Archive for December, 2012

New Year’s Eve is supposed to be a festive occasion, celebrated with parties, good cheer and hopes for a happy new year at the stroke of midnight. New Year’s Eve 2011 was far from an ordinary News Year’s Eve for Howard fans. While everyone was celebrating with friends and family, terrible news rocketed across the internet and bounced off of cell phone towers around 10:00 pm Central Time – Glenn Lord was gone. The party ended for me the moment I read the news on my iPhone.

Howard Heads worldwide collecitvely got a punch in the gut that evening one year ago today. The man who single-handedly saved REH from obscurity, had sudden left us. It was hard for me to accept — I had just seen him six weeks prior at his 80th birthday celebration and had just received a handwritten thank you card from him for attending that special event. In the hours and days following the news of his death, tributes and remembrances of Glenn flooded the internet. Here on the TGR blog all posts for the first week of 2012 were devoted to him.

December is certainly a bittersweet month for Howard fans — it is the month Conan was born and the month Glenn Lord passed away. Like Conan, Glenn was many things in his life: son, soldier, husband, father, provider, collector, literary agent, grandfather, who left a legacy for all of us, seeking out and keeping Howard’s writings for posterity. But most of all he was a friend to all Howard fans and throughout his life, he always took time to sign books, answer letters and questions for everyone. Easy going, soft spoken with a wry sense of humor, he was one of a kind and it was an honor for me to have known him.

When I started publishing TGR again in August of 2003, Glenn mailed me a check for the issue. I returned the check to him with the magazine and a note that said: “Glenn, your money is no good here.” From then on, Glenn’s copy was the first to go in the mail. Recently, when I began, mailing out copies of the new issue, I couldn’t mail it to him – which felt strange. However, I decided the first copy of every new issue would be mailed gratis to someone I felt epitomized what Glenn was all about – the ultimate fan and collector. So a new tradition was born out of an old one.

A few weeks ago, I drove over to Humble to visit Glenn. Some folks might wonder why he is buried in Humble instead of Pasadena, some 28 miles away. Well, Rosewood Memorial Park is where Lou Ann’s family (her maiden name is Yates) has a plot and many of her family members are buried there, including her mother. Glenn has a VFW grave marker, one of the benefits of being a veteran, which includes Lou Ann’s marker where she will be buried someday next to her beloved Glenn. One little known fact about Glenn is his full name — Oliver Glenn Lord; he did not care for his first name and he always went by his middle name.

If you are ever visiting the Houston area and want to pay your respects, Rosewood Memorial Park Cemetery is located at 2602 South Houston Avenue, Humble, Texas 77396. Below is a map (click to enlarge) and information for finding his gravesite in the cemetery.

Locating Glenn’s Gravesite in Rosewood Memorial Park

The cemetery entrance is on South Houston Avenue. You will see the main building (pictured above) on your right. Go to the third cross street and turn left as shown by the green line on the map. Drive to the third intersection, which is a small traffic circle, and turn left. On your right is Section 3. Drive slowly toward the end of the section. Almost on the corner of the section, you will see a large granite grave marker (yellow dot on map) with the name “Dohmann” on it. Stop the car and get out, facing Section 3. A short distance parallel from the “Dohmann” marker you will see Glenn’s grave (blue dot on map), which is near the curb. His marker is flush with the ground, so it may take you a moment or two to locate it.

So this last post of 2012 ends the year as it began, with Glenn. While we all miss Glenn and his wisdom, he left us an endowment of all the Howard material he had collected over a lifetime and a few surprises – some previous unknown and unpublished bits and pieces that we will be enjoying over the next several years. Glenn is gone, but he is not forgotten and never will be as long as we keep him alive in our hearts and minds and thank him for giving us the gift of Robert E. Howard.

This entry filed under Collecting Howard, Glenn Lord, Howard Fandom.

Windy City Pulp & Paper Convention 2013

Now that Christmas is over and the wrapping paper has been picked up and stuffed into garbage bags, ready for the landfill and the family dog is back from the vet after drinking too much pine-laced water from the Christmas tree stand, thoughts turn to the upcoming slate of pulp and comic conventions. Of course, the elves who put on these big events work year round, often beginning work on next year’s convention while this year’s is still going on. A good place to keep track of all these events is on Bill Thom’s Coming Attractions website. Bill  recently posted news of one of 2013’s early conventions, April’s Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention:

This year’s themes will celebrate the 80th anniversaries of science fiction and fantasy magazines (using as our starting point Weird Tales for fantasy and the scientifiction issue of Science & Invention for SF), as well as the 100th anniversary of Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu.

Those themes will be the focus of our film programming, once again being assembled by Blood ‘N’ Thunder’s Ed Hulse, as well as our art show, program book and evening panels.

