Real Name: Conan
Identity/Class: Normal human
Occupation: Warrior, mercenary, later king
Affiliations: Red Sonja (comics only), Shubal, Subotai, Valeria
Enemies: Thoth Amon, Thulsa Doom, Karela the Red Hawk
Known Relatives: Conn (son), Radegund (son), Taurus (son), Ra Morgana (daughter), Conobar (son), Kang Sho (son), Corin (father), Greshan (mother), Drogin (maternal grandfather), Corum (paternal grandfather), Siobahn (sister), Humber (cousin), Locrin (cousin)
Aliases: The Barbarian
Base of Operations: Mobile across Hyborian Earth; originally from Cimmeria
First Appearance: Phoenix on the Sword (Weird Tales magazine, December 1932)
Powers/Abilities: Conan is extremely strong, and incredibly fit. He is one of the most capable fighters in history, both armed and unarmed, and can shrug off injuries that would kill a lesser man. While no genius, he is smarter than most people give him credit for, and his quick wit has often allowed him to overcome more powerful foes. He is a good rider and a capable sailor.
History: "Know, O Prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the rise of the Sons of Aryas, there was an Age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars - Nemedia, Ophir, Brythunia,Hyperborea, Zamora with its dark-haired women and towers of spider-haunted mystery, Zingara with its chivalry, Koth that bordered the pastoral lands of Shem, Stygia with its shadow-guarded tombs, Hyrkania whose riders wore steel and silk and gold. But the proudest kingdom of the world was Aquilonia, reigning supreme in the dreaming west. Hither came Conan the Cimmerian, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the earth under his sandled feet." - The Nemedian Chronicles
Conan is a barbarian hailing from the frozen north, a land called Cimmeria. He left his home at an early age to wander the ancient world seeking his fortune as a mercenary and freebooter. Eventually he became the mighty king of Aquilonia.
Comments: Created by Robert E. Howard, who also created Solomon Kane and Kull the Conqueror.
Visit the official Conan website.
Conan first appeared in short stories published in Weird Tales magazine. His first story was a rewrite of an unsold King Kull story, By This Axe I Rule.
Phoenix on the Sword (December 1932).
Scarlet Citadel (January 1933)
Tower of the Elephant (March 1933)
Black Colossus (June1933 - first time the Conan story made the front cover, though Conan himself was not depicted)
The Slithering Shadow (September 1933 - first time Conan himself appeared on the front cover of the magazine)
Pool of the Black One (October1933)
Rogues in the House (January 1934)
Shadows in the Moonlight (April 1934)
Queen of the Black Coast (May 1934)
Devil in Iron (August 1934)
People of the Black Circle (September through November 1934)
A Witch Shall be Born (December 1934)
Jewels of Gwahlur (March 1935)
Beyond the Black River (May and June 1935)
Shadows in Zamboula (November 1935)
Hour of the Dragon (December 1935 through April 1936)
Red Nails (July through September 1936)
Cover art was generally provided by Margaret Brundage, with interior art of Conan provided by an artist I have failed to identify.
Howard also finished four Conan stories which were not published until after his death -
Frost Giant's Daughter (published in 1953 as part of The Coming of Conan)
God in the Bowl (published in 1953 as part of The Coming of Conan)
Vale of Lost Women (published in 1967 as part of Conan of Cimmeria)
The Black Stranger (not published until 1987, when it was released in Echoes of Valor. However a version of it, rewritten by L.Sprague deCamp, was published earlier as "The Treasure of Tranicos")
There were also some stories Howard began but didn't finish
Snout in the Dark (later finished by L.Sprague deCamp and Lin Carter, and published in 1967)
Drums of Tombalku (later finished by L.Sprague deCamp, and published c.1970)
Hall of the Dead (later finished by L.Sprague deCamp, and published in 1966)
Hand of Nergal (later finished by Lin Carter, and published in 1966)
Wolves Beyond the Border (later finished by L.Sprague deCamp)
In the 1950's Conan first made it into book form, when Gnome Press began a series of collected editions of the short stories in hardcover. They reprinted all the original stories, as well as publishing two of the Howard tales not published before his demise (Frost Giant's Daughter, God in the Bowl), a rewritten version of a third one (Black Stranger), several reprinted King Kull stories, one book of "new" stories - Tales of Conan (actually the tales within were Robert E.Howard stories which didn't feature Conan, revamped by L.Sprague deCamp to include the barbarian), and one book which actually was new - The Return of Conan.
