A first glimpse into a much bigger world

Yesterday Funcom announced that they are going to build an open-world survival game set in the time of the Hyborian Age. Today they’ve already talked to IGN about Conan Exiles, giving them some more exclusive information on the details and the structure of the experience, that Early Access players will be able to experience in the coming summer.

Naturally the details are still vague and sound grandiose, but that is to be expected in a game, that is trying to carve its niche and build the hype for Conan Exiles Early Access release. Here are the bullet points we’ve extracted from the well written piece on IGN:

The World

  • Conan will only be in the game at the beginning, setting/leading the players into the patch of land that is the game world
  • The game world is not part of the known Hyborian Kingdoms
  • It stretches from Cimmeria to Stygian lands (with jungles and other areas in between)
  • The map will be 53 square kilometers big (twice as big as Skyrim) and grow from there
  • There will be old ruins and mysteries
  • Nudity will take place

The Crafting

  • Players will be able to craft buildings and items inspired by different Hyborian Age cultures
  • Different buildings will use different materials found in the different areas of the game world
  • Focus on freedom, you can build anything, anywhere, but it will be harder – due to different resources available for “unfitting” types of buildings

The Combat

  • Fast paced, supposedly First Person with an external Third Person view existing
  • Bloody and brutal
  • Focus on production values of the combat (animations, sound etc.)
  • With something like combos, but not Age of Conans combat system

New to the survival genre

  • Gods gameplay mechanic – sacrifice players on the altar of the different gods to gain advantages
  • NPCs attacking this “border kingdom” from the outside trying to purge the up comers
  • Storytelling through items, locations and mystery (comparison: Dark Souls)

The Tech

  • Servers can be configured by the hosts in detail
  • Most likely Unreal Engine (we guessed that ourselves from the screenshots)

All in all we think these details outline the potential for a great open world game. One that might even achieve, what none of the myriads that live in the harsh worlds of Steams Early Access have done: longevity. Most of the games there ride a hype wave, drag players with them and when the boredom kicks in they wander to the next game.

We can only hope that Funcom has the game design chops to solve the dark mystery of the Second Day Problem, that plagues all the Indie titles. Crom, I’ve never prayed to you before… and because I don’t want you to ruin the game out of anger, I will not start now. Leave the game alone, let the game designers carve their own niche with the strength you’ve given them at birth. Make it so! (I hope we have enough movie references in this article to make everyones eyes roll)

Conan takes care of future exiles!

Funcom, the company behind the acclaimed MMORPG Age of Conan, has announced that they are working on a new game in the Hyborian Age, featuring our most favorite barbarian: Conan. In Conan Exiles, the players takes on the role of a survivor in a barbaric wasteland. The game very much sounds like a more brutal version of ARK – a famous open world survival game and this guy couldn’t be happier about the news.

If you are not familiar with those types of games, they are mostly about the experience of being thrown into a – usually – unforgiving world, that you have to survive against all odds to succeed. Your character starts off as a fragile, often naked, understaffed, nameless creature in a random place of a virtual world. You have to fend for yourself, fight off increasingly more difficult enemies and harvest resources to basically survive. That is the jist of almost all survival games (Savage Lands, The Forst, ARK and even Minecraft, although it’s technically not only a survival game).

Most of those games were inspired by Minecraft, which offers much more than the sub genre of survival games, but its core design is what brought the sub genre – by now a genre itself – to live.

Conan Exiles now wants to bring a barbarian perspective to the table, and I am sure will also sprinkle the otherwise very free form open-world game with pieces of lore and background – why else would you make a game based in such an amazingly detailed and rich world without using some of its splendor.

The first screenshots and an introductory trailer look pretty good and my wild guess would be, that they are using the Unreal Engine, just like they did with their other MMORPG spin-off The Park. The game is supposedly coming to PC and consoles in the summer of 2016 and I am sure, I will meet many of you on the sandy hills of Conan Exiles, to SURVIVE. BUILD. DOMINATE. *wink*

Honest interview with Fredrick Malmberg (CEO Conan Properties Holder)

Howard enthusiast, author and general nice guy extraordinaire Patrice Louinet got together for an interview with the newly crowned CEO of all things Robert E. Howard and all things Conan – Fredrik Malmberg. Mr. Malmberg was once the CEO of Paradox Entertainment, the company that held the rights to Robert E. Howard’s works and was the mother company of Conan Inc. He also was one of the producers of the Conan The Barbarian film from 2011 and was involved in the creation of several prestigious Conan licensed projects like the new line of Dark Horse Comics and the MMORPG Age of Conan.

The goal of the interview was to get down and dirty with the facts of the newly formed Cabinet Holdings – that took over the REH rights from Paradox – and their plans for our beloved Barbarian. Patrice couldn’t help but to wink at TheArnoldFans reporting every second week that the film Legend of Conan will finally happen. Thankfully Mr. Malmberg was quoted in full and we have a definite – albeit vague – answer on the state of the film.

Fred Malmberg: The fans are really supportive of the idea of this new Conan film, and have been since we announced it almost two years ago. Until we have a greenlight from the studio, there are no solid facts as we are still in the development phase. The script needs to be finished. Of course the whole team behind this project is working really hard to make it happen. That includes my producing partner Chris Morgan and his entire team, Arnold and his people, as well as Jeff Kirschenbaum and Universal who have been big supporters from the start.

It gives me hope to see Mr. Malmberg up and about with the license, because even though I wasn’t the biggest supporter of the 2011 Conan the Barbarian with Khal Drogo – Jason Momoa – as Conan, I see a genuine interest in the works of Robert E. Howard in his actions and I hope that he will succeed in his quest not only to build a strong, sellable Conan license, but also in bringing to life a pre-ancient Hyborian Age in all kinds of formats, that we all yearn for.

Arnold Conan movie script is finished!

According to TheArnoldFans.com, the new Conan film has taken the next step to becoming a reality. One of the producers and Conan license holder Fredrik Malmberg told TheArnoldFans that the newest iteration of the script – which already had three different writers assigned to it – was met with great excitement at the production company Universal. There is no shooting date set yet, but understandably Mr. Malmberg wants to start earlier rather than later. Although Arnold recently said in an interview about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s future plans, that he is not sure to have time to film it this fall as it was planned by the studio.

The film officially has no director assigned to it yet, nor is there an official shooting date planned. According to different sources there has been location scouting in Spain, NewZealand, Colombia and other locations, but since Universal has experienced scouts, it is hard to tell where the movie will ultimately take place. The original Conan the Barbarian from 1982 was shot all across Spain, utilizing the unique aspects of the landscape and even some medieval cities as the background for model extended scenes (entry of the first city Conan and Subotai enter after he has freed him from his shackles).

At this point the talks of a great script have been going on for more than two years and it is hard to tell if this is just yet another interview of the producers trying to keep the hopes up and the excitement pumped so the studio doesn’t lose hope or interest in the projects realization, or if they really reached a level of script quality where the project can be fast tracked and be on its way. As usual with Hollywood there is a lot of speculation and it will be some time until we have official word on if, when and how the project will come to live.

On a related note: Check out this well done Conan The Barbarian fan film from the eastern part of Europe! We would like to seem more honest efforts like this to bring our favorite Barbarian to the albeit smaller screen. Keep them coming guys!

Arnold Speaks on Conan, Sequels, and younger action stars

Arnold’s getting a fair bit of play. Shortly after the MTV interview, IamRogue.com has its own piece, with more details – such as the interesting statement that Universal are interested in doing multiple movies:

While it appeared for a little while there that Terminator 5, directed by Justin Lin, would be the first famous character Arnold would reprise after dabbling in politics, that project doesn’t have the requisite momentum.  Instead, Schwarzenegger will dust off Conan’s sword and go on another adventure across Hyboria as Robert E. Howard‘s pulp hero.  Tentatively titled The Legend of Conan, the new film would act as a successor to John MiliusConan the Barbarian and its less popular sequel Conan the Destroyer.

Schwarzenegger singled out Milius’ 1982 film as a model for the new effort in explaining just how the new Conan came about at Universal, saying,

“Let me just say that a lot of it has to do with timing. That’s what show business and politics have in common. It’s a lot of it is timing, and I think that I would’ve chosen to do Conan already if it would’ve been ready, but the Universal studio just bought the rights to Conan, they have an executive over there that happens to be a big believer in bringing back that character, and Universal was the first one to do the movie with Dino DeLaurentiis, and now they want to be back and do a bunch of Conan movies, but do it high-quality, not as a B-movie, to do it high-quality like the first one was John Milius directed and Dino DeLaurentiis produced and Universal has presented. So they want to go back to that. So that will be ready by sometime this year.”

