It looks like Marvel’s license to publish new comics based on Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian is coming to end.
Bleeding Cool first reported that Marvel’s licensing of the character will end, which was confirmed by Heroic Signatures CEO Fred Malmberg in an article on ComicBook.com. Heroic Signatures manages the Conan license in addition to other Howard-created properties like Solomon Kane and Kull of Atlantis.
Marvel seemingly confirmed the change in a vague press release, which states “Jason Aaron’s epic King Conan #6 will mark the end of Marvel Comic’s new adventures into the Hyborian Age, but the fan-favorite character will continue to appear in several exciting stories including the upcoming trade collections and omnibuses.”
According to Malmberg, the choice to end the license seems to be Marvel’s.
“We had a wonderful run with Marvel Comics but ultimately they have decided not to extend their license beyond this year,” the executive told ComicBook.com. “Conan has more than 50 years of comic book publishing. We took the decision to pick up the baton ourselves, not only for Conan but all the other wonderful characters and IP that we control. The publishing program will commence next year but exact details are not final yet.”
He also added that he’s open to crossovers and Conan guest appearances in future Marvel comics.
The news comes at an interesting time, as a new Savage Avengers title by David Pepose and Carlos Magno hits shelves tomorrow. That comic, which will feature Conan and a ragtag group of Marvel characters battling a rogue Deathlok, has been described as “a sword-and-sorcery riff on The Terminator” by its writer.
Marvel first started publishing Conan the Barbarian back in 1970 and held the license until the mid-1990s. It moved to Dark Horse in 2003. Marvel reclaimed it in 2018, and over the last four years has published several volumes of Conan, King Conan, Savage Sword of Conan and a previous Savage Avengers series featuring the character. Notably in this most recent run, Conan has been well integrated into the Marvel Universe, hanging with the likes of Wolverine, Venom and others in the pages of Savage Avengers. Conan also appeared in the Marvel #1000 anniversary celebration special.