“The Treasure of Tranicos”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from story by Robert E. Howard and L. Sprague De Camp
Artists: Gil Kane, John Buscema & Joe Rubinstein and Co.
After his successful campaign against the Picts Conan was made a general and invited to the court of King Numedides. The king jealous of Conan’s popularity tried to have him killed. He escapes and is forced to flee into the Pict wilderness. Captured by Picts he is traded to the Eagle clan. He escapes and now makes his way to the coast with a horde of Picts following. At the mouth of a cave it looks like Conan has run out of time. Only the Picts run away. They seem afraid of the cave. Conan explores and finds a door. Inside are twelve perfectly preserved corpses sitting around a table. The room is filled with treasure. Also a creature materializes out of the air and attacks Conan. He escapes the room and the creature dissolves into the air.
Meanwhile down at the coast is the stronghold of Valenso. A Zingarian noble who has fled some unknown menace to hide out in the Pict Wilderness. One day a Barachan pirate ship comes. Captain Strombanni demands the treasure. Valenso doesn’t know what he is talking about. Strombanni attacks the fort and almost breaches it but the appearance of another ship forces him to flee. The other ship is the Zingarian buccaneer Black Zarono. He too is seeking the treasure and offers to share it in return for marriage to his niece. When Valenso hears that the Black Stranger has come from his niece’s young ward Tina, he goes into a panic. A big storm than comes and sinks Zarono’s ship
The next day Stronbanni comes back and negotiates a truce for the three men to find the Treasure of Tranicos. A Barachan pirate one hundred years ago hid the treasure in the area. Also at this time Conan snuck into the fort and reveals himself. He reveals that he knows where the treasure is and will split it with the three. So the next morning a group will head out to recover the treasure.
“Secret of the Black Stranger”
By Fred Blosser
An article on the Howard story “The Black Stranger”. It started out as a Conan story but was rejected. So he rewrote it as a 17th century pirate story. Only that was also rejected. In the fifties De Camp rewrote it as a Conan story only set it as after his time as a frontier scout and included Thoth-Amon.
So this was an excellent issue. I really enjoyed the story. Interesting that the artwork has history. This was originally started by Kane. He didn’t have time to finish it so it was shelved. Than Marvel obtained the rights to the non-Howard stories and decided to adopt the De Camp version. As it happened Kane left off just at a point where it diverged from the original so Buscema was assigned to fill out the rest. This was a very interesting story filled with several guys each looking to betray the other at the first chance. Something Howard was very good at writing. Plus the setting with Picts, pirates, Thoth-Amon and a treasure.