Despite the invocation of his work, there’s been no indication that Milius will be involved in this new movie.  The driving creative force behind The Legend of Conan is Chris Morgan, the Fast Five screenwriter who created the new story and may or may not be writing the script, depending on his obligation to write the seventh The Fast and the Furious installment.  Morgan is executive producing alongside Fredrick Malmberg.

After some discussion of Triplets and other projects, there’s a brief mention of a certain other action star whose name is frequently brought up in the “who could play Conan/his son” debates:

In 2003, Schwarzenegger made an uncredited appearance in The Rundown, in which he figuratively handed off the action-hero baton to erstwhile The Rock, Dwayne Johnson.  As to the possibility of starring alongside the younger actor, who will be seen shortly in both G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Pain & Gain, Schwarzenegger replied with a laugh,

“I think it would be great for him, for The Rock to play the earlier generation and me the later generation. I’m looking forward to that.”

… OK.

Editorial

Last year, I wrote a piece on The Legend of Conan for my REHupa fanzine “Elephants, Figs, and Lobsters with Wigs,” which ended up being relevant to several topics here, particularly the idea of forming a new Conan franchise around Arnold. To exercise my extremely presumptuous armchair businessman, I presumed that this was a stop-gap for Paradox. It doesn’t fit into their actions for the past decade, where they’ve actively shied from the Universal Conan outside a few deals like the Blu-Ray release and sword replicas. Their goal was to expand Howard’s existing characters and develop new franchises from them: characters they understand, characters they own, characters they control. They don’t control the 1982 Conan nearly as much as they’d like, and they’d likely always have to deal with Universal when it comes to that corner of the franchise.

This, then, was the result of Paradox being backed into a corner, making a deal with the elephant in the room they’d avoided so long. There’s simply no point now in seeking for anything remotely Howardian in the film, for not only would it be unlikely, but counterproductive, since the more Howardian elements in the Ahnold franchise, the more the Ahnold franchise is undermined by the comparison. As such, criticizing the film for its lack of Howardian elements is, at this stage, largely a moot point: why would it be Howardian, when it’s set in the Kurosawa-Ford-Nietzchean parallel universe of John Milius’ concoction? You might as well complain about a film based on the Adam West Batman series for eschewing the grim, gritty tone of the Detective Comics.

I initially thought that The Legend of Conan was a swan song for the Milius Conan, closing the story that began 30 years ago, a curtain call for a 1980s stalwart, the grand finale of an action movie legend. And frankly, it didn’t seem like it could be any other way: depressing as it is, Arnold Schwarzenegger is in his sixties, and he cannot be the big badass action hero forever. I believe iconic literary characters like the original Conan are too great to be tied to any single actor, but the fact remains that the version of Conan created by Stone & Milius is inextricable from Arnold Schwarzenegger, because the part was effectively tailor-made for him. There is no point in a Milius-Conan movie without Arnold. There simply didn’t seem to be any cinematic future in The Legend of Conan, for without Arnold, what could be done with the franchise? If Universal is indeed considering making multiple Conan films, what could they be about?

There are possibilities, of course, but none of them are remotely satisfying to me. The obvious one is that they will all star Arnold in his later years. The problem here is that films with the high quality Arnold and company are suggesting take quite a while to make, and Arnold doesn’t have much time on the clock: injuries, operations and health problems are already affecting him, and while it’s certainly possible he could be as spry in his old age as Jack Palance was in his ’80s, it would nonetheless relegate him into a supporting role in his own series. Alternately, perhaps they want to go have it both ways: a new, younger Conan, but this time based on the 1980s film. A prequel starring Roland Kickinger, bridging the gap between Barbarian and Legend? Jason Momoa had a bad enough time of people erroneously suggesting he was trying to fill Schwarzenegger’s shoes or take over “his” role, how bad would it be for a new Conan who is explicitly replacing Schwarzenegger?

Another possibility is that Conan’s son – and it will be a son, Hollywood isn’t imaginative enough to cast Antje Traue or Gina Carano as Conan’s daughter – will carry on the adventures in the Hyborian Age in a spinoff franchise. That’s even worse, as it not only has no Arnold, but no Conan: assuming that Kon or Conn or whatever he’s called is charismatic and compelling enough to justify a film based on his exploits, there’s still a pretty significant gulf between a character based on one of the most influential and enduring characters in 20th Century fantasy fiction, and a character with none of that cultural resonance.

