Archive for the 'Mark Finn' Category

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATwo weeks from tomorrow, Worldcon 71 kicks off in the Alamo City. The event is being hosted by LoneStarCon 3 and, of course, will have a large number of Robert E. Howard panels and programs on the schedule. And the Howard events even get a jumpstart on the convention with a bus trip to Cross Plains to visit the Howard House Museum the day before Worldcon officially starts!

The Wednesday bus tour, hosted by Rusty Burke and Mark Finn, is virtually identical to the one from the 2006 World Fantasy Con. Acting as your guides, Rusty and Mark will be pointing out places of interest along the way. Once in Cross Plains, the first stop is the historical Robert E. Howard House Museum, next is a lunch break, and lastly a quick tour of the Cross Plain Public Library and downtown Cross Plains, and then it’s back on the bus for the return trip to San Antonio. While the trip takes twelve hours, you’ll find the time will fly by since you will be riding in a luxury bus, which should have a DVD player, so there’s a good chance you’ll see The Whole Wide World on the way back, plus Mark will have some Violet Crown Radio Players CDs with him to entertain you as well.

As for the Howard related panels and events beginning Thursday the 29th of August, here is the rundown:

Worldcon REH-Themed Panels

Note: This does not include the panels that are about larger topics that would include REH, such as the Texas Gothic panel and the Weird Texas Author panel. Nor does it include other panels that Howardists will be on. This is the list of concentrated REH panels.  The Worldcon Robert E. Howard program is three times the size of the program at the 2006 World Fantasy Convention.

Thu. 12:00 – Thu. 13:00, Location: 008A
The First Barbarian of Texas: Conan the Cimmerian (Literature, Panel)

Thu. 13:00 – Thu. 14:00, Location: 101B
You Don’t Know Jack about Bob: What’s New in Robert E. Howard Studies (Authors, Panel)

Fri. 10:00 – Fri. 11:00, Location: 102B
Beyond the Barbarian: Robert E. Howard’s Other Heroes (Literature, Panel)

Fri. 13:00 – Fri. 14:00, Location: Conference 1 (Rivercenter)
Barbarian Days: Starring the BNFs of Howard Fandom   (Screening)

Fri 16:00 – Fri. 17:00, Location: 102B
Two-Gun Bob: The Somewhat True Tales of Robert E. Howard (Panel)

Fri. 18:00 – Fri. 19:00, Location: Exh A – Literary Beers
The Robert E. Howard Poetry Slam! (Poetry, Open Mike)

Fri. 20:00 – Fri. 21:00, Location: 006B (160AV)
Nameless Cults: Robert E. Howard’s Horror Stories (Literature, Panel)

Fri. 20:00 – Fri. 22:00, Location: 007CD
The Whole Wide World (Authors, Film / Video) (Screening)

Sat. 10:00 – Sat 11:00, Location: 007CD
The Weird Western: A Celebratory Explanation (Literature, Panel)

Sat. 12:00 – Sat. 13:00, Location: 102B
The Howard Boom: Barbarians, Fanzines, and the 1970s (Fannish, Panel)

Sat. 15:00 – Sat. 16:00, Location: 003B
The Poetry of Robert E. Howard: The Dark Bard of Texas (Poetry, Panel), (Academic/Poet)

Sat. 17:00 – Sat. 18:00, Location: 006B
Robert E. Howard: The Weird, West, and Worms (Academic, Talk)

Sun. 13:00 – Sun. 14:00, Location: 102A
The Wild, Weird, and Wonderful Westerns of Robert E. Howard (Literature, Panel)

Sun. 18:00 – Sun. 19:00, Location: 006A
Robert E. Howard at the Ice House (Literature, Panel)

Mon. 13:00 – Mon. 14:00, Location:102A
“An Age Undreamed Of…”: World Building with Robert E. Howard (Literature, Panel)Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center

The convention is being held in the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, located in downtown San Antonio and just a short distance from the world famous River Walk. The Convention Center has two halls (each over 120,000 square feet), large ballrooms, and scores of smaller meeting rooms. The Marriott Rivercenter and Marriott River Walk are the host hotels, with the nearby Hilton Palacio Del Rio handling the overflow of guests. You can enjoy the Rivercenter Mall with dozens of shops and restaurants, along with other venues for food and shopping situated on the River Walk. The mall, hotels and convention center are linked by the Paseo del Rio (River Walk), a portion of the San Antonio River.

It is going to be a Labor Day weekend to remember for Howard Heads, with a who’s-who’s of Howard aficionados in attendance and participating on the panels.

Eight of the nine boxes containing Howard's typescripts.

Eight of the nine boxes containing Howard’s typescripts in the holding area for new acquisitions at the Harry Ransom Center.

