The first issue of Age of Conan: Valeria is out, featuring a novella by author Matt Forbeck alongside Valeria’s story. The novella is a bit different from the others since it doesn’t feature the iconic barbarian, but rather one of his most iconic villains, Thoth-Amon.
Matt has written quite a lot over the years, including the Endless Quests books, Halo novels, and of course Shotguns & Sorcery, which has a new omnibus out now.
We caught up with Matt for a quick chat about The Fall of Thoth-Amon.
Your novella, The Fall of Thoth-Amon, is serialized in Marvel’s Age of Conan: Valeria. What’s it like writing the story of Conan’s most iconic villain? How do you prepare for that?
Fortunately, I’ve been a Conan fan — a Robert E. Howard fan, actually — since I was in high school. On top of that, I edited a line of Age of Conan novels that came out from Ace Books back in 2005 and 2006, so I’m well familiar with the Conan canon.
Thoth-Amon’s long been one of my favorite villains. He’s powerful, arrogant, and snarly as can be, the exact opposite of Conan on so many levels. I loved stepping into his shoes and chewing the scenery with him for a bit.
Without giving too much away, what can we expect from your story?
It’s set directly before the events in The Phoenix on the Sword, which was the first Conan story ever published. In that story, Thoth-Amon has lost his powers and become enslaved. My story tells how he wound up in that position after being the most powerful sorcerer in Stygia. It’s a long way down.
You have a lot of experience working with established brands and IPs. How does it differ writing something in a defined setting, as opposed to one of your own making?
It’s a bit of a trade-off in that I don’t have the same kind of freedom I do when working on my own original material. At the same time, someone else has done a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of world-building and character creation for me. In this case, it was Robert E. Howard, so I’m trodding along in the path of some gigantic bootprints. It’s a real thrill to be able to play in a world I love so much, and I’m always honored when I have the chance to do that.
The Fall of Thoth-Amon is serialized in Age of Conan: Valeria, which is a five part series. Check out the preview of the first issue if you haven’t already, and pick up your copy from your local comic book shop.