But why are Universal looking for a movie franchise now? You’d think after the 2011 film’s returns that the Conan franchise was going to be shelved for a long time. Yet not only are they apparently looking for one film, they’re looking to start a new series. Perhaps they’re trying to combine the successes of The Lord of the Rings and A Game of Thrones, to make a big-budgeted adult fantasy film series that can be farmed yearly. Given The Hobbit being bloated into three two-hour-plus films and the final books in The Hunger Games, Harry Potter and Twilight being split in two parts, this seems a possibility. But then, all those properties are based on pre-existing source material: I sincerely doubt Universal is going to give us The Hour of the Dragon, Part One in 2015 and concluded the next year.

The Legend of Conan seems to be, from my limited perspective, a means to an end for Paradox, but a franchise for Universal. It’ll hopefully get them some money and drum up interest in REH and his characters, and put them in a position to boost their own projects like Kull, Dark Agnes, Vultures, Bran Mak Morn and the Solomon Kane sequel they’re jonesing for. Knowing our luck, of course, it’ll probably end up a massive success, with Paradox revitalizing the product accordingly: phoned-in novelizations and tie-ins will clutter the shelves alongside the Del Rey Howards; the Dark Horse Conan the Barbarian and King Conan are cancelled due to poor sales, and relaunched as The Legend of Conan, abandoning Howard and based entirely on the films; The Legend of Conan: The Video Game will be bombarded upon game shelves after four months of development to lukewarm reviews despite twice the budget’s worth of advertising. Maybe we’ll even get a bone thrown to us with The Legend of Conan: The Stories That Inspired The Film, collecting the three King Conan stories and whatever else they inevitably mine for the script.

As ever, I look on this as an opportunity to further promote Howard and the original Conan, but in an inclusive sort of way. To return to the Batman comparison: I like the Adam West show. I also like the comics. Crom help me, I even like Batman: The Brave and the Bold, which makes the ‘60s show look like The Dark Knight Returns. The trick is to treat them as their own separate beings in their own separate universes. There’s still a lot of headway to make there, since people still seem to think that Milius’ Conan and Howard’s Conan can possibly be the same person. I came across someone on IMDB who claimed exactly that, and suggested Howard fans didn’t seem to understand that Milius’ Conan was supposed to be Conan before he “became” Howard’s Conan: when I brought up the matter of how that could be when several Conan stories happened at the same time Konahn was pushing the Wheel of Pain, he didn’t have an answer for me.

It just makes things easier to say Arnold is the Adam West of Conan.

Arnold Schwarzenegger discusses The Legend of Conan

Been a bit quiet again, but recently, MTV caught up with Arnold Schwarzenegger to discuss The Legend of Conan:

Now that Arnold Schwarzenegger is finished with his political career as the Governor of California, he’s taken a place back in movie-making land, i.e., the place where we first got to know him and love him as the hulky action star he is. His first leading role is in “The Last Stand,” followed by a slew of other action-oriented projects, one of which is his return to the comic book character he made famous in the ’80s: Conan the Barbarian.

When MTV News caught up with Schwarzenegger (alongside co-star Johnny Knoxville) recently during a press day for “Last Stand,” we asked him for an update on the plans for the third film, “The Legend of Conan.”

“I’m excited [about it] because I’ve been hyping the idea to Universal Studios for quite some time,” Schwarzenegger said. “The important thing with the ‘Conan’ project is to make it into an A-movie that they treat it like a ‘300’ or any of those great movies, rather than a B-movie where they hack a few heads off, a few limbs off and run around with a sword.”

He went on to say that he wants to deliver a superior action film for the modern educated audiences who want to see smart and well-made action movies.

“The audience and the fans are very sophisticated. They’ve seen all the ‘Spider-Man’ and ‘Superman’ and ‘Iron Man’ [movies] and the ‘Expendables’ as regular action movies. They’ve seen it all,” Schwarzenegger said. “So when they see a ‘Conan’ movie coming, they demand a spectacle. That’s what we tried to do with ‘Last Stand’ — to give them the car chases, cars going 200 mph, racing through cornfields, crazy stuff you haven’t seen before. You have to give them great entertainment.”

Finally, in thinking about all the Schwarzenegger star vehicles that are supposedly being brought to life, via revamped films and/or sequels, we asked the man behind them all which movie character he most wants to revisit among the “Terminator” franchise, “Conan” and “Triplets.”