On Friday, July 26th, I was privileged to be among the select few present at the pretigious Harry Ransom Center on the University of Texas Campus in Austin when the Lord family formally donated the 14,000 pages of Robert E. Howard typescripts Glenn had collected throughout his lifetime. To say it was a momentous occasion would be an understatement. The entire collection fit into nine boxes (eight of which are shown above) and contains stories, poems and letters. In addition to Glenn’s wife Lou Ann, son James, daughter Glenda and his three living granchildren, myself, Jack and Barbara Baum, Rusty Burke, Mark Finn, Paul Herman and Dennis McHaney were also in attendance.

Left to right: Damon Sasser, Mark Finn, Jack Baum, Barbara Baum, Dennis McHaney, Glenda Felkner, Lou Ann Lord, Danielle Smith, Rusty Burke, Paul Herman, Stephen Cupples, Ryan Smith and James Lord.

Twenty years before his death, Glenn Lord was pondering what to do with his massive collection of original Howard typescripts when he would eventually pass away. That was 1991 and Paul Herman was attending law school at the University of Texas and while visiting with Glenn one day, Glenn asked Paul what he should do with his vast collection, which included thousands of pages of Howard’s original manuscripts. Glenn considered the Houston Public Library. While the library is a fine organization, it is not a world-class archival facility. They wouldn’t know what to do with such a valuable and rare collection. A light bulb went off above Paul’s head and he suggested the Harry Ransom Center. While he had never been to the facility, he knew of it and they work that was done there to preserves valuable, historical items. So he got in contact with Dr. Richard Orem, who was and still is the head librarian for the Center. What is the Harry Ransom Center you may ask? Here is a brief description from the Center’s Wikipedia webpage:

The Harry Ransom Center is an archive, library and museum at the University of Texas at Austin, specializing in the collection of literary and cultural artifacts from the United States and Europe for the purpose of advancing the study of the arts and humanities. The Ransom Center houses 36 million literary manuscripts, 1 million rare books, 5 million photographs, and more than 100,000 works of art. The Center has a reading room for scholars and galleries which display rotating exhibitions of works and objects from the collections.

Paul asked Dr. Orem if he knew who Robert E. Howard was. Dr. Orem replied he did and further stated the Center had a collection of his books. Then Paul asked him if he had ever heard of Glenn Lord. Dr. Orem replied in the affirmative and said the Center had a set of The Howard Collector. Next Paul laid out the proposal for Glenn to donate the Howard typescripts when he passed on. Dr. Orem enthusiastically agreed and arranged for Paul to take a behind the scenes tour of the facility. Impressed, Paul soon returned with Glenn and they were given the grand tour. And so it was settled – when the time came, Howard’s typescripts would be donated to the Center, preserved and maintained for future generations to view, study and use for scholarship.


Rusty going through one of the nine boxes that was brought up from the holding area while myself and Ben Friberg look on. Luckily Ben had his camera with him in case Rusty tried to pull a Sandy Berger.

Well, that time has come. The formal announcement was made today and soon Howard fans and scholars will have complete access to Howard’s manuscripts.


Typescripts for “Guns of the Mountains” and “Nekht Semerkeht.”

It took a bit of doing to get the boxes of typescripts ready to donate, as described by Paul over on the Robert E. Howard Forums, but the collection is right where it belongs — saved for posterity just as Glenn wished it to be. An invaluable legacy that will live on forever.

Here is a video from Austin television station KXAN on the donation of the Lord collection to the Harry Ransom center filmed by Ben  Friberg.

Photos courtesy Barbara Baum, the Harry Ransom Center and Dennis McHaney.

PulpFest 2013It is that time of year again — PulpFest is just around the corner.  The event kicks off the evening of Thursday, July 25th and runs through Sunday, July 28th. The themes for this year’s convention revolve around Doc Savage, Pulp Heroes of 1933, the centennial of Sax Rohmer’s Dr. Fu Manchu and the Yellow Peril Genre of Pulp Fiction. PulpFest 2013 is being held again this year at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Columbus, Ohio.

Last year it was Conan’s 80th anniveresary, this year it’s time to celebrate Doc Savage’s 80th and also the 80th anniveresary of everyone’s favorite giant ape (no, not Mark Finn): King Kong! The first issue of the Doc Savage pulp was on the newsstands in March of 1933. That same month, RKO Radio Pictures premiered “the eighth wonder of the world,” King Kong, at New York’s Radio City Music Hall and the Roxy. To celebrate these twin anniversaries of “The Man of Bronze” and King Kong, Will Murray, author of The Wild Adventures of Doc Savage, paired the two characters in his novel, Skull Island.

On Saturday, July 27th, at 2:00 pm, PulpFest 2013 will host a special “New Fictioneers” reading of Murray’s bestselling novel by Radio Archives’ reader Roger Price. A longtime entertainer on television, radio and the live stage, Mr. Price has appeared on a number of Radio Archives’ pulp audio-books. He has also worked with a wide variety of clients as an announcer and voice actor, specializing in character/cartoon voices and dialects.

