Why Marvel Comics Losing the Conan License is Actually a Good Thing


Coming just a few years after they’d regained a license for publishing new stories based on Robert E. Howard’s pulp fantasies, Marvel’s now lost the right to continue further, as reported by ComicBook (via Bleeding Fool):


The Hyborian Age is coming to an end at the House of Ideas. Monday, Marvel announced Conan the Barbarian will soon leave the Marvel Universe at the conclusion of Jason Aaron and Mahmud Asrar’s King Conan series this July. The last issue will be King Conan #6, bring a definitive end to the character’s latest batch of stories at Marvel Comics.

Despite the character’s license leaving Marvel, the publisher also announced a new round of collection releases. This fall, Marvel’s releasing its sixth volume as part of the Conan the Barbarian Epic Collection, featuring a collection of vintage comics from Roy Thomas, John Buscema, Howard Chaykin, and Gil Kane. Fast forward to December and Marvel is releasing another collection, Conan the Barbarian: The Original Marvel Years Omnibus Vol. 10 with a cover from Todd McFarlane.

[…] It’s unclear what this means for the character’s future in the Savage Avengers title, which is launching its latest volume this Wednesday featuring the Barbarian serves as its anchor character. Malmberg adds that he hopes Heroic and Marvel are able to work out a deal to have the character still appear.


Coming as this news has shortly after Aaron caused a whole embarrassment by caving to a woke mob, one could wonder if the estate controlling the copyrights decided there’s a limit to all this. Well, they’d be right on that. Aaron has no business working in this career if he doesn’t have the courage to remain true to challenging beliefs. Now, the current Marvel run’s ending with a sputter, and it remains to be seen if any publisher who wants to adapt this classic creation for more comic adventures will show some more guts.



As for the Epic Collections Marvel appears to have retained rights to reprint so far, that’s something far better, provided it’s the 1969-95 tales they’re concentrating on at this point. Thomas, Buscema and Kane did far better with Conan during the original run than SJWs like Aaron ever will in a fortnight. And the Avengers crossover isn’t worth it with the way Marvel’s going now. On that note, Newsarama says:


Interestingly, Marvel’s announcement doesn’t mention the upcoming volume of Savage Avengers, which kicks off with a new Savage Avengers #1 on May 18. Conan plays a central role in the series as he did its last volume. However, Newsarama has learned that Conan will still play a part in Savage Avengers and Marvel plans to provide more info about that series and Conan’s role in it in the coming days.


Forget it, there’s just no point bothering, considering what a PC staff Marvel’s got running the store. I’m amazed that to date, they never reacquired the license to publish more Red Sonja stories, and probably not Kull the Conqueror stories either, though the former has suffered some harm from PC directions at Dynamite publishing at least a few times, no thanks to Mark Russell, and, lest we forget, whoever the editors/publishers are who agreed to hire him in the first place. Something that would surely happen had Marvel regained a license to the Sonja material too.



It’d be interesting to see if whoever gets a license to continue publishing Conan tales will not only be more respectable, but also acquire a license to deal with Red Sonja and Kull to boot. Then, they could really resume any team ups and guest appearances in each other’s books in a way that’s plausible, and respectable of what the characters were built on. And maybe win over a sizable audience along the way. But better still would be if they’d just shift to a trade-only format going forward, which could improve how storytelling is handled in the future.


As I’ve argued before, the monthly pamphlet format’s long gotten way out of hand, and become outmoded.


Originally published here.

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Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1