MALA

Real Name: Mala

Identity/Class: Human;
   Hyborian era;
    Cimmerian citizen

Occupation: Scabbard decorator

Group Membership: Snowhawk Tribe (see comments)

Affiliations: Conan of Cimmeria

Enemies: Thorfel the Fair, the Vanir

Known Relatives: Hafgar (father), unidentified mother

Aliases: Mara (see comments)

Base of Operations: Snowhawk Village, Cimmeria

First Appearance: Savage Tales I#4 (May 1974)

Powers/Abilities: Mala was proficient with a dagger

Height: Unrevealed (approximately 5'8")
Weight: Unrevealed (approximately 125 lbs.)
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Black

History:
(Savage Tales I#4/1 (fb)) – Mala was childhood friends with Conan in the Cimmerian Snowhawk Tribe. The pair spent much of their early years together, playing innocent childhood games such as hide-and-seek; her laughter filled Conan with joy.

(Savage Sword of Conan I#227/1) – On Conan's fifteenth birthday, Mala gave Conan a feather from her tribe’s Snowhawk totem for good luck in his day of manhood ritual. She watched and prayed while Conan wrestled a bull.

(King Conan I#9 (fb) - BTS) – Mala was present when Conan snapped the bull's neck in his day of manhood ritual.

(Savage Sword of Conan I#227/1) – Mala congratulated Conan on his successful completion of his day of manhood ritual.

(Conan the Adventurer I#2) – Mala learned how to decorate scabbards for the village's warriors' swords.

(Savage Tales I#4/1 (fb)) – Mala watched from afar as Conan left Cimmeria, saddened that he never said goodbye.

(Savage Tales I#4/1 (fb) - BTS) – Over the following four years Mala often spoke of Conan, hoping he would return for her. However, Thorfel the Fair and his Vanir raiders attacked the Snowhawk Tribe and took Mala captive.

(Savage Tales I#4/1) – On Thorfel's Isle of Swords, Mala sat silently crying as the Vanir celebrated their victorious raid on the Cimmerians. Thorfel intended to take Mala as his bride and demanded a priest of Mitra he previously abducted to officiate the wedding. When Mala insisted she would not marry him, Thorfel struck her and repeated his demand, making it clear he intended to sleep with her that night, either as a willing wife or unwilling slave. The priest tried to convince Mala to agree, pointing out a married life would be better than living as a slave. Refusing both options, Mala grabbed Thorfel's dagger off his belt and stabbed herself in the heart while cursing Thorfel. The previously boisterous Vanir were stunned into silence. As Mala lay on the floor, Conan, who had just arrived searching for Mala, flew into a rage and slaughtered any Vanir who tried to stop him. Noticing Mala was still alive, Conan went to her. As she died, Mala recognized Conan and was happy that he came for her.

(Savage Tales I#4/1 - BTS) – Conan avenged Mala by killing Thorfel, nearly decapitating him. With the fighting over, Conan took Mala back to Cimmeria for her final rest.

Comments: Created by Roy Thomas, Gil Kane, Neal Adams & diverse hands, and Pablo Marcos.
    Savage Tales #4's story freely adapted from "The Dark Man" by Robert E. Howard, creator of Conan.

     Robert E. Howard’s "The Dark Man," a Turlogh Dubh O'Brien story, was first published in Weird Tales (December 1931). Savage Tales I#4's "Night of the Dark God" adapted it as a Conan story. Turlogh O'Brien was adapted as Conan, Moira as Mala and Thorfel the Fair as Thorfel the Fair. In "The Dark Man," Moira recognizes O'Brien but he doesn’t let her speak; instead, he launches into a big speech about how he'll avenge her before killing Thorfel. In "Night of the Dark God," Mala recognizes Conan and says (I'm paraphrasing) that she always knew Conan would return for her. When she dies Conan says nothing before murdering Thorfel. I prefer the Savage Tales version.
   
The Bran Mak Morn story The Dark Man was never directly adapted into Marvel Comics. Additionally, the Dark God (an apotheosized Brule) replaced the Dark Man (an apotheosized Bran).
--Wolfram Bane.

     She's called Mala in Savage Tales #4, but is called Mara in Conan the Adventurer #2 and Savage Sword of Conan #227. I’ve listed "Mara" as an alias.
     Since her name is presumably translated into an Anglicized version from whatever language was spoken and alphabet used in Cimmeria, it's possible that the sound of her name falls somewhere between Mala and Mara to those who grew up hearing English, and so either version is as correct or incorrect as the other. - Loki

     Mara mentions Dagda and Diancecht when pleading with the Vanir, so she and her people presumably worshiped the Tuatha de Danaan, and were precursors to the Celts. In Savage Tales I#4 Conan describes Mala as "daughter of Hafgar of the Hillmen" but Conan the Adventurer I#2 identifies her home as Snowhawk Village and in Savage Sword of Conan I#227/2 she gives Conan a feather from "our Snowhawk totem," so her tribe appears to be the Snowhawk Tribe. Since "Hillmen" is a fairly generic term, I guess that she's Cimmerian (nation/ethnicity), with the Hillmen being a subsection of Cimmerian society, and the Snowhawk Tribe in turn a subgroup of the Hillmen, in the same way someone in the modern day might simultaneously be an American, a Californian and a San Franciscan. - Loki

    This profile was completed 6/18/2021, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary 's celebratory event.

Profile by Col_Fury.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Mala has no known connections to:


 Hafgar and unidentified wife

Hafgar and his wife were Mala's parents. 

They survived the Vanir raid and were standing weeping in the remains of their burned down home when Conan returned to Snowhawk Village looking for Mala. 

Hafgar informed Conan that the Vanir had taken Mala north "for their sport," and Mala's crying mother told Conan that her daughter had often spoken of the warrior.

--Savage Tales I#4/1


images: (without ads)

Conan the Adventurer I#2, p2, pan4 (main image)
Savage Tales I#4/1, p15, pan 6 (defiance)
Savage Tales I#4/1, p19, pan2 (death)
Savage Tales I#4/1, p7, pan5 (Hafgar)malacimmeria-savtales4-13-3
Savage Tales I#4/1, p7, pan7 (Hafgar's wife/Mala's mother)
Savage Tales#4, page 13, panel 3 (extra image; Wolfram Bane had this image in a planned sub-profile on Mala for Bran Mak Morn; obviously this entry supercedes that sub-profile, but here's the image anyway!


Appearances:
Savage Tales I#4 (May, 1974) - Roy Thomas (script), Gil Kane, Neal Adams & diverse hands (pencilers), Pablo Marcos (inker)
King Conan#9 (March, 1982) - Doug Moench (writer), John Buscema (artist), Ernie Chan (inker), Louise Jones (editor
Conan the Adventurer I#2 (July, 1994) – Roy Thomas (writer), Rafael Kayanan (artist), Richard Ashford (editor)
Savage Sword of Conan I#227/1 (November, 1994) – Roy Thomas (writer), Mark Pennington (artist), Jason Minor (art assist), Richard Ashford (editor)


First published: 09/18/2021
Last updated: 09/17/2021

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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