Recommendation: Conan the Adventurer

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Robert E.Howard is one of my literary idols and his Conan stories are one of my absolute favourite Fantasy series — though even among Howard’s own characters, I prefer Solomon Kane. Howard’s stories don’t usually pull any punches when it comes to violence and mature themes, and the Conan stories have a propensity for being particularly lurid.

So, I have to say, the very notion of Conan the Adventurer is sort of a perfect storm of ridiculous premises.

It’s a 90s children’s cartoon show.

It’s CanCon.

They got 65 episodes out of it. For reference: beloved early 2000s cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender (which I’ve never actually watched, but that’s neither here nor there) got 61 and fellow 90s CanCon cartoon Reboot got 48.

And most bizarrely of all, it’s a shockingly good adaptation of the source material.

Of course, things like the violence are toned way down – the theme song makes it abundantly clear that Conan isn’t killing any of the bad guys, he’s banishing them to another dimension with his magical sword (and even that isn’t entirely inconsistent with the original Conan stories).

But the writers did their homework about the Conan mythos and apparently cared enough to show it: Conan is still a Cimmerian who swears by Crom, he’s still bewildered of the ways of civilised men, Set is still an evil snake god, the ghost of the sage Epemitreus still shows up to help Conan.

But also, Conan has a wacky phoenix sidekick and a sassy horse, and the bad guy has a wacky snake monster sidekick.

But why take my word for it? Here’s the theme song:

Yeah, it’s ridiculous. But, also, it’s glorious. And as CanCon myself, I can’t describe how much joy it brings me that this sublimely, indescribably ludicrous,  beautiful thing is also CanCon.

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