“Conan the Conqueror”
Writer: Roy Thomas based on novel “The Hour of the Dragon” by Robert E. Howard
Artists: John Buscema and The Tribe

Conan is entering the Stygian port of Khemi disguised as a fisherman. On the streets he is attacked by a giant python. Snakes are considered sacred and all the people on the street prostrate themselves and accept their fate. Not Conan who slices the snake’s head in two. This blasphemy incites the locals who chase after Conan. He manages to hide away and later ambush a local priest of Set. Thus disguised he enters the temple to search for Thuthothmes and the Heart of Ahriman.

In the temple he has a run in with a beautiful woman who is the vampire princess Akivasha. He finally comes on the main room and Thuthothmes conducting a ceremony to resurrect a dead priest who knows about the Heart of Ahriman. Before he can complete the ritual the Khitian wizards sent by Valerius enter. They are looking for Conan but also want the Heart of Ahriman. A battle ensues with all the Stygians killed and only one Khitain left. Conan then battles him and wins. The priest Thuthothmes resurrected obeys Conan’s commands and leads him to a safe passage out of the city.

Later the conspirators that overthrew Conan gather. Seems there is a rumor Conan is alive and leading an army to reclaim his throne. The former priest Orestes comes to tell them that Xaltotun is plotting to bring back evil ancient Acheron. Xaltotun comes and kills Orestes and threatens the others if they don’t get in line. He also confirms that Conan is alive and leading an army. So they gathers their forces to meet him in battle.

First the puppet king of Aquilonia is approached by a man claiming to know a secret way to ambush Conan from behind. He leads the king into an ambush by those who suffered under his rule. Then the main battle is joined with Conan and the priest of Asura defeating Xaltotun with the Heart of Ahriman. Conan defeats King Tarascus and forces a surrender. At the end he plans to rescue the harem girl Zenobia who freed him and make her his queen.

“Conan the Cannibal”
By Fred Blosser

An article that points out Howard cannibalized from his past writing to come up with his only novel “The Hour of the Dragon.”

“Portrait of the Cimmerian as a Middle-Aged King”
By Roy Thomas

A portfolio of old pulp covers for the story “Conan the Conqueror”. It also had some from Japan.

So they finally decided to finish the adaptation of “The Hour of the Dragon” that was started in the giant-size series. As the article with this issue points out I can see where some of the elements were cannibalized from past stories. Yet it was done very cleverly and is an exciting story. It has Conan in an epic quest to regain his throne. It takes him around and includes his old Black Corsair buddies. Its very sad that Howard died so early. I feel that as a more mature writer he could have accomplished some great novels.

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