Conan the Phenomenon

Review by C.J. Bunce

This month Dark Horse Comics is re-releasing the 2007 guide to the history of Conan the Barbarian, Conan The Phenomenon: The Legacy of Robert E. Howard’s Fantasy Icon.  Not in print the past few years and costly to obtain via online retailers in its original hardcover edition, this new paperback edition includes all of the original edition’s visually dense look at the history of Conan, which will appeal to longtime fans and new fantasy fans curious about this classic sword and sorcery character.

The overview of Conan begins with a prologue by Michael Moorcock that delves into the historical context of Robert W. Howard as creator of Conan the Barbarian in his very short time as a writer (he died at 30).  Moorcock explores why the character was an outgrowth of the times of the early 20th century.  The book then takes a unique look at the influence of living in bleak rural Texas on the young writer and how it came through in Howard’s creation of Conan’s world.

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