Archive for January, 2010

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This past Friday, January 22nd, everyone who is a Robert E. Howard fan paused to remember the 104th anniversary of his birth, raising a glass or mug of their favorite adult beverage and reading their favorite poem or story in his memory.

While everyone celebrates “Two-Gun” Bob’s birthday on January 22nd, the 24th is also sometimes noted as Howard’s date of birth.  Here is an excerpt from “A Short Biography” by Rusty Burke:

Robert E. Howard was born on January 22 (or possibly January 24), 1906, in the “fading little ex-cowtown” of Peaster, Texas, in Parker County, just west of Fort Worth. The confusion surrounding his date of birth arises from Howard celebrating January 22 as his birthday (this was the date he submitted to Who’s Who Among North American Authors), while his record of birth in Parker County reads January 24. As his father also gave Robert’s birthday as 22 January, it is probably safe to assume that is the correct date.

The confusion arises out of Howard’s official birth record which records the date of birth as the 24th.

The Texas Historical Commission, which approved two monuments to commemorate Howard’s life and record the Howard House on the National Register of Historical Places, both of which show the date as the 24th:

Robert E. Howard

(January 24, 1906 – June 11, 1936)

Born in Parker County, Robert Ervin Howard grew up in the Brown and Callahan County communities of Cross Cut, Cross Plains, and Brownwood.  He attended Brownwood High School and Howard Payne College, and published his first works of fiction in school newspapers. He later wrote poetry and short stories for popular fiction magazines. His main interest was in science fiction and fantasy. In 1932 he created the Character of Conan the Barbarian.  Howard committed suicide at age 30.  His Conan character has become known worldwide through books, magazines, and movies (1991)

 –Text of marker located at Howard’s gravesite in Greenleaf Cemetery, Brownwood, Texas

Robert Ervin Howard was born January 24, 1906, at Peaster, Parker County, Texas. At the time of his birth, his parents, Isaac Mordecai and Hester Jane Ervin Howard, lived in the community of Dark Valley, Palo Pinto County, near the Parker County border.

 – From the official Narrative on the Texas Historical Commission website

One possible reason the date is listed in the records of the Texas Historical Commission might be attributable to Dark Valley Destiny, which was published shortly before these markers were applied for and this biography listed Howard’s date of birth as the 24th. Another reason might be since Howard’s “official” recorded birth date is the 24th, that date was used.

 As for how the 24th got in the record in the first place, one theory is the attending physician, a country doctor like Dr. Howard, and who was on call 24/7, may have erroneously recalled the date as the 24thwhen he submitted the official birth record on February 2, 1906 to the Parker County Records clerk (he also listed Howard’s middle name as “Ervine” instead of Ervin).

Regardless of how the date was incorrectly recorded as the 24th, it is still an interesting footnote that adds a little more intrigue to the legend of the man from Cross Plains.

This entry filed under Howard Biography, Howard in Media, Rusty Burke.

Era Lee Hanke and Glenn Lord in the Gift Shop.

The Howard House Museum Gift Shop carries a full line of Robert E. Howard publications, books, posters, t-shirts, etc.  Among the many items at the gift shop, one can find all  back issues of REH: Two-Gun Raconteur, as well as all the out-of-print issues except for issue # 3.

Additionally, some out of print issues of Leo Grin’s Howard journal The Cimmerian are available as well.  The gift shop is the only place you can buy a copy of The Cimmerian at cover price.  Leo destroyed all unsold copies in September of 2009 and the only place I’ve seen them since is eBay where copies sell for around $40.00 each.

You can e-mail Project Pride volunteer Era Lee Hanke to confirm availability and pricing.  Shipping is $3.00 a copy and she accepts cash, money orders and personal checks. Or contact her via snail mail at:

Era Lee Hanke
Project Pride
P. O. Box 534
Cross Plains, TX 76443

A portion of the proceeds from each copy sold goes to Project Pride for the maintenance and upkeep of the Howard House Museum.  It is a very worthy cause and a great way to the house in pristine condition for many years to come.

This entry filed under Glenn Lord, Howard Fandom, Howard House Museum, News.

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We have certainly come a long way since the life and times of Robert E. Howard when old tube radios and Underwood typewriters were primary means of entertainment, creativity and communication.  Year after year technology marches forward bringing us new and wondrous ways to enjoy our favorite pastimes. For example, there a number of Howard books available for Amazon’s digital book reader called the Kindle.

With everyone and his brother now getting into the electronic reader market, prices will drop as more of these devices appear.  Apple is even getting in on the action with its new iTablet due out in March.  My wife gave me a Kindle for Christmas and I already have half a dozen Howard volumes loaded on it.  Besides being lightweight and easy to use, it is incredibly compact, making it easy to carry in a messenger bag or backpack.

Coming Attractions has  just announced four new electronic books from Halcyon Classics.   These include Conan the Reaver, which has 13 Conan stories, including Hour of the Dragon, Conan the Warrior (same contents as the Lancer/Ace book, plus “The Hyborian Age” essay) Collected Boxing Stories, featuring 22 Steve Costigan stories, plus 2 others and Graveyard Rats and Other Detective Stories  (contents differ from the Wildside volume).  All these sell for 0nly 99¢ each. 

Also, if you have an iPhone and don’t want to spring for a Kindle, there is an app that lets you read electronic books on your phone.  Yes indeed, technology is our friend, especially when it allows us to carry a whole library of Howard books in a device smaller than a DVD box.

This entry filed under Howard in Media, Howard's Fiction, News.

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Bill Cavalier recently posted an update on this year’s Howard Days at the REHupa website.  The theme this year will be “The Illustrators of Robert E. Howard.”  Of course other Howard topics will be discussed, but the main thrust will be the artwork that illustrates REH’s stories.

Jim and Ruth Keegan will be the Guests of Honor.  Both Jim and Ruth are well known among Howard fans for their continuing strip The Adventures of Two-Gun Bob, which appears in all the Dark Horse comics that feature Howard creations.  They’ve also illustrated the “Best of Robert E. Howard” volumes for Del Rey, as well as the upcoming El Borak and Other Desert Adventures.

Plans call for an art show featuring original artwork, as well as drawings donated by the likes of the Keegans, Gary Gianni, Mark Schultz and others for the Silent Auction.

I’ll also be debuting TGR #14, as well as a special art project that will benefit the Howard House and Project Pride.

Keep a lookout for updates on the web and make your plans to attend.  If you love great artwork coupled with Howard’s writings, this will an event you won’t want to miss.

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Longtime friend of TGR, Charles R. Saunders, has just had the fourth book in his Imaro series published by Sword & Soul. Originally written 25 years ago, Imaro: The Naama War is in print for the first time ever.  Since returning to fantasy writing four years ago, Charles has updated his first three Imaro books that were published by DAW in the early 1980’s; two were published by Night Shade Books and the third by Sword & Soul. But this fourth volume is completely new and closes out the first chapter of Imaro’s life with a big throw-down with his arch-nemesis Bohu. Also of special interest to Howard fans, is the dedication of the book to our late friend Steve Tompkins.  So don’t waste anytime my fellow sword brothers and sisters, head on over to Lulu.com and get your copy of this fast paced S&S novel in the tradition of Robert E. Howard.

This entry filed under Charles R. Saunders, Sword & Sorcery.