Who is Crom the barbarian?

Since Crom is in the public domain, this website has links to all the known stories about Crom the Barbarian by others who are contributing to his canon. All links leave this website.

KNOW, oh prince, that between the years when the comic book industry drank up the Pulp magazines and their gleaming stories, and the years of the rise of the sons of Marvel and DC, there was an Age very much dreamed of, when shining characters lay spread across the newsstands with shimmering glossy covers—Golden Knight, Silver Knight, Black Knight and Prince Valiant with his black-haired bowl cut; fancy speak and Arthurian charms. None of these gallant characters would lay claim to being the first Sword and Sorcery story to appear in Comic Books. Hither came Crom, the Æsir, blonde-haired, cunning in wit, Skull-Biter in hand, a spider slayer, a womanizer, a Usurper, with gigantic attitude and gigantic-er swagger, to tread on the jeweled throne of Ophir under booted heel.

  • Keeper of the Sword and Sorcery tradition

Who is Crom the Barbarian?

Crom the Barbarian was created in 1950 by Gardner F Fox and John Giunta.

The Barbarian, Crom, is a small speed bump in comic book history. Gardner F. Fox and John Giunta take direct inspiration from the Robert E. Howard, Conan pulps. They pen out their version of Conan and call him, Crom!

I believe that Robert E. Howard created the genre of Sword and Sorcery, at least as we know it today. After Howard died by his own hand in 1936, the mantle of Sword and Sorcery was taken up by Henry Kuttner, Fritz Leiber, Jr., and others. Unlike other pulp genres, Sword and Sorcery did not easily make the transition to comic books. The debut of Crom the Barbarian in the first issue of Out of This World, in June 1950, premiered the fantasy, sword and sorcery theme in comic books. Gardner F. Fox, an old hand at comic books and pulp fiction, wrote the script. John Giunta, with one foot in the pulps and one in comic books, was the artist. They also contributed to Weird Tales, the birthplace of Howard’s, Conan the Cimmerian. They were the perfect duo to revive Conan under the name of Conan’s god, Crom. Many other similarities, or “Swipes,” are revealed between Crom and Conan. I’m not sure that Crom’s yellow hair would have thrown anybody off.

Gardner F. Fox (1911-1986) wrote comics for decades. He invented Batman’s utility belt, as well as creating such long-lasting characters as The Flash and Hawkman. He also introduced the concept of “multiverse” to DC storytelling. He would leave comics in 1968 to try his hand at actual Sword and Sorcery books, penning the Kothar Barbarian Swordsman series (1969-1970), the Kyrik Warlock Warrior series (1975-1976) and finally the Niall of the Far Travels for Dragon Magazine (1976-1981).

John Giunta (1920-1970) Aka Jay Gee was multidimensional as an Illustrator, Comic Book Artist, Science Fiction Fan, Author, Editor, Publisher, Art Director, and Reviewer. John Giunta is celebrated today, mostly for his collaboration with Frank Frazetta, on Frazetta’s first published comic book story, “Snowman,” from Tally Ho #1 (Dec. 1944).

Hal Foster explored Fantasy in comic books with his newspaper comic strip called; Prince Valiant (1937). Prince Valiant was not a Sword and Sorcery themed story. The story was set in the times of old King Arthur. The prince would face the odd dinosaur and witch, coming close to the Sword and Sorcery genre, but really only inspiring others to do comic book stories like; The Golden Knight, The Silver Knight and of course, The Black Knight.

Crom’s publisher, Avon comics, released a pulp magazine called Out of this World Adventures with a comic insert in the center. In the cover-dated July 1950, Avon comics reprinted the stories from the Out of this World comic book, including “Crom the Barbarian.” Avon comics released the second issue of the Out of This World Adventures pulp, a month later. This issue contained a comic section, with reprinted material from Strange Worlds #1, including “The Spider God of Akka.” After this second issue, Out of This World Adventures was discontinued. Unfortunately, the pulp/comic combination idea was also abandoned. The Strange Worlds comic series continued, however, and Crom made his third and final appearance in the second issue with “The Giant from Beyond”.  Fox may have intended to continue the adventures of Crom. For whatever reason it was not to be, and “The Giant from Beyond” would remain the last story of Crom the Barbarian by Fox and Giunta.

Crom the Barbarian is simple in design. The story features the “heroic adventure”, a model of some strapping young man, who will journey across a fantastic landscape and be guided by a wise wizard, confront dangerous creatures and seek to rescue a lusty damsel.

Being fearless is a great way to depict a hero’s story, but to have him so ignorant to an evil that will devour him, is barbaric. This is my true attraction to Crom the Barbarian. He is not meant to be a modern hero. He’s meant to be a simple barbarian, who has elaborate adventures.