Conan the Conqueror (1950) - reprinted Hour of the Dragon
The Sword of Conan (1952) - reprinted People of the Black Circle, The Slithering Shadow, The Pool of the Black One, Red Nails
King Conan (1953) - reprinted Jewels of Gwahlur, Beyond the Black River, The Phoenix on the Sword, The Scarlet Citadel. It also included The Treasure of Tranicos, the L.Sprague deCamp rewrite of the unpublished The Black Stranger.
The Coming of Conan (1953) - reprinted Rogues in the House, The Tower of the Elephant; Rogues in the House; Queen of the Black Coast. Printed for the first time The God in the Bowl; The Frost-Giant's Daughter. Reprinted King Kull stories The Shadow Kingdom The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune; The King and the Oak. Also included The Hyborian Age, part 1, an essay by Howard.
Conan the Barbarian (1954) - reprinted Black Colossus, Shadows in the Moonlight, A Witch Shall Be Born, Shadows in Zamboula, The Devil in Iron
Tales of Conan (1955) - contained the "new" Conan stories The Blood-Stained God, Hawks over Shem, The Road of the Eagles, The Flame-Knife
The Return of Conan (1957) by Bjorn Nyberg and L.Sprague DeCamp.
The next set of Conan books, published by Lancer between 1966 and 1973, provided Frank Frazetta cover art which influenced all subsequent depictions of Conan. This series reprinted all the previous stories, and included several new ones, and it managed to bring Conan to a wide audience for perhaps the first time.
Conan - reprinted The Hyborian Age, part 1; The Tower of the Elephant, The God in the Bowl, Rogues in the House. Also included unfinished Robert E.Howard stories The Hall of the Dead (completed by L.Sprague deCamp, first publication), The Hand of Nergal (completed by Lin Carter, first publication), and two new stories The Thing in the Crypt; The City of Skulls by deCamp and Carter.
Conan of Cimmeria - reprinted The Frost Giant's Daughter and Queen of the Black Coast. Saw the first publication of Howard's The Vale of Lost Women. Also included was the "Conanised" version of The Blood-Stained God. Lin Carter and L.Sprague deCamp completed the unfinished Howard tale The Snout in the Dark for the collection, as well as adding three stories of their own, The Curse of the Monolith; The Lair of the Ice Worm; The Castle of Terror.
Conan the Freebooter - reprinted Black Colossus, Shadows in the Moonlight and A Witch Shall be Born, plus the Conanised Hawks over Shem, and The Road of the Eagles.
Conan the Wanderer - reprinted Shadows in Zamboula, The Devil in Iron, plus the Conanised The Flame Knife, plus new deCamp and Carter tale Black Tears
Conan the Adventurer - reprinted People of the Black Circle, The Slithering Shadow, The Pool of the Black One, plus first publication of the unfinished Drums of Tombalku, completed by deCamp.
Conan the Buccaneer - a new novel by deCamp and Carter.
Conan the Warrior - reprinted Red Nails, Jewels of Gwahlur, Beyond the Black River
Conan the Usurper - reprinted The Phoenix on the Sword, The Scarlet Citadel, plus The Treasure of Tranicos, and the first publication of Howard's Wolves Beyond the Border, completed by deCamp
Conan the Conqueror - reprinted The Hour of the Dragon
Conan the Avenger - reprinted Nyberg and deCamp's The Return of Conan
Conan of Aquilonia - contained the new deCamp and Carter tales The Witch of the Mists; Black Sphinx of Nebthu; Red Moon of Zembabwei; Shadows in the Skull.
Conan of the Isles - a new novel by deCamp and Carter
With the exception of The Black Stranger (which was included in the above in it's rewritten form as The Treasure of Tranicos), these mark the nearest thing to a definitive collection of early Conan stories, and these collections have been reprinted many times, by Lancer, then Ace (in the U.S.) and Sphere (in the U.K.)
