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The Hyborian Age has a new home.
Titan Comics, the England-based publisher known for its mostly licensed line of titles, has nabbed the comics rights to Conan the Barbarian and other creations of fantasy author Robert E. Howard, entering into a co-publishing venture with Heroic Signature, the intellectual property house that owns the rights.
The deal covers not just comics but also graphic novels as well as remastered archives, including the omnibus program previously published by Marvel Comics. Marvel has held the rights to Conan since 2018 and published various comics, including Conan fighting alongside heroes such as Wolverine and Elektra in Savage Avengers.
Titan plans to put out a line of original comic books based on Howard’s creations, starting with a new Conan the Barbarian title as an ongoing series set to launch in May 2023 to coincide with Titan Comics’ 10th anniversary. Miniseries based on sword-and-sorcery characters such as Puritan evil vanquisher Solomon Kane, red-haired mercenary Dark Agnes and Atlantean adventurer Kull the Conqueror are due to follow.
The comics deal between the two companies comes after last year’s book deal regarding Conan for all new novels, short stories and illustrated art books. The first project from that pact is the novel Conan: Blood of the Serpent, due to hit bookstores Oct. 18, followed by Conan the Barbarian: The Official Story of the Film, a behind-the-scenes hardback retrospective book due out Nov. 2.
“We have been working with Titan for a year on the prose side and established a good foundation for expanding our business together,” said Heroic Signatures president Fredrik Malmberg. “When it became clear that Heroic Signatures would publish our own comics, it was natural to partner with a team that we have known for decades. Their expertise in publishing is stellar, and we couldn’t be more excited to launch a barbarian horde of titles like Conan, Solomon Kane, Dark Agnes and many more together.”
Now marking 90 years, Conan remains Howard’s most popular and enduring creation, a giant savage warrior making his way in a fantastical time known as the Hyborean Age. He first graced the pages of the 1930s pulp magazine Weird Tales. While always consistently popular, Conan had a revival in the 1970s helped by book editions with covers by influential fantasy artist Frank Frazetta and Conan’s first comics series, published by Marvel, which ran from 1970 to 1993. Two 1980s movies starring Arnold Schwarzenegger also brought the character into the mainstream.
Dark Horse Comics published Conan comics beginning in 2003, until Marvel reacquired them in 2018. The character has also appeared in video games and on TV, and could enjoy a life on streaming thanks to a Netflix series that is currently in development.
The Conan rights are a major boost for Titan, which currently publishes comics based on Doctor Who, Blade Runner and Cowboy Bebop, among others. Conan has long-standing appeal across various media, as well as strong international recognition.
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