Archive for the 'Howard Fandom' Category

Fifth Annual Rencontres Howardiennes

I have spent time with Miguel in Texas and California but as with many good things in this world, it all started in Paris.

The big event was the Fifth Annual Rencontres Howardiennes. On the final leg of my 2010 trip to Europe and Greece, I arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport at 4:00, took a taxi to my hotel and in a flurry of activity, I managed to be ready when Patrice Louinet, Fabrice Tortey and Quelou Parente arrived to take me to the get together. It was great to see Patrice and Fabrice again and to finally meet in person Quelou and then later at the party, Miguel. Miguel and I were co-bloggers on The Cimmerian and had exchanged lots of emails. It was fun night. I had the rare opportunity to meet many of the wonderful French REH fans and I took advantage of it by talking to almost everyone there. Best of all that night, Miguel and Fabrice offered to be my guides for Paris.

After the party, Miguel took me back to my hotel. He and Fabrice picked me up the next morning and took me sightseeing. We had a blast. Being shown around Paris by two Frenchmen made that time so much more special. At my request, we visited the Musée D’Orsay and saw every Impressionist painting they had. Best of all, Miguel, Fabrice and I discussed the paintings and sculptures as we went through the Museum. Afterwards we went down by the Seine and had dinner on a riverboat.

Miguel MartinsThe next day was a French holiday so they came to my hotel and picked me up again. I’m not much on visiting regular tourist spots, I’m much more interested in people but we did see Notre Dame and I enjoyed wandering through the Left Bank. I remember Miguel remarking that he spent two weeks going to the Louvre every day just to see everything in it. The whole excursion took on a new turn when Fabrice mentioned there was a regular meeting of the Monday Science Fiction club that day and asked if I’d like to go. I was very excited and when we arrived, I discovered I had already met a couple of them on Saturday night at the REH get together. I found out these meetings are held every Monday in Paris; they start at noon and went to all hours of the night. The French really know how to party or else I’ve been left out of the loop in here in my small town in California.

Miguel, Fabrice and I didn’t get to the meeting until about 5:00 but we started at one bar and then six of us walked about a mile to another restaurant where we ate. I don’t remember all the topics we covered that evening but I do remember there was lots of discussion of Time and Space – more favorite subjects of mine. All of them spoke excellent English. I remember lots of laughter. They made me feel very comfortable—a nice group of people and I enjoyed myself a lot.

Tuesday, Fabrice had to work so it was Miguel and I. He was a very considerate tour guide and asked me what I wanted to see. First on the agenda was Sacré Coeur Basilica on Montmartre which turned out to be my favorite location in Paris. Miguel was very patient while I explored it thoroughly reassuring me he didn’t mind. Miguel’s father, Vasco Martins, joined us for lunch and we wandered around looking at the artists as they created their beautiful and very expensive masterpieces. I still have the little painting of the Eiffel Tower that I bought. It will always remind me of that wonderful day on Montmartre. The three of us had a good time and I remember a lot of lively conversations. Miguel and his dad dropped me off at my hotel for a couple of hours and then Miguel picked me up again and we had dinner with Patrice near his home. He took us up to his place to see his REH collection and I held A Gent From Bear Creek in my hands. Another special REH moment in my life. It was my last night in Paris and again we all talked REH. Patrice was working under a heavy deadline so we didn’t stay long. Plus the airport shuttle was picking me up at 7:00 a.m. Lots of Parisian kisses and California hugs and it was time to return to the USA.

