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Conan the Barbarian #143
Conan the Barbarian Vol 1 143
Date: Feb, 1983
Cover: John Buscema
Writer: Bruce Jones
Penciller: John Buscema
Inker: Ricardo Villamonte
Colorist: George Roussos
Letterer: Janice Chiang
Editor: Louise Jones
Title: "Life Among the Dead"

Major Characters[]

  • Conan (Previous appearance in CB-142; next appearance in CB-144).

Minor Characters[]

  • Valen Triafer (First appearance; next appearance in CB-144). Cimmerian potter.
  • Theta (Previous appearance in CB-142; no further appearances to date).
  • Nikolas (First appearance; next appearance in CB-144).Cimmerian necromancer.
  • Captain Johell (First appearance; next appearance in CB-144). Cimmerian soldier.


  • Cimmeria
    • Solvanthia

Time Frame[]

  • Several days


The potter Valen Triafer is interrupted in his work by a rumbling of the ground. Investigating with others in his village, they find that the Sword of Graven is missing from its golden statue at the base of the mountain, right from under the nose of the sleeping tailor Rhiken. With the sword stolen, the villages fear a dragon will awaken, and they determine to return the artifact. Some time later and thirty miles south, Conan and Theta hide in wait of a traveler to steal from, but when one approaches he is jumped by Valen. Conan, upset his mark has been poached, jumps in and tosses Valen aside, then sends the victim off after relieving him of his possessions, one of which is a sword. Valen begs for the sword, but Conan laughs him off. He gives the horse to Theta and sends her off to safety in Butania, and Valen asks if he can accompany Conan. Conan has no use for what he believes is an apprentice thief, but when Valen mentions he knows where the best wenches are, Conan agrees to let him tag along. Valen leads him to his village of Solvanthia, but are ambushed by the entire town guard. The situation is hopeless, but Conan almost enters a trance with the sword and slaughters them to a man. When Conan and Valen enter the town, they are continually mistaken for a Lieutenant Skey and Captain Johell. and greeted with cheers wherever they go, even as the bodies of the guards are found, wrapped in shrouds and brought to the town square. They are very confused, but that doesn't stop Conan from taking advantage of a comely lass who offers herself to him. That night, Conan and Valen inspect the bodies of the guards Conan killed, but are shocked to see their own faces on the bodies. A shaken Valen suggests they take the bodies to Nikolas, a necromancer outside of the village, who says the power of the sword switched the men's bodies, and in order to return they must replace the sword at the statue. They go to the mountainside and return the sword to the base of the golden statue, and a fissure opens in the ground. Suddenly, the dead Conan rises and pushes the real Conan into the fissure while Valen protests. The whole situation had been a ruse to lure the sword's thief back to complete a ritual, and the true Captain Johell removes his clay Conan mask Valen had made for him. But Valen insists Conan isn't really the thief and grabs the sword, diving into the fissure himself. He hands the sword to an annoyed Conan, who turns to face the dragon that is creeping up on the men...


  • The Chronicles of Conan 19 - Deathmark and Other Stories
Conan Chronology
Previous Appearance:
Conan the Barbarian #142
Conan the Barbarian #143 Next Appearance:
Conan the Barbarian #144
Conan the Barbarian
Previous Issue:
Conan the Barbarian #142
Conan the Barbarian #143 Next Issue:
Conan the Barbarian #144