There will be a panel called “The Pulps After Fu Manchu,” which will be of interest to Howard fans — “Skull-Face” was his vision of the  orential super villain.

Maybe Kaiser Wilhelm did coin the term “yellow peril,” but it was Sax Rohmer who took it to the bank. Little wonder that countless pulp writers, from Walter B. Gibson and Norvell W. Page to Robert E. Howard and George Worts, turned to Rohmer’s Fu Manchu for inspiration for their lurid pulp tales.

To begin PulpFest‘s celebration of the 100th anniversary of Sax Rohmer’s infamous creation, Rick Lai looks at “The Pulp Descendents of Fu Manchu,” beginning at 8 PM on Thursday, July 25th in the Fairfield Room located on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency Columbus.

Of course, the above is just the tip of the iceberg — there are a plethora of pulp lectures, panels, features, awards, film screenings and much, much more. And the convention is an excuse for Howard Heads to get together, talk Howard tell lies, attend a REHF luncheon and buy REH swag, particularly original issues of Weird Tales.

Get the complete details for PulpFest 2013 here.

This is the second 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:

Fists of Iron - Round 1

Fists of Iron — Round 1
The REH Foundation Press has just published Fists of Iron — Round 1, the first  of a four-volume series that presents the Collected Boxing Fiction of Robert E. Howard. The first book comes in at 420 pages, and will be printed in hardback with dust jacket in a limited quantity of 200 copies, each individually numbered. Cover art by Tom Gianni (who will do the covers for all four volumes) and an introduction by Chris Gruber. The remaining three volumes will follow as their covers are completed. You can order one or all at the REHF website.

Critical Insights: Pulp Fiction of the 1920s and 1930s
This pricey volume of critical essays, edited by Gary Hoppenstand, explores the weird and diverse fiction from the pages of Weird Tales  and other select pulp magazines showcasing the work of  legandary writers H. P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, A. Merritt, Seabury Quinn, C.L. Moore, Robert Bloch, August Derleth and others. S.T. Joshi, Jeffrey H. Shanks, Andrew J. Wilson, Garyn Roberts, and Richard Bleiler are among the contributors. The essays are 2,500 to 5,000 words in length and the book is available from the Salem Press website.

Red Nails: Young Adult Edition
For some bizarre reason, Oxford University Press thought Howard’s goriest Conan yarn, replete with lesbianism and bondage undertones, would be perfect fare for young, impressible minds. To appeal to the youngsters, there are numerous illustrations in the book featuring Conan and Valeria in attire straight out of a Hyborian Age Abercrombie & Fitch. The text was adapted by Bill Bowler, with illustrations by Oliver Culbertson. Proceed at your own peril.

The Alluring Art of Margaret BrundageThe Alluring Art of Margaret Brundage
Surprisingly, this is the first book devoted to the art of Margaret Brundage. This talented artist forever changed the look of fantasy, science-fiction, and horror with her alluring sensationalistic covers for the legendary pulp magazine, Weird Tales. She was the first cover artist of the pulp era to paint Conan. Brundage was years ahead of her time — her provocative paintings featuring semi-nude young women bearing whips, became a huge scandal in the 1930s, with many newsstands ripping off the covers before selling the magazines. The authors Stephen D. Korshak and J. David Spurlock showcase her artwork and Rowena, Robert Weinberg, and other pay homage to her with essays. There are three editions from a softcover version to a regular hardcover to a limited, slip-cased hardcover edition. It is a big book — 9″ x 12″ — lavishly illustrated in full-color. Published by Vanguard Productions.

 On DVD:

Barbarian Days DVD Barbarian Days on DVD
Every June, Howard fans flock to the small community of  Cross Plains to honor the the literary works of the town’s most famous resident. Barbarian Days was filmed at Howard Days in 2008 and I reviewed it here on the blog in January 2012. The filmmakers attempt to document the people and events without making everyone look like a kook and on some level they succeed. Howard is most well known for creating Conan the Barbarian and Kull the Conqueror, so those two characters get a lot of attention and a good faith effort is made to show the that spirit of Howard’s characters live on through the  fans who find hope in his pages and unity in his memory. The DVD is now available to order.

