The Conan stories take place on Earth, but in the mythical (created by Howard) "Hyborian Age", between the time of the sinking of Atlantis and the rise of the known ancient civilizations. According to Howard himself: "...between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleamingcities, and the years of the rise of the Sons of Aryas..."
Howard was a friend of H. P. Lovecraft, and the two would sometimes insert references to elements of each others' settings in their works; the Conan stories thus could be said to have originally occurred in the Cthulhu Mythos universe. Modern editors have since reworked many of the original Conan stories, however, diluting this connection.
Conan is a Cimmerian, a barbarian of the far north; he was born on a battlefield and is the son of a blacksmith. He grew up fast: by age fifteen he was already a respected warrior, participating in the destruction of Venarium. After this he was struck by wanderlust and began the colorful and exciting adventures chronicled by Howard (and others), encountering fabulous monsters, evil wizards, and delicious wenches and princesses - he has travelled throughout the world and been a slave, a thief and outlaw, a mercenary and commander of a mercenary company, and a pirate and privateer. He begins building larger units of men, aiming for greater territorial ambitions, though his efforts are repeatedly thwarted - usually by the total massacre of his force excepting himself. But in his forties he finally succeeds, becoming king of Aquilonia, the most powerful kingdom of the age, having strangled the previous ruler on the steps to the throne.
The Conan stories are informed by the popular interest of the time in unscientific ideas on evolution and "social Darwinism". Are some peoples destined to rule over others? Are our physical and mental characteristics the result of our experiences or our inheritance from our ancestors?
The film Conan the Barbarian (1982) was written by the unlikely pairing of Oliver Stone and John Milius. The script draws material from a number of stories. It tells the story of Conan rising up in slavery and finally taking revenge on Thulsa Doom, the killer of his parents. The film was directed by John Milius and produced by Dino DeLaurentis. The title role was played by Arnold Schwarzenegger and was his break-through as an actor. A sequel, Conan the Destroyer (1984) was also made.
It must be noted that, in spite of the title and its qualities, the movie is not a proper Conan yarn. The only three elements properly tying the Conan movie to its literary namesake are 1) being called a Cimmerian and being the son of a blacksmith, 2) the opening speech about "Between the time the Ocean drank Atlantis and the rise of the Son of Aryas" and 3) the crucifixion episode, which is reasonably true to the one happening in A Witch Shall be Born . The rest is only loosely adapted. The episode when Schwarzenegger climbs the tower is obviously inspired from The Tower of the Elephant , but similarities are quite few. Some elements like the Secret of Steel, the Black Sun Cult of Seth, Conan's having been a mill slave for most of his adolescence, and his having served through the East as a gladiator are apparently from Milius' imagination (Howard's Conan was still with his tribe around the time he was 15 or 16, since it is about that age that he took part in the sacking of the Aquilonian outpost of Venarium). More disturbingly to Howard fans, certain elements seem to have been borrowed from non-Conan sources: the face changing Snake Folk, as well as Thulsa Doom are loosely inspired by Kull stories (though Howard's Thulsa Doom was a traditional necromancer, not a Serpent man), and Schwarzenegger's encounter with the werewitch bears some similarity with the Bran Mak Morn story Worms of the Earth .
Schwarzenegger also played a muscular sword-fighter (named "Kalidor" due to licensing issues) in the Howard-inspired Red Sonja (1985).
A fourth film based on the Hyborian setting, Kull the Conqueror, starred Kevin Sorbo as Kull, ancestor of Conan.
Conan has appeared in comics nearly non-stop since 1970. These are arguably, apart from the books, the vehicle that has made the greatest influence on the character.
Marvel Comics introduced Conan in 1970 with Conan the Barbarian, written by Roy Thomas and illustrated by Barry Windsor-Smith. Pencils on the title were later given to John Buscema, while Roy continued to write for many years. In 2001 Marvel let Conan go as part of a company-wide purge of licensed properties.
1971 Academy of Comic Book Arts Awards
Best Continuing Feature. Conan the Barbarian
1971 Academy of Comic Book Arts Awards
Best Writer (Dramatic). Roy Thomas.
1973 Academy of Comic Book Arts Awards
Best Individual Story (Dramatic). Song of Red Sonja.
1974 Academy of Comic Book Arts Awards
Best Continuing Feature. Conan the Barbarian.
Best Penciller (Dramatic). John Buscema.
Superior Achievement by an Individual. Roy Thomas.
Conan the Barbarian, (1970-1993) 275 issues
Savage Tales, (1971-1975) First 5 issues
The Savage Sword of Conan the Barbarian, (1974-1995) 235 issues
Conan the Barbarian Annual (1973-1987) 12 issues
Giant-Size Conan, (1974-1975) 5 issues
The Savage Sword of Conan the Barbarian Annual, (1975) 1 issue
Newspaper Strip, (1978-19??) ?? strips.
King Conan/Conan the King, (1980-1989) 55 issues
Handbook of the Conan Universe, (1985) 1 issue
Conan the Adventurer, (1994-1995) 14 issues
Conan, (1995-1996) 11 issues
Conan the Savage, (1995-1996) 10 issues
Conan vs Rune, (1995) 1 issue
Marvel Graphic Novels
The Witch Queen of Acheron, (Marvel Graphic Novel (MGN) #19, 1985)
Conan the Reaver, (MGN #28, 1987)
Conan of the Isles, (MGN #42, 1988)
The Skull of Set, (MGN #53, 1989)
The Horn of Azoth, (MGN #59, 1990)
Conan the Rogue, (MGN #69, 1991)
The Ravagers Out of Time, (MGN #73, 1992)
Marvel Conan the Barbarian Mini-Series
Stalker in the Woods, (1997) 3 issues.