If you have any appropriate art that you’d be willing to make available for display, please let me know. And we’re still looking for more material for the program book, which once again is in the hands of Tom Roberts of Black Dog Books (and if you’d like to place an ad in the program book, the deadline is March 5, 2013).

Our Friday night auction will once again feature material from the estate of Jerry Weist, but this time most of the material will be from Jerry’s personal collection (as well as a few lots from the warehouse find that has been the focus of the last few year’s auctions). As many of you know, Jerry collected for condition, and there are some beautiful pulps among the over 1100 items that will be spread across 200 lots. We’re in the process of photographing and scanning, and have 41 lots currently available for viewing on our website and Facebook page — check them out! More will be added soon.

Among the highlights of the auction are over 80 issues of All-Story, including 16 issues with ERB (including 3 installments of his first story, Under the Moon of Mars), a complete run of Planet Stories in great condition, 11 stunning issues of Real Detective Tales and Mystery Stories, a rare publisher’s bound copy of Overland Monthly featuring 2 stories and 2 poems by Clark Ashton Smith (including his first published story and first published poem), items from the files of the Gernsback magazines, early issues of Blue Book, and tons more.

The convention runs April 12-14, allowing all you income tax procrastinators an excuse for putting it off for the very last minute. Of course, Windy City is also a great place for Howard fans,  especially those who live in the mid-west, to congregate and talk Howard. And if you are a  Lecacy Circle member, there is always a Foundation luncheon scheduled for you to attend.

The 2013 Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention will be held at the same hotel it was at last year, the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center in Lombard, IL. Rooms can be booked online here. The deadline for booking rooms and getting the convention rate is 5:00 pm Central Time on March 25, 2013. Also, check the convention’s website or Facebook page for news and updates.

This entry filed under Clark Ashton Smith, Howard Fandom, News, Weird Tales.

BtS_cover-sm2

As Damon mentioned in his previous post, Back to School is now available. Details here:

Back to School

This entry filed under Howard Biography, Howard's School Days.

This is final post for 2012 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:

Conan Meets the Academy: Multidisciplinary Essays on the Enduring Barbarian
Just  published, this volume from McFarland & Company, Inc., takes on Howard’s Conan as its only subject. Two TGR contributors, Frank Coffman and Jeff Shanks, are among the many contributors The collection of Conan essays focuses on the following topics: stylometry, archeology, cultural studies, folklore studies, and literary history, additionally the essays examine statistical analyses of Howard’s texts, as well as the literary genesis of Conan, later-day parodies, Conan video games, movies, and pop culture in general. By displaying the wide range of academic interest in Conan, this volume reveals the hidden scholarly depth of this seemingly unsophisticated fictional character. The book is edited by Jonas Prida.

The Complete Marvel Tales
Lance Thingmaker, the publisher of the highly acclaimed complete collection of The Fantasy Fan, has published an equally impressive follow volume his next project — a hardback book that collects the five issue run of William Crawford’s Marvel Tales. Each issue was filled with fantasy from top Weird Tales writers, with Howard’s “The Garden of Fear” appearing in the second issue. To order, contact the publisher. The price of the book is $50.00 (includes US postage), but if you mention the TGR blog, you can save $5.00 and pay only $45.00 (includes US postage). Just like The Fantasy Fan, this volume is sure to be an instant collector’s item.

Skullcrusher
The cover of this collection of various  Howard’ stories is either laughable or terrifying, depending on you point of view. Skullcrusher is the first volume of a two-volume collection of fantasy stories by Howard. The contents feature all of Howard’s most famous creations — Conan, King Kull, Solomon Kane, Bran Mak Morn — and also includes Cormac Mac Art, James Allison, Red Sonya, and Cormac Fitzgeoffrey. The anthology covers several genres: sword and sorcery, fantasy, horror and adventure.

Weird Tales Magazine
The present day incarnation of this classic pulp Howard contributed many stories has returned to its roots. Gone are the slick, modern logos that were on the cover the past several years — the current editor as brought back the classic Weird Tales logo. Check out the website for the new issue and plans for the magazine’s future. Judging from the list of contents, the new owner of the magazine seems to be returning the “Unique Magazine” to its glory days.

Weird Tales, May 1934Weird Tales Pulp Replicas
Speaking of Weird Tales, in recent months Girasol Collectable, Inc. has published three pulp replicas of WT featuring Conan, two of them cover stories. The most recent replica is the December 1932, which features the first Conan story, “The Phoenix on the Sword. The other two contain “Black Colossus” and ‘Queen of the Black Coast.”

Adventures in Science Fantasy
Copies of this collection of Robert E. Howard’s sort of science fiction stories published by REH Foundation Press are still available. The centerpiece of this collection is Howard’s interplanetary adventure novel, Almuric, backed up by a dozen or so other science fantasy yarns from Howard’s battered Underwood typewriter. The book features a stunning wraparound cover by Mark Schulz, an introduction by Michal Stackpole and is edited by Rob Roehm. Some of the Foundation books are selling out — the first volume of Collected Letters is out-of-print.

