BACK ISSUE #11: An In Depth Look at Marvel's Take on Conan

Thoth Aw C'mon

I came across a magazine I'd never heard of called "Back Issue" that focuses on the Comic Book industry at my friendly local comic shop. Well, the shop is not so friendly and not so local, but its got a lot of neat rpg and comic product so i try to make it out there every six weeks or so. Anyhoo, issue #11 of Back Issue is all about Marvel's take on Conan from his first appearence to the end of CTB and Savage Sword. And it ends discussing briefly his current run by Dark Horse. Its quite a good article and worth getting for 'Nan fans. Also it has some great art in there, and an interview with Sergio Aragones discussing everyones favorite goof-ball satire of barbarians, namely Groo.

Some highlights of the interview include: the fact that Conan the Barbarian #1 is apparently considered the first comic of the bronze age of comics. Also, it states that its the first #1 comic that speculators hit on hard: some dealers apparently, smelling a hot commodity, horded huge stacks of them for themselves and immediately marked them up before putting them on the shelves for sale. It even states, though doesnt go into depth about, that the mafia was somehow obtaining large numbers of CTB #1 ("they musta fell off a truck") and offering them to comic book dealers.

Also, humorously, it states that Stan Lee, after a brief dropped off in sales, looked over the comic's covers and declared:"Less animals, more people." Apparently Conan was on the covers of the early CTB fighting a lot of animals and beasts, but not any human enemies. Stan didnt read the comics but merely offered that advice. Must have worked. It also states that comic producers felt that "Skeletons Sell."

Actually the article states CTB did get cancled for a day, but was quickly reinstated.

I got to get some of those great CTB comics it mentions throughout the article! Actually, with the Chronicles of Conan, I'm getting to read a lot of those old CTBs that I missed from years back. It has some stuff on Conan the Censored: no its not the scantily clad females that are ubiquitous on CTB covers that caused the problems: it was the gore that got cut out. The cover of issue #149 especially had to be redone due to the depiction of a zombie with his arm chopped off by everyone's fav barbarian.

Humorously the article also mentions how Barry Smith later let it be known that he would be henceforth known as Barry Windsor Smith, then later he changed it to Barry "P Diddy" Smith, then back to Barry Windsor Smith ( haw haw! :) ). Similarly Ernie Chan later became Ernie Chua, then again later becoming known as an unpronouncable symbol, then becoming Ernie "Puff Daddy" Chua, then sensibly back to Ernie Chua (haw haw!- never get tired of "Puff Daddy" Jokes...who the eff does that jackass no talent think he is?"). Anyhoo, its a great lil' article packed full of 'Nan goodness.

And lastly, don't know if you've all heard about this, but the Groo article makes mention of a possible Groo/Conan crossover comic! It states that Dark Horse has contacted the Groo people about doing a Groo/Conan crossover- but its nothing serious yet. They want to do one that doesnt do damage to either Groo or Conan. But sounds like fun! :D


Hey Thoth - that is a great issue. I love the Joe Jusko cover! Great art and articles - like you said. Mark and Sergio did appear to be serious about a Conan/Groo crossover but you never can tell with those two!

I liked the Suydam interview as well - his Death Dealer pics are great. And the story about the lost King Arthur comic by Conway and Nestor Renaldo (great artist as well) was really cool as well.

A great Conan and comic magazine!

'No Puff' Strom :D