Miguel at the Howard HouseWhile they were showing me Paris, I invited both Fabrice and Miguel to stay with me if they ever came to California. So in June 2011 we met at the DFW Airport and drove to Cross Plains. On the way we stopped in Peaster and Mineral Wells. We got to the 36 West Motel late and the next morning, got up and went to see the Enchanted Rock, stopping by in Fredericksburg on the way back for some great German food. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday were taken up with HDs. On Sunday, Miguel, Fabrice and I flew to Sacramento. We spent the next five days touring Lake Tahoe, Yosemite and Monterey. Each place we visited was unique in its own way. Both Miguel and Fabrice took lots of photos from the top of the mountains and in the deep valleys we crossed to get to Tahoe. On Tuesday we drove to Yosemite. The rains had filled all the creeks and all the Yosemite falls, filled to capacity, were spectacular. Next was Carmel. We spent the night there and the next day visited Point Lobos State Natural Preserve which is located right on the cliffs next to the Pacific Ocean. Later we went to Monterey Pier for dinner and searched for Clark Ashton Smith’s house. The woman who owns it was outside in the yard and invited us in to see his home. Fabrice is a big CAS fan so it was a special time for him. We drove back to my place on Friday and on Saturday there was a WeirdCon party. It started about 11:00 am and went until about 11:00 that night so I guess we do know how to party here. On Monday the three of us went to San Francisco.

All in all we spent sixteen days together. What did we talk about? Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, California, Paris, and everything under the sun. Both Miguel and Fabrice were interesting to talk to. In Paris, I learned a lot about the work Miguel was doing. He told me he worked nights at a shelter for battered women. Fabrice also shared his extensive traveling experiences with us. I hadn’t been to Tahoe or Monterey in quite a few years and there were things we did that were totally new to me such as visiting Point Lobos and CAS’s home. But t was also a bittersweet time for me. My Mom had died a couple months before so there was also a great sadness in me.

Miguel in front of Clark Ashton Smith's home

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Hearing about Miguel’s passing hit me hard, especially for someone I had only met in person one time. But when I first got involved in REH fandom five or six years ago, Miguel was one of the people that was right there with me. Along with Al, Deuce, and Barbara, Miguel and I moved from posting on the REH Forums to blogging together on The Cimmerian for its final year. Joined by Keith Taylor, Jim Cornelius, William Patrick Maynard, and Brian Murphy, we all did our best to live up to standards that had been set by those who had come before us and Miguel’s contributions were a huge part of that. You can read read Miguel’s Cimmerian blog posts here.

Miguel, Al and JeffMiguel was a brilliant person and had so many insights to offer. He was also a genuinely nice guy and very modest and humble. In 2011 when he came over for Howard Days I was so thrilled to finally get to hang out with him in person. We spent quite a bit of time together and with Al and Barbara it was like a TC reunion. It was not long after that that Miguel began to move away from Howard fandom. Over the next couple of years he went through some trying times and I don’t know if he ever fully recovered. I had hoped that he just needed some time to deal with what he needed to deal with and that he would return, renewed and ready to pick up where he left off. But that wasn’t to be.

I hate it, because I know that we are doing things now that he would have loved to be a part of. Maybe I’m wrong, but I have to think that had he gotten back into Howard fandom and scholarship — something he was so passionate about — that it might have given him a drive and a reason to move past that things that were plaguing him. I wish he had reached out to us — or allowed us to reach out to him. I wish he had come back to us. But he didn’t and he’s gone. I’ll miss him greatly and I’ll never forget that his encouragement was one of my main motivations for my doing the things I’m doing. Thank you Miguel and Godspeed, my friend.

This entry filed under Howard Days, Howard Fandom, Howard Scholarship, News.

XXX_025L_Stephen_Fabian_Spears_of_Clontarf_Plate_IIIAfter a one year hiatus, The Definitive Robert E. Howard Journal is returning this summer with a new issue. TGR #17 is shaping up to be one of the best issues ever, with a cover that will knock your sandals off.

In addition to a rare piece of Howard fiction, issue 17 features essays and articles by Barbara Barrett, Dave Hardy, Don Herron, Morgan Holmes, Brian Leno, Rob Roehm, Jeff Shanks and others.

And as always, lots of great artwork will appear in the new issue by the likes of Bob Covington, Stephen Fabian, Nathan Furman, Clayton Hinkle, Terry Pavlet, Michael L. Peters and others.

