Conan the Barbarian
Know, oh prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the years of the rise of the Sons of Aryas, there was an Age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars /.../ Hither came Conan, the Cimmerian, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.
Conan the Barbarian (also known as Conan the Cimmerian, from the name of his homeland, Cimmeria) is a literary character created by Robert E. Howard in a series of fantasy pulp stories published in Weird Tales in the 1930s.
- 1 Setting
- 2 Characteristics
- 3 Appearance
- 4 Abilities and Characteristics
- 5 Influences
- 6 The Original Robert E. Howard Conan Stories
- 7 Adaptations and revisions
- 8 Characters
- 9 Quotes
- 10 External links
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 gleaming cities, and the years of the rise of the Sons of Aryas..."
Conan is a Cimmerian (not to be confused with the historical Cimmerians), 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 subsequently, after Howard's death, by others), encountering fabulous monsters, evil wizards, and beautiful wenches and princesses - he has travelled throughout the world and been 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. Although Conan's adventures often result in him performing heroic feats, his motive is more than often his own survival, enrichment or rise to power and he thus displays many of the characteristics of an anti-hero.
Conan has "sullen blue eyes," long black hair, stands at least 2 m (6 ft 6 in) and weighs over 90 kg (200 lb) though this is a later extrapolation and Howard never gives dimensions for either. In the tales no human is ever described as either bigger or stronger than Conan, although several are mentioned as taller or fatter. Although Conan is muscular, Howard frequently compares his agility and way of moving to that of a panther (see for instance Jewels of Gwahlur, Beyond the Black River or Rogues in the House). His skin is frequently characterised as bronzed from constant exposure to the sun and his garb is most commonly a loincloth, sandals and a sword of some description, depending on his fortunes and location.
During his reign as King of Aquilonia, Conan was "... a tall man, mightily shouldered and deep of chest, with a massive corded neck and heavily muscled limbs. He was clad in silk and velvet, with the royal lions of Aquilonia worked in gold upon his rich jupon, and the crown of Aquilonia shone on his square-cut black mane; but the great sword at his side seemed more natural to him than the regal accouterments. His brow was low and broad, his eyes a volcanic blue that smoldered as if with some inner fire. His dark, scarred, almost sinister face was that of a fighting-man, and his velvet garments could not conceal the hard, dangerous lines of his limbs." (The Hour of the Dragon which can be found in the anthology The Bloody Crown of Conan, pg. 89-90). He loses none of his vigour with age with the above description coming when he is in his mid 40's.
Though several later authors have referred to Conan as "Germanic-looking", Howard imagined the Cimmerians as a proto-Celtic people. Racially the Cimmerians to which Conan belongs are descendants of the Atlanteans, though they do not remember their ancestory.
Abilities and Characteristics
Despite his brutish appearance, Conan uses his brain as well as his brawn. The Cimmerian is a talented fighter, but due to his travels abroad, he also has vast experience in other trades, especially the thiefly one; he is also a talented commander, tactician and strategist, as well as a born leader. In addition, Conan speaks many languages, including advanced reading and writing abilities : in certain stories, he's able to recognize, or even decipher, certain ancient or secret signs and writings (like when he uses the sign of Jhebbal Sag in Beyond the Black River) (but noticeably, he apparently is never shown by Howard reading Stygian, though he can speak it), and his very first appearance (in The Phoenix on the Sword) shows him busy writing. Another noticeable trait is his sense of humour, largely absent in the comics and movies, but very much a part of Howards original vision of the character, particularly apparent in Xuthal of the Dusk AKA The Slithering Shadow. He is a loyal friend to those true to him with a barbaric code of honour and chivalry that often marks him as more civilized than those more sophisticated people he meets in his travels. Indeed his straighforward nature and barbarism are constants in all the tales.
One idea that is constantly emphasized is that Conan cannot be defeated in hand-to-hand combat. Conan needs only to have his back to the wall so that he cannot be surrounded, and then is capable of engaging and killing opponents by the score. This is seen in several stories, such as Queen of the Black Coast and A Witch Shall be Born. Yet Conan is far from untouchable and is captured several times (knocking himself out running into a wall drunk after being betrayed, although he still slays the people initally sent to arrest him, a fall from a wounded horse) but never as a result of martial failings.
Howard corresponded with H. P. Lovecraft, though it is extremely unlikely that they ever met, 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.
