Archive for December, 2008

In its December issue, Texas Monthly magazine did an article on the 40 best small town Texas.  One of my favorites made the list, Johnny Reb’s Dixie Café in Hearne.  Every year when we drive up from the Houston area to Cross Plains for Howard days, we have to stop at Johnny’s.  It’s a shining example of what a small town Texas Café should be — great food, service and atmosphere.

While it did not make the “best of” list, the Staghorn Café in Cross Plains did make the “honorable mention” list:

Why we like the Staghorn: a fluffy-crusted chicken-fried steak in two sizes (normal  and small). Why we like Cross Plains: the annual Barbarian Festival, honoring local  hero Robert E. Howard, who created Conan. 254-725-4986.

A write-up in the Abilene newspaper also made mention of this honor:

The Staghorn Café in downtown Cross Plains also received an honorable mention — the first since the restaurant opened five years ago. Owner Porcious Potter said he was proud of the distinction.

“I think we made it because of our ‘secret recipe’ chicken-fried steak,’ Potter said. ‘It is great.”

Sadly, another popular Cross Plains’ eatery, Jean’s Feed Barn, was overlooked.  But no matter, it is a favorite among the locals and all the Howard Heads who come traipsing into Cross Plains each June.

This entry filed under Howard Days, Howard's Texas.

Canadian publisher Girasol Collectibles continues its publication of pulp replicas with two recent offerings of Weird Tales reprints, both of which have early Robert E. Howard stories in them.  Just out are the January 1927 issue, which includes “The Lost Race” and the February 1928 issue featuring “The Dream Snake.”  Girasol has also published a number of other pulp replicas with Howard content.

This entry filed under Howard's Fiction, News, Weird Tales.

Clayburn Moore and Frank Frazetta collaborated on one of the most famous statues in the history of fantasy sculptures with Conan the Barbarian.  In conjunction with Conan Properties and Frank Frazetta, Moore has done it again and the result is unforgettable. This massive, awe inspiring statue depicts a mounted Conan from the stunning painting by Frank Frazetta for the cover of Conan the Conqueror. Since the Lancer Conan the Conqueror paperback was where I first discovered Howard, I am particularly fond of the painting this statue is based on.

Moore’s Conan the Barbarian statue commands high dollar amounts in the secondary market, so don’t be the one to miss this incredible, investment quality sculpture.  At 18” in length and approximately 15″ tall, this 1/7 scale, fully painted, monumental sculpture will be limited to just over orders received and is priced at just $379.00.  Granted, that is a passel of pazoors, but considering the quality, not a bad price.

This entry filed under Howard Fandom, News.

Joan entertaining a couple of the "usual suspects" (Rusty Burke & Mark Finn)

When I first learned of a day set aside to honor Joan McCowen at the Cross Plains Public Library, my first thought that was “it’s about time!”  There will be a special celebration at the Library from 2-3 pm on December 6.  Joan was on the board of the Library, one of the original organizers of Howard Days and welcomed the very first cadre of Howard fans to Cross Plains back in 1986. Her tireless devotion to both the Library and the Howard House have much to do with the success of both.

I remember first meeting Joan talking with her at the 2003 Howard Days where Joan was serving as docent outside Bob’s bedroom.  She was most helpful answering my questions and pointing out items of interest in the room.  Year after year I returned, getting to know both Joan and her wonderful husband Alton.  I remember remarking to my wife Alma how much I admired the two of them for helping save the Howard House and getting Project Pride started, thus preserving a very valuable part of Texas literary history.

While I won’t be able attend her special day at the Library, I do look forward to seeing Joan again this coming June where I expect to see her at her usual post as the guardian of Bob’s room.