Dark Horse Comics: All About Conan
At the New York Comic Con, News Editor Garrett Fuller took a moment to talk to Dark Horse Comics, the folks who are doing the most recent incarnation of Conan, so if you're one of those folks who isn't sure about the lore of this IP, you should check this out!
While at the NY Comic Con last weekend we were lucky enough to sit down with Scott Allie, Cary Nord, and Jeremy Atkins of Dark Horse Comics. These are the guys responsible for the Conan comics we have been reading over the last several years. With Age of Conan from Funcom coming out later this year, we thought it would be a great idea to sit down with the guys who are responsible for the comic book. Cary Nord is the main artist for the Conan book and Scott Allie is the editor. Jeremy Atkins handles PR for Dark Horse and works closely with the Conan license.
If you plan on playing Age of Conan and have not read too many of the comics or stories about the character himself I highly recommend checking the Dark Horse series out. The main reason is that the storyline goes back to Conan's roots in the Robert E. Howard stories. Who is Mr. Howard? Well, Howard was a pulp writer in the 1930s that invented Conan and wrote the original stories about his adventures in the barbaric yet ancient civilized world of Hyboria. These stories were considered way ahead of their time because of their dynamic nature, adult content, and fantasy element. Howard's stories are rumored to have even been read and liked by J.R.R. Tolkien. The difference is that Conan's time was a much darker and brutal fantasy world than the dwarves and elves of Tolkien, a theme that has been reflected in comics, movies, games and now the upcoming MMORPG. Other writers have adapted Howard's work or written stories of Conan over the years. The Dark Horse team remains very true to Howard's original stories with a few additional tales of their own being put in for flavor. After all, there were only seventeen Conan stories published in Howard's lifetime. Five others were not published during his lifetime. The rest are just notes and fragments. The best part is that Dark Horse plans to follow all of the Howard story arcs in their series.can be seen throughout the comics as well as in some of the Funcom material that is being set up for the game. I asked Cary what his influence was when drawing Conan and Hyboria and what his new look brought to the series. Cary and Scott were quick to say that they wanted more of a historical influence on the artwork of the character. Conan did not always run around in a "furry diaper" as he is depicted in many of the old Marvel comics. Cary and Scott wanted the character in ancient armor that might look like something out of a very real history. That being said, Conan is still drawn in the classic loin cloth look during his early years as a thief, just as Howard had written it.
The guys were also excited to talk about some of the turns the comic book series will take in the coming months. Currently they are planning the four part story line for "Rogues in the House" a very popular Conan story by Howard about his early years as a thief. This story continues the main arc of Conan through his career. One of the things that Scott wanted to make sure of is that the main comic line continues to build the world of Conan. Once the groundwork is laid down in the series Dark Horse will be planning several stories that take place in the setting and can expand the world. Being that the comic has been out for several years Dark Horse was already able to do some of these side stories in the Conan universe. The hope is that each Howard story will get roughly a six issue write up. Filling in some of the gaps and bringing the full story to life. Scott did say that the monthly comic is considered the "bible" of Conan in which all other stories will be based on.
The Dark Horse team was quick to praise Funcom and their relationship in working with them on some of the artwork in Age of Conan. There are plans for some more comic books based around Age of Conan coming up in the future. As many of you know, the game takes place in a time when Conan is middle aged and the king of Aquilonia. These King Conan stories will hopefully be found in the comic books leading up to the launch of the game.
Being that Arnold Schwarzenegger did a lot for Conan in the movies. I asked the guys who they thought should play Conan in the upcoming movie. Of course a lot of laughs went around the table with different ideas. However in the end, the Dark Horse team agreed that for a younger Conan and unknown actor would be the best bet. Also they did say people often send them pictures with letters asking to play Conan in the movie if they ever make it. Who knows if you are dark and strong, perhaps you could be the next Conan.
I want to thank the Dark Horse team for meeting with us at the Convention. Being a huge Conan fan myself, I was happy to know that these guys really have a good sense of the IP and all the great work that Howard had done. In looking forward to Age of Conan the game, I think a great place for us fans to get our Hyborian fix is through the comics. If you are not as knowledgeable about Conan as you'd like to be, check out the Dark Horse Comics and get ready to enter Hyboria in October.