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SYFY WIRE marvel comics

Exclusive Preview: Gerry Duggan puts the steel to Marvel's new Savage Sword of Conan #1

By Jeff Spry
Savage Tales Cover Slice

The barbaric yawp of Conan the Cimmerian will resound across the rooftops of comicdom as Marvel resurrects a classic title showcasing the exploits of Robert E. Howard's burly nomadic warrior.

Curtis' (a Marvel imprint) original Savage Sword of Conan was a mainstay in the mid-'70s in its black-and-white, magazine-style format decorated with the compelling words and art of such legendary creators as Roy Thomas, Neal Adams, John Buscema, Boris Vallejo, Gil Kane, Jim Starlin, Mike Kaluta, Barry Windsor-Smith, and many more. Packed with swashbuckling tales from the heart of the Hyborian Age, it endured a potent 235-issue run that ended in 1995.

Savage Sword Original Cover

Now a fresh five-issue miniseries bearing the same name, written by Gerry Duggan (Deadpool, The Infinity Gauntlet) and matched with stunning art by veteran penciller Ron Garney (Silver Surfer, Daredevil), is poised to invade stores Feb. 13.  To set the scene and stir your emotions, SYFY WIRE has an exclusive chat with its esteemed author and a sneak peek at the intense interior art.

Savage Sword Cover A

Savage Sword of Conan #1 is the second release in Marvel's current cavalcade of new Conan titles after Jason Aaron and Mahmud A. Asrar's flagship Conan the Barbarian #1 charged into comic shops on Jan. 2. Besides the stellar duo of Duggan and Garney, the limited run will spotlight covers by the inimitable Alex Ross, with variants by Kevin Eastman, Rahzzah, and George Perez.

The storyline finds Conan embroiled in a perilous plight against the killer Cult of Koga Thun and a mystical treasure that might save the Hyborian Age. He's adrift at sea, barely alive with no food and water, but the lionhearted Conan isn't so easily dispatched. When Conan is captured by bloodthirsty pirates, he unleashes his epic rage on the unsuspecting crew, whose deadly secrets will plunge Conan on the trail of an ancient discovery that may prove to be his certain death!

Savage Sword Garney Art Slice

SYFY WIRE spoke with Duggan on his lifelong itch to play in Robert E. Howard's historic Conan sandbox, working with the immensely talented Ron Garney, and where this macho new miniseries is headed. After the chat, check out our exclusive page preview in the gallery below!

Savage Sword of Conan Slice

There's a raw elemental force inhabiting REH's Cimmerian warrior.  How did you tap into that with your new series?

I went back and read some of the classics from REH, and spent the last few months talking Conan with my pal and writer Ryan Condal, who is a giant Conan fan. I recall chatting with Jason Aaron at one of our last retreats and we were shaking our heads -- we couldn't believe we're getting to travel to Hyboria with some of our favorite artists. Writing Conan is a great source of stress release, too. When I had a bad day, I would use Conan's clenched fist to pay it forward.

Do you have any favorite aspects of the collaboration with Ron Garney that had you sharpening your creative axe?

Oh, I've always wanted to work with Ron, he's been one of my favorite artists for so long, and to be able to collaborate with him on this is just a dream come true. And Richard Isanove's colors are sublime. Richard's a big Conan fan, too -- and their love is evident on every page.

Savage Sword Of Conan Page Slice 2

You're known for barbed humor in your memorable Deadpool run.  Will there be any jokes injected into this Hyborian Age story?

Ha. Well, we'll see -- I think there is always an opportunity for a laugh even if the tones are very different. Conan uses a severed flaming limb as a weapon in the second issue, as it happens to be the only thing within reach that he can use to swing at his enemy. I think both Conan and me got a good laugh out of that.

Why do you think Conan is the perfect Marvel character to resurrect in 2019?

Conan belongs at Marvel. I love that he's back home. I know John Nee, and C.B. Cebulski and everyone at Marvel is proud to be publishing Conan again. One of my favorite stories as a kid was the Spider-Man/X-Men/Dr. Strange tale in the pages of X-Men that guest-starred Kulan Gath. We create stories where anything is possible ... and there are a lot of exciting possibilities on the horizon for Marvel fans and Conan fans. I'm so appreciative of the chance to help tell some of these stories. It's a great time to be a Marvel fan. Thanks to C.B., Conan Editor Mark Basso and everyone at Conan Properties for giving me the chance to swing a sword with Conan. I hope you all enjoy the comics as much as we've enjoyed putting them to print.