Before the oceans drank Atlantis there was.... (Aku voice)
Conan, is one of my favorite characters of any genre. The savage barbarian was created by R.E. Howard. R.E. Howard created Conan for a pulp magazine called Weird Tales in the 30's. His pin pal and, another one of my favorite writers, was HP Lovecraft, of Cthulu fame. RE Howard also created several other characters including Kull, and Solomon Kane, but none of them equaled the ferocity of Conan. Unfortunately Howard killed himself in 1936, so the Conan info is scarce or made up from others. Conan is not quite dungeons and dragons in anyway. There are monsters in Conan, but they are so rare that their very presence is a taint of the mortal coil. Ie any monsters that appear in Conan send tremendous fear and extrude extreme power. Conan fears magic anyways. Not that he is against sticking a bastard sword in the first beast he sees. Conan reacts perhaps with the mind of a beserker, but according to his history he is well skilled in many arts. His appearence deceives those into believing he is a simple minded barbarian.
In the 1980's Conan was brought to the lime light again with the Conan Movies and Marvel's Conan Magazines and Comics.
The Conan comics are pretty good from the 1980s. Some of them are over-colored and outdated. But there is a great several issue story line towards the end of the series. Conan, and companions, fight off a demon and kill hundreds of annoying soliders. One of his men is a giant with spiked fist gloves. Another has duel maces. Duel maces, Yeh cannot beat that.
The movies are by far the near perfect imbodiment of what I would have hoped for a Conan movie. Arnold Schwarzenegger, fresh off the boat, was absolutly perfect for the role. I enjoy both the first and second movie. The second movie may be a bit hokey but it is cool seeing Conan fighting a couple monsters and wizards. And the guy who does Aku's voice is still in the movies.
The movies follow the general idea of Conan well. The first one captures his savagery very well. The pit fights are crazy. And you get to hear the infamous Arnold yell. URGGGRH. I highly recommend buying the duel dvd pack of the movies. Listen to the directorial commentary with Arnold. It's almost like the director and Arnold barely remember making the movie. Arnold also amuses the audience by recollecting only the other body-builders' names and insists on his patent sexist comments towards the women. Truly Classic. However foreboding there will be no Conan 3. Atleast not a movie with Arnold. For the love of god look at his body now. It looks like somebody stabbed his pecks and they deflated into melted pumpkin skins.
Unfortunately Conan's Film future looks bleak. So enjoy what we have of the barbarian. Till then I will sit and think.
I recommend buying the original Conan novels from RE Howard and not that garbage that kept getting edited by others. These are the original stories:"The Phoenix on the Sword" - December 1932
"The Scarlet Citadel" - January 1933
"The Tower of the Elephant" - March 1933
"Black Colossus" - June 1933
"Xuthal of the Dusk" (as "The Slithering Shadow") - September 1933
"The Pool of the Black One" - October 1933
"Rogues in the House" - January 1934
"Iron Shadows in the Moon" (as "Shadows in the Moonlight") - April 1934
"Queen of the Black Coast" - May 1934
"The Devil in Iron" - August 1934
"The People of the Black Circle" - [3-part serial] September, October, November 1934
"A Witch Shall Be Born" - December 1934
"Teeth of Gwahlur" - (as "Jewels of Gwahlur"; working title "The Servants of B??t-Yakin") - March 1935
"Beyond the Black River" - [2-part serial] May, June 1935
"The Man-Eaters of Zamboula" (as "Shadows in Zamboula") - November 1935
The Hour of the Dragon (novel) - [5-part serial] December 1935; January, February, March, April 1936
"Red Nails" - [3-part serial] July, August-September, October 1936
I also suggest getting the ones with Frank Frazetta covers like these..
This one with the monkey man is a bad ass story.