“I think all three of them — ‘Terminator,’ ‘Conan’ and ‘Triplets,’ the sequel to ‘Twins’ — I think all three of those are potentially huge movies and could be successful,” he admitted. “The key thing is that they’re written well they’re directed by great directors, hopefully for one of those films I can get Johnny back.”

Knoxville, who had been listening intently to his “Last Stand” co-star, nodded in agreement. “I would love it.”

There’s also a video, but because of ludicrous regional encoding laws that the world’s media would do well to abolish, I can’t post it, what with being a Brit and all.

Irritation at reporter Kara Warner’s choice of words aside (“the comic book character he made famous?” It’s 2013, Kara, you have Google) it’s good to hear that Arnold is wanting to make this something other than just another action movie, particularly citing the sophistication of modern audiences. While nobody ever went broke underestimating the audience’s intelligence, I’d like to think the recent trend of more intelligent blockbusters would continue. Then again, he did mention 300

I won’t bore you with my reaction to the possibility of Johnny Knoxville in a Conan film – even an Ahnold Conan film – although I will post this visual interpretation of my feelings on the matter.

Chris Morgan discusses The Legend of Conan

It’s been a month since the initial announcement, and things have been quiet. Hero Complex has a few words from Chris Morgan on The Legend of Conan:

When screenwriter-producer Chris Morgan met with Arnold Schwarzenegger this fall to pitch him a proposed sequel to “Conan the Barbarian,” the Governator required convincing on one matter above all others – and it had nothing to do with wearing a furry codpiece.

At a time when Schwarzenegger, 65, is attempting to reclaim his throne in Hollywood after years stalking Sacramento’s corridors of power, why should he return to Conan? Why should he follow in his own footsteps to the pre-“Terminator” role that shot him to stardom?

“To put yourself out there in your 60s? As Conan the Barbarian? I could see why he’d hesitate,” Morgan said. “You’re really putting yourself out there.”

Click after the jump to read more.

Continue reading “Chris Morgan discusses The Legend of Conan

The Legend of Conan: Hopes and Dreams

Well, I’m back.

Having been the castellan of the Conan Movie Blog for a long time, and being somewhat burned out, I was sure I wouldn’t be back, at least not so soon. But lo, Universal and Paradox have come to an agreement, and are looking to release The Legend of Conan for 2014. The 2011 film with Jason Momoa and Conan the Destroyer are being ignored: this is a sequel to Conan the Barbarian and only Conan the Barbarian. I have my reservations, but I refuse to just ignore this. As with the 2011 film, whatever one thinks of the final product, the fact of the matter is Robert E. Howard’s name will be up on the silver screen, and this is a great opportunity to grasp.

So while Waldgeist and myself will work together on keeping everyone updated, for my part, I doubt we’ll be seeing anything near the rigour and density of the news and articles for last time. We’ll certainly keep you all up to date with links, and perhaps a few editorials, but don’t expect any more 20,000 word critiques. This is a continuation of the 1982 Conan: it doesn’t even pretend to be Howard’s Conan in any way except inspiration, so questions of its fidelity to Howard’s work are moot. With the 2011 film, it was supposed to be a fresh start, and it was imperative to separate what was Howard and what wasn’t so people understood what was what. The job is somewhat more difficult considering 1982’s Conan the Barbarian makes the 2011 film look like The Maltese Falcon in terms of fidelity to the source material, and is in fact almost by definition not an adaptation of Howard’s work so much as a sequel to a distinct and separate story and universe.

So what’s happening?

Continue readingThe Legend of Conan: Hopes and Dreams”

Conan is dead. Long live Conan.

It feels like it was yesterday when we left the cinema wondering, if we would ever see another Conan film again. While Momoa as Conan did a pretty good job, the vehicle he was transported in left most of the movie goers wanting. The movie was unsuccessful and a sequel was not to be expected. The rights fell back to Paradox.

A couple of days ago a rumour started circling around. The former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger told an interviewer, that he would be pursuing the Conan role again, a role that was dear to his heart, since it kickstarted his world fame as a movie star in Hollywood. Heated discussions abound in the Robert E. Howard fan circles if this was a good thing, a bad thing, disastrous or maybe even a chance.