So set aside some pazoors and keep a lookout on this blog for further updates and ordering information.

This is one issue you won’t want to miss!

This is the first post for 2014 of the online version of Nemedian Dispatches. This feature previously appeared in the print journal and is now on the blog. On roughly a quarterly basis, Nemedian Dispatches will highlight new and upcoming appearances of Howard’s fiction in print, as well as Howard in other types of media.

In Print:

00-Web“Spears of Clontarf” Draft
With the 1,000-year anniversary of the historic Battle of Clontarf coming next month, and Howard’s interest in it, the REH Foundation Press is publishing a facsimile version of an early draft of “Spears of Clontarf.” In addition to the typescript, this slim volume includes Howard’s letter to publisher Harry Bates and an introduction by Rusty Burke. Cover art by John Watkiss. Order details can be found here.

Strange Detective Stories, Volume 5 Number 3
Adventure House’s latest pulp replica has not one, but two Howard stories in it: “The Tomb’s Secret” and “Fangs of Gold.” You can order your copy here.  Adventure House also recently published an issue of Fight Stories (December 1931), featuring Robert E. Howard’s Sailor Steve Costigan in “Circus Fists.”

rehf-collectedboxingstories2-fistsofiron

Fists of Iron, Round 2
This is the second volume of a four-volume series from the REH Foundation Press that presents the Collected Boxing Fiction of Robert E. Howard. This book features the first half of the collected Sailor Steve Costigan yarns and clocks in at 330 pages (plus introductory material). The volume is printed in hardback with dust jacket; the first printing is limited to 200 numbered copies. Cover art is by Tom Gianni. with an introduction by Mark Finn.  Other volumes will follow as their covers are completed. Be sure and order soon — this volume is going fast.

Robert E. Howard’s Savage Sword #7
This current issue is overflowing with action and swordplay, featuring the conclusion of the origin story of swordswoman Dark Agnes, Pictish king Bran Mak Morn clashing with an ancient sorcerer in “Men of the Shadows” Part 3, Breck Elkins takes on civilization with much blood an mayhem and Valeria the swashbuckling lady pirate star in a solo adventure drawn by the late, great John Buscema. Available from Things from Another World.

Cover SmallZombies from the Pulps!
TGR contributor and guest blogger Jeff Shank’s zombie anthology is available for Kindle, as well as being available in paperback. The volume is chock full of zombie stories from the pulps, including Robert E. Howard’s “Pigeons from Hell.” Other authors featured include H.P. Lovecraft, Henry S. Whitehead, Clark Ashton Smith, Seabury Quinn, August Derleth, E. Hoffmann Price and others.

Weird Tales, March 1935
Girasol has recently published a pulp replica of the March 1935 issue of Weird Tales featuring Conan in “Jewels of Gwahlur.” Conan is not on the cover, but it sports a really nice Brundage painting for “Clutching Hands of Death” by Harold Boyd. Order it directly from Girasol.

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With less than three months before this year’s Howard Days (June 13 – June 14), the schedule has just been posted over at the REHupa website. This year’s theme will be “Howard and History.” Being the prolific author that he was, Howard wrote in all arenas of history, including history woven from his own imagination. So it is only fitting that world renowned Howard editor and scholar Patrice Louinet, a man who has been so instrumental in bringing all this history to us, is the Guest of Honor for this year’s Howard Days.

So if you have not made plans to attend, it is not too late. Check out the link above for full details — meanwhile here is the summary schedule of events:

Howard Days 2014 Schedule Summay Version

Friday June 13th

8:30 am – 9:00 am: Coffee and donuts at the Pavilion, compliments of Project Pride

9:00 am – 4:00 pm: Robert E. Howard House Museum open to the public.

9:00 am – 4:00 pm: REH Postal Cancellation at Cross Plains Post Office

9:00 am – 11:00 am: Bus Tour of Cross Plains & Surrounding Areas

10:00 am – 5:00 pm: Cross Plains Public Library open

11:00 am: PANEL “In the Guise of Fiction”

Noon: Lunch hosted by Project Pride. Donations welcome.

