Darkhorse Comics: reprint vs. new ones


Banded Mongoose
A few weeks ago I got a copy of Chronicles of Conan #1 (Marvel Comics reprinted). While two stories are really good (Tower of the Elephant & Devil Wings over Shadizar), most do not catch the Hyborian feeling resp. don't even try to catch it - at least in my limited view of things. So I don't plan to spend more money on the reprints (although they may be good fiction in their own right).

Another matter may be the new Conan comics by Darkhorse. I saw a collection, named Frost Giant's daughter: can someone tell me, whether these stories are more true to REH's Conan / Hyborian Age?

Thanks for your advice!

P.S.: To clarify what I didn't like in the reprint copy: a REAL existing god encountered by Conan (Bori), Zuleika's father is a flashy D&D sorcerer with a cool Darth Vader mask, the ape-men in the 2nd or 3rd story are an imitation of Planet of the Apes.
Go with the new Dark Horse series, which is very good and quite true to REH. The only possible exception might be the two or three issues which deal with his time as a slave in Hyberborea, though someone who is more conversant with the source material will have to confirm my feelings in that. I know that Conan (as a young man) had heard strange and amazing tales about the long life of the Hyperboreans, but the way it was handled in the DH series seemed out of joint to me.

Other than that one qualm, however, I have enjoyed the 16 issues so far. I haven't read Issue 0 yet.

As for the Marvel series, you have to pick and choose. Some are excellent, some are not.
Well, I didn't really like Dark Horse's high-magic Hyperborea. The inability to stick to Howard's vision of magic is pretty common, as most authors tend to use over-the-top-sorcery-propelled-stuff at one point or another. And Dark Horse's Hyperborea would make some Acheronians jealous...
The Chronicles are a reprint of the old Conan the Barbarian series (by Marvel). I must admit, owning some of the original material, that DH has done a pretty decent job. Better paper, restored (if not enhanced) colors, ... All in all, a nice (and reasonably cheap) way for people to read the old issues without having to hunt them on eBay.

I would only recommend not bothering with the Chronicles #1 to 3 since it's only from the #4 onward that John Buscema joined the team and he is really the one (IMHO) who gave the comics its 'Conan' feel.
I own a lot of the original Marvel Comics from the 70's (the issues reprinted in the Chronicles of Conan book you refer to) and I agree with you, the stories are pretty hit and miss.

The new Dark Horse Series (the Frost Giants Daughter book you refer to) has been excellent so far! I agree with the other posts in that the Hyperborian magic was a little too much, but other that that, its been great. The writer, Kurt Busiek, really captures the brutally of the Hyborean age, IMO. These stories are written for a much more mature audience than the old Marvel stories, I think. Also, there is another book collecting more of the Dark Hose stories due out in August.

I've been in this mega - Conan kick lately, rereading all of the Conan stuff that I own. The old Marvel Conan the Barbarian comics, the old Marvel Savage Sword of Conan Magazines, the old Marvel King Conan comics, the new Dark Horse Comics, the Robert Jordan Conan books, and , oh yeah, the orginal REH stories! You can tell, I've been a Conan fan for a while...
Can't recommend "The Frost Giant's Daughter" tradepaperback enough. Excellent start to the Dark Horse comic series. The Marvel trades are great fun as well and contain some of the best Conan pastiche stories ever. Personally, I like them both and hope we get more Conan choices in the future. Both are examples of the best in Sword & Sorcery in comic book form, IMO.
I personally really liked marvel´s Conan stories and bought the first 6 chronicles. Just then the store clerk pointed out that they also had the DH version. I didn´t really read much of it but just gave it a browse and to me it looked similar to Marvel´s version (from what I could tell) of course not identical. Now I haven´t read the REH originals since I´ve only got a few of them but not the first ones but I´ve been trying to get them (yeah go figure it´s hard to get them in Iceland but I´ll end up just ordering them from abroad). Anyway I think I´ll end up just buying both versions since I love him to pieces.
The two are very different. Much of the difference is down to the changing norms of comics. The Marvel book is in the Marvel style in terms of diction, Comics Code adherence, panel layout, use of narration; its Conan is a bit like a Marvel superhero with a costume. Kurt Busiek's comic is (if nothing else) an honest, able, and informed attempt to repastiche the Hyborian Age from scratch, using the comics medium without adhering to the habitual conventions of superhero comics. Neither exactly nails the tone of the original material, decades-later pastiches almost never do.
I feel the new comic go a long way toward the style and feel of the setting... I've never been interested in reading fantasy novels and stories as much but I AM interested in getting the right flavor for my Conan stories.