Solomon Kane on DVD & Blu-Ray
Finally, Michael J. Bassett‘s Solomon Kane movie is being released on July 16th in the US on DVD and Blu-Ray. Of course, James Purefoy (“The Following”), is Solomon Kane, and the film also stars the late Pete Postlethwaite, Rachel Hurd-Wood and Max von Sydow. The Blu-Ray and DVD special features will include a ‘Making Of’ featurette, interviews and commentary with director Michael J. Bassett, the producers and the cast, plus a deleted scene, gallery images and a Special FX featurette. Pre-order from 

Coming Soon:


Blood and Thunder: The Life and Art of Robert E. Howard
Fear not, while the limited hardcover edition of Mark Finn’s Howard biography, Blood and Thunder is sold out, Rob is currently preparing the volume for the Foundation Press’ Storefront. It will be available for purchase any day now, both at the Lulu Storefront and

Conan the Phenomenon — Trade Paperback
Coming this October is a trade paperback edition of Paul Sammon’s epic study of Conan, originally published as a large, coffee table style book in 2007. This volume covers virtually every medium Conan appeared in from paperbacks, to comics to film. If you don’t already have it, you need it. Published by Dark Horse and available from

Conan: “Red Nails” Original Art Archives
Forty years after its original publication, Genesis West brings the classic 59-page Conan tale “Red Nails,” adapted by Roy Thomas and Barry (Windsor) Smith to an oversized hardback book. Scanned in color and presented at the size of the original art, luxury edition faithfully captures the appearance of the actual pages as drawn in 1973. The book is filled with interviews, commentaries and biographies. Hardcover, 14″ x19,” 136 pages and in full color, the volume is due out in August; you can order the book here.

Weird Tales Replicas — “Red Nails”
In the coming months, Girasol Collectables Inc. will be publishing replicas of the three issue run of Weird Tales containing the three part serial of “Red Nails,” the last Conan story Howard wrote. Part 1 appeared in the July 1936 issue, Part 2 in the August-September 1936 issue and Part 3 in the October 1936 issue. Girasol also recently reprinted Weird Tales (December 1934) featuring “A Witch Shall Be Born,” which sports a great Brundage cover.

The Colossal Conan Hardcover
Are you ready for 1300 pages of Conan comics? Well, Dark Horse thinks you are. Coming in November is a massive and expensive hardcover volume that collects the first 51 issue of Dark Horse’s Conan titles. In addition to a bevy of artists and writers, the book features a color wraparound cover by Mark Schultz, an introduction from Kurt Busiek and an afterword by Tim Truman. It is touted as a must have, so you’ll have to convince yourselves that it is worth the cost.

Jeff ruining someone's shot of the Howard House.

Another Howard Days has come and gone, leaving behind a bevy of great memories. This year the theme was “Robert E. Howard in the Comics” and the guest was, appropriately enough, Tim Truman. Tim is a veteran comic artist and writer, who has been the creative cornerstone of the Dark Horse Conan series for the better part of the last decade. He is currently writing the King Conan series, and along with the spectacular pencils of Tomás Giorello and gorgeous colors of José Villarrubia is producing a sequence of adaptations that are a magnificent tribute to the original yarns of Two-Gun Bob. The choice of Truman as this year’s Guest of Honor was very timely as it coincided with the release of the first issue of King Conan: Hour of the Dragon the long-awaited and highly-anticipated twelve-issue adaptation of Howard’s only Conan novel. But as you will see below, Tim Truman was not the only high-profile personage to show up in Cross Plains this year and this led to one of the more memorable Howard Days in recent years.

This year I decided to make the long drive from Florida to Cross Plains rather than fly. It’s a grueling trip, but it gave me the opportunity to not only bring lots of goodies from my collection, but also to stay the night in Mississippi with my friend Richard Olson. Rich is a comic book collector and historian who co-owned one of the first back-issue mail-order comic businesses back in the 1950s. I always love seeing the amazingly rare goodies Rich has acquired over the years as well as hearing his great stories about the early days of fandom. This year he put me in touch with a friend of his and fellow collector who was a big Howard fan when he was younger and even a member of the now-legendary Hyborian Legion, the first organized Howard fan club in the 1950s and 60s. I’m looking forward to learning more about this poorly-recorded period of Howard fandom.

The following day the road trip resumed with my epic journey across the Lone Star state. The McGuffin on this particular quest of mine was a bottle of the now-legendary but hard-to-find John L. Sullivan Irish Whiskey. After a Sullivan-induced debauch at the PCA/ACA conference in the nation’s capital earlier this year with Mark Finn, Chris Gruber,and Rusty Burke, I felt like it was time for the Great John L. to make his Howard Days debut. After calling ahead to every liquor store from Pensacola to Mobile to Biloxi to Shreveport, I finally found a bottle in Dallas — and by Ishtar’s teats it was the 10-Year! Game on.

I rolled into the 36 West Motel in Cross Plains in the early evening on Wednesday and saw several Howardian comrades-in-arms: Barbara Barrett, Rob Roehm, Bill “Black Indy” Cavalier, and of course Al Harron with his entourage of Scottish beauties — Les Girls! After a quick bite to eat, Barbara, Al, Indy, and I hung out in my room for a while checking out some pulps and comics that I had brought as visual props for one of the panels I was on. I believe the John L. made an appearance as well.

