On Monday I released a new guide celebrating a new #1 comic I loved in Birds of Prey (2023) #1. Today I’m back with a major guide update for another new comic I am really digging – the new Titan Comics relaunch of Conan the Barbarian (2023)! You can find that, and every other Conan comic ever published, in my Guide to Conan!
The last time my Conan guide had a major overhaul was in 2019. It was still early in Marvel’s relaunch of the licensed property – around the time of their launch of the in-continuity Savage Avengers (2019).
A lot has happened with Conan since then!
With the loss of the Conan license on the horizon at the end of 2022, Marvel massively accelerated their efforts to reprint their classic material. They completed the reprint of Conan the Barbarian (1970) in omnibus format across 10 hefty volumes, but only made it a third of the way into the title in Epic Collections. And, their Savage Sword of Conan (1974) omnibus line stalled with Volume 8, leaving only half of that series collected. Plus, Marvel never ventured into collecting their 90s relaunch comics, which have largely never been collected by either Marvel or Dark Horse!
(Note that the Savage Sword line collects the full contents of each magazine-sized issue, which is why it’s only up to issue #116 with Volume 8 while Barbarian collected #275 issues in 10 volumes.)
Luckily, Conan’s license owner Heroic Signatures seems to have a real understanding of the market for both new and classic Conan stories. They granted the license to Titan Comics – an experienced media licensor. Titan and Heroic partnered to recruit the best of the recent Marvel Conan writers in Jim Zub to relaunch his ongoing series, which reads like an instant classic in huge part thanks to line art by Roberto de la Torre, colors by José Villarrubia & Dean White, and amazing lettering by Richard Starkings.
(Seriously, the letters are to die for.)
Even more impressive, Heroic & Titan are picking up exactly where Marvel left off with the omnibus line! They are releasing new hardcovers in an identical format, right down to the dust jackets – not only picking up the Savage Sword line seamlessly with Volume 9, but also reprinting the previous Marvel omnibus volumes of both Barbarian and Savage Sword from the start.
Sadly, there’s no word on a continued paperback line to pick up where the Epics left off. I suspect Heroic & Titan won’t want to cannibalize the sales of the Barbarian omnibus reprints right now and we’ll see some paperbacks emerge in a year or two.
Whether you want to buy every omnibus volume, pick up the new Titan ongoing series, read Conan’s recent Marvel exploits, or just make sense of Dark Horse’s dense 15 years of Conan continuity, it’s all covered in my Guide to Conan The Barbarian – originally made possible in 2017 by Patrons of Crushing Krisis.