Conan Wiki
Savage Sword of Conan #36
Issue -36 Hawks Over Shem Dec. 1, 1978
Date: Dec, 1978
Cover: Earl Norem
Writer: Various
Penciller: Various
Inker: Various
Letterer: Various
Editor: Roy Thomas
Title: Hawks Over Shem

Hawks Over Shem[]


Writer: Roy Thomas
Art: John Buscema & Alfredo Alcala

Major Characters[]

  • Conan (Previous chronological appearance in SSOC-61; next chronological appearance in flashback of CB-262).

Minor Characters[]

  • Farouz/Mazdak (First appearance; next appearance in flashback of CB-262). Hyrkanian commander
  • Othbaal (First and only appearance to date; dies in this issue). Shemite noble
  • Rufia (First appearance; next appearance in CB-262). Shemite servant
  • Akhirom (First and only appearance to date; dies in this issue). King of Asgalun.
  • Imbalayo (First and only appearance to date; dies in this issue). Kushite commander
  • Zeriti (First and only appearance to date; likely dies in this issue). Stygian witch


  • Pelishtia, Shem
    • Capital city of Asgalun

Time Frame[]

  • A few weeks


In a dark side street in the city of Asgalun, a man accuses Conan of following him. Not caring for the man's tone, Conan knocks the man off his feet, but before the quarrel can progress, the two are beset by assassins and they dispatch the interlopers easy enough. The first man, Farouz, apologizes to Conan and he takes Conan to a private tavern and the two settle in with food and drink. Conan explains he is after Othbaal, cousin of mad King Akhirom, who, recently led Conan's army into a trap by pretending to ally with the king Conan was working for. Farouz tells Conan that Akhirom has been driven mad by the controlling Stygian witch Zeriti, and keeps power via three groups of mercenary troops - the Anakim, the Black Kushites under Imbalayo, and the Hyrkanian Horse, each of which conflict with each other as much as their enemies. Farouz himself is a member of the Hyrkanian Horse, and has his own reasons for hating Othbaal, and Conan proposes they join together to get vengeance. Farouz leads Conan to a series of canals outside the city that contain a secret tunnel, built by a former rival of Othbaal named Mazdak, and they make their way to Othbaal's quarters. They find Othbaal in the company of a young woman, and Conan fights him to the death as Farouz holds off the guards, The girl, Rufia, escapes through a hidden door, and the two men follow, though not before Farouz leaves a ring next to Othbaal's body in order to frame the Black Kushites. Meanwhile, Rufia runs through the city but is captured by King Akhirom himself, who secretly patrols the streets at night to make sure his laws are kept. She manages to stay the insane king's wrath by convincing him he is a god, which sets him on a frenzy of demanding sacrifices and writing new scripture. When the next day, the idols to the god Pteor are destroyed and the high priest slain, the citizens begin to riot and overwhelm the Anakim troops. The mobs are quelled by the Black Kushite riders, but they immediately begin pillaging until they are brought back in line by Imbalayo. Word is brought to Akhirom that Othbaal has been slain, the ring left behind implicating Imbalayo. Conan guesses that Farouz is actually Mazdak in disguise, leading the Hyrkanian Horse for his own purposes. Rufia enters Akhirom's harem which angers the Stygian witch Zeriti who has been more or less replaced by Rufia. Conan decides to sneak back in to Othbaal's castle to liberate Rufia but the hidden passage is now guarded and Conan barely escapes. Meanwhile, Akhirom has frown tired of Rufia and hands her over to Imbalayo, who sells her (rather unwillingly) to Zeriti. Conan skulks through the city and at night decides to take a direct approach, and marches straight to Zeriti's house next to the palace and asks to see the witch. Inside, Zeriti has begun to torture Rufia and begins to summon a demon when she is interrupted by Imbalayo who has come to warn her that the city has risen against Akhiron. When he sees the witchcraft he attacks and kills Zeriti just as Conan enters. He recognizes Conan as Amra, the Lion, and during the battle Imbalayo stumbles into the clouds of mist where the demon waits, and it drains him leaving only a bag of skin. Conan frees Rufia as Mazdak bursts in, looking for Imbalayo. Conan points to the corpse and convinces Mazdak to join the revolt and unite the now leaderless Anakim and Kushites, as he is the only general left. Mazdak agrees and rushes off. Zeriti rises from death, vowing to stop Mazdak and traps Conan and Rufia behind mystical flames that vanish when she does. Conan and Rufia decide to leave the city rather than choose a side and as they flee, Akhirom, in an attempt to prove his divinity, jumps out of a tower and falls to his death. Conan and Rufia, flush with loot from Zeriti's house, ride north without seeing the end of the conflict.


Based on the story "Hawks over Shem" by L. Sprague de Camp and Robert E. Howard.


  • Conan Saga #49
Conan Chronology
Previous Appearance:
Savage Sword of Conan #61
Savage Sword of Conan #36 Next Appearance:
Conan the Barbarian #262

A gazeteer of the Hyborian Age, Part V[]

Savage Sword of Conan
Previous Issue:
Savage Sword of Conan #35
Savage Sword of Conan #36 Next Issue:
Savage Sword of Conan #37