In 1974 Donald M.Grant began an ongoing series of reprints of Howard's Conan stories, published in a format closer to their original Weird Tales style than the later collections. Since these have not included any new tales, I'm not going to go into detail on them here, except to mention that the unfinished story fragments which had been completed by other authors were presented within these books in their original (e.g. unfinished) forms. Berkley books also ran a series of similar reprints.
In 1979 Ace and Bantam books ran out of reprints of the Lancer editions, and so began a series of new novels by a variety of authors. These were:
Conan the Swordsman (August 1978) - includes new deCamp and Carter tales Legions of the Dead; Shadows in the Dark; The Gem in the Tower; The Ivory Goddess; Moon of Blood. Also includes new Nyberg and deCamp tales The People of the Summit; The Star of Khorala
Conan and the Sorcerer (October 1978) - new novel by Andrew Offutt
Conan the Liberator (February 1979) - new novel by deCamp and Carter
Conan: The Sword of Skelos (May 1979) - new novel by Andrew Offutt
Conan: The Road of Kings (October 1979) - new novel by Karl Edward Wagner
Conan the Rebel (July 1980) - new novel by Poul Anderson
Conan: The Treasure of Tranicos (July 1980) - reprint of Howard/deCamp story
Conan and the Spider God (December 1980) - new novel by deCamp
Conan the Mercenary (January 1981) - new novel by Offutt
Conan: The Flame Knife (July 1981) - reprint of Howard/deCamp story
Conan the Barbarian (May 1982) - novelisation of the movie by deCamp and Carter, with different contents from the previous book of the same name.
Ace also published two collections of articles about Conan, edited by deCamp:
The Blade of Conan (May 1979)
The Spell of Conan (July 1980)
Then it was the turn of Tors books, who in 1982 began a series of new Conan novels:
Conan the Invincible (June 1982) - by Robert Jordan
Conan the Defender (December 1982) - by Jordan
Conan the Unconquered (April 1983) - by Jordan
Conan the Triumphant (October 1983) - by Jordan
Conan the Magnificent (May 1984) - by Jordan
Conan the Destroyer (movie adaptation, July 1984) - by Jordan
Conan the Victorious (November 1984) - by Jordan
Conan the Valorous (September 1985) - by John M. Roberts
Conan the Fearless (February 1986) - by Steve Perry
Conan the Renegade (April 1986) - by Leonard Carpenter
Conan the Raider (October 1986) - by Carpenter
Conan the Champion (April 1987) - by Roberts
Conan the Defiant (October 1987) - by Perry
Conan the Marauder (January 1988) - by Roberts
Conan the Warlord (March 1988) - by Carpenter
Conan the Valiant (October 1988) - by Roland Green
Conan the Hero (February 1989) - by Carpenter
Conan the Bold (April 1989) - by Roberts
Conan the Great (April 1989) - by Carpenter
Conan the Indomitable (October 1989) - by Perry
Conan the Free Lance (February 1990) - by Perry
Conan the Formidable (November 1990) - by Perry
Conan the Guardian (January 1991) - by Green
Conan the Outcast (April 1991) - by Carpenter
Conan the Rogue (November 1991) - by Roberts
Conan the Relentless (April 1992) - by Green
Conan the Savage (November 1992) - by Carpenter
Conan of the Red Brotherhood (February 1993) - by Carpenter
Conan and the Gods of the Mountain (May 1993) - by Green
Conan and the Treasure of Python (November 1993) - by Roberts
Conan the Hunter (January 1994) - by Sean A.Moore
Conan, Scourge of the Bloody Coast (April 1994) - by Carpenter
Conan and the Manhunters (October 1994) - by Roberts
Conan at the Demon's Gate (November 1994) - by Green
Conan the Gladiator (January 1995) - by Carpenter
Conan and the Amazon (April 1995) - by Roberts
Conan and the Mists of Doom (August 1995) - by Green
Conan and the Emerald Lotus (November 1995) - by John C.Hocking
Conan and the Shaman's Curse (January 1996) - by Moore
Conan, Lord of the Black River (April 1996) - by Carpenter
Conan and The Grim Grey God (November 1996) - by Moore
Conan and the Death Lord of Thanza (January 1997) - by Green
Tors also published the original version of The Black Stranger in Echoes of Valor (February 1987), edited by Karl Edward Wagner. Echoes of Valor II (August 1989) contained both The Frost King's Daughter and a modified version of same, where the lead had been rewritten as Amra of Akbitana.
