The stories behind the stories

Robert E. Howard’s Savage Sword #6

“Crom! Who would build a ship here in the desert?” — Conan

“Sargasso of Sand”

Conan faces a mystery in the desert…
Published by Dark Horse • November 27, 2013
Written by John Jackson Miller

Art by Philip Tan

Inks by Jason Paz

Lettered by Richard Starkings and Comicraft

Colored by Moose Baumann

Cover by Francesco Francavilla

Edited by Patrick Thorpe

Savage Sword of Conan was one of the longest running magazine-format comics in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s — and in addition to reprinting many of those stories, Dark Horse launched the Robert E. Howard’s Savage Sword title to showcase not just Conan, but all of Howard’s varied creations.

When given the chance to contribute a short story to the magazine, however, I went straight for Conan, the character I was most familar with. “Sargasso of Sand” finds Conan dying in the desert, and happening upon a madman trying to rig a ship. Conan discovers mystical forces are at play, but not before he gets to use his savage sword on a group of attackers.

It’s a bit of a challenge getting an action story into eight pages, but I think it worked. It was a fun change of pace; every so often, you need to go beyond the genres people associate you with.

“Erlik is pleased, Cimmerian — I wish you could see it.” — Angoorat

The artist on the story, Philip Tan, was the artist on “The Deep End,” my 2004 Iron Man story arc. This was the first time we had worked together in nearly a decade. We had never met before, but we finally did after this story was completed.

The issue also includes stories featuring Dark Agnes and Bran Mak Morn.