The next morning Barbara, Al, and I set out on a mission to pick up our former Cimmerian blog colleague Deuce Richardson halfway between Cross Plains and Dallas. With the old TC gang reunited — and Al properly introduced to that most-decadent of American commercialized confections: the Dairy Queen Blizzard — we returned to Cross Plains just in time for the early opening of the Howard house and museum. This gave me a chance to walk through house and see Howard’s room without the hustle and bustle of the throng that would be there the following day. After that, I hung out at the pavilion as more of the REHupa regulars began to show up, including Mark Finn and Rusty Burke. While we were all catching up, we had a real surprise as the unannounced guest to whom I alluded earlier came sauntering up to the pavilion. It was none other than Joe R. Lansdale!

In case you’ve been living under a pop culture rock for the last couple of decades, Joe is a well-known author of numerous horror and mystery novels, including Bubba Hotep and Dead in the West. He has done a good deal of comic book work as well, perhaps best known for his collaboration with Tim Truman in revamping Jonah Hex in the 1990s. He and Truman also worked together on Conan and the Songs of the Dead for Dark Horse. He has listed Howard as one of his more important influences on several occasions and has written a number of introductions for Howard-related publications, including Mark Finn’s seminal biography Blood and Thunder: The Life and Art of Robert E. Howard. Joe was very down-to-earth and approachable and it was a real pleasure to get to meet him and speak with him on a number of topics from weird westerns to Edgar Rice Burroughs to martial arts.

Dinner & Drinks at Humphey Pete's

With most of the regulars (and a few newcomers) assembled it was time to head to Brownwood for the traditional Thursday night dinner at Humphrey Pete’s. Deuce, Al, and I grabbed newly-arrived REHupan Tim Arney, piled in the van, and headed for Brownwood. At Humphrey Pete’s we saw more familiar faces including Dennis McHaney, Lee Breakiron, Jim Barron, Ed Chaczyk, Keith West, Todd Vick, and Russell Andrew. After dinner a small group drove out to see Howard’s gravesite. For a couple of the new guys this was the first time they had done so and I’m sure it was as moving for them as it was for me. Afterward we adjourned back to Cross Plains and the pavilion where we found Chris Gruber waiting for us. While my memory is a little hazy, I believe Mark, Grub, Deuce, and I ended up back in the motel room that night with a bunch of Fight Stories pulps being passed around and some glasses of John L. being raised.

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Fists of Iron - Round 1

Since Fists of Iron Round 1, the first volume of the four-volume series of the Collected Boxing Fiction of Robert E. Howard  is now shipping, I thought it would be a good time to go 10 rounds (i.e. questions) with the three guys responsible for making this massive collection possible. If you have not already done so, be sure and order these volumes — with 200 copy print runs, they are sure to go fast.

I hear the first bell ringing, so it is time to climb through the ropes and get down to business with Mark Finn, Chris Gruber and Patrice Louinet.

Round 1: How was the title Fists of Iron arrived at?

Patrice: The original title was quite longer. It was actually so long that it would have taken the whole cover just by itself. So we had to come up with a new, shorter, and punchier title at the very last stages…

Chris: Actually, there might have been a third title! When Patrice first contacted me about the boxing project, around 2007 or 2008, he had already been pitching a project to the REH Foundation that would encompass everything Howard had written – a project he had tentatively called The Completists. The very first title for the boxing stuff might actually have been The Boxing Completist or something like that. Regardless, the Completists idea was real and eventually given the green light but the boxing tales would have to wait their turn in the genre list. We went with the super long cover-spanning title because it really connected Howard with boxing and Cross Plains but Rob Roehm insisted it was too long – and he should know as he was the one trying to squeeze it onto the cover. While I rather liked the super long cover-spanning title I have to admit that Fists of Iron packs considerably more punch as a title and fits quite nicely into the squared ring that is our cover.

Round 2: Considering the massive amount of material and all the different versions of the Steve Costigan and Dennis Dorgan yarns, how did you originally get your arms around the project?

Patrice: The number of projected volumes and how we would organize them was of course the very first thing we – meaning Chris, Mark and I – discussed. We knew we were embarking on a mammoth project, so the need to know what we were doing and where we were going was present from the very beginning.

Mark: The organization was borne out of a need to get a handle on so many stories. This project deviates from the usual format that the Del Rey books fall into, meaning, we had to make some concessions. So book one is all of the early stuff, plus fragments and notes. Books two and three—all Costigan, from start to finish. And book for is all of the other, non-Costigan stuff, like Kid Allison, and so forth. Patrice’s essay, running across all four books, shows the order of who and what and when and where. So, it works out pretty good, but for readers, it’s organized much better.

Chris GruberChris: Originally, we had a more visual idea in mind. Patrice was really keen on including original scans of some of the primary material that we hoped would help create for the reader an experience of having read Howard’s work as it appeared on a carbon just pulled from his Underwood. In the end the idea was scrapped though I don’t know why. However, we were allowed to include all of that material cleanly retyped as part of the supplemental sections. So, thankfully, it’s all there.