The Conan stories are informed by the popular interest of the time in 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? Is human civilization a natural or unnatural development? As Conan remarks in one story:
- Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing. (Howard, The Tower of the Elephant, Weird Tales, March 1933)
Additionally, some fans such as comic book artist Mark Schultz have concluded that Conan was an idealized alter ego for Howard. Unlike the modern, stereotypical view of a brainless barbarian (mainly from his appearances in movies and comics), Howard originally created Conan as a thoughtful but melancholic figure who often battled with depression, much like Howard himself (the writer eventually committed suicide). However, Howard's Conan is unaffected by such feelings:
- Let teachers and priests and philosophers brood over questions of reality and illusion. I know this: if life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and I am content. (Howard, Queen of the Black Coast, Weird Tales, May 1934).
The Original Robert E. Howard Conan Stories
Conan stories published in Weird Tales
- The Phoenix on the Sword (Dec 1932)
- The Scarlet Citadel (Jan 1933)
- The Tower of the Elephant (Mar 1933)
- Black Colossus (Jun 1933)
- Xuthal of the Dusk. Published in Weird Tales as The Slithering Shadow (Sep 1933)
- The Pool of the Black One (Oct 1933)
- Rogues in the House (Jan 1934)
- Iron Shadows in the Moon. Published in Weird Tales as Shadows in the Moonlight (Apr 1934)
- Queen of the Black Coast (May 1934)
- The Devil in Iron (Aug 1934)
- The People of the Black Circle (Sep/Oct/Nov 1934)
- A Witch Shall be Born (Dec 1934)
- Jewels of Gwahlur (Mar 1935)
- Beyond the Black River (May/Jun 1935)
- Shadows in Zamboula (Nov 1935)
- The Hour of the Dragon (Dec 35/Jan/Feb/Mar/Apr 1936). Novel.
- Red Nails (Jul/Aug/Sep 1936)
Conan stories by Howard not published in his lifetime
- The Frost Giant's Daughter. Originally a Conan story, but after being rejected, Howard revised it. Retitled as The Gods of the North, the main character's name changed to "Amra of Akbitana". The original version has inter alia been published in 2003 in The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian.
- The God in the Bowl. Published inter alia in 2003 in The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian.
- The Vale of Lost Women. Published inter alia in 2003 in The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian.
- The Black Stranger. Rewritten by L. Sprague de Camp as The Treasure of Tranicos. Howard's version published in 1987 in Echoes of Valor.
Unfinished Conan stories by Howard
- The Snout in the Dark. Fragment.
- Drums of Tombalku. Fragment.
- The Hall of the Dead. Synopsis only.
- The Hand of Nergal. Fragment.
- There also exist a number of untitled synopses of Conan stories.
- Wolves Beyond the Border - a non-Conan story set in Conan's world. Fragment.
- The Hyborian Age - an essay on the Hyborian Age, the fictional setting of the Conan stories. Published in 2003 in The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian.
- Cimmeria - a poem written by Howard in 1932. Published in 2003 in The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian.
Following Howard's death, the copyright of the Conan stories passed through several hands. Eventually, under the guidance of L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter, the stories were expurgated, revised, and (in some cases) completely rewritten. For more than fifty years, Howard's original Conan stories remained out of print. In the 1980s and 1990s, the copyright holders took Howard's stories out of print entirely, while continuing to sell pastiche works by other authors (see below).
Then, in 2000, Gollancz Science Fiction, a British publisher, issued a two-volume, complete edition of Howard's Conan stories as part of their Fantasy Masterworks imprint (including several stories which had never seen print in their original form). Gollancz' edition used the original versions of the stories as published in Weird Tales.
In 2003, a British publisher named Wandering Star made an effort to both restore Howard's original manuscripts and to provide a more scholarly and historical view of the Conan stories. They published deluxe hardcover editions in England, which are being republished in the USA by the Del Rey imprint of Ballantine Books. The first book, Conan of Cimmeria: Volume One (1932-1933) (2003; vt The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian 2003 US) includes Howard's notes on the fictional setting, as well as letters and poems concerning the genesis of his ideas. It also includes the first thirteen Conan short stories Howard wrote, published between 1932 and 1934. This volume has been followed by Conan of Cimmeria: Volume Two (1934) (2004; vt The Bloody Crown of Conan (2005 US), with the final title forthcoming in fall 2005: Conan of Cimmeria: Volume Three (1935-1936) (2005; vt The Conquering Sword of Conan 2005 US). Between the three books, readers will finally have all of the original unedited Robert E. Howard stories available for the first time.
