Recently, Marvel Comics announced they had acquired the Conan licence from Conan Properties for comic books, based on the Cimmerian warrior books written by Robert E. Howard. Dark Horse Comics reminded everyone that they still had the license until the end of 2018.
But that’s in the USA.
After the success of its recent Elric adaptation, one of the largest French publishers Glénat has decided to adapt 12 Robert E. Howard Conan stories into graphic novels.
Each adaptation will be from a different creative team, including the folk at CreART.
There won’t be any kind of “standard” look for Conan’s appearance. Each creative team will draw the Cimmerian their way.
The first will be published in May, adapting Howard’s early Conan work, The Black Colossus as a comic by Vincent Brugeas and Toulhoat.
Dark Horse already adapted it back in 2010 with Timothy Truman, Tomas Giorello, and Jose Villarrubia.
As well as a colour edition, it will also be published in black and white.
Because Robert E. Howard committed suicide in 1936, his work has been in public domain in Europe since 2006, 70 years after the death of the author.
In the USA, the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act adds an extra 25 years on that. So the Glenat work can’t be published in the USA, without breaking Conan Properties deal with Dark Horse and then Marvel Comics.
But equally, if Dark Horse wanted to keep publishing new Conan comic books — they probably could. As long as it was outside of the USA. But they couldn’t license or publish their already-published work internationally, as that was created under license from Conan Properties and is a new work in and of itself.
Let’s take a preview at what Glenat have planned for May.
Conan, once a wandering thief, tries his luck as a professional warrior, joining Amalric’s mercenary forces to live as a rank-and-file soldier. However, something much more than luck will lead Conan on a collision course with the strongest, strangest army he’s ever faced! Princess Yasmela-the city of Khoraja’s remaining sovereign-has been haunted by terrifying apparitions of the wizard Natohk, and when Natohk threatens to bring his demonic hordes to Khoraja, Yasmela prays to the god Mitra for help. Mitra actually responds and tells her to place the fate of her entire kingdom into the hands of the first man she meets out in the city streets-and that man is a drunk, hesitant barbarian! Conan may turn out to be Khoraja’s best hope for survival, but his distrust of the soft upper classes and their disdain for his common station may derail any possibility of working together to halt Natohk’s bid for world domination.