Heroic Signatures President Fredrik Malmberg recently explained why he chose to make a deal with Titan Comics to publish new Conan the Barbarian stories despite receiving multiple requests from other publishers.
In an interview with Andre Einherjar of Midnight’s Edge, Malmberg first explained their plan was to self-publish new Conan the Barbarian and Savage Sword of Conan stories after Marvel Comics chose not to renew the license to continue publishing.
He said, “It sort of started leaking out that we were not going to be with Marvel for much longer and we were approached by a number of publishers who then wanted to collaborate, co-publish, or take out a license. But at that point we were already, ‘Nope, we’re not going to do another license. We’ll do this ourselves. We want to be true to Robert E. Howard. We don’t want to be bound by any comics code or anything like that.'”
RELATED: Titan Comics To Collect And Publish Original ‘Conan The Barbarian’ And ‘Savage Sword Of Conan’ Comics In Omnibus Editions
He continued, “So we very quickly ended up actually with Titan Comics. I know the owner and founder, Nick Landau, and his wife Vivian very well. When I ran the tradition game stores in Sweden, Nick Landau and Titan Distributors were the go-to distributor for all of mainland Europe for sci-fi books and stuff. So we’ve known each other a long time.”
“And we had entered the year before into an agreement where we would be publishing new Conan novels, books, short stories, eBooks through Titan for the English language. And so it was actually a very quick discussion with them where we needed to sort out the financial details, but they really wanted to come in heavily on our publishing plans so we made an agreement with them very quickly,” he explained.
Later in the interview Malmberg detailed, “There will be more Conan published than in a long time and hopefully people will buy it and solicit it from their comic book stores and support it.”
“We’re really listening to the fans and I hope this will be a long and great creative run, I really do,” he concluded.
RELATED: New Report Claims Prime Video Abandoned A Conan The Barbarian TV Series Because Of “Toxic Masculinity”
Titan Comics announced their deal with Heroic Signatures at the end of October 2022 where they revealed that a new ongoing Conan the Barbarian comic series would debut in July 2023 from writer Jim Zub, artist Roberto De La Torre, and colorist José Villarrubia. Not only did they announce this new series, but they also teased, “This will kick off a brand-new, exhilarating series of comics of characters from across the Conan and wider Robert E. Howard mythos!”
At the time, they did not release any details about what the new comic story would be about, but Midnight’s Edge spoke with writer Jim Zub about the series where he provided some details about the new series.
Zub said, “We’re not doing serialized in the sense that we’re going to have Conan at the start of his career and then just every single moment from his early days into every single moment of his prime into the king. We are going to move around quite a bit, but there’s going to be kind of these bigger, broader kind of stories that we’re going to tell.”
“Conan’s life is a series of these kind of cool, echoing patterns where things that happen to him in his younger days have an effect on him in his prime and potentially have an effect on him later, you know, as the king. So we wanted to kind of explore that stuff,” he elaborated.
RELATED: Marvel Writer Jason Aaron Issues Apology, Donates Pay After Being Accused Of Racism Over New King Conan Character
From there, Zub discussed how the story arcs jump around in Conan’s life, “The very first story is — I don’t even think we’ve named the story arc yet so I’m going to keep that close to my chest — but the stuff that happens in the first story arc is self-contained. It’s an adventure that you can read and enjoy from start to finish, but then the second story, even though we jump ahead a little bit in the timeline, there’s connective tissue there, plot wise. And the same thing will happen with our third story arc.”
“That if you read the entire first year of Conan the Barbarian, the new series at Titan, you’re going to get this really cool, epic adventure. And it’s all going to kind of round out and be really, really enjoyable from start to finish, and yet, you can also read kind of each one, each arc on its own and not feel completely lost. There is sort of a nice demarcation point of okay a new adventure begins. If you’ve been reading along you’ll enjoy it, you’ll know these bigger kind of picture things that we’re doing, but you’re not going to be left out in the cold if you haven’t been reading the entire series,” he proclaimed.
Zub would also be asked if there is a difference in restrictions under Titan and Marvel. He revealed that Marvel does indeed restrict the violence depicted in a Conan series.
He explained, “I don’t think the Marvel book was necessarily restrictive in the sense that Marvel’s got their broader kind of expectation in terms of violence that you can put on the page. Titan’s even looser in that way. It’s much more like the classic Savage Sword. We’ve got violence in the book that I never would have been able to get away with at Marvel, right in the first issue.”
“The violence is intense. We’re lopping off limbs. The women are absolutely stunning,” he continued. “It’s pretty classic kind of pulp fantasy in that way. There is big love, and big violence, and big everything. It is intense.”
RELATED: Marvel Comics Censors King Conan #2 Artwork Following Accusations Of Native American Cultural Appropriation
The official description for Conan the Barbarian #1 states, “Years after the battle of Venarium, a weary CONAN returns to his homeland to seek rest and solitude. However, a mysterious scout rides in to warn the Cimmerians of an imminent threat on the march from the Pictish wilderness. Will CONAN and his new ally be able to hold off this new horde of invaders?”
The first issue will feature covers by Dan Panosian, Roberto de la Torre, Argerm, Patch Zircher, Mike Mignola, and E.M. Gist. Other covers include a wraparound Hyborian Age map, a virgin foil Conan movie replica, and a blank sketch cover.
The first issue arrives in comic book stores on July 26, 2023. It will retail for $3.99.
Do you plan on picking up this new Conan The Barbarian series?
NEXT: Chuck Dixon Pens New Conan The Barbarian Novel ‘The Siege Of The Black Citadel’ In Robert E. Howard’s Bravura Writing Style