Outside of the books, Conan has arguably had his greatest impact in comics, starting in 1970 when Marvel Comics launched Conan the Barbarian, written by Roy Thomas and illustrated by Barry Windsor-Smith. Their interpretation of the character would arguably be as influential as Robert E. Howard's. The Marvel version of Conan appeared in:
Conan the Barbarian - 275 issues (mostly monthly, although it was bi-monthly in the early days)
Conan the Barbarian Annual - 12 annuals
Giant-Size Conan - 5 issues
Savage Sword of Conan - monthly magazine, 235 issues (not to be confused with either the weekly or monthly U.K. Marvel titles of the same name)
Savage Sword of Conan Annual - 1 issue
Savage Tales (1970) - the first five issues
King Conan - 55 issues
Conan Saga - 97 issues reprinting earlier Conan comics from Marvel
Conan (1995) - 11 issues relaunched series
Conan the Barbarian (1997) - 3 issues relaunched series
Conan the Savage - 10 issues
Conan the Adventurer - 14 issues
Conan / Rune - 1 issue crossover
Conan the Usurper - 3 issues
Conan vs. The Lord of the Spiders - 3 issues
Conan: River of Blood - 3 issues
Conan: Scarlet Sword - 3 issues
Conan: Return of Styrm - 3 issues
Conan: Death Covered in Gold - 3 issues
Conan: Flame and Fiend - 3 issues
Conan the Rogue Graphic Novel
Conan of the Isles GN
The Skull of Set GN
The Horn of Azoth GN
Witch Queen of Acheron GN
Conan the Reaver GN
Conan: Crawler in the Mist (a book and record set)
Conan the Barbarian Movie Special - 2 issues
Conan the Destroyer Movie Special - 2 issues
The Conan Universe Handbook - 1 issue
The original comics have been reprinted a number of times, in Conan Classics (11 issues), Essential Conan (reprinting Conan the Barbarian #1-25), Conan Saga (97 issues), and most recently as collections (The Chronicles of Conan) by Dark Horse Comics (7 volumes to date). Marvel also launched a Conan newspaper strip in 1978, which lasted a couple of years.
Conan also turned up a few times in other Marvel Comics, meeting that company's superhero characters in Fantastic Four I #405, What If I #13 (met Spider-Man); What If I #39 (where he fought Thor); What If I#43 (met Captain America); What If II#16 (met Wolverine and X-Men), and in Incomplete Death's Head #11 (met a slew of characters).
A few years ago Marvel lost the license it had held since 1970 to Dark Horse Comics. Since then Dark Horse have published the aforementioned collections of old Marvel material, plus a Conan the Legend one-shot and the first few issues of a new Conan title. There has also been a Graphic Novel, Conan the Cruel, published by SQP, Inc.
In 1982 the first of two Conan movies was made, based more on the Marvel Comics interpretation of the character than the novels. Arnold Schwarzenegger played the character in both movies (Conan the Barbarian, 1982; Conan the Destroyer, 1984).
In 2011, Jason Momoa starred in a new Conan the Barbarian movie, an attempt relaunch the franchise. Financially unsuccessful, it is unlikely to have a sequel, but there remains talk of a third Schwartzenneger as Conan movie being made, though thus far it hasn't gone past the discussion stage.