10:00 am to 4:00 pm: Pavilion available for REH items Swap Meet

1:30 pm: PANEL Patrice Louinet, Guest of Honor

2:30 pm: PANEL Presentation of the REH Foundation 2013 Awards

5:30 – 6:30 pm: Silent Auction items available for viewing & bidding at Banquet site

6:30 pm: Robert E. Howard Celebration Banquet & Silent Auction at the Cross Plains Community Center.

9:00 pm: PANEL “Fists at the Ice House” (behind the Texas Taxidermy building on Main St.)

Afterward there will be some extemporaneous REH Poetry Reading at the Pavilion.

Saturday June 14th

9:00 am – 4:00 pm: Robert E. Howard House Museum open to the public.

9:00 am – 4:00 pm: BARBARIAN FESTIVAL at Treadway Park, 3 blocks west of REH House

10:00 am – 3:00 pm: Cross Plains Public Library open

10:30 am: PANEL “The Legend Continues:

10:00 am to 4:00 pm: Pavilion available for REH items Swap Meet

Lunch & Festival Activities at your leisure during the day.

2:00 pm: PANEL “Fists of Iron”

3:30 pm: PANEL “What’s Up with REH?” (at the Pavilion)

5:00 pm: Sunset BBQ at the Caddo Peak Ranch

NOTE: All panels at REH Days last about one hour and are held at the Library unless otherwise noted.

(The Robert E. Howard House Museum will be open again this year on Thursday June 12th from 2-4 pm. No docents on duty, but the Gift Shop is open.)

Howard Days Pre Registration: 

You do not have to pre-register to partake of the weekend’s festivities. All are welcome to attend, visit the House and enjoy all of the activities free of charge. Project Pride likes to pre-register folks primarily to get a head count of how many will be attending the Banquet on Friday night and the BBQ on Saturday night. All the panels, tours, Swap Meet, Pavilion activities etc. are presented at no cost. Your registration fee covers coffee & donuts Friday morning, lunch at the Pavilion Friday noon, the Friday Banquet and the Saturday BBQ.

The cost for pre-registration this year is only $15 per person. Please send your name(s) & address with a check or money order or register via PayPal: ProjPride@yahoo.com

Project Pride
Attn: REH Days 2013 Pre-registration
PO Box 534
Cross Plains, TX 76443

Please pre-register before June 6, 2014.

Update 3/24/2014:

There is a new blog devoted exclusively to Robert E. Howard Days. Keep up-to-date here.

IMG_0001It was around 1975 when I read my first Karl Edward Wagner novel, Bloodstone, with that great Frazetta cover pictured to the left. I remember really enjoying it, and I thought his Kane was a fascinating creation.  I quickly realized that I had discovered a fantasy writer that was quite a bit better than most of the other sword and sorcery authors that were peddling their crap at that time.

In 1977, I picked up the Berkley/Putnam edition of The People of the Black Circle and my estimation of the Bloodstone author rose even higher, because, in this Wagner-edited volume Howard fans got to see the Conan stories as they had originally appeared in Weird Tales, with no pastiches, no yarns by lesser writers trying to self-promote themselves with their own versions of the dark barbarian.

Two more additions to this series followed, The Hour of the Dragon and Red Nails, but that, unfortunately, was it.  To any reader of this blog it should be apparent there is only one Conan and that is, of course, the Robert E. Howard Conan.  No movie, no comic book adaptation, and no pastiche should ever be considered part of the Conan canon—if Howard didn’t write it, it ain’t Conan, simple as that.

So my respect for Wagner soared when I noticed that the only by-line to appear on the book-spine was Howard’s, and nowhere in his foreword does Wagner mention the names of the other writers that had worked on the Lancer series—and since Mr. Wagner didn’t feel it fulfilled any purpose to state their names I’ll follow his lead and won’t either.  Hopefully it’s not necessary and hopefully their tales of their Conan will be buried somewhere and forgotten.

