Marvel Comics has just announced that they have bought back the rights to Conan the Barbarian, with plans to begin a new series in about a year.
They acquired the rights with Conan Properties International.
“It’s a legacy we’re now going to live up to with the talent we have lined up for the Cimmerian barbarian’s homecoming in early 2019. We’re excited!” said C.B. Cebulski, the new Editor and Chief of the company.
Created in 1932 by author Robert E. Howard, Conan’s adventures are set in the fictional Hyborian Age, which takes place after the fall of Atlantis but before the rise of any real world civilizations like ancient Egypt. It stars Conan, a wandering warrior from the nation of Cimmeria (loosely based on the Celts), as he travels around the world battling evil and rescuing people in need. Contrary to the popular conception of “barbarian heroes,” he can be quite chivalrous and intelligent, and has at times managed to rise to the position of kingship due to his victories in battle.
The franchise is probably the epitome of the sword and sorcery genre of fantasy. It is best known for the 1982 movie Conan the Barbarian and its 1984 sequel Conan the Destroyer, both of which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger as the title character. However, the character has a long history in comic books, particularly with Marvel, which began to use him in 1970 in a run done by Roy Thomas. They retained the rights to the property until 2003, when they were acquired by Dark Horse Comics.
That company has had a fair run with the hero, publishing seven different series; the final title, Conan the Slayer, wrapped up in August of last year. Now, with the might of the Disney empire behind them, Marvel has been able to take back their old property and says that they will start their own take in January 2019.
Conan has not done so well on film recently, however; the 2011 Conan the Barbarian was seen as too dour, and plans for Schwarzenegger to return for a long-awaited third movie, The Legend of Conan, have been dropped.
Red Sonja, currently owned by Dynamite Entertainment, is a popular spin-off franchise, starring a female warrior in the same mythical setting.