In 1970, Marvel Comics began publication of Conan the Barbarian. The series, Marvel’s first to feature author Robert E. Howard’s most famous creation, quickly became one of the company’s most popular titles. Running for 23 years and 275 issues, the comic Inspired countless imitators, helping propel Howard, and the “sword and sorcery” genre he created, into the mainstream of American popular culture.
Howard introduced Conan in his story “The Phoenix on the Sword,” printed in a 1932 edition of the magazine Weird Tales. Howard published 16 additional Conan in a lifetime cut short by suicide. Additional stories were released posthumously, with other writers contributing their own visions of Conan’s adventures in Howard’s “Age of Hyboria” a brutal prehistoric era populated by wicked sorcerers, evil demons and ferocious despots.
Following the success of Conan the Barbarian, Marvel released more titles featuring the character, notably the comic book King Conan/ Conan the King (1980-1989) and the black and white magazine Savage Sword of Conan (1974-1995.) In the early 2000s, Dark Horse acquired the license for Conan, developing several well-received titles between 2003-2017, after which Marvel reacquired the property.
Since his introduction to comic book audiences, Conan has been the subject of novels, video games, animated television series and feature films, notably 1982’s Conan the Barbarian. Directed by John Milius, the film starred Arnold Schwarzenegger in the title role, helping launch the Austrian born weightlifter and future Governor of California’s Hollywood career.
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