So I use the comics (both Marvel and Dark Horse) to gather ideas on style, plot and feeling of the setting.
Obviously I try to borrow the feelings that give the most toward the original Conan stories.

Ultimately mine the comics for ideas.
Buy them all if you can... if you can't or would rather not, personally I would start with the Dark Horse comics - the trade and the current issues. and then go back for the Marvel Chronicles.
hey... that's exactly what I did now that I think about it.

I also got alot from reading the introductions and notes of both series trades... and I love the last letter pages in the monthly comics for ideas....

good luck
I had collected the Dark Horse series up to issue 7, then quit because I was unhappy with the whole Hyperborea story arc, but was recently convinced by several friends to try, based on their adaptation of "The God in the Bowl" and I agree. I'm still missing #12 & 13, but it seems to me:

*When they "create" some story element, they go off the mark, but
*When they're adapting a story we know, they do a great job of visualizing the story and keeping true to tone, plot, character, etc pretty much.

The intro issue was interesting, nicely drawn, and the introductions were good. "The Frost Giant's Daughter" was a pretty good issue too, but I hated the whole Hyperborea story after, although I liked the girl introduced in that story. The issues after that have Conan travelling to Nemedia, and are fair to blah - he behaves way too much like someone well-steeped in civilization compared to his behaviors & actions in "The God in the Bowl"'s story, which further lowers their appraisal. And that's as far as I've gotten, awaiting #12 & 13.

They're interesting, at the least, and can help you decide what you like & what you'd rather not put in your game. I don't use them as such, but appreciate the visualization & storytelling method.

Lastly, FYI it seems that Dark Horse is collecting bands of issues and re-publishing them in p/b book format, a collection of comics 1-7 came out a while ago, and I assume they'll do so with further issues as well.

Hope this helps, I'm not a comic collector per se, so my language is wordy and perhaps ignorant here, these are just my reactions. :oops:
Hey, I'm a little bit overwhelmed with so many helpful replies! Thanks to all of you, who took their time to help me! I think I'll order the Frost Giant's Daughter collection soon...
The second arc has been announced for hardback publication in September , paperback should therefore follow in October based on Volume 1.

Can't find this on darkhorse.com. For September there is only Conan - Chronicles vol.8 listed - as far as I see.
At the weekend I got the 1st omnibus of Darkhorse' new CONAN comics: they are really good and are successful in catching Hyborian atmosphere - O.K. the Hyperboreans are maybe not the kind of people REH thought of, but the prologue ("Know, oh prince, that between the years..." illustrated with fantastic pictures) alone is worth the money!

I'm looking forward to the second volume!

Does someone out here know, if the Jewels of Gwahlur trilogy and the other series (Khitai) will be collected in a omnibus, too?
terryallenuk said:
Jewels is due out in December . No news on Khitai yet but I'd _guess_so.


Thanks, Terry! You're a lot of help to me - it isn't the first info I get from about planned and already published editions of REH / Conan!
René said:
...O.K. the Hyperboreans are maybe not the kind of people REH thought of...
Maybe, but since Kurt based his Hyperborea on the same source Howard did, Plato, his version is as likely as anyone's.
Faraer said:
René said:
...O.K. the Hyperboreans are maybe not the kind of people REH thought of...
Maybe, but since Kurt based his Hyperborea on the same source Howard did, Plato, his version is as likely as anyone's.

It's not CONAN, but maybe interesting that in Germany's esoteric circles at the end of the 19th century until WW II. Hyperborea was thought of as a real ancient, paradise-like country. This was one source of esoteric Nazism (Hyperborea = primal home of the latter white races).
I'll be the fool who defends the Hyperborean story. I know that I'll come off as an idiot, but I liked the ideas in the tale. The Hyperboreans may not be true to REH, but the story sure rang true to me. The story was nice and cruel and the tragic end seemed right to me. I'm by no means a Conan scholar as I've only read a few of the original stories. Let the rocks be thrown.