Adaptations and revisions
The character of Conan has proven durably popular, resulting in pastiche Conan stories being assembled by later writers such as Lin Carter, L. Sprague de Camp, Karl Edward Wagner, John Maddox Roberts, Andrew J. Offutt, J. Ramsey Campbell, Poul Anderson, Richard A. Lupoff, Björn Nyberg, Robert Jordan, Steve Perry, Leonard Carpenter and John C. Hocking. Some of these pastiches have finished incomplete Conan manuscripts by Howard (listed above). Others were created by rewriting Howard stories which originally featured entirely different characters from entirely different milieus. Most, however, are completely original works. In total, more than fifty pastiche novels and dozens of short stories featuring the Conan character have been written by authors other than Howard.
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 ruthless warlord who was responsible for the genocide of his parents and his people. Later Thulsa Doom turns into a devious cult leader, who runs a fallacious, evil religion. The intrepid, vengeful Conan, the archer Subotai, and the ravishing thief Valeria set out on a quest to save a beautiful princess and negate the power-hungry megalomaniac. 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. The originator of the Conan movie project and its Associate Producer, Edward Summer had originally planned for there to be a series of Schwarzenegger Conan films much like the James Bond series. Summer outlined six stories for this film series, but none were ever made. Elements from the original screenplay by Summer and Roy Thomas were utilized, but their much more authentic screen story has never been filmed in total.
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, and many elements introduced by the film are inconsistent with Howard's stories. The episode when Schwarzenegger climbs the tower is obviously inspired from The Tower of the Elephant, Also, while a Valeria appears in Red Nails, that character's attachement to Conan and her coming back from the dead to save him are more akin to the Bêlit of Queen of the Black Coast but otherwise similarities are quite few. Some elements like the Riddle 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 in Cimmeria 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 (which is also evoked by Thulsa Doom's lines about fearing the dark and the night). Moreover, the Conan character portrayed by Schwarzenegger did not display much of the "panther like agility", nor did it have the trademark characteristic "black mane" and "volcanic blue eyes", of Howard's original character.
Despite these discrepencies, it may be fair to call Conan the Barbarian a film inspired by Howard's universe (more than a movie adaption of a specific story or a true depiction of the character created by Howard) and although the changes from the Howard stories turned off many fans, the film to a certain extent reflects the "spirit" of the Hyborian world, and is a richer story than is credited (although the character portrayed in the film is lacking many of the qualities of Howard's original character), with interesting themes and symbols scattered throughout (the special edition DVD has some insightful commentary by the director and Schwarzenegger himself).
Schwarzenegger also played a muscular sword-fighter (named "Kalidor" due to licensing issues) in the Howard-inspired Red Sonja (1985).
A fourth film was based on the (pre) Hyborian setting, Kull the Conqueror, starring Kevin Sorbo as Kull, an Atlantean (the ancestor race of Conan's own people, the Cimmerians) who, like Conan, advanced in rank in more civilized lands and became king by force, and now must contend with those who don't like his rule.
This short lived series, "Conan: the Adventurer", featured a more caring Conan, and involved much less blood and gore.
Two animated series from the early '90s feature a muscle-bound Conan character.
The first animated series, also called "Conan: the Adventurer" (1992), involved Conan chasing the serpent men across the world in an attempt to release his parents from eternal torture as living statues. It is a typical example of the action-adventure cartoon genre of the time. It should be noted that "Wrath-Amon" is possibly Thoth-Amon renamed and remodeled from the comics.
The fact is Conan the Adventurer was loosely based from the novels. Instead of a Conan who is bloody, a womanizer, thief and so on, he's much more like He-Man a kind and caring character, an honest fellow who went to fight against the sorcerer Wrath-Amon (loosely based on Thoth-Amon) to free his parents though they were killed in the original line.
The second animated series, "Conan and the Young Warriors" (1994), saw Conan as a mentor to three young adventurers, focusing mainly on the young characters.
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. He was succeeded after several issues by penciler John Buscema, while Thomas continued to write for many years. Marvel's Conan stories were used as source material for the 1982 and 1984 films, with Thulsa Doom as a reccurring villain.
