Jul 29th 2007 By: Chris Dooley
The world's most famous barbarian will be going through some changes, starting with a relaunch of the Dark Horse comics series after issue #50. First, though, they'll be tying up some loose ends: after Tim Truman and Cary Nord wrap up their adaptation of "Rogues in the House" in Conan #44, original Conan writer Kurt Busiek and artist Greg Ruth will be finishing off Born on the Battlefield, their chronicle of Conan's youth in Cimmeria, with the climactic Battle of Venarium. The last three issues will be devoted to the end of Conan's career as a thief, as Truman and new series artist Tomás Giorello adapt the Robert E. Howard fragment "The Hand of Nergal." Issue #50, which will be a special double-size issue, will be the last of the series.
But fans of its eponymous hero needn't worry: after a month's break, Dark Horse will be bringing Conan back in a new ongoing series, titled Conan the Cimmerian. The new series will continue where the old one left off, bringing back Conan writer Timothy Truman and penciller Tomàs Giorello. And it wouldn't be Conan without Cary Nord, who will be providing cover art for Conan the Cimmerian.
So, what's new? Well, aside from the title, Conan the Cimmerian opens the second major chapter of Conan's life, as he changes from thief and rogue to mercenary and pirate. Timothy Truman explains, "REH divided Conan's life into distinct 'career' phases: first as a youthful thief and wanderer, then mercenary, to pirate, to border raider, scout, and finally king. During his thief era, he's less experienced-a daring, larcenous, wide-eyed lad from a mountain tribe who goes adventuring in the "civilized" world beyond his own. Later, he starts showing the scars of experience. He gets wiser, tougher, and more confident. His attire changes, as well. He dresses more elaborately and he buys and scavanges clothing and gear that reflects different countries that he's traveled to."
The relaunch also promises more cohesive series continuity. Editor Matt Dryer, who will be taking the reins of the new series, has high hopes: "With Conan, there have been a lot of opportunities to work with all sorts of really brilliant artists-folks like Eric Powell, John Severin, Bruce Timm, and Rafael Kayanan. But that got away from us. There just got to be too many stand-alone issues, and they were disrupting the continuity of the main story. That won't be the case on Cimmerian. We're refocusing on the main story and committing ourselves to an ongoing cohesive structure."
Timothy Truman is likewise optimistic about both the relaunch-and ready to get down to the business of writing the barbarian's new adventures, beginning with his return to his native Cimmeria. Says Truman, "The entire team is really excited. From here on out, we're going full gallop-- swords drawn, visors down and shields raised. Crom help the bastard that gets in our way."
Conan the Cimmerian is scheduled for release in May 2008.