The Hyborian Age is coming to an end at the House of Ideas. Monday, Marvel announced Conan the Barbarian will soon leave the Marvel Universe at the conclusion of Jason Aaron and Mahmud Asrar's King Conan series this July. The last issue will be King Conan #6, bring a definitive end to the character's latest batch of stories at Marvel Comics.
Despite the character's license leaving Marvel, the publisher also announced a new round of collection releases. This fall, Marvel's releasing its sixth volume as part of the Conan the Barbarian Epic Collection, featuring a collection of vintage comics from Roy Thomas, John Buscema, Howard Chaykin, and Gil Kane. Fast forward to December and Marvel is releasing another collection, Conan the Barbarian: The Original Marvel Years Omnibus Vol. 10 with a cover from Todd McFarlane.
Bleeding Cool first reported the news over the weekend, suggesting the Conan the Barbarian rights holders are getting the comics rights back in an attempt to publish its own line of comics. Heroic Signatures CEO Fred Malmberg confirms that is, in fact, the case.
"We had a wonderful run with Marvel Comics but ultimately they have decided not to extend their license beyond this year," the executive tells ComicBook.com. "Conan has more than 50 years of comic book publishing. We took the decision to pick up the baton ourselves, not only for Conan but all the other wonderful characters and IP that we control. The publishing program will commence next year but exact details are not final yet."
It's unclear what this means for the character's future in the Savage Avengers title, which is launching its latest volume this Wednesday featuring the Barbarian serves as its anchor character. Malmberg adds that he hopes Heroic and Marvel are able to work out a deal to have the character still appear.
"We enjoy a great relationship with Marvel and hope to do cross overs and that Conan will appear now and then in Savage Avengers but nothing is planned as of this moment," the executive adds.
After Marvel published Conan stories for much of the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, the license then shifted to Dark Horse for the next decade or so. Marvel landed the license again in 2019, and introduced the character to the larger Marvel Universe.
The Conan property belongs to Conan Properties International, an entity owned and operated by Heroic Signatures, a company dealing exclusively in licensing intellectual properties. In addition to Conan, Heroic also holds the rights to Robert E. Howard's Bran Mak Morn stories, Kull the Conqueror, and Solomon Kane.