The Usurper, (1997-1998) 3 issues.
Lord of the Spiders, (1998) 3 issues.
River of Blood, (1998) 3 issues.
Return of Styrm, (1998) 3 issues.
Scarlet Sword, (1998-1999) 3 issues.
Death Covered in Gold,(1999) 3 issues.
Flame and the Fiend, (2000) 3 issues.
Marvel Universe Appearances
Avengers Forever, #12 (19??).
Dr. Strange, #11 (volume 3, 19??).
Dr. Strange, #26 (volume 3, 19??).
Excaliber, #47 (19??).
Fantastic Four, #411 (19??).
Tomb of Dracula, #27 (19??).
Incomplete Death's Head, #11 (19??).
WhatIf, issues 13, 39, 43 and 16 (volume 2).
Conan the Barbarian - Movie Special, (1982) 2 issues.
Conan the Destroyer - Movie Special, (1985) 2 issues.
Marvel Age, issues 1, 2, 8 and 13.
Conan the Barbarian - Special Edition, (1983) Red Nails.
Conan Saga, (1987-1995) 97 issues.
Conan Classic, (1994-1995) 11 issues.
Marvel Treasury Edition, issues 4, 15, 19 and 23.
Marvel Super Special, issues 2, 9, 21 and 35.
Essential Conan, (2000) 1 issue.
Dark Horse Comics
Dark Horse Comics began their take on Conan 2003. Currently publishing the comic series Conan, written by Kurt Busiek and pencilled by Cary Nord . This series is a fresh interpretation, based solely on the works of Robert E. Howard, with no connection to the large Marvel run. Dark Horse Comics are also publishing digitally re-coloured compilations of the 1970's Marvel Comics Conan the Barbarian series in graphic-novel format. By Roy Thomas (writer), Barry Windsor-Smith, John Buscema, Ernie Chua (artists) and others.
2004 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards
Best Single Issue or One-Shot. Conan #0: The Legend.
2004 Eagle Awards
Favourite new comicbook. Conan.
Conan #0: The Legend,, (2003).
Conan, (2004+). 15+ issues.
Conan and the Daughters of Midora, (2004). 1 issue.
Conan and the Jewels of Gwahlur, (2005). 3 issues.
The Chronicles of Conan
Volume 1: Tower of the Elephant and Other Stories, (2003). Reprints Marvel Comics' Conan the Barbarian issues 1-8.
Volume 2: Rogues in the House and Other Stories, (2003). Reprints Marvel Comics' Conan the Barbarian issues 9-13,16.
Volume 3: The Monster of the Monoliths and Other Stories, (2003). Reprints Marvel Comics' Conan the Barbarian issues 14,15,17-21.
Volume 4: The Song of Red Sonja and Other Stories, (2004). Reprints Marvel Comics' Conan the Barbarian issues 23-26 and Red Nails originally published in Savage Tales.
Volume 5: The Shadow in the Tomb and Other Stories, (2004). Reprints Marvel Comics' Conan the Barbarian issues 27-34.
Volume 6: The Curse of the Golden Skull and Other Stories, (2004). Reprints Marvel Comics' Conan the Barbarian issues 35-42.
Volume 7: The Dweller in the Pool and Other Stories, (2005). Reprints Marvel Comics' Conan the Barbarian issues 43-51.
Volume 8: The Tower of Blood and Other Stories, (2005). Reprints Marvel Comics' Conan the Barbarian issues 52-60.
Volume 1: The Frost Giant's Daughter and Other Stories (2005). Collects issues 0-6 and fourteen pages from issue 7 of the ongoing series Conan.
Miscellaneous or Parody appearances
National Lampoon, (May 1972).
Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew!, (DC, 1982) issue 7. Written by Roy Thomas.
There are many video games based on the Conan character. Rastan , a coin-op and console game, is an example of these.
The Eye of Argon, famous as one of the worst fantasy stories ever written, is inspired by Conan.
In the 90s, Conan featured in the childens' animated series "Conan the Adventurer" and later "Conan and the Young Warriors."
He-man was created when Mattel attempted to create an action-figure line based around the comics. The toyline would go on to inspire the famous cartoon by Filmation.
"You cannot escape me!" he roared. "Lead me into a trap and I'll pile the heads of your kinsmen at your feet! Hide from me and I'll tear apart the mountains to find you! I'll follow you to hell!"
Conan did not hesitate, nor did he even glance toward the chest that held the wealth of an epoch. With a quickness that would have shamed the spring of a hungry jaguar, he swooped, grasped the girl's arm just as her fingers slipped from the smooth stone, and snatched her up on the span with one explosive heave.
"Keep back!" ordered Shah Amurath, watching him narrowly. "Ha!" It was like the bark of a timber wolf. "Shah Amurath, the great Lord of Akif! Oh, damn you, how I love the sight of you - you, who fed my comrades to the vultures, who tore them between wild horses, blinded and maimed and mutilated them - at, you dog, you filthy dog!" His voice rose to a maddened scream, and he charged.
Conan the Barbarian movie quotes:
Mongol General: "What is best in life?"
Conan: "To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women."
"Crom, I have never prayed to you before. I have no tongue for it. No one, not even you will remember, if we were good men, or bad. Why we fought, or how we died. No, all that matters is, that two stood against many. That's what's important. Valour pleases you Crom, so grant me one request, grant me revenge! And if you do not listen, then the hell with you!"
Conan, to Subotai: "Crom laughs at your four winds."