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Conan the Barbarian #181
Conan the Barbarian Vol 1 181
Date: Apr, 1986
Cover: John Buscema
Writer: Jim Owsley
Penciller: John Buscema
Inker: Ernie Chan
Colorist: George Roussos
Letterer: Janice Chiang
Editor: Larry Hama
Title: "Maddoc's Reign"

Major Characters[]

  • Conan (Previous appearance in CB-180; next appearance in CB-182).

Minor Characters[]

  • Keiv (Previous appearance in CB-180; next appearance in CB-184).
  • Tetra (Previous appearance in CB-178; next appearance in CB-182).
  • Zahdt, Randor, and various city guards (First and only appearance to date).
  • Swan
  • Maddoc II (First appearance; next appearance in CB-182). King of El Shah Madoc
  • Shadur (First appearance; next appearance in CB-182). Warlord
  • Maddoc


  • Shem
    • City-State of El Shah Maddoc

Time Frame[]

  • Several days


Conan gets tired of standing in line waiting to enter El Shah Madoc, so decides to walk right through the corrupt city guards. When the odds begin to overwhelm him, he is granted asylum by the priestess Swan, who allows him and Keiv into the city in return for defending King Maddoc II, whose father vanished upon conquering the town and having a giant tower built into which he is rumored to be held captive by witches and demons. Conan thinks he spies Tetra at the top of the tower, but dismisses the idea. They go to the arena, where an weekly exhibition of the might of King Maddoc II is taking place. When Conan refuses to bow to the king's feats of strength in defeating all challengers, the warlord Shadur calls for the soldiers to execute him. When Conan leaps into the arena floor and begins fighting the soldiers, the fighting is stopped by Swan, who reveals that she knows Conan has important information for the King. Maddoc allows to Conan to speak, and Conan warns him of Imhotep. However, when Conan demands to be properly honored (as in plenty of gold) for his assistance, Maddoc dismisses him, although Swan convinces him that Conan is telling the truth and is needed. Maddoc sends Shadur to bring Conan back, but Conan gets the better of him before Swan once again halts the fighting and tells Conan that the king will accept his help and demands if he can retrieve the prior king's signet ring from the top of the tower. Although at first uninterested, Conan is talked into by Keiv and that night Conan enters the tower and begins to ascend the spiral staircase within. He comes across several mutilated skeletons but no ring, and is attacked by a hairy white beast who almost gets the better of him. Conan decides the stairs are a bad idea and, climbs outside and scales the tower to the top window where, in a pitch black room, the mad King Maddoc still lives, kept alive by witches' magic and prevented from leaving by the demon beast Conan slayed. Conan grabs the man and descends the walls again, bringing Maddoc to his son who is hosting a party in the great hall. Maddoc the younger embraces his father and declares Conan Warlord of Koth, which was Shadur's title. The spurned former warlord stalks off vowing to never serve Conan while Tetra and her witches, standing on the roof of the great tower, observe the proceedings.


  • The Chronicles of Conan 23 - Well of Souls and Other Stories
Conan Chronology
Previous Appearance:
Conan the Barbarian #180
Conan the Barbarian #181 Next Appearance:
Conan the Barbarian #182
Conan the Barbarian
Previous Issue:
Conan the Barbarian #180
Conan the Barbarian #181 Next Issue:
Conan the Barbarian #182