More on the Conan Movie in Empire and Comic-Con

Earlier in the week, Waldgeist posted on the upcoming snippet and exclusive photo of Jason Momoa’s Conan in the August 2010 issue of Empire. I got the issue today: in addition with apparently conclusive confirmation of Conan’s presence at Comic-Con, there are a few hints of what to expect at San Diego.

Marcus Nispel’s Conan arrives at Comic-Con with something to prove. Fans of Robert E. Howard’s stories have thus far been skeptical about the decidedly non-Howard script (by multiple authors, Sahara writers Josh Oppenheimer and Thomas Dean Donnelly chief among them), and Nispel’s CV of Platinum Dunes horror remakes and flashily muddled Vikings-versus-Native American epic Pathfinder has done little to inspire confidence.

However, Nispel claims that Conan is a lifelong dream project, and with him at the helm we’re at least assured terrific visuals. Fears of a watered-down fantasy-adventure tone have also been laid to rest by producer Joe Gatta, who assured Empire that the Cimmerian barbarian is aiming his axe squarely at a visceral R rating.

Stargate: Atlantis’ Jason Momoa has taken the title role, boasting a considerably more athletic physique than Arnold Schwarzenegger’s iconic bodybuilding form: this Conan is built for speed. Avatar’s big, bad Stephen Lang is the villainous warlord Khalar Zym; Rachel Nichols is love interest Tamara; Ron Perlman (replacing Mickey Rourke at short notice) is Conan’s dad, Corin; and Rose McGowan is on hand as Marique the Witch.

Conan’s Con presence will be decidedly multimedia,, as the crew from the online PC game Age of Conan will be attending in force, and Dark Horse will be handing out exclusive comics. Plus, “We might have one or two stars making a little appearance,” Conan Properties CEO Fredrik Malmberg reveals, “and we might be able to show some footage. It’s all about what (distributor) Lionsgate allow us to do!”

So overall, it’s fairly optimistic, but commendably well-grounded, especially in addressing the most pertinent fears Nispel and company have to deal with. It certainly appears that the Conan movie will be making a substantial appearance at Comic-Con, and the idea of guests and even advanced footage will hopefully give us a further idea of how the film’s shaping up. REH Forumer Lord Greystoke provides scans of the exclusive images, the largest of which I’ve tried to clean up a bit, though due to the nature of the scan, Momoa’s right half is quite a bit skinnier than it should be. The second is a smaller picture of Conan on horseback: it’s good to know Momoa has overcome his fear of horse riding.

In related news, Mark Finn, REH scholar and author of Blood & Thunder: The Life and Art of Robert E. Howard, the definitive Robert E. Howard biography, will be moderating a panel at Comic-Con on – what else? – Robert E. Howard in the comics:

Ladies and Gents,

Is anyone else going to San Diego Comic-Con this year? I’ll be onhand, pressing the flesh, and as of right now, moderating a panel on Saturday. What’s the panel, you ask?

Saturday July 24
Robert E. Howard in Comics: Then. Now. Always.:
Room 24ABC
Robert E. Howard is seen as the grandfather of the sword and sorcery fiction genre. He’s created such classic characters as Kull the Conqueror, Red Sonya, and Conan the Barbarian that have lived in comics for more than 40 years! Explore worlds of magic, bravery, and savage revenge as this panel delves in to Robert E. Howard’s timeless fiction in comics of the past, present and future.

This was brainstormed by a buddy of mine from Boom! Studios, and it’s going to be a multicompany panel. If any of you are attending this year, I thought this would be a good place for a meet-up. It would be nice to meet you (well, some of you…) face-to-face and shake your hand after the panel. Does this sound like a plan for anyone? If you’re attending, please reply below so we can get an idea of who we’re looking for.

Mark Finn, one of the most vigorous critics of the upcoming Conan film, in the same building as its first major marketing push… It’ll be interesting, to say the least!

UPDATE: Sadly, it looks like the REH Panel won’t be taking place at Comic-Con, due to schedule conflicts and other such bureaucratic mummery.  Fail, Comic-Con.