Serpent War Introduces An Obscure Robert E Howard Hero to the Marvel U

Having recently acquired the rights to Robert E. Howard's most famous creation, Marvel Comics has quickly integrated Conan the Barbarian into its superhero universe. Following the Cimmerian's roles in the the rebooted Conan the BarbarianSavage Tales and Savage Avengers, Conan will star in his own event series this December, and he's bringing some friends with him.

In addition to Solomon Kane and Dark Agnes, as well as Marvel's own troubled vigilante Moon Knight, writer Jim Zubb has teased the inclusion of another Howard character in an exclusive interview with CBR: James Allison.

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Allison appeared in only 8 short pieces, many of them fragmentary. The tales take the form of Allison's recollections of previous lives he has led, skewing toward the mythic and fantastic. The solicitation for December's Conan: Serpent War mini-series reveals that the events of the series will kick off with James Allison on the edge of death. The many-lived man is called to by an Elder God, which sets off "an ages-spanning quest." Both "The Garden of Fear" and "The Valley of the Worm," the only two complete stories, have Allison remembering times shrouded in mystery, stretching back before recorded history to the mythical times that Conan and his ilk inhabit. How this legendary time, influenced by Howard's friendship with H.P. Lovecraft, will mesh with the history of the Marvel Universe is unclear, even though Conan currently resides on Earth-616.

Robert Howard wrote in the late 1920s and early 1930s, mostly for the adventure pulp magazine Weird Tales. Like many at the time he was part of a circle of writers who freely included each others' creations in their works, a collaboration that most famously resulted in what we now know as the Cthulhu Mythos. Howard, who lived most of his life in rural Texas, was instrumental in the creation of the Sword & Sorcery genre. He produced a wide variety of influential tales during his life, which was tragically cut short at the age of 30 when he committed suicide after finding out his beloved mother might never awake from a coma into which she had fallen.

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Written by Jim Zub and illustrated by Scot Eaton and Carlos Pacheco, Conan: Serpent War #1 goes on sale Dec. 4 from Marvel Comics. That sam same day, a reprint of one of Allison's original stories will also hit shelves in the Conan: Serpent War #0 - The Valley of the Worm, reprinting Marvel's Supernatural Thrillers #3 from 1973.

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