DARKAGNES.jpgBy Crom, the line of Conan/Hyborian-themed comics that Marvel launched last year has been a success. So what to do for an encore? Why sign up more characters from the estate of Robert E. Howard, the prolific pulp author who dreamt up Conan, Red Sonja and many other iconic characters. Marvel has just announced that Solomon Kane, Dark Agnes and others will be making their way to the four colored pages.

“Our readers cannot get enough of Conan, and luckily, we have plenty more to give them,” said Editor Mark Basso. “We’re very excited for readers and the heroes of the Marvel Universe to meet or reunite with more characters from the legendary Robert E. Howard mythos!”

“With their world-building and storytelling expertise, we’re happy that Marvel now will go deeper into the Howardverse to explore more of all his fantastic characters, and spinning new, exiting yarns,” said Joakim Zetterberg, Executive Vice President at Conan Properties.

Marvel has already published titles including CONAN THE BARBARIAN, SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN, and AGE OF CONAN: BÊLIT and VALERIA.

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Solomon Kane and Dark Agnes are among the character licensed by Conan Properties. These characters still don’t include Red Sonja, however, whose adventures are published by Dynamite as part of a long, complicated history of rights. Nor do they seem to  include Kull the Conquerer, another iron thewed barbarian who was last published by IDW.

However even without Sonja and Kull, there will be no lack of material. Howard – who lived in Texas and espoused the white supremacist ideas typical of the average Weird Tales writer and shot himself in the head at age 30 – had a fertile imagination and lots of characters to draw on.

Solomon Kane is a gloomy 17th century Puritan who wanders the world fighting evil. He had his own Marvel comic back int he day and was the subject of a low budget film starring James Purefoy a while back.

Dark Agnes is another feisty redheaded swordswoman, this time from the 17th century. Her stories were published after Howard’s death but she would seem to be a new addition to the comics line-up.

This Wikipedia page lists other Howard characters, most of them not as well known as Conan. Among the best known though is Bran Mak Morn, an ancient Celtic adventurer. There’s also one called Sailor Steve Costigan.

I have no idea who Sailor Steve Costigan is, but we need a comic about him STAT. I nominate Jeffrey Brown or Lucy Bellwood to write it!

Marvel sent along some uncredited concept art fro Dark Agnes to show they are serious about this.

Are you excited about more Robert E. Howard characters coming to Marvel? Let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page!

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10 COMMENTS

  1. The irony here is that the Hyborian version of Red Sonja was created by Roy Thomas and Barry-Windsor Smith for Marvel Comics. The Howard character on which she was based existed in the Middle Ages.

  2. Swell headline. Doesn’t reveal any bias at all. You’re getting more and more like Bleeding Cool every day. So…congrats, I guess? Is that something to which one aspires?

  3. Not gonna lie, Dark Agnes sounds like it has potential. That piece of art at the top isn’t half bad. More intriguing to me than Conan, and… whoever the other guy is

  4. I really wish comic-book companies would let this old IP fade away, and focus on creating some new characters. Anyone who cares about Solomon Kane and the rest can read Howard’s stories and the old comics, as I did years ago.

    But media companies think there’s a gold mine in old IP, everything from the Banana Splits and Dark Shadows to the Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Sonic the Hedgehog. There’s supposedly an army of nostalgic Boomers, nostalgic Gen X’ers and nostalgic Millennials who can’t wait for these revivals.

    No such army exists, but the companies keep reselling the past. To diminishing returns.

  5. How come these are not public domain already.
    I mean Conan joining the Avengers is the most ludicrous thing ever since the Swordsman back in the Don Heck days :)

  6. “Howard – who lived in Texas and espoused the white supremacist ideas typical of the average Weird Tales writer and shot himself in the head at age 30”

    He also managed to transcend them with characters like Ace Jessel (the only of his many boxing characters who was a world champion, one of the few non-comedy characters he wrote from the first person – and he was black), N’Longa (Solomon Kane’s ally who gives him a lesson in humility) & several other notable characters of colour, not to mention awesome female characters like Dark Agnes and the original Red Sonya (not to be confused with Red Sonja).

    Howard was a man of his time who was aware of his audience, but I’m more interested in what made him distinctive from his pulp adventure peers & imitators, not the stuff that made him the same as them. Marvel could do worse than look to those atypical characters for inspiration.

  7. Al, that’s a measured take on Howard’s work.

    Just for the record – I grew up reading Conan, ERB and other pulpy, problematic writers. Howard and Burroughs did try at times to overcome the racist narrtives of their times – and didn’t always succeed. Btu sometimes they did.

    Whitewashing history won’t do us any good though.

    I look forward to seeing Howard’s character refashioned for this infinitesimally more enlightened time.

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