Creating a New Language in Conan the Barbarian

For Into the Crucible, my first arc of Conan the Barbarian, I wanted to channel the sword & sorcery prose/comics that had a big influence on me but also give it a spin that, ideally, readers hadn’t quite seen before.

That piece ended up coming from building a new language.

Conan is traveling through Uttara Kuru, a distant land from his home of Cimmeria. In the classic comics, characters would all be speaking the same language or passages would automatically be translated to make the exchanges relatively frictionless for the reader.

I decided to give our team a challenge and put Conan in the deep end on this trip by not having him (or the reader) understand exactly what was being said. Assumptions and inferences abound. Body language and facial expressions have to sell intent that much more.

Sometimes Conan gets bits translated for him, other times the translator puts their own spin on things.

In the fourth part of the story we included a lexicon of key words so readers could go back and do their own rough translations if they want.

It was one of the most challenging things I’ve done so far as a writer, but also a ton of fun.

If you’re a sword & sorcery fan and like what you see here, you can read Into The Crucible now in single issues (Conan the Barbarian #13-16) or pick it up in trade paperback in March 2021.

Conan the Barbarian:
Into the Crucible

(issues #13-18)

A new era for Conan! The barbarian has faced many foes since leaving Cimmeria, but the greatest challenge lies ahead! Conan finds himself in a city in the mystical Uttara Kuru, farther on the eastern border than he has ever traveled. And with a new city comes new dangers!
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository

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