In 1992 CBS produced a cartoon version of the barbarian, Conan the Adventurer. It lasted 64 episodes, with Michael Donovan providing Conan's voice:
The Night Of Fiery Tears
Star of Shadizar
Conan the Gladiator
The Heart of Rakkir
Men of Stone
The Terrible Torrinon
Greywolf of Xanthus
The Claw of Heaven
Serpent Riders of Set
Seven against Stygia
Curse of Axh'oon
Master Thief of Shadizar
The Vengeance of Jhebbel Sag
The Red Brotherhood
Thunder and Lightning
The Crevasse of Winds
Hanuman the Ape God
Isle of the Naiads
In Days of Old
The Battle of Wrath-amon
The Treachery of Emperors
A Needle in a Haystack
Return to Tarantia
The Book of Skelos
Labors of Conan
The Amulet of Vathelos
The Final hours of Conan
An Evil Wind in Kusan
Blood of my Blood
The Queen of Stygia
Nature of the Beast
City of the Burning Skull
Son of Atlantis
Conan rides again
Down to the Dregs
Dregs-amon the Great
Conan of the Kosaki
The Frost Giant's Daughter
Cornucopia of Grondar
When Tolls the Bell of Night
The Lost Dagger of Manir
Thorns of Midnight
The Vale of Amazons
Bones of Damballa
Turnabout is Foul Play
The Once and Future Conan
Sword, Sai, & Shuriken
Full Moon Rising
The Stealer of Souls
Amra the Lion
Escape of Ram-amon
The Star-Metal Monster
Into the abyss
A Serpent Coils the Earth, Part 1
A Serpent Coils the Earth, Part 2
A Serpent Coils the Earth, Part 3
CBS followed Conan the Adventurer with Conan and the Young Warriors (1994), where Conan was now the mentor to three younger warriors. It starred Phil Hayes in the lead role:
The Third Talisman
Carnival of Cardolus
Isle of the Lost
Wolf in the Fold
Once a Thief
Brothers of the Sword
Feet of Clay
Hand of Fate
The Night of the Serpent
Between September 1997 and May 1998 a short-lived Conan TV series was aired, in the style of Hercules: The Legendary Journies. Ralf Moeller played the lead. The show lasted 22 episodes:
The Heart of the Elephant
The Heart of the Elephant Part 2
Lair of the Beastmen
The Siege of Ahl Sohn-Bar
A Friend in Need
The Ruby Fruit Forest
The Three Virgins
The Curse of Afka
Shadows of Death
The Crystal Arrow
In the mid-1980's, TSR Games published two Conan adventures for their Advanced Dungeons and Dragons game, to tie in with the movies
CB1 - Conan Unchained by David Cook
CB2 - Conan Against Darkness by Ken Ralston.
The success of these led them to release a separate Conan Role Playing Game, along with scenarios
CN1 - Conan the Buccaneer by Kim Eastland
CN2 - Conan The Mercenary, also by Kim Eastland
CN3 - Conan Triumphant by William Carlson.
TSR also published three "Endless Quest" Books for Conan:
Conan the Undaunted by James M. Ward (1984, Endless Quest #19)
Conan and the Prophecy by Roger E. Moore (1984, Endless Quest #20)
Conan the Outlaw by Roger E. Moore (1985, Endless Quest #25)
More recently Steve Jackson Games has published some Conan adventures for its GURPS game
Queen of the Black Coast
Moon of Blood
Beyond Thunder River
The Wyrm Slayer.
The current publisher of a Conan RPG is Mongoose Publishing, who released Conan - The RPG in 2004.
Conan was allegedly the inspiration for He-Man. The story goes that Mattel originally wanted a Conan cartoon, until they saw the violence level of the movies, at which point the cartoon character was remolded into a more child-friendly hero. However Andrew Reyes has heard otherwise. "There's the old yarn about toy company Mattel creating He-Man based on a proposed Conan cartoon or film license. It's been reported as true -- but it isn't.
In ToyFare Magazine's September 2005 issue, there's an interview with Roger Sweet, who designed (among other things) the Barbie Magical mansion and the Boeing 747's flight deck and interiors (!). In the interview, he discusses the creation of He-Man and debunks the Conan origin story; the first Conan movie came out two years after he'd created the He-Man prototype for Mattel. There's no link between the two franchises besides Frank Frazetta's artwork, which was an inspiration for He-Man.
Sweet wrote a book called "Mastering The Universe - He-Man and the Rise and Fall of a Billion-Dollar Idea". He probably discusses the Conan/He-Man myth to some extent."
CLARIFICATIONS: Not to be confused with
any other Barbarians
Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.
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