Savage Sword of Conan

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Savage Sword of Conan
Cover of The Savage Sword of Conan #1 (Aug. 1974).
Art by Boris Vallejo
Publication information
Publisher Curtis Magazines
Marvel Comics
Schedule Monthly
Format Ongoing series
Publication date August 1974 – July 1995
No. of issues 235
Main character(s)
Creative team
Written by
Editor(s) Roy Thomas
Collected editions
Volume 1 ISBN 1593078382

The Savage Sword of Conan was a black-and-white magazine-format comic book series published beginning in 1974 by Curtis Magazines, an imprint of American company Marvel Comics, and then later by Marvel itself. Savage Sword of Conan starred Robert E. Howard's most famous creation, Conan the Barbarian, and has the distinction of being the longest-surviving title of the short-lived Curtis imprint.

As a "magazine", Savage Sword of Conan did not have to conform to the Comics Code Authority, making it a publication of choice for many illustrators. It soon became one of the most popular comic series of the 1970s and is now considered a cult classic. Roy Thomas was the editor and primary writer for the series' first few years (until issue 60), which featured art by illustrators such as Neal Adams, Dick Giordano, Barry Windsor-Smith, John Buscema, Alfredo Alcala, Jim Starlin, Al Milgrom, Pablo Marcos, and Walter Simonson. Painted covers were provided by such artists as Earl Norem, Bob Larkin, and Joe Jusko.

Savage Sword of Conan was published under the Curtis imprint until issue 60, when it became part of the Marvel Magazine Group. Stories from the comic were reprinted in the Marvel UK title of the same name.[1] The original run of Savage Sword of Conan ran until issue #235 (July 1995).

Marvel Comics reacquired the publishing rights in 2018, and started a new run of Savage Sword of Conan beginning in February 2019.

Publication history

The adventures in Savage Sword of Conan are not always consecutive (as they are in the color Marvel title Conan the Barbarian), and they cover different eras of Conan's life. The Savage Sword stories mostly feature an older Conan, and adapt R. E. Howard stories and pastiches starting from "Black Colossus" (according to the Miller/Clark chronology), thus following the Roy Thomas stories in Conan the Barbarian.

The first issue leads off with Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith's adaptation of one of Howard's shortest but most well-known Conan tales, "The Frost Giant's Daughter". This is one of Conan’s earliest tales chronologically. Still a teenager, he encounters a beautiful woman in the frozen north who leads him into an ambush by her giant brothers. Issue #2 featured another Howard adaptation, "Black Colossus", in which Conan faces off against a three-thousand-year-old sorcerer. This story teams long time Conan penciler John Buscema with his frequent partner Alcala. The cover of issue #5 sports a Boris Vallejo painting of Conan being crucified, from the story "A Witch Shall Be Born". This story features Conan at his most resilient, surviving a desert crucifixion to get revenge on the man who put him there.

Issues #6-10 included "People of the Dark", a 30-page tale scripted by Thomas and drawn by Alex Niño; the continued adaptation of Howard’s only full-length Conan novel, The Hour of the Dragon (the first parts having been printed in Giant-Size Conan #1-4); and the adaptation of "Iron Shadows in the Moon", by Buscema and Alcala, where Conan goes from chief of the Zuagirs to pirate captain of the Red Brotherhood.

The next three years of the title featured numerous adaptations of Howard stories (many by the art team of Buscema and Alcala), including "Shadows in Zamboula", "The Devil in Iron", "The People of the Black Circle", "The Slithering Shadow", "The Pool of the Black One", "The Tower of the Elephant", "Jewels of Gwahlur", "Beyond the Black River", "The Scarlet Citadel", "The Flame Knife", "Hawks Over Shem", "The Treasure of Tranicos", and "Wolves Beyond the Border".

A later issue (#204) adapts Howard's "Drums of Tombalku".

Collected editions

In 2007, Dark Horse Comics began issuing a series of trade paperbacks, collecting and reprinting early issues of the title, as well as stories which originally appeared in Savage Tales.[2]


Abbreviations: C = Conan, RS = Red Sonja, K = King Kull, TXT = Important article, RE = Later reprinted (Co = Conan the Barbarian, CoA = Conan the Barbarian Annual)

Issue Abbr Title Writer Artist Cover Re Notes
"Curse of the Undead-Man" Roy Thomas John Buscema,
Pablo Marcos
Boris Vallejo [3]
RS "Red Sonja" Esteban Maroto,
Neal Adams,
Ernie Chan
TXT Conan's Women Warriors Fred Blosser
"Blackmark", #1 Gil Kane Gil Kane
C "The Frost Giant's Daughter"
Re: Conan the Barbarian #16
Roy Thomas Barry Smith [4][5]
#2 C "Black Colossus"
3 parts
Roy Thomas John Buscema,
Alfredo Alcala
Neal Adams [6]
"Blackmark", #2 Gil Kane Gil Kane
KK "The Beast from the Abyss" Roy Thomas Barry Smith CoA #3 [7]
#3 KK "At the Mountain of the Moon-God"
#2: "Where Dark Death Soars"
Roy Thomas John Buscema,
Pablo Marcos
Mike Kaluta CoA #3
"Blackmark", #3 Gil Kane Gil Kane
KK "Kull of Atlantis" Barry Smith Barry Smith [8]
C "Demons of the Summit" Roy Thomas Tony deZuniga Co #87 [9]


The comic won the "Comic" British Fantasy Award in 1975 and 1976.[10]

See also


  1. ^ Savage Sword of Conan (Marvel UK) at the Comic Book DB
  2. ^ Savage Sword of Conan (Dark Horse Comics) at the Comic Book DB
  3. ^ a b Freely adapted from the story "Mistress of Death" by Robert E. Howard.
  4. ^ Adapted from the story "The Frost Giant's Daughter" by Robert E. Howard.
  5. ^ Here uncensored version. Page 1 slightly shrunken from the bottom.
  6. ^ Adapted from the story "Black Colossus" by Robert E. Howard.
  7. ^ Adapted from the story "Black Abyss" by Robert E. Howard & Lin Carter.
  8. ^ Quotations from the story "Exile of Atlantis" by Robert E. Howard.
  9. ^ Adapted from the story "Demons at the Summit" by Björn Nyberg.
  10. ^ Edwards, Jan. "The British Fantasy Awards: a Short History". (with additions from) David Sutton. Retrieved 14 October 2009.


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