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Official Handbook of the Conan Universe

The Official Handbook of the Conan Universe is an encyclopedic guide which details the fictional universe featured in Conan publications of Marvel Comics. The one-shot was published in comic book format in 1986, followed by reprints in 1993. Main author and researcher was comic book writer Alan Zelenetz.[1]

Official Handbook of the Conan Universe
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Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
Publication dateJanuary 1986
Main character(s)Conan, Red Sonja, Kull
Creative team
Created byRobert E. Howard, Roy Thomas
Written byAlan Zelenetz
Penciller(s)John Buscema, Bob Camp, Ernie Chan, Vince Colletta, Mike Docherty, Armando Gil, Geof Isherwood, Mike Kaluta (cover), Andy Kubert, Gary Kwapisz, Dave Simons, Vincent Waller and Mary Wilshire
Colorist(s)Steve Mellor



Jim Shooter, Marvel's then editor-in-chief, conceived of the idea,[2] envisioning a guide detailing statistics much in the manner of those found on the backs of baseball cards.[3] Shooter appointed Mark Gruenwald editor of the project, and Gruenwald developed the project to include all aspects of the Marvel Universe, although he noted it was not comprehensive.[citation needed] The project was named The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe (OHOTMU) and was published in its first volume from 1983 to 1984 in comic book format in 15 issues. Not included in these handbooks were licensed characters like Conan and creator-owned characters like Red Sonja. To cover these kind of characters connected to the Hyborian Age and world a one-shot guide with the name The Official Handbook of the Conan Universe was made in the style of the first volume of the OHOTMU and published with the start of the second volume of the OHOTMU.

The Official Handbook of the Conan Universe detailed the more significant characters, locations and races of the Hyborian age, itemizing them into individual entries. Individual entries usually consisted of:

  • A frontal full-body view of the character.
  • Prose text describing the character's or race's origin, powers, and other abilities and unique traits. The original edition opted only to describe the "Origins" (how they acquired their powers), instead focusing heavily on detailed explanations for how those powers functioned.
  • Example images of the character or race in action, taken directly from the comics themselves.

The Official Handbook of the Conan Universe entries were listed at one major character to a page, minor characters or races were often listed at two to a page.

Publication historyEdit

The handbook came out as a one-shot in 1986. In 1993 it was reprinted in black and white (with a different cover and a cover-inside-poster) and then released in June in a polybagged issue with Conan Saga #75 and again in August as a freebie included in the Wizard magazine. In July 2014 the handbook was included in The Chronicles of Conan vol. 27.


The Official Handbook of the Conan UniverseEdit

# Version Entries Month of Publ. Pages Orig. Price
1 Original Aesgaard, Afghulistan, Aquilonia, Argos, Arms and armor, Atlantis, Bamula, Barachan Isles, Belit, Black Kingdoms, Border Kingdom, Bossonia, Brythunia, Cimmeria, Conan, Corinthia, Gods and Warship, map of Hyboria, Hyperborea, Hyrkania, Iranistan, Khitai, Koth, Kozaki, Kull, Kush, Nemedia, Ophir, Pictland, Red Sonja, Shem, Sorcery and demoncraft, Stygia, Tiazitlans, Tranicos, Turan, Valeria, Vanaheim, Venarium, Vendhya, Zamora, Zingara January 1986 34 $1.25
- Reprint (b/w)
with Conan Saga #75
as above, but instead of a big map of Hyboria it contains five tiny maps of Aquilonia, Cimmeria, Stygia, Vendhya and Hyboria June 1993 34 -
- Reprint (b/w)
with Wizard
same as above August 1993 34 -
- Collected in
The Chronicles of Conan vol. 27
same as above
(ISBN 1-6165-5373-1)
July 2014 255 $19.99

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The Official Handbook of the Conan Universe at Comicvine
  2. ^ DeFalco, Tom. "Bullpen Bulletins Special," Marvel Comics cover-dated March 1984.
  3. ^ Peter Sanderson (2005-01-28). "Comics in Context #70: Elektra Lite: Superheroes A to Z."

External linksEdit

  • Conan characters at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
  • Conan at Jeff Christiansen's Master List