Once we had a solid picture of what each volume would look like and contain we engaged in a series of discussions to determine whether or not we would include altered versions of already included stories, drafts, and other relevant texts. It was clear that we wanted to include everything. Patrice wanted the same thing I did – to include everything that had significant value to the scholar – and to his credit he was able to sell that idea to the folks who have to foot the printing bill. The result of this decision is that now a scholar can examine the creative genesis of well known stories and characters that differ significantly from the established canon, and I’m not just talking about the Dorgan/Costigan dilemma though that particular identity theft is finally, fully, addressed.

Round 3: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced putting this collection together?

Patrice: I’d say the biggest challenge was at the same time the biggest thrill: our constantly discovering new material: drafts, better texts, alternates, carbons, etc. in Glenn’s collection. It took us an awfully long time to get our final contents *really* final.

Chris: The biggest obstacle was easily time. If two of us were hopping along the productive trail you could bet your last dime that the third musketeer was sure to be mired in some personal, unavoidable, life time-suck. School, family, whatever – shit happens during collaborative efforts and it never at the same time. Next to that, I’d have to agree with Patrice – it seemed he couldn’t turn over a rock without finding yet another unearthed boxing gem in Glenn’s trunk. This happened several times throughout the production phase but each time we unanimously agreed to include each new find rather than rush to production. No dilemma at all, really. After all, when we said definitive we meant ‘definitive.’

Mark: To echo Grub, yeah, it was time. But those new finds coming out of the Glenn Lord Archive were happening for part of this, so yeah, it was bittersweet, to say the least.

Round 4: Some Costigan stories were hastily changed by Howard to Dorgan stories when a new market opened up for him. Are both versions included in the collection?

Patrice: The Dorgan/Costigan question had never been satisfactorily explained until the present collection. When you read volumes 2 and 3, you’ll understand that it’s not possible to answer that question… I want you to buy the books, so I am not telling, sorry.

Chris: I want to answer! But I’ll follow Patrice’s lead and not ruin the fun.

Mark: Suffice to say, it’s all in there. I don’t think there will be any more confusion after this. Well, I hope there won’t be.

Round 5: I imagine, after recent discoveries in Glenn Lord’s papers, it is impossible to say this collection includes everything, but was something found in those papers boxing related that was added at the last minute to the books?

Jack Demsey's Fight Magazine, May 1934Patrice: “Something?”; lots of things were included. Carbons, drafts, fragments, you name it, plenty of stuff turned up at what was supposed to be the very last stages of composition. I had been working on that material for over a decade, but every time we thought we had a volume finalized, something else turned up! Sure, we are thorough, sure we can be slow at times, but the constant addition of new material was the major reason we were so far behind on our projected deadlines for these series.

Chris: We had ‘finished’ at least three times that I could remember and each time I would get another wonderful email letting me know that there’s one more thing that might need to be included – and we’d mull over the pros and cons of adding it, vet the material to make sure it was new and boxing related , and ask ourselves if it should be included even though it would mean a new delay? And each time our response was the same – “Hell yes it should!”

Mark: I really think that everything found is in this book. It’s every scrap of boxing we could get our hands on.

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WorldCon in San AntonioJust like it happened in 2006, this year there will be a “two’fer” in Texas for Howard fans. While everyone is focusing on Howard Days (and rightfully so), there is another venue where Howard will have a heavy presence waiting in the wings.

This year’s Worldcon (held in conjunction with LoneStarCon 3) will happen over Labor Day weekend in one of Howard’s old stomping grounds, San Antonio. The event runs August 29th through September 2nd and will be held in the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. There are several membership options to fit your budget and schedule. With a membership, you are eligible to participate in the voting for the prestigious 2013 Hugo Awards and John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

Howard scholar and biographer Mark Finn is spearheading the organization of the Howard themed panels, as well as other events. Needless to say, with Mark at the helm, you can be assured of a fantastic Howard experience.

Here is up-to-date information on the Howard activites from Worldcon’s most recent Progress Report:

Six Guns, Sorcery, and Serpents: the Many Worlds of Robert E. Howard

Robert E. Howard (1906-1936) was a pioneer of both heroic fantasy and the weird western. His brief but influential career produced an array of colorful characters: Conan the Cimmerian, Solomon Kane, Bran Mak Morn, Kull of Atlantis, El Borak, and many others, all from his home in rural Cross Plains, Texas. This exhibit features several special artifacts drawn from the Robert E. Howard House and Museum, as well as the Cross Plains Library. These special holdings are being exhibited for the first time ever outside of the Museum, especially for LoneStarCon 3!

Contributors to this unique and one of-a-kind exhibit include Dark Horse Comics (publishers of several REH comics lines), Paradox Entertainment (the rights holders of the Robert E. Howard literary estate) and several private collectors. Much of this material has never been seen before, and will be on display only for the duration of LoneStarCon 3. In addition, several noted REH experts will be on hand to talk more about the items on display, and to answer your questions about the Robert E. Howard House, Howard Days, and more!

