Conan the Barbarian has long past in pulps, comics
On the hot plains of Texas, in the wildcatting town of Cross Plains, a barbarian was born who has now lived in our imaginations for nearly 80 years.
Robert E. Howard, the author and creator of “Conan,” launched the character in the 1932 issue of the pulp magazine “Weird Tales.” Howard was born in Peaster, Texas, in 1906 and lived in Texas and western Oklahoma as a youth before settling in Cross Plains, Texas, in 1919.
The Cimmerian barbarian is returning to movie theaters today, in the new “Conan the Barbarian” film starring Jason Momoa. Through the years, Conan has been featured in books, comics, movies and television. The 1982 “Conan the Barbarian” movie helped launch Arnold Schwarzenegger to superstardom.
Howard also created the Atlantean King Kull, Puritan adventurer Solomon Kane and the Pict warrior Bran Mak Morn. Howard is often credited with creating the “sword and sorcery,” or epic fantasy, genre.
Howard’s life, and the Conan’s path to literary immortality, are recounted in a 2007 book from Dark Horse Books, “Conan the Phenomenon,” by Paul M. Sammon.
Sammon covers the early days of the pulps, the reprints and revivals of the 1960s, the successful Marvel Comics of the 1970s, the films of the 1980s, the legal wrangling of the 1990s, and the return to publishing in the 2000s.
Dark Horse Comics, the current licensors of Conan in comic books, continue new stories of the barbarian, along with reprints of the material from the 1970s and 1980s.
Writer Kurt Busiek and artist Cary Nord were the team chosen to relaunch Conan in November of 2003, with a 25-cent issue number zero reintroducing the character to modern comic-book audiences. The 25-cent price tag was the same price as the first appearance of Conan in “Weird Tales.”
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