In 1970, Marvel Comics introduced a whole new generation of fans to Robert E. Howard's iconic fantasy hero Conan the Barbarian when they began publishing brand-new tales featuring the character. Most of those stories were set in the antediluvian “Hyborian Age,” which was folded into the larger Marvel Universe.
That allowed many of Conan's villains to menace Marvel's modern day heroes, and the Cimmerian even had a few brief, but often non-cannon encounters with some Marvel icons. That ended in 2000 when Dark Horse Comics acquired the rights to Conan, but Marvel recently reacquired those rights and this year the character is set to make a huge return to the company in a number of comics.
The first of those are the recently launched new volumes of Conan the Barbarian and Savage Sword of Conan. And in the fifth issue of the currently unfolding weekly miniseries, Avengers: No Road Home, the Cimmerian suddenly found himself among the ranks of Earth's Mightiest heroes.
Why was he brought into the miniseries? What role will he play in the Avengers war against the villainous Olympian god of Night, Nyx, and her children? And how does this story set the stage for the upcoming Savage Avengers series? For the answers to those questions and more, CBR spoke with writers Jim Zub, Al Ewing and Mark Waid about the back half of Avengers: No Road Home.
CBR: Conan makes his debut at the end of Avengers: No Road Home #5. How much of his personal history will impact the story you're telling in the back half of this miniseries?
Mark Waid: To be honest, Jim's our navigator as far as Conan's backstory goes. We're following his lead!
Al Ewing: Jim knows -- and loves -- Conan on a level we can't match, though I am finding myself developing a sneaking fondness for the big lug. And when it comes to Conan's history -- well, the Cimmerian enters the narrative at a very specific point in his life...
Jim Zub: Thanks, guys. Writing Conan again is a thrill for me, as anyone who read that gushing letter in the back of Issue #5 figured out. When we got the go ahead to use the Barbarian, I wanted to make sure we did our due diligence on when this was taking place in terms of Marvel Conan canon. Readers don't need to dig through back issues of the series to understand any of the things happening in No Road Home, but I know where we're at and that helps inform Conan's attitude and reactions in the series.
This is Conan in his "prime," after Queen of the Black Coast. He's powerful and capable, but also carrying a lot of his own personal darkness on this journey.