Wagner shows he’s my kind of Howard fan when he writes, “It is this editor’s feeling that the Conan stories should be presented exactly as Howard wrote them, and that examples of pastiche writing have no place in a collection of the original author’s own stories.  Pastiche-Conan is not the same Conan as portrayed by Robert E. Howard—and I say this as one who has written Howard pastiches.”  Beautiful.

In the second volume in the series, The Hour of the Dragon, he adds to this statement, noting, “later writers have revised nonfantasy adventures to turn them into Conan stories, and have further altered Howard’s Conan through a vast body of frank pastiches.  These are not Conan stories—not Robert E. Howard’s Conan—and have no more validity in relation to the stories than any Conan tales you might yourself decide to write.”  Wagner is becoming my hero.

In the last volume of this series, Red Nails, he refers again to the earlier tampering by, well, you know.  “Unfortunately these earlier efforts [the Gnome and Lancer editions] were burdened with the aforementioned Conan collaborations and pastiches, and Howard’s text in the completed stories was tampered with by previous editors.”  And then Wagner reiterates his belief that no collection of Conan should contain any stories except those by Howard.  My man. 

IMG_0002Because of this high regard I check eBay quite often for Wagner items and I was delighted to come across Michael Moorcock’s Stormbringer, pictured to the left with the J. Cawthorn cover.  While the book is in itself collectible I was somewhat amazed to discover this was actually Wagner’s own copy, and contained his bookplate.  I quickly bought it and added it to my library.

Shortly after this purchase eBay yielded another surprise—a teleplay by Wagner adapting Howard’s “The Horror from the Mound” for the series Tales From the Darkside.  I had heard of this somewhat legendary script, but I’d never had the chance to read it.  So, on the day it arrived, I spent a pleasurable hour familiarizing myself with KEW’s remarkable adaptation.  Wagner deserves all the adulation Howard fans can give him, because this is the way Howard should be treated by screenwriters and movie makers.

It’s a solid retelling of one of my favorite REH yarns with one notable exception; Wagner introduces a third modern-day character, Jarrett Buckner.  The creation of this character helps KEW move the teleplay along, especially during the sequences when Brill reads the manuscript left by Juan Lopez—with Buckner on stage Brill can narrate Lopez’s tale aloud, instead of only reading it to himself.

IMG_0003I was never a Tales From the Darkside fan, at the time it first aired I felt most of the episodes fell kind of flat, and I ended up sarcastically calling the program Tales From the Unimaginative Side.

One of the episodes I fuzzily recall concerned an old man who had apparently died but would not admit it to himself, or his loved ones.  His relatives are of course unsettled by this and are trying to prove to the elderly gentleman that he has indeed perished and that it’s time for him to take his place in the coffin.  So, during one meal, his family members pepper his plate severely, enough to make him sneeze so heavily that he blows his nose off, thus confirming to himself that he is, indeed, a walking dead man.  I believe the last scene in the show is of his nose still embedded in his handkerchief, with lots of gross material surrounding it.

How correct my memory is of this show I’m not exactly certain but I do know that my estimation of Tales From the Darkside does not place it on the top shelf of horror shows—Thriller has nothing to worry about.  However, after reading Wagner’s teleplay, and recognizing how good it would have appeared on television, I may have to go back and take another look at some of those old Tales episodes.  The fact that “The Horror from the Mound” was even considered to be a possible candidate for this old horror series does say something good about Tales From the Darkside—I may have to take back that Unimaginative Side crack.

This Wagner teleplay deserves publication—if only to show that Howard can be brought to the small, or big, screen with very little tampering.  It can be done, Howard fans, and we all know it.

Weird Tales Covers

Seems like Chicago is the place to be in April. In addition to the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention, the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association is holding its national conference April 16th through 19th at the Marriott Chicago Downtown Magnificent Mile Hotel. For those of you not familiar with PCA/ACA, here is their mission statement:

The mission of the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association is to promote the study of popular culture throughout the world through the establishment and promotion of conferences, publications, and discussion. Aiding the PCA/ACA in this goal is the PCA/ACA Endowment which offers support for scholars and scholarship.

The PCA/ACA actively tries to identify and recruit new areas of scholarly exploration and to be open to new and innovative ideas. PCA/ACA is both inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary. Finally, the PCA/ACA believes all scholars should be treated with dignity and respect.

You can find the complete details pertaining to the conference here.  Below is a list of topics of interest to Howard and fantasy fans, courtesy of Jeffrey Shanks:

Pulp Studies I: Weird Tales: The Unique Magazine

Weird Modernism: Literary Modernism in the First Decade of Weird Tales – Jonas Prida (College of St. Joseph)

The Occult Truth of History: Lovecraft, Howard, Smith, and the Headless Sublime – Jason Carney (Case Western Reserve University)

“What Subtle Torment the Black God’s Kiss Had Wrought Upon Him”: Gender Performance as Strategic Advantage in American Sword and Sorcery – Nicole Emmelahinz (Case Western Reserve University)

Pulp Studies II: History, Horror, and the Heroic Fantasy of Robert E. Howard

Cthulos/Kathulhu: Intertextuality in the Pulp Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard – Nicole Rehnberg (California State University, Fullerton)

Through a Glass Too Darkly: Conan Revealed as “The Bright Barbarian” – Frank Coffman (Rock Valley College)

Night Falls on Asgard: Robert E. Howard’s Weltgeschichte – Rusty Burke (Independent Scholar)

Pulp Studies III: Imperial Pulp – Nationialism and Colonialism in Pulp Fiction

From Jungle Lords to Planetary Pioneers: Ideologies and Anxieties of Colonialism in the Pulps – Jeffrey Shanks (National Park Service)

“Thou, Africa!”: An Analysis of Robert E. Howard’s Conflicting Views on Race in His Unpublished Poetry – Barbara Barrett (Independent Scholar)

“Too bad it’s in the Soviet Zone now”: Divided Germany and Pro-American Discourses in James McGovern’s Romance Novel Fräulein (1956) – Elisa Edwards (Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz, Austria)

Pulp Studies IV: Weird Menaces and Hard-Boiled Heroes

Erle Stanley Gardner’s Pulp Legacy – Jeffrey Marks (Independent Scholar)

Pulpy Rhetoric: The Modern Sophism of Black Mask – Rachel Tanner (University of Oregon)

Spicy Horror: Sex and Magical Reversal in Weird Menace Pulp Fictions – Meta Regis (Stella Maris College)

Pulp Studies V: Pulp Pedagogy – Pulp Fiction in Education

Teaching the Pulps: A Heuristic for Rhetorical Reading of Popular Fiction – Justin Everett (University of the Sciences)

Orange Pulp: Collecting & Interpreting Pulp Magazines at Syracuse University – Sean Quimby (Syracuse University)

The Cosmic Angle of Regarding: Mathematics and the Fiction of H. P. Lovecraft – Daniel Look (St. Lawrence University)

As you can see, the various areas of study cover a lot of ground and include presentations by guest bloggers and TGR contributors Barbara Barrett, Rusty Burke, Frank Coffman and Jeffrey Shanks. If you can make it, you’d be helping show support for the topics and presenters. That support would be a big part of bringing Robert E. Howard studies to the forefront of academia.

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The Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention will be held again this year in Lombard, a suburb of Chicago, on April 25-27. The event has expanded from a single day event in 2001 into the largest pulp and popular culture show in the nation with more than 400 attendees each year. The goal of the convention is to bring the fans the best the pulps and popular culture have to offer, and year after year it does. For 2014, Windy City will be celebrating the 85th anniversary of Sam Spade and Dashiell Hammett, and the 95th anniversary of Western Story Magazine.

This is the fifth year the convention will be held at the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center. The event runs Friday through Sunday, but the con suite will be open on Thursday evening where you pick up your badges and program books early.

If you plan on attending and haven’t booked your hotel room yet, the deadline to get the convention rate, which is a huge savings over the regular rate, is April 7th at 5:00 pm, Central time. You can book online at the hotel’s website.

western-story-magazine-pulp-movie-poster-1938-1020410314Again this year, Bill Cavalier will be hosting a Robert E. Howard Foundation luncheon for all the Howard fans who are Legacy Members at the Westin on Saturday. This year everyone will be going Dutch since the Foundation is conserving funds for other Howard related endeavors.

This event usually attracts a good sized group of Howard fans, so if you can make to the Windy City convention, you’ll have plenty of like-minded folks to hang out with. Plus, you will have place to get together and talk Howard since the Foundation will have a table in the dealer’s room.

The best place to get information and updates on Windy City and other upcoming conventions is at Bill Thom’s Coming Attractions website.

This entry filed under Collecting Howard, Howard Fandom, News.

This is the final post for 2013 of the online version of Nemedian Dispatches. This feature previously appeared in the print journal and is now on the blog. On roughly a quarterly basis, Nemedian Dispatches will highlight new and upcoming appearances of Howard’s fiction in print, as well as Howard in other types of media.

In Print:

1455099_698319006860121_1820056067_nWeird Tales (October 1936)
Just published by Girasol Collectables Inc., is the October 1936 pulp replica of Weird Tales featuring the third and final installment  of “Red Nails.”  Part 1 appeared in the July 1936 issue, Part 2 in the August-September 1936 issue, both of which are available from Girasol. 

Western Tales
The REH Foundation Press’ collection of Howard’s western yarns is now available to order. It is the most comprehensive collection of Howard’s straight westerns ever published, including his classic weird westerns. The volume also features a Foreword by western fictioneer James Reasoner, a cover by Tom Gianni and Notes on the Text by Rob Roehm.

Fight Stories  (December 1931)
Adventure House has released a pulp replica of the December 1931 issue of Fight Stories featuring Robert E. Howard’s Sailor Steve Costigan in “Circus Fists.”

41f6kD7xfsLUndead in the West II: They Just Keep Coming
This new scholarly collection kicks off with “Vaqueros and Vampires in the Pulps: Robert E. Howard and the Dawn of the Undead West” by Jeff Shanks and Mark Finn. And that’s just the beginning, the volume has sixteen other essays on topics related to the weird west. It comes at a hefty price, but it is a hefty book, clocking in at over 350 pages. The book is edited by Cynthia J. Miller and A. Bowdoin Van Riper, and features a foreword by science fiction author William F. Nolan (Logan’s Run).

 Robert E. Howard’s Savage Sword #6
WriterMatt Kindt  teams with comic-book superstar artist Keu Cha  to bring you a familiar Conan story with a twist! Paul Tobin and Francesco Francavilla deliver the second exciting installment of “Dark Agnes: Sword Woman,” while Ian Edginton and TGR contributor Richard Pace to illustrate why the Picts are such a formidable fighting force in part 2 of “Bran Mak Morn: Men of the Shadows.” This plus much more in this latest issue.

61RT9j1FMCL__SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The Colossal Conan
Finally, a collection gigantic enough for Conan the Cimmerian himself! This massive hardcover volume weighs in at 13 pounds and collects Conan issues #0 through #50 in 1264 pages. Beginning with the early work of Kurt Busiek and Cary Nord through the famous collaborations of Timothy Truman and Tomás Giorello, this huge tome features an introduction from Busiek and an afterword from Truman. It is truly a must have for any Howard comic collector. The many contributors include: Kurt Busiek (Writer), Timothy Truman (Writer), Mike Mignola (Writer), Cary Nord (Art), Tomás Giorello (Art), Thomas Yeates (Art), Greg Ruth (Art), Eric Powell (Art), Rafael Kayanan (Art), Paul Lee (Art), Leinil Francis Yu (Art), Joseph Linsner (Art), Ladronn (Art), Tony Harris (Art), Paul Lee (Art), Dave Stewart (Color), Richard Isanove (Color), JD Mettler (Color), Tony Shasteen (Color), José Villarrubia (Color), and Mark Schultz (Cover)

 Coming Soon: 

boxing2The REH Foundation Press
Fists of Iron, Round 2 is now available to preorder. This is the second of a four volume comprehensive collection of REH’s humorous and straight boxing yarns (volume one was published earlier this year) from the Foundation Press. Also in the works for the near future is a two volume collection of Howard’s humorous western yarns, a book of Celtic adventures (Cormac Mac Art, et al.), an autobiographical book of sorts consisting of Post Oaks and Sand Roughs and various articles and essays written by Howard with a biographical slant, plus several other volumes.

REH: Two-Gun Raconteur #17
After a one year forced hiatus, TGR is returning in 2014 with a new issue just in time for Howard Days in June. You can expect the usual stellar line-up of rare Howard fiction, great artwork and outstanding essays and articles from more Howard scholars than you can shake a stick at. Stay tuned for more details as 2014 progresses.

IMGAnybody remember David Mason?

I’m a sucker for nostalgia; every so often I get the craving to go back and reread books that were favorites of mine when I was younger.  Sometimes this is a good thing, because the writer and his work hold up very well; more often, however, it isn’t.   And when this happens I can only shake my head and wonder what the hell I ever thought was good in that book.

I’m sure we’ve all experienced this form of regret—as we get older some books, and their authors, just no longer entertain us.  Lately I decided to see if the works of David Mason were as good, to me, as I remembered them from a long time ago.  Except for Howard, I don’t read much sword and sorcery anymore and I thought I might be disappointed.

I first discovered David Mason’s Kavin’s World at the local bookstore when I was thirteen and I remember I loved it.  With that beautiful Frazetta cover I knew this was a book I had to have and so immediately purchased it.  Even though Mason, after Kavin’s World, never had another book graced by a Frazetta masterpiece I continued buying his stuff; he was a captivating storyteller.

At least that’s how I felt back in 1969, and so I was a bit apprehensive when I dug out my copy of The Sorcerer’s Skull, my favorite of Mason’s novels, and got down to business.  I’m not going to do a plot synopsis, but I will say that the book deals with a heroic warrior, a quest, a diabolic sorcerer and a lovely lady—typical of a lot of fantasy from around that time, but Mason is not your typical writer and I’m happy to report that even after all these years I found it was a quick and pleasurable read.  Admittedly, it wasn’t quite as exciting to me as when I first read it but it was still enjoyable, and I’ll now probably reread the rest of the Mason books I own.

If you haven’t read Mason you’re missing one of the best heroic fantasy authors from that time when way too many paperback books were trumpeted as being “in the tradition of Robert E. Howard.”  There were so many sword and sorcery novels hitting the book shelves in the late sixties and early seventies that it was an impossible task to buy them all—not that I wanted to, most of them were just plain unliterary crap written by hacks who were only taking advantage of the possible money that Howard’s success was stirring up.  Couldn’t read most of that stuff then, couldn’t possibly go back and read it now with any enjoyment.

David Mason is a cool exception.  Of course he does show the Howard influence—one example from Kavin’s World is when he introduces us to a sorcerer named “Thuramon.”  Pretty close to Thoth-Amon.

Mason died in 1974 at fifty years of age—way too young—I wish he could have stuck around a little longer; it would have been nice to have had more good sword and sorcery books to read.  On a personal note my own quest is to find an autographed copy of one of Mason’s books—he’s a tough one, but that’s what makes the hunt fun and rewarding.

Art credit: Kavin’s World by Frank Frazetta
This entry filed under Howard Fandom, Sword & Sorcery.