creating various games other than they were based on his works.Savage Sword of Conan
The Savage Sword of Conan was a black-and-white magazine-format comic book series published beginning in 1974 by Curtis Magazines, an imprint of American company Marvel Comics, and then later by Marvel itself. Savage Sword of Conan starred Robert E. Howard's most famous creation, Conan the Barbarian, and has the distinction of being the longest-surviving title of the short-lived Curtis imprint.
As a "magazine", Savage Sword of Conan did not have to conform to the Comics Code Authority, making it a publication of choice for many illustrators. It soon became one of the most popular comic series of the 1970s and is now considered a cult classic. Roy Thomas was the editor and primary writer for the series' first few years (until issue 60), which featured art by illustrators such as Neal Adams, Dick Giordano, Barry Windsor-Smith, John Buscema, Alfredo Alcala, Jim Starlin, Al Milgrom, Pablo Marcos, and Walter Simonson. Painted covers were provided by such artists as Earl Norem, Bob Larkin, and Joe Jusko.
Savage Sword of Conan was published under the Curtis imprint until issue 60, when it became part of the Marvel Magazine Group. Stories from the comic were reprinted in the Marvel UK title of the same name. The original run of Savage Sword of Conan ran until issue #235 (July 1995).
Marvel Comics reacquired the publishing rights in 2018, and started a new run of Savage Sword of Conan beginning in February 2019.The Blood-Stained God
The Blood-Stained God is a 1955 fantasy novella by American writer Robert E. Howard and L. Sprague de Camp, featuring Howard's sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian. It was revised by de Camp from Howard's original story, an unpublished non-fantasy oriental tale that featured Kirby O'Donnell titled "The Curse of the Crimson God" (vt "Trail of the Blood-Stained God"). De Camp changed the names of the characters, added the sorcery elements, and recast the setting into Howard's Hyborian Age. The story was first published in the hardbound collection Tales of Conan (Gnome Press, 1955), and subsequently appeared in the paperback collection Conan of Cimmeria (Lancer Books, 1969), as part of which it has been translated into German, Japanese, Spanish, Dutch, and Italian.The Conan Chronicles 2
The Conan Chronicles 2 is a 1990 omnibus collection of two previous fantasy collections and one fantasy novel by American writers Robert E. Howard, L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter, featuring Howard's sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian, published by Orbit Books. The component books had originally been published by Lancer Books in 1966, 1968 and 1971, and later reissued by Ace Books. The omnibus collection was preceded by The Conan Chronicles.The Flame Knife
The Flame Knife is a 1955 fantasy novella by American writers Robert E. Howard and L. Sprague de Camp, featuring Howard's sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian. It was revised by de Camp from Howard's original story, a then-unpublished oriental tale featuring Francis X. Gordon titled "Three-Bladed Doom". De Camp changed the names of the characters, added the fantastic element, and recast the setting into Howard's Hyborian Age. The story was first published in the hardbound collection Tales of Conan (Gnome Press, 1955), and subsequently appeared in the paperback collection Conan the Wanderer (Lancer Books, 1968), as part of which it has been translated into German, Japanese, Spanish, Dutch and Italian. It was published by itself in paperback book form by Ace Books in 1981, in an edition profusely illustrated by Esteban Maroto.The Road of the Eagles
The Road of the Eagles (a.k.a. Conan, Man of Destiny) is a 1955 Conan the Barbarian novelette by L. Sprague de Camp based on a story by Robert E. Howard, by the same name. It is usually credited to Howard and de Camp.Valeria (Conan the Barbarian)
Valeria is a pirate and adventuress (a member of The Red Brotherhood of pirates) in the fictional universe of Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian stories. She appears in Robert E. Howard's Conan novella "Red Nails", serialized in Weird Tales 28 1-3 (July, August/September & October 1936). This was the last Conan story written by Howard, and published posthumously. The name was also used for Conan's love interest in the 1982 film Conan the Barbarian.