Of course, as the convention nears, I’ll be posting the full slate of Howard events once everything is finalized. Here is the link to Worldcon’s website for all the information. If nothing else, it is a damn good excuse for coming to Texas twice this year!

This is the first 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:


Pirate Adventures
This collection of Howard’s pirate stories, verse and related material from the REH Foundation Press, is now available. In addition to great pirate adventures, the book features a fantastic pulpish cover by Tom Gianni and an Introduction by Rob Roehm.

The Dark Man Vol 7, No. 1
The new issue of TDM has arrived. 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. The new TDM is available in electronic form as well as hard copy and can be ordered from Also, TDM is in the process of making all back issues of the journal available free of charge in electronic form.

I Am Providence PaperbackI Am Providence (Softcover Edition)
Published in 1996, S.T. Joshi’s award-winning biography H.P. Lovecraft: A Life provided the most detailed portrait of the life, work, and thought of the Old Gent from Providence ever published. While that book was massive, that edition was greatly abridged from Joshi’s original manuscript. This expanded and updated two volume edition restores the 150,000 words that Joshi omitted and, in addition, updates the texts with new findings. A must have for Howard fans, this reasonably priced softcover edition is the next best thing to owning a copy of the hardcover edition, which is now out-of-print and much sought after by collectors.

Conan Meets the Academy: Multidisciplinary Essays on the Enduring Barbarian
Editor Jonas’ anthology 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 volume is published by McFarland & Company, Inc.,

Coming Soon:

The Alluring Art of Margaret BrundageThe Alluring Art of Margaret Brundage
Currently being printed and available soon, this volume 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.

The REH Foundation Press
Four volumes of boxing stories are coming soon from the Foundation Press.  This will be a  comprehensive collection of REH’s humorous and straight boxing yarns. Needless to say, getting the volumes done was a massive undertaking by Patrice Louinet, Mark Finn, and Chris Gruber.

Also in the works for the near future is a volume of Howard’s straight western stories. One has to imagine the humorous yarns will get their own volumes a little later on. Additionally, the limited hardcover edition of Mark Finn’s Howard biography, Blood and Thunder is sold out and Rob is prepping it for the Foundation Press’ Storefront. So it will still be available for purchase via POD.

Shortly after Howard’s death, Dr. Howard had himself appointed Temporary Administrator of his son’s estate since Howard allegedly died intestate (without a will); much as been written about a missing will. Howard biographers L. Sprague de Camp and Mark Finn have addressed the issue, along with other Howard scholars. In a nutshell, it appears Howard left a typewritten will leaving everything to his friend Lindsey Tyson. While going though his late son’s papers, Dr Howard found the will and destroyed it.

One of the duties of an Administrator of a deceased person’s estate is to file with the court a document that lists that person’s assets. Dr. Howard did that on June 16, 1936 when he petitioned the probate court in Callahan County to be appointed Temporary Administrator. That document appears on this page. (Hat tip to Rusty Burke for the document scans.)

As shown below, the bulk of Howard’s estate was cash and savings. What caught my eye was most of his money was in the Post Office in Brownwood. This was news to me since I didn’t know the Post Office was in the banking business; so I did a little research.

Back in Howard’s day, banks were suspect  for a safe place to put your hard earned money – the Great Depression saw to that, with some 9,000 banks nationwide going under during the 1930s.

Unlike banks at the time, the United States Postal Savings System (“USPSS”) was federally insured. The USPSS was administered by the US Post Office Department, which is known today as the USPS (United States Postal Service). The savings program started in 1911 and ended in 1967. It was originally founded to encourage immigrants to get the cash out of their mattresses and into a banking institution. Participants were allowed to keep up to $2,500 with the USPSS. The depositors were told their money was backed by “the full faith and credit of the United States Government.”

However, beginning in January of 1934, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) provided insurance to private banks. Initially, deposits were insured up to $2,500; over the years that has increased to $250,000. Obviously the creation to FDIC was a blow the Postal Savings System since it made banks as safe as the USPSS. But folks still used it – perhaps having more faith in a 159 year-old institution in lieu of some newfangled government insurance program.

The USPSS issued certificates in a number of denominations, depending on the amounts deposited. The Postal Savings System paid 2 percent interest per year on deposits. There is a nice little write-up on the USPSS here if you’d like to read more about the program.

Since the Cross Plains Post Office was too small for the USPSS, Howard used the one in Brownwood. It is also interesting to note he kept cash in Brownwood’s First National Bank instead of a bank in Cross Plains. Perhaps he did not want some gossipy bank teller telling anyone his business. I imagine he kept some cash on hand for walking around money and minor emergencies, such as car repairs.

One more item of interest: starting in 1921, participants in the USPSS were fingerprinted. This was done for identification and to aid with detecting any fraudulent activity. So, while his fingerprint card was likely destroyed decades ago, at one point in his life Howard was fingerprinted!