 

Coming Soon:

 REH - Back to SchoolBack to School
In addition to the pirate book, this volume from the REH Foundation Press will be on sale by the end of the month. The book is a collection of all the known, surviving work for school that REH produced. It includes works for practically every class you can think of: English, History, Biology, Geometry, etc. Most of the contents have never before been published. Also, REHF members can look forward to a holiday card in the mail that contains a previously unpublished poem and the year-end edition of the Newsletter — two more reasons to join the Foundation’s membership ranks.

The Dark Man Vol 7, No. 1
The new issue is due out any day now. Contents include: “The Writer’s Style: Sound and Syntax in Howard’s Sentences” by David C. Smith, “I and I Liberate Zimbabwe: Motifs of Africa and Freedom in Howard’s “The Grisly Horror” by Patrick R. Burger and “Robert E. Howard and the Lone Scouts” by Rob Roehm, plus reviews and more. TDM will be available from Lulu.com.

Alluring Art of BrundageThe Alluring Art of Margaret Brundage
This volume, due out the end of February, is an extensive tribute to  Brundage  and her art. Her fantasy, science-fiction, and horror paintings graced the cover of many an issue of Weird Tales and other pulps during Howard’s lifetime. The sexy, alluring and sensationalistic Brundage covers even featured Conan nine times. She was the first female cover artist of the pulp era and her work was controversial for the day, often featuring bondage themes, with semi-nude young women bearing whips. The book comes in three editions, all with full color art. Visit the publisher’s website for more details and ordering information.

So I gave the horse the rein and rode at a reckless gallop over bushy expanses and through scattered woodlands, expecting each moment to hear the drum of hoofs behind me.

Robert E. Howard, “Blades for France”

The last post in this series ended with a mention of Agincourt. Since that battle was fought in 1415, it pretty much opens the period under discussion here, just as Nicopolis pretty much ended the previous one. And – relevantly to Robert E. Howard and Conan – the final big battle scene in Hour of the Dragon seems to owe more than a little to REH’s reading on Agincourt.

In HotD, and also in “The Scarlet Citadel”, King Conan is captured by his enemies and carried to their stronghold helpless in a chariot. I’m indebted to Deuce Richardson for drawing my attention to the lines in Shakespeare’s “Henry V” which REH certainly read and which struck a chord with him. A sure bet.

Go, down upon him, — you have power enough, —
And in a captive chariot into Roan (Rouen)
Bring him our prisoner.

Henry V, Act III, Scene V

Agincourt occurred during the Hundred Years’ War, with Henry V yet again pressing the English kings’ claim to the throne of France, begun by Edward III. Henry’s forces had taken Harfleur and were making for Calais, but due to heavy rain he had to travel further than he’d expected to ford the Somme, which is how he found himself near the village of Agincourt. (A sorcerous attempt to make a river impassable to Conan’s army through massive rains occurs in HotD.) Henry’s army was exhausted, and dysentery was rushing through it like a cattle stampede. Then a vengeful French host under the Constable, Charles d’Albret, caught the English in the pas-de-Calais with the intention of slaughtering them. It outnumbered the English by at least three to one (estimates vary; Shakespeare in Henry V says seven to one).

Longbowmen at AgincourtLuckily the English had a good commander in Henry, and thousands of the famous English longbowmen. They had the advantage of ground, too. Henry had drawn his soldiers for their stand on a rise with thickly wooded ground on either side, so that they couldn’t be outflanked, and covered his front with trenches and stakes. If the French were going to attack, they had to attack across a narrow front, into a hail of the notorious cloth-yard shafts.

They did just that. To compound their folly, they opened the fight with cavalry charges by their aristocratic knights. Why? Because the knights, as always, wanted to be first in the fray, seeking personal honor and glory. Besides the disadvantages mentioned above, the knights were charging uphill, through a sodden quagmire at least knee-deep.

Even they realized after a couple of attempts that charges on horseback were hopeless. Most unwillingly, they dismounted and attacked on foot. The results were just as bad. They struggled through that sticky knee-deep morass in full plate armor, with the English driving longbow shafts through their breastplates as they came. (English arrows would pierce plate as easily as crossbow bolts would, and could be loosed a lot faster.) Numbers of French knights who fell drowned inside their own helmets.

(REH gave Cormac Fitzgeoffrey the line in “Hawks of Outremer” — “I am no French she-knight to fear wading in the muck. Anyway, I fight better on foot.”)

The results were just what you’d expect. It was one of the most one-sided victories ever, and for a long time English accounts of the fight (not least Shakespeare’s) made it appear a miracle on England’s behalf. As Isaac Asimov once pointed out in his article, “The Unsecret Weapon,” it would really have been a miracle if the English had lost.

