Conan has been an inspiration since 1932 and he returns to Marvel this month “to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and to hear the lamentations of their women.” Even though the Bronze Age had many anti-heroes, none stand apart as representing the age like Conan. This sword and sandals swashbuckler captures the essence and popularity of fantasy during that time period. There was a host of fantasy genre role-playing games, twelve Conan books that were (published by ACE), The Savage Sword of Conan (magazine) was in high gear with fans galore it had tons of John Buscema artwork, and Marvel Comics had the rights to Conan the Barbarian for their comic. The Hyborian Age was alive and well in the 1970s.
This month Conan the Barbarian #1 premiered in Marvel Comics the start of a new series written by Jason Aaron and drawn ably by Mahmud Asrar. It is too early to say whether this will be a hit. Personally, having grown up reading the ACE paperback versions with covers by Frank Frazetta; Jason Aaron’s take on the steely-eyed barbarian was dead on. The story is a rollercoaster ride so be ready for the plot twists.
(Fascinating Factoid: Frank Frazetta’s covers on the ACE books did not have anything to do with the story. Frank created his own story for each cover. No one cared, they are absolutely magnificent pieces of artwork and worth tens of thousands of dollars today).
The new book is too early to put a spin on value, but some of the variant covers are a nice homage to Conan (the sullen-eyed savage), and if you are into fantasy what is the harm in owning one? The reason to check out this comic is not for aesthetic beauty or creative writing. Buy it, to get a read on this potential feeler for Marvel and the MCU to create a future movie. Is this book testing the public appetite for another Conan movie? You know what that means: catalyst! I give any attempted remake two thumbs. Why not?
The primary key for Conan is his first appearance in Conan the Barbarian #1 by Roy Thomas (writer) and Barry Windsor-Smith (artist). This 1970s classic first appearance sold on ComicConnect for $4515 in December 2018, in grade (9.8) mint. Does this popular character make money as a long-term investment? Over the long-term, this book has continued to push up profits and make money for collectors. Current grade trends are positive: mint (9.8) at +13%, near mint plus (9.6) at +23.6% ROI. The mid-grades seem strongest with positive return trends: grade very fine (8.0) at +55.2% and grade fine at positive +44% ROI. Additionally, the lower-grades have also participated in grade very good (4.0) at positive+59.9%.
Funny thing is, this comic is as tenacious and consistent as it’s square-jawed champion. It has not been beaten yet. This book has been out of favor so long, and lacking in attention that it really hasn’t followed the mainstream keys like it should be doing. Translation: Conan the Barbarian #1 is just beginning to scale the wall of profit and plunder. With the sudden stir of a new Conan the Barbarian series at Marvel, consistent earnings over the past twenty years, and a younger generation that seems to enjoy fantasy just as much if not more than their parents, Conan the Barbarian #1 has a bright future. Scale the wall of worry like a true Cimmerian, throttle the guards, steal the Eye of the Serpent, grab a decent copy of Conan first appearance, and by Crom victory shall be yours!
Conan the Barbarian was created by Robert E. Howard in a series of fantasy stories published in Weird Tales in 1932.