Comic-book writer Joshua Dysart talked to Sci Fi Wire about his new Conan the Barbarian story, Age of Conan.
The Dark Horse comic, tied to Funcom's upcoming massively multiplayer online game Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, developed independently of the game, Dysart said in an interview.
"I had absolutely no idea what was going on with the game when I sent my pitch in," Dysart said. "I wasn't in on the development of the game at all. All I knew was that Conan was the king of Aqualonia and that the comic had to depict some sort of life in that world."
The game centers on Conan as king of Aqualonia as he deals with ancient evils and dark forces that are abroad. The game features brutal combat and characters who meet uncertain destinies. For the comic, Dysart had to distill the game experience into a mere 16 pages. "Instead of actually following the narrative of what is essentially a never-ending mmo game, my job, with just 16 pages, was to set up the world so that certain elements of the game are established," he said. "Hopefully I've added some narrative propulsion to the idea."
The Age of Conan comic book, which features supplemental material by Tim Truman and the artwork of Tone Rodriguez and Cary Nord, was a constant challenge for the writer. "The biggest challenge was not really knowing what was going on with the game and then trying to get it all into 16 pages," he said. "I had to constantly keep changing story points. There were a lot of changes in the script and a lot of story mutations. But that's comics in general, especially when you're dealing with a licensed character."
Dysart will use the introductory Conan book as a jumping-off point for an original five-issue story arc titled Conan and the Midnight Gods, which will not be tied to the game. No release date for the series has been set. Funcom's Conan game will have its official launch in the fourth quarter of this year.
A new Conan comic and a potential new Conan feature film on the way leads to the question: who will be the next Conan? Because we think Arnold Schwarzenegger is too busy right now to strap on the old loincloth and pick up his broadsword. On the other hand, if he loses the governor's race it could be a nice career move.