John Buscema, in a 1994 interview, spoke of being Marvel's first-choice for Conan artist: "I was approached by Roy Thomas with the project to do Conan. He mailed a couple of the paperbacks to me and I read 'em and I loved 'em. I told Roy, 'THIS is what I want, something that I can really sink my teeth into....' [A]t the time, Marvel was owned by Martin Goodman, and he felt that my rate was too high to take a gamble [with] on some new kind of [project]. It wasn't a superhero or anything that had been done before. The closes thing to that would be Tarzan. Anyway, he had no confidence in spending too much money on the book, and that's where Barry Smith came in — [he was] very cheap. I know what he got paid, and I'd be embarrassed to tell you how much it was, because I'd be embarrassed for Marvel."Template:Fn
- 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.
- Core appearances
- 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 Miniseries
- 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 (1998).
- 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??).
- Miscellaneous appearances
- What If...?, 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.
- Template:Fnb} Comic World (U.K.) #37, March 1995, reprinted in Comic Book Artist #21. Aug. 2002, p.31b Interview conducted Oct. 2, 1994.
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 Chan (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.
- Core appearances
- Conan #0: The Legend, (2003).
- Conan, (2004+). 16+ 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.
- In 1984, Datasoft released Conan: Hall of Volta for the Apple II and Commodore 64.
- In 1990 Minscape released Conan for the Nintendo Entertainment System NES
- In 1991, Virgin Interactive released Conan: The Cimmerian developed by Synergistic Software, Inc. for Amiga and DOS.
- In 2004, TDK Mediactive released Conan, a video game developed by Cauldron Ltd.. It is a third-person action game, available for Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox and the GameCube.
- In the first half of 2006, Conan will be released in MMORPG form in Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures.
- Two modules for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons
- CB1 Conan Unchained! (1984)
- CB2 Conan Against Darkness! (1984)
- Conan Role-Playing Game (1985) by TSR, Inc., and 3 official game adventures:
- CN1 Conan the Buccaneer (1985)
- CN2 Conan the Mercenary (1985)
- CN3 Conan Triumphant (1985)
- GURPS Conan  a GURPS version by Steve Jackson Games.
- Conan The Roleplaying Game (2004), an OGL System version by Mongoose Publishing with over a dozen official adventures and supplements.
Parody and other references
- Terry Pratchett has parodied him with the Discworld character "Cohen the Barbarian."
- Thrud the Barbarian is a British comic strip that is an obvious parody of Conan.
- Ator was a character created by Italian director Joe d'Amato to capitalize on the popularity of the Conan movies. Four movies were made which featured the Ator character. One of these films - Cave Dwellers - was later featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000. As a result, the film now enjoys modest success as a cult favorite.
- Numerous "Conan the Librarian" parodies have cropped up, including sketches in "Weird Al" Yankovic's comedy film UHF and on the children's television series Reading Rainbow.
- Additionally short book, Colin the Librarian parodies the genre as a whole - the Conan character replaced by "Krap the Conqueror" and "Colin", a socially disfunctional librarian from Earth.
- Independent comic legend Dave Sim's 'Cerebus the Aardvark' also began as a Conan parody, Sim modelling his early art style on that of Windsor-Smith.
- Yet another popular parody of Conan has been 'Groo the Wanderer' by Sergio Aragones.
- The bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans was nicknamed Conan the Bacterium after the character.
- 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.
- He-Man was created when Mattel attempted to create an action-figure line based around the comics and Schwarzenegger film, but later balked when they saw the R-rated footage. After much work already done they tweaked the designs and went on to create a very popular toy line of the 1980s which would inspire the famous cartoon by Filmation. The property made a comback during the nostalgia period in 2003.
- Italian metal band Domine's song The Aquilonia Suite Pt. 1 from their Emperor of the Black Runes album is based on the story told in the movie version of Conan the Barbarian. The song is primarily an original composition, but parts of the film score are woven into the song as well. Since the song is titled part 1, the band presumably plans to continue the Conan story on a later album.
- Stoner rock band Electric Wizard feature Conan in their song Barbarian from their Dopethrone album.
- American heavy metal band Manilla Road did a song based on the Conan story Queen of the Black Coast. The song shares the title of the story, and is found on their Metal album.
- Thundarr the Barbarian early 1980's animated series of a barbarian living on a post-apoclytic earth ala "Escape from New York". Thundar would spout Conan reminiscent "swear" such as "Demon-dogs!" and "Lords of Light!"
The following characters have prominent or recurring roles in the Conan series.