The uncertainty is over. It is official: Arnold Schwarzenegger will again slip into the tight pants of Conan the Cimmerian, a hero invented in the 1930’s by american author Robert E. Howard. This time around it will tell the story of Conan as the aged king.

“The original ended with Arnold on the throne as a seasoned warrior, and this is the take of the film we will make,” Malmberg told me. “It’s that Nordic Viking mythic guy who has played the role of king, warrior, soldier and mercenary, and who has bedded more women than anyone, nearing the last cycle of his life. He knows he’ll be going to Valhalla, and wants to go out with a good battle.”

Many of the details that are connected to the movie are still uncertain. One of the producers could very well be the writer of the movie, since he – Chris Morgan, writer of Fast and the Furious – is not only passionate about producing the epic, but also has a heightened interest in the franchise itself and considers it his dream project. It remains to be seen how many cues the movie will take from Robert E. Howard in comparison to the 1981 movie, which deviated from the original character, world and story quite a bit.

We will keep you posted on the details of the project right here.

Dark Horse’s Conan Art Contest

Thanks to Zach Davisson for the heads-up on the cover art contest:

Conan the Barbarian returns in the most beloved tale of his career next month when Conan the Barbarian #1 by Brian Wood and art by Becky Cloonan hits shelves, and we want you, with a sword in hand–or pencil or paintbrush–to draw, paint, or collage a Conan Cover to rival all Covers. Stoke up the savage fire, Amp up the action shot and bring Conan to life in your own hand.  

We want you to Create a Conan cover like we’ve never seen before.  Think hard, get some inspiration and bring Conan to life! Send us your entry at Contests [at] darkhorse [dot] com. 

If your Conan Cover is the strongest, manliest, sexiest, and most savage piece we recieve we will print your art in the back of an upcoming issue of Conan the Barbarian. If you think you’ve got what it takes to bring Conan to life, show us. Never bare a weapon unless you intend to use it. Ladies and Gentleman, show us what you’ve got.

All Entries are due upon the Jan 31st, 11:59pm Deadline. We’ll choose a winner on Feb. 1st, 2012 and announce it on this blog post within several days after. And look for an Album on our Facebook Page of all entries. 

Winner will receive a complimentary copy the issue with their artwork as well as The Savage Sword of Conan Vol. 9 TPB, Conan vol 10: Iron Shadows in the Moon TPB , Conan Vol. 9 Free Companions TPB and a Conan Limited Edition Action Figure.
The fine print: No purchase necessary. One online entry per person (one e-mail address per person/address). You must be eighteen years of age or older to enter. Contest entries only accepted if submitted by midnight (PDT), Jan 31st, 2012. Winner will be selected based upon the quality of submitted art (as determined at Dark Horse’s sole discretion) from all applicable entries and will be notified by February 1, 2012. Entry becomes the property of Dark Horse upon receipt. Entry constitutes agreement by winners to be publicized and permission to use each winner’s name for the purposes of promotion of the Contest without further compensation. Contest void where prohibited. Odds of winning dependent on number of entrants.

(Don’t forget to read the fine print!)

Cromrades, this could be an excellent opportunity to show your stuff. But if you’ll endulge me…

There’s a lot of great Conan art out there, no question. Be it the inimitable Frazetta or a youngster on DeviantArt, you can find some true quality artwork out there. However, as with any subject, there tends to be a great repitition of themes. Conan will usually be either fighting, or posing contemplatively; he will be clad in a fur loincloth, Greco-Romanesque regalia, or some Heavy Metal-style partial armour. Women will usually be clutching – or be clutched by – Conan, lounging around seductively, or cowering in fright; they will almost always be near-nude. Any other figures will either be half-naked savages in a chaotic throng, soldiers of the Ancient World, or a horde of beast-men. The monster, of course, will be apish, serpentine, cthulhoid or draconian, and Conan will always face it heroically.

Wouldn’t it be nice to try something different? Conan is a man of gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, a man who’s experienced stark terror: let’s see those emotions in action. Dress him in something different – eastern hillman garb, desert nomad attire, mercenary armour, pirate regalia. Depict a female who isn’t fawning or lounging or half-naked. Draw something other than an action scene. Maybe even pick a scene directly from the stories. There was more to the Conan stories than the action, sex and violence, and it would be awesome to see more of that in evidence.

Or just do another picture of Conan with a girl and a monster, they seem to go down well. If you want to stick to action scenes – it’s what Howard did best, after all – then give it all you have.