My intention with this website is to collect all the stories of Crom the Barbarian that has been created after “The Giant from Beyond”.

The Canon so far…

Creator: Kurt Brugel – writer and illustrator

I have thought up this possible timeline for Crom’s life from barbarian to god. (What little of it that is known)

It is often asked if Crom the Barbarian is the same character as the god Crom that Conan the Cimmerian praise to. My thought is even gods have to start from somewhere. It is thought that Fox and Giunta inadvertently created their Crom character to one day end up as a god others would pray to.

One of the possible lines that Crom would have traveled to become a god would have been through his adventures in the Atlantean Age. Crom would eventually conquer the snow-bound north of the Æsir and the Vanir, one day becoming their god. 

Crom starts out in a jungle like setting that eventually falls to an Ice Age. He would leave his homeland for a strange foreign world where he would have his wildest adventures. He would even become a king of Ophir.

In Crom and the Warlock of Sharrador he would face a god, defeat the god and return with god-like powers. When he returns from the battle, victorious, he has changed. He also proclaims that he “would like to return home.”

He does so and is reunited with his twin sister, Lallah. His sister has married a Vanir and is now an enemy of their Æsir tribe.

Lallah would end up dying, which will cause a great rage within Crom to surface, causing him to become; gloomy, savage, and his hatred for weaklings begins.

Crom becomes so great of a warrior and leader that he is worshiped by both the Æsir and the Vanir. He retires to a great hall at the top of a cold mountain where he will never die.

The Chronology of the Stories So Far…

As told in the following comic book and illustrated stories by Kurt Brugel, Gardner F Fox, John Giunta, and Jack Katz.

Claiming Skull-Biter
Written and drawn by Kurt Brugel in 2017
Click the image to read the whole story…

Submitting to the Amazons
Written and drawn by Kurt Brugel in 2017
Click the image below to read the whole story…

Conquering Giants
Written and drawn by Kurt Brugel in 2017
Click the image below to read the whole story…

The Sacrifice
Written and drawn by Kurt Brugel in 2017
Click the image below to read the whole story…

CROM (The War Against the Wizard)
Written by Gardner F Fox and Drawn by Jack Katz in 1972
Click the image below to read the whole story…

Crom the Barbarian
Written by Gardner F Fox and Drawn by John Giunta in 1950
Click the image below to read the whole story…

The Spider God Akka
Written by Gardner F Fox and Drawn by John Giunta in 1950
Click the image below to read the whole story…

The Giant from Beyond
Written by Gardner F Fox and Drawn by John Giunta in 1950
Click the image below to read the whole story…

Crom and the Warlock of Sharrador
Written and illustrated by Kurt Brugel

The Whole short story can be read on this website. This link will take you to the free read.

All 8 of the comic book stories have been collected and are available from The Gardner Francis Fox Library

Creator: Adam Bennett – writer and illustrator

4th Dimension Comics Group

Adam Bennett of 4th Dimension Comics Group created a short 6-page comic book story called: Crom. 

You can visit 4th Dimension Comics Group and download a copy of Gateway Issue ZERO for free to read Adam’s Crom first installment.

It is also added to his Finley book. This is the spicy ‘nude’ version of the Crom story. 

 Creators: John Michael Helmer -writer and Jim Gullett – illustrator

Lucky Comics

John Michael Helmer and Jim Gullett have created a three-part story they released from Lucky Comics called: All The King’s Men. 

All three PDF issues can be downloaded from their DriveThrusComics account.

Creator: Christopher Mills – writer

Atomic Pulps

Coming Soon

Creator: Jay Piscopo – Illustrator

Rogue Planet Comics

Coming Soon

Jay Piscopo Crom the Barbarian comic book

Crom: All the King’s Men
Available this September– Crom: All the King’s Men! Lucky Comics continues the legend of the Aesirian adventurer created by Gardner Fox in a new 24-page tale. Originally presented in three parts (Crom the Barbarian #’s 1-3), Crom battles a deadly wizard named Drakon with the help of Karena the Warrior and master thief named Balan. Written by Lucky Comics publisher John Michael Helmer and drawn by artist Jim Gullet. The collection I showcases an amazing Crom cover by fan-favorite Jay Piscopo. Format: B&W 24 pages. Available in print form from www.indyplanet.com and digital download from www.drivethrucomics.com

The Crom the Barbarian Facebook group

Contact Me/Kurt Brugel if you are working on or have already created a new Crom the Barbarian Comic or Short story and I’ll post it to this website.

CROM the Barbarian T-shirt from Zazzle