Quotes from Howard's original Conan stories
- Arus saw a tall powerfully built youth, naked but for a loin-cloth, and sandals strapped high about his ankles. His skin was burned brown as by the suns of the wastelands and Arus glanced nervously at his broad shoulders, massive chest and heavy arms, A single look at the moody, broad-browed features told the watchman the man was no Nemedian. From under a mop of unruly black hair smoldered a pair of dangerous blue eyes. A long sword hung in a leather scabbard at his girdle. (The God in the Bowl)
- "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!" (The Frost Giant's Daughter)
- Conan stood paralyzed in the disruption of the faculties which demoralizes anyone who is confronted by an impossible negation of sanity. (The Devil in Iron)
- 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. (Jewels of Gwahlur)
- "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. (Iron Shadows in the Moon)
- "...Free my hands and I'll varnish this floor with your brains!" (The Scarlet Citadel)
- "Crom!" his mighty shoulders twitched. "A murrain of these wizardly feuds! Pelias has dealt well with me, but I care not if I see him no more. Give me a clean sword and a clean foe to flesh it in. Damnation! What would I not give for a flagon of wine!" (The Scarlet Citadel)
- "Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." (The Tower of the Elephant)
- "Did you deem yourself strong, because you were able to twist the heads off civilized folk, poor weaklings with muscles like rotten string? Hell! Break the neck of a wild Cimmerian bull before you call yourself strong. I did that, before I was a full-grown man...!" (Shadows in Zamboula).
- "... you speak of Venarium familiarly. Perhaps you were there?" - "I was," grunted [Conan]. "I was one of the horde that swarmed over the hills. I hadn't yet seen fifteen snows, but already my name was repeated about the council fires." (Beyond the Black River).
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." (Note that this is actually a quote from Ghengis Khan)
- "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."
- King Osric: There comes a time, thief, when the jewels cease to sparkle, when the gold loses its luster, when the throne room becomes a prison, and all that is left is a father's love for his child.
- Valeria: To the hell fires with Thulsa Doom. He's evil; a sorcerer who can summon demons. His followers' only purpose is to die in his service. Thousands of them.
- Valeria: All my life I've been alone. Many times I've faced death with no one to know. I would look into the huts and the tents of others in the coldest dark and I would see figures holding each other in the night. But I always passed by.
- The Wizard: Between the time when the oceans drank Atlantis, and the rise of the sons of Aryas, there was an age undreamed of. And onto this, Conan, destined to wear the jeweled crown of Aquilonia upon a troubled brow. It is I, his chronicler, who alone can tell thee of his saga. Let me tell you of the days of high adventure!
- Thulsa Doom: Infidel Defilers. They shall all drown in lakes of blood.
- Thulsa Doom: My child, you have come to me my son. For who now is your father if it is not me? I am the well spring, from which you flow. When I am gone, you will have never been. What would your world be, without me? My son.
- Conan's Father: For no one - no one in this world can you trust. Not men, not women, not beasts. This you can trust.
[Points to sword]
- Thulsa Doom: Yes! You know what it is don't you boy. Shall I tell you? It's the least I can do. Steel isn't strong boy, flesh is stronger! Look around you. There, on the rocks; that beautiful girl. Come to me my child... [Girl leaps to her death] That is strength boy! That is power! What is steel compared to the hand that wields it? Look at the strength in your body, the desire in your heart, I gave you this! Such a waste. Contemplate this on the tree of woe. Crucify him!
- Valeria: Do you want to live forever?
- Thulsa Doom: Now they will know why they are afraid of the dark. Now they learn why they fear the night.
- Thulsa Doom: I wish to speak to you now. Where is the Eye of the Serpent? Rexor said that you gave it to a girl; probably for a mere night's pleasure. Such a loss. People have no grasp of what they do.
- Subotai: He is Conan, Cimmerian, he won't cry, so I cry for him.
- Black Lotus Street Peddler: Two or three years ago it was just another snake cult.
- The Wizard: I'm a wizard, mind you. This place is kept by powerful gods and spirits of kings. Harm my flesh and you will have to deal with the dead!
- Valeria: All the gods, they cannot sever us. If I were dead and you were still fighting for life, I'd come back from the darkness. Back from the pit of hell to fight at your side.
- Conan: For us, there is no spring. Just the wind that smells fresh before the storm.
- Conan official website
- Conan the Barbarian at AmratheLion.com
- Hyborian Age of Conan the Barbarian
- Stories of Robert Howard on Wikisource
- Hour of the Dragon Robert Howard's full length Conan novel, considered by many to be his best work
- Maps of the Hyborian Age
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- TSR Conan Role-Playing Game
- Conan Adventure modules from TSR
- Conan RPG by Mongoose Publishing