It's Badass Fantasy Day at io9! But before we kick the festivities off, what makes a fantasy tale demonstrably badass?

To get a professional opinion on this matter, we recently talked with comic artist Darick Robertson, illustrator and co-creator of Transmetropolitan and The Boys. Robertson's most famous works may be in science fiction and superheroes, but he's also drawn and written a fantastically brutal Conan The Barbarian for Dark Horse Comics. We asked Darick what he loves about fantasy compared to scifi — his answer boiled down to sheer grit:

Fantasy has always been my first love due to the primal nature of the characters; their self determination, their pure skill and resolve. It's one thing if you have super powers and can fly or are invulnerable, or can shoot your fancy laser gun and hop in your time machine, compared to having only a sword and a giant snake to decapitate.

We now open the floor to you now, dear readers. What are the ingredients of badass fantasy compared to regular fantasy? Is it dragons? Loincloths? Dragons wearing loincloths? Monologues about crushing your enemies and hearing the lamentations of their women? Let's get the badassery of fantasy down to a science, folks.

Illustrations from Robertson's Conan: The Weight of the Crown and King Conan: The Scarlet Citadel.