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Savage Sword of Conan: Conan the Gambler

Let’s begin with a bit of a backstory, shall we? Conan the Barbarian has been around a very long time, it was originally created by Robert Howard (who was also responsible for creating Kull the Conqueror back in 1927) for Weird Tales magazine way back in 1932. That’s 6 years before Superman made his first appearance in Action comics in 1938. So, when we’re talking about Conan, we really are talking about a legend. You can always tell a great comic when the National Lampoon and Mad Magazine does parodies.

For any comic franchise to last 88 years is an amazing accomplishment. Very few characters reach that level of continued success over that period of time. If you’re unfamiliar with Conan in the comics, you must have, at some point, seen a movie about Conan, which probably was played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Conan is a Cimmerian warrior, who has been described as massive, agile, with volcanic eyes, a dark mane, and moves like a panther. The latest film was Conan the Barbarian in 2011 played by Jason Momoa, yes the very same person who plays Aquaman. The movie was an attempt to not recreate Conan but rather to bring Conan more into the original concept that Robert Howard intended. Unfortunately, the film wasn’t greeted by the critics very well and flopped at the box office.

Savage Sword of Conan: Conan the Gambler

Written in 2019 by Meredith Finch, Roy Thomas, and Jim Zub under the Marvel Comics banner, released in 2020, this installment of Conan has him stripped of his strength, his weapons and his wits and deep in a game of Serpents Bluff in the underworld of civilized gambling. Do you remember how James Bond must navigate the incredibly dangerous and unpredictable realm of poker or other casino games? Conan the Barbarian doing the same with a game that is clever and all about backstabbing, just like in the best real money casinos. Like any Conan story, it is interlaced with mystery and intrigue with your usual intense battles against unbelievable odds. But Conan, unlike many heroes, is not unbeatable, he has been defeated and captured many times in his career, and even knocked himself out once running into a wall.

Now that Marvel has acquired the rights to Conan from Dark Horse comics in 2018 ( who published 172 issues from 2004 to 2017, not including specials ) there are even rumors that he may, one day, make it into the Avengers platform. Which isn’t a far stretch if you consider who Marvel has currently lined up, and that there were several issues of Conan the Avenger back in 2014. No doubt Marvel bought the rights because they have plans larger than just the publication of more comics. And with a character that has endured the test of time they no doubt have a winner on their hands that can only enhance the Marvel portfolio. After all, why would they purchase the rights if they thought otherwise?

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