Don’t suppose for a second that I’m denigrating the English soldiers’ courage and hardihood here. They were exhausted, sick, facing a foe athirst for their hearts’ reddest blood, and the common soldiers at least knew there’d be no mercy if they lost. I’ve read recently that they stood with their trousers in their rucksacks and their own shit running down their legs into the cold mud, so that they’d have clean daks to wear afterwards, at least – if they survived. The dysentery, remember? And yet they fought and won. That they had priceless help from knightly French idiocy doesn’t lessen their feat.

The comparison with Agincourt at the climax of HotD is striking.

The pride of the Gundermen was no less fierce than that of the knights. They were not spear-fodder, to be sacrificed for the glory of better men. They were the finest infantry in the world, with a tradition that made their morale unshakable. The kings of Aquilonia had long learned the worth of unbreakable infantry. They held their formation unshaken; over their gleaming ranks flowed the great lion banner, and at the tip of the wedge a giant figure in black armor roared and smote like a hurricane, with a dripping ax that split steel and bone alike.

The Nemedians fought as gallantly as their traditions of high courage demanded. But they could not break the iron wedge, and from the wooded knolls on either hand arrows raked their close-packed ranks mercilessly. Their own bowmen were useless, their pikemen unable to climb the heights and come to grips with the Bossonians. Slowly, stubbornly, sullenly, the grim knights fell back, counting their empty saddles. Above them the Gundermen made no outcry of triumph. They closed their ranks, locking up the gaps made by the fallen. Sweat ran into their eyes from under their steel caps. They gripped their spears and waited, their fierce hearts swelling with pride that a king should fight on foot with them.

Robert E. Howard, The Hour of the Dragon

Henry VDespite winning at Agincourt so decisively, though, and then bringing France to terms and marrying the French princess, Henry V didn’t achieve anything lasting. He died of camp fever seven years after Agincourt, leaving a baby to succeed him. Technically he may have been a Renaissance king, but he was hardly a Renaissance man. The Renaissance is one of those terms that covers a lot of territory. Essentially it meant a general advance in the arts, sciences and literature that was inspired by a rediscovery of classical Greek and Roman culture. The Italian Renaissance might be said to have started around 1300 with the painter Giotto and the poet Dante Alighieri. It stalled in Italy then for a few decades before really taking off. After that it moved to France, and reached England in roughly 1500. Henry V was long dead by then.

Even if he’d lived, neither he nor anybody else could have made the French accept English rule over the long haul. Joan of Arc was actually a more characteristic Renaissance figure than Henry V. She had the sort of nationalistic fervor that emerged in the Renaissance, as distinct from the medieval ideal of Christendom united under the Pope’s authority, and as Shaw stressed in his play “Saint Joan,” she was even a Protestant at heart. She didn’t accept the authority of bishops and cardinals when she saw clearly that they were wrong. Such lack of subordination, especially in a girl, was in the view of the time quite legitimately classed as heresy. That was the charge on which the Church tried her. The blather about witchcraft came from the English.

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This entry filed under Howard's Fiction.

Rob has just posted the cover for the upcoming collection of Howard’s pirate stories, verse and related material on the REH Foundation website. Pre-orders are on the horizon, so check this post and the TGR Facebook page in a few weeks for an update announcing pre-orders are being accepted.

The book features a fantastic pulpish cover by Tom Gianni and an Introduction by Rob. Here is a list of contents:

Main Content:

  • “The Pirate” (verse)
  • “A Pirate Remembers” (verse)
  • “A Buccaneer Speaks” (verse)
  • “The Isle of Pirates Doom”
  • “A Song of the Anchor Chain” (verse)
  • “Blades of the Brotherhood”
  • “Buccaneer Treasure” (verse)
  • “Swords of the Red Brotherhood”
  • “Flint’s Passing” (verse)
  • “Black Vulmea’s Vengeance”
  • “A Dying Pirate Speaks of Treasure” (verse)

 Miscellanea:

  • List of Names (“The Treasure of Henry Morgan”)
  • “The Treasure of Henry Morgan”
  • Untitled, “So there I was . . .”
  • Untitled, “Help! Help! . . .”
  • Untitled Synopsis (“The Shadow in the Well”)
  • “The Shadow in the Well” — unfinished draft

 Humor:

  • “A Pirut Story”
  • “Bill Boozy was a Pirate Bold” (verse)
  • “At the Inn of the Gory Dagger” (verse)

Of course, Howard had  bit of the pirate in him as displayed in this photo from the three photo set Patrice Louinet discovered.

UPDATE — 12/24/2012: Okay guys and gals, time to get your pazoors together — pre-orders being taking for Pirate Adventures. And don’t forget to get a copy of Back to School.