Taking a Stab at Conan Keys

by Matt Tuck

Conan the Barbarian has returned to Marvel Comics, and his new series is a hit with fans. With the rekindled mainstream interest comes a modest boost in his key issues. Could a full-fledged boom be on the way?

Conan-1-203x300 Taking a Stab at Conan Keys


For the Conan collectors, this is the issue to have. Certainly Conan has had a multitude of firsts over the years, but it’s his debut with Marvel Comics in 1970 that gives us the most iconic images of the character.

As collectors prepped for Conan’s triumphant return to Marvel, his first bronze age appearance has been in demand. In the past 90 days, only three of the 15 grades sold have lost value. While most grades aren’t making stunning gains, the 4.5 sold last month for $200 after averaging $95 in 2017.

Just for fun, let’s take a look at the fair market value for a 9.8. Considering the comic’s age, finding a copy in such high grade is rare, which is what drives up the value. The last time one sold was in October, and it went for $4,999.



Costa-Negra-1-228x300 Taking a Stab at Conan KeysLA REINA DE LA COSTA NEGRA #1

Although Marvel’s Conan #1 gets the credit for being the first appearance of our favorite Cimmerian, he actually made his comic debut in a Mexican comic in 1952 titled La Reina de la Costa Negra.

This is iteration was a far departure from Robert E. Howard’s short stories. In these pages, Conan is a blonde viking, and he is a supporting character rather than the protagonist.

Despite it being more He-Man than Conan, hardcore fans will want to add these golden age Spanish comics to their collections. However, they’re tough to find. There’s no listing for it in GoCollect, and mostly reprints are found on eBay. Of course, that only makes this issue that much sweeter of a find. It also makes it much more expensive, so be prepared to shell out a hefty price if you get your hands on one.


What-If-39-198x300 Taking a Stab at Conan KeysWHAT IF #39

Marvel has announced that Conan will meet the Avengers in the coming months, but What If already took a stab at the idea back in 1983 with a Thor/Conan showdown.

There have been very few copies of What If #39 sold. Since 2012, only four 9.8s have traded hands on eBay, and just seven 9.6s have sold since 2005. However, the prices for both grades has been quietly ascending. The last 9.8 that sold was for $180 in October 2017.

We haven’t seen a 9.6 sold since 2015, but that last sale was for $90. Factor in inflating prices and this comic at a high grade should bring well over the $100 mark. As the hype builds for the Conan/Avengers crossover, look for this issue to get more popular.



Conan-1-Dark-Horse-196x300 Taking a Stab at Conan KeysCONAN #1 (DARK HORSE COMICS)

From 2004-2017, Dark Horse assumed the publication rights to Conan, and there were many solid stories published in that run.

While Conan’s first appearance for Dark Horse will be a great addition to the hardcore fan’s collection, it doesn’t carry the weight of the 1970 Conan #1. That being said, this issue can be added to the collection for much less. You can get as high as a 9.8 for about $40.





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