Dark Horse brought three of its brightest minds to the table:
Scott Allie, Editor
Josh Dysart, Writer
Scott Allie did most of the talking. He has been Conan's editor ever since the series started at Dark Horse. By his side was Josh Dysart, the writer behind the current "Conan and the Midnight God" series. Both men are clearly quite passionate about their work and providing tons of detailed insight into the richly developed world of Conan's barbarian race.
One of the most substantial upcoming products will be FunCom's massively multiplayer PC game titled "Age of Conan." So far, the pre-release buzz is sounding amazing. It's scheduled to appear sometime later this year. Ideally it will allow players to feel as though they are running around in an authentic recreation of Conan's prehistoric world.
But Scott and Josh aren't just sitting on their duffs. To celebrate the release of this game, they've created "Conan and the Midnight God." This new series is designed to help uninitiated readers understand the complex world of the barbarian hero.
"The majority of the Conan series is set during his youth now," said Scott. Midnight God breaks this precedent. It takes place much further in the timeline, when Conan is in his mid-forties. Now a king, the once daring individualist is finding himself overburdened with responsibility. Crushed with the feeling that his life is not his own, Conan enters a sort of barbaric mid-life crisis.
"He sort of despises responsibility," Dysart explains, "It's like he's climbed the corporate ladder and all of a sudden: 'This is not my beautiful house!' 'This is not my beautiful wife!'"
While "Conan and the Midnight God," ties into the upcoming game, it's doesn't just retread familiar territory. The two are separate entities, and FunCom is independently working on their own story for the game.
"The comic is not designed to teach you how to play the game," said Allie, "It's not that kind of tie-in."
Over the years, many of the various creators who have helmed the series have taken some severe liberties with the character. Since Dark Horse recently took over, things have really changed for everyone's favorite Cimmerian. Or to be more accurate, they've gotten back to basics. They wanted to really flesh out the humanity of this character and bring him closer to Robert Howard's original vision.
Previously, our scantily clad hero was in danger of growing a bit stale. "Conan was becoming such a stereotypical hero model number 13. " said Allie. He was becoming such a staple character archetype that people were losing interest in him.
Scott explains that while the younger Conan is just starting his adventures, the older version seen in "Midnight God" has lots of scars and chunks taken out of him. By the time he sits in his throne, his nose has been broken hundreds of times. The art really helps to sell this point. When you see him, you can instantly recognize the years of abuse that have shaped this character.
But what's the main difference between this new Dark Horse Conan and the classic Marvel version. "There's been so much Conan done by everyone but Robert Howard," Allie states: "but we don't adhere to anything not written by Robert Howard."
This risky venture makes things a bit complicated for readers. It's hard to suddenly "forget" so many adventures of a character they've been reading for years.
But "Midnight God" is not based on any original Howard stories. It's a completely new adventure. Scott recognizes that they too are building their own version of the Conan saga, and are allowed to take certain liberties. As such, "Midnight God" is in the spirit of the originals. Basically, Howard never said that Conan didn't go on this adventure, so they have a little bit of gray area to play with.