The surprise announcement on Friday that Conan the Barbarian will return to Marvel Comics in 2019 after a nearly two-decade absence has plenty of fans excited. Considering the publisher’s recent Legacy initiative, it’s a perfect time to begin a new era for an iconic character who enjoyed a 30-year history at Marvel. During that time, more than 650 issues of assorted Conan titles were released.
While Conan’s world is rich, populated by many memorable supporting character, it’s unclear what is included in this new deal. For instance, a Red Sonja series is now published by Dynamite Entertainment, and feature the villainous Kulan Gath, both of whom were introduced in the early 1970s in Marvel’s original Conan the Barbarian.
In celebration of the return of Robert E. Howard’s pulp hero to Marvel, we’ve put together a list of our favorite occasions when the Cimmerian interacted with the Marvel Universe. It’s important to note that Conan and his supporting cast are considered part of Marvel’s 616 universe. They’re from the Hyborian Age, which followed the sinking of Atlantis and Lemuria, before recorded history. Although Conan has tended only to make brief cameos in Marvel’s titles, when he has shown up, it’s a fun surprise.
6. Conan Was Part of Marvel’s ‘Atlantis Attacks’ Crossover
Part of Marvel’s 1989 “Atlantis Attacks” crossover, Punisher Annual #2 included the tie-in “The Saga of the Serpent Crown Chapter Five: Heirs Apparent.” The six-page narrative continued to relay the history of the serpentine god Set and his Serpent Crown.
In the back-up story, written by Peter Sanderson and illustrated by Mark Bagley, Uatu the Watcher recounted how Set lost the Serpent Crown when Lemuria sank, and created the Cobra Crown in its place. When dark mage Thoth-Amon obtained this object of power, he planned to use it for — you guessed it! — world conquest. That is, until he was thwarted by his arch-nemesis, Conan of Cimmeria, and “the greatest warriors of his age.” Although Amon managed to escape, the (fictional) historical account tells of how Conan continued to stop the sorcerer’s “every scheme” well into the future.
5. Conan Fought Vampires
In 1980’s Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #11, the back-up story “The Book of Vishanti: The Curse of the Darkhold Part III,” by Roy Thomas, R.J.M. Lofficier, David Way and Dan Way, tells of one of the most powerful artifacts in the Marvel Universe. However, instead of The Watcher, this time it’s Doctor Strange reading from a mystical tome about the history of the Darkhold.
As the storyline covers how the power of the Darkhold created vampires, it’s disclosed that while many vampires sank with Atlantis, a contingent survived into post-cataclysmic times. Apparently, a few of those bloodsuckers, such as Morophla and Uathacht, were eliminated by Conan and Red Sonja. It’s worth noting that this historical record also includes an appearance from another Robert E. Howard creation, Kull the Conqueror.
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