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SYFY WIRE Conan the Barbarian

Exclusive: Jason Aaron teases the Barbarian's 'most gut-wrenching battle' in Marvel's new 'King Conan' miniseries

By Matthew Jackson

Back in 2019 writer Jason Aaron and artist Mahumd Asrar launched a new era of Conan the Barbarian comics at Marvel. Now, nearly two years after handing the series off to other creators, they're returning for one of the most-anticipated fantasy comics of the year. Brace yourselves for King Conan.

A long-anticipated project from Aaron and Asrar that promises to build on the story they told in the time-spanning "The Life and Death of Conan," the six-issue miniseries promises to take the legendary Cimmerian further than any creator has ever gone with him, even Conan's originator, Robert E. Howard.

"Well first off, with any Conan story I do, I'm always trying to pay honor and reverence to Robert E. Howard," Aaron told SYFY WIRE. "'The Life and Death of Conan' arc that I wrote for the kick-off of Conan the Barbarian was in every way meant as a tribute to the way Howard charted Conan's epic life. So even though we're charting some new territory with this King Conan story, I'm still trying to work in accordance with Howard's notes and thoughts on the later years of Conan's reign and life. This is the story of a Conan who has grown restless, as a king, as a natural born adventurer and as a father. I'm definitely looking to weave together all three of those roles into one epic saga, a tale that takes us from the throne of Aquilonia to an island of vultures and dark magic at the very edge of the known world."

At the end of "The Life and Death of Conan" back in Conan the Barbarian #12, Conan and his son, Prince Conn, rode off into the sunset together after a head-on battle with the Arch-Demon Razael. In the final moments of the story, Conn assumed that, with his battle won, his father's days of "aimless wandering" were over, prompting a hearty laugh from Conan. As you can see in the exclusive pages below, Conn was definitely wrong in that assumption.

For Aaron, returning to King Conan wasn't just about giving the Cimmerian one more big adventure, though. It was also about exploring what kind of adventurer he's become as an older man, and perhaps more importantly, as a father.

"Prince Conn plays a big role here. I was very interested in that relationship and what Conan would be like as a father," Aaron said. "The concerns Conan has about his son are really the spark that sets things in motion here. Well, I mean there's also the gold-hungry explorer and the doomed daughter of a great chief and the cursed island surrounded by maggot-infested waves and the greatest of all Stygian wizards, but let's not get ahead of ourselves."

Then, of course, there's the adventure itself, and the threats Conan will face along the way. Though he wouldn't give away much of King Conan's story, Aaron did offer a tease of just some of the threats the barbarian will face in what might be the greatest fight of his long, battle-filled life.

"The Serpent ring of Set. A curse as old as Acheron. Red apes from the lava hills of Khitai. A horde of undead sailors with salt-cured skin hard as barnacled chainmail," Aaron said. "Not to mention the confrontation that King Conan himself will come to call the toughest, most gut-wrenching battle he ever fought."

The battle begins when King Conan #1 arrives December 15.