←back to Blog

The Conan Gaze

Stephen Wicks points out in Warriors and Wildmen: Men, Masculinity, and Gender, that the longest-standing embodiment of manhood comes in the form of the pre-historic hunter who hunts– likely the same prehistoric hunters who took on the role of ‘hunter-gatherers’ who first understood the use of fire, developed a deep and complex knowledge on plant life and refined many hunting tools for generations to come. Wick also states that one can view the hunter-gatherer as being superseded by the ‘warrior’– as the “warrior, foremost among male archetypes, is in many ways a variation of the hunter. He embodies almost all of the same qualities necessary for the successful hunter” (29).

These aspects of the ‘warrior’ find themself to be true in Conan the Barbarian, which Drew has a large assortment of Conan the Barbarian, Conan Saga and many other collections of the Cimmerian’s stories. Themes of masculinity find their way in these books and other Conan media through strong concepts of power and patriotism, as well as Conan being a character who does not cry. He consistently turns to revenge for acts of power over those who wrong him from Crom, the sole God he believes in, despite being in a world where he has directly encountered several others.

The striking image of a shirtless man wielding a giant sword, of course, also compliments these themes.

If you want to learn more, read Conan Meets the Academy: Multidisciplinary Essays on the Enduring Barbarian edited by Jonas Prida:

Prida, Jonas, editor. Conan Meets the Academy: Multidisciplinary Essays on the Enduring Barbarian. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2012.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *