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Essay Example: 20 Years: A Milestone for The Dark Man Journal

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Congratulations are in order for the The Dark Man, which celebrates an important 20 year anniversary this year. The first issue of the journal appeared in the summer of 1990 and featured contributions from a virtual who’s who of Howard scholars.  TDM was originally edited by Rusty Burke and, after changing editorial hands several times, it is currently edited by Mark Hall.

Don “Always Ahead of the Curve” Herron was the first to take notice of this milestone in his instant classic “Castrated But Still Limping Along: The Dark Man 1990 — 2010,” which appears in the current issue of TGR.  When Don informed me of this fact I was surprised — I hadn’t realized it was indeed a big anniversary year for The Journal of Robert E. Howard Studies.

Evidently this fact also slipped by the guys at TDM’s editorial board, because this milestone was not mentioned in their recent issue, nor does it appear on their website.

I suppose they don’t believe in tooting their own horn; but heck, the year is only half over – perhaps we will yet see a special gala anniversary issue from the TDM team.

In the meantime, Don Herron’s take on the first 20 years will have to suffice.  Here is a small sample of a few of the opening paragraphs: 

So, the issue rolled in — let’s refer to it as number fourteen, to be clear on what we’re talking about in the grand historical scheme. I realized suddenly that my sense of years passing had added up to something: The Dark Man had been in existence for no less than twenty years! Two decades on the mean streets, since Rusty Burke started the operation in 1990. Not bad by anyone’s standards.

I suppose it is unfortunate that I had to determine this on my own time. Number fourteen — or “Volume 5, No. 1, March 2010” under the arcane and close to insane numbering system the magazine now uses — didn’t print Word One about the anniversary. For the first time in many long years, The Dark Man had no editorial of any sort, just three very short essays, three even shorter reviews, and a short if nice enough nostalgia piece by Charles Hoffman about his encounter with the 1968 Lancer paperback Wolfshead. Cover photo of REH we’ve all seen before, contents info. Or, ten bucks and postage, gone.

So, if you have not done so yet, order a copy of TGR #14 and read straight shooter Don’s history/review of the first 20 years of this important journal of Howardian studies.