Conan Wiki
Savage Sword of Conan #161
Ssoc 161
Date: June, 1989
Cover: Ovi
Writer: Various
Penciller: Various
Inker: Various
Letterer: Various
Editor: Craig Anderson
Title: "Call of the Howling Shadows"

Call of the Howling Shadows[]


Writer: Chuck Dixon
Artist: Gary Kwapisz
Letterer: Mark Pacella

Major Characters[]

Minor Characters[]

  • Shameel (Previous appearance in first story of SSOC-118;dies in this issue).
  • Thanamar Zalix (First appearance; dies in this issue). Ophirian conjurer.
  • Batu & Panzu(Previous appearance in first story of SSOC-118; no further appearances to date for either).


  • Ophir.

Time Frame[]


It's a tale Of eldritch horror and savage action! Conan embarks on a rescue mission to save an innocent woman trapped in the soul-chilling Land of the Dead! ... As Conan enjoys an evening with a few lucky prostitutes, his dreams are interrupted by the apparition of Shameel, as she has nearly every night for the past month, begging Conan to return to the Valley of Howling Shadows and free her. Conan finally agrees, but it turns out to be a trap set by the wizard Thanamar Zalix, who has learned of the wealth of the Valley of Shadows From Batu and Panzu, two of the Saahkiar who journeyed with Conan to the Valley previously. The sorcerer killed Panzu in order to get Batu's cooperation, an act that has driven Batu mad. Conan arrives at the home of Zalix, as the apparation of Shameel requested, and the barbarian, the wizard, and the mad grave-robber, who carries with him the skull of his dead friend Pazun, leave at first light. Nearly a week later the trio arrives at the Valley of the Howling Shadows. Almost immediately after entering, the lansdscape behind them shifts from desert to forest, causing the group to lose their bearings. They are confronted by a rotting centaur-like monster, which is impressed by Conan's refusal to grovel like the others.. Another day's travels shows the group such gruesome scenery that even the wizard is disturbed, including a emaciated group of slaves ruled by dog-men in the middle of a forest of talking trees, reptillian creatures roasting humans, a field of infants preyed own by giant vultures, and finally, their destination, the Temple of Hanuman, which the wizard believes holds an amulet that could teleport them all out of the Valley. They avoid the monstrous bugs circling the temple and make their way inside, where they find a hideous sight - a woman turned into a bloated midwife for demon ant-spawn, constantly birthing the disgusting monsters. The screams of one of the human slaves of the demons Conan recognizes as Shameel's, and he runs throug hthe corridors to find her. He finds her being ravished by dozens of insectoid demons, and he slaughters them all to get to her. When he discovers that it was not her that has been invading his dreams, he realizes he had been set up by the wizard, but since there really is nothing he can do about it, and since he truly did find Shameel,Conan decides to keep searching for the magical amulet. They come across the food storage for the demons - a honeycombed wall sealing in dozens of screaming humans - and finally reach the tomb of Hanuman. The conjuerer claims the gem he had been searching for, but the demons have tracked the humans down. They run to find a moment's calm so Zalix can conjure their way out, and find themselves back in the breeding pits. The wizard creates an escape portal, but only one can use it, and he plans to leave the others behind, but he is killed by Batu, who is in turn killed by Shameel in revenge for killing her lover and leaving her to the demons. Conan tries to push Shameel through the portal, but she reveals that she has been chosen to be a brood queen, and the unholy change is starting inside her. She begs Conan to kill her, and he does so and leaps through the magic portal. On the other side he decides the gem is more trouble than it's worth, shatters it on the ground, and walks away.


Conan Chronology
Previous Appearance:
Savage Sword of Conan #118
Savage Sword of Conan #161 Next Appearance:
Conan the Barbarian #8


Savage Sword of Conan
Previous Issue:
Savage Sword of Conan #160
Savage Sword of Conan #161 Next Issue:
Savage Sword of Conan #162