We’ve all heard the story of how Isaac M. Howard (above) ended up in Texas and got his start in the medical field. For those that don’t remember, here’s L. Sprague de Camp in Dark Valley Destiny:

The stable organization of the Howard family was disrupted by the death of James Henry [Isaac Howard’s maternal grandfather] in 1884. Perhaps on the strength of their inheritance, the Howards decided to move to Texas; but before they could complete their plans, William Benjamin Howard [Isaac’s father] himself was stricken and died. Eliza Howard [Isaac’s mother, aka Louisa], determined to carry out her husband’s wishes, sold her property—fine timberland—for fifty cents an acre, and with her children headed west. In 1885 she located on a farm in Limestone County, between Dallas and Austin, near Waco. Mrs. Howard and her daughters, Annie and Willie, may have traveled to Texas on the railroad; but Dave [David Terrell Howard, Isaac’s older brother] and Isaac brought the family goods overland in a covered wagon with a group of other immigrants.

Mark Finn has similar information in Blood and Thunder:

In 1884, when James Henry died, William and Louisa decided to make their fortune in Texas. Before the move could be orchestrated, however, William Benjamin Howard fell ill and died in 1885. Louisa was undaunted by the setback, and she moved her six children (many of whom were now grown) to Texas. The women went by train, and Isaac and his older brother David took the family’s possessions by covered wagon. They settled on a farm in Limestone County, near Waco.

Both biographers go on to say that Isaac didn’t much like the farming life and, by 1891, decided to sell his stock in the family farm to his older brother, David Terrell Howard, and go into medicine.

Here’s de Camp:

In that same year [1891], Isaac Mordecai Howard became his own man. Tired of playing second fiddle to his brother David—described as a stern man who was hard to work for—and knowing little and caring less about working a Texas farm, Isaac decided to sell his share in the property to his brother and become a physician.

And Finn:

David assumed responsibility for the family, and proceeded to whip the farm into shape.  By 1891, Isaac Howard had decided that he was not cut out to be a farmer. He left the family farm, sold his share in the property to his brother, and decided to practice frontier medicine.

On a trip to Limestone County last year, I uncovered documents that support some of this, but that also add a confusing wrinkle or two.

In the county’s Reverse Index to Deeds, 1800 – 1931, I found reference to a couple of transactions between “I. M. Howard” and “D. T. Howard.” The first (at left) is dated March 28, 1885 at Prairie Hill, in Limestone County. It records the sell of “one half of a one hundred acre tract of land” from I. M. to D. T. for the princely sum of $140. D. T. put a down payment of “ten dollars cash in hand” and agreed to pay the rest by November 1, 1895. He may have been a bit late, as the next document (below) is dated February 12, 1898. In this second document, I. M. Howard says that the money has been paid and that he has “hereby released, discharged and quit claim unto the said D. T. Howard all rights, title, interest and estate in and to the property” that is described in the 1885 document.

Now, Isaac Mordecai Howard was most likely born in 1872, the date on his headstone, 1871, notwithstanding. That would make him around 13-years-old at the time of the 1885 agreement and 26ish when the 1898 document was signed. In 1891, when both de Camp and Finn suggest that Isaac sold out and began his medical training, he’d have been 19. It appears that the sale actually occurred in 1885; so, where does the 1891 date come from? Beats me.

De Camp suggests further that Isaac may have received his medical training through an apprenticeship with his uncle, Dr. James T. Henry. Let’s have a look at that medical training, a la de Camp:

Physicians of that day often welcomed their kin as medical students. Such associations with older physicians afforded young would-be doctors opportunities for observation, access to medical books, and such didactic sessions as the preceptor thought necessary in exchange for the apprentice’s help in maintaining the dispensary, cleaning the office, and tending the horse and buggy if there was one. After a few years, when the older man deemed his candidate worthy, he would issue him a certificate to practice medicine. For an ethical man with strong family ties, the certification by a kinsman would be a real throwing of the torch.

Polk’s Medical and Surgical Register gives its first listing of “I. Howard” in 1896 as practicing in Forsyth, Missouri, in Taney County, just over the Missouri line, a short distance from his uncle’s home in Bentonville, Arkansas [about 70 miles, as the crow flies]. It is unclear whether Isaac Howard apprenticed himself to his uncle or whether Dr. Henry had passed him on to another doctor in Forsyth. The dates suggest the former. If Isaac Howard had left Texas in the early nineties, when he turned twenty-one, he could have finished his training and been ready to set up his own practice by 1896.

The young physician did not long remain in Missouri. Perhaps he was homesick. Whatever his reasons, on April 19, 1899, Isaac M. Howard of Limestone County, Texas, was examined by the State Board of Medical Examiners in Texarkana, Texas, and awarded a certificate of qualification to practice medicine. Then he went home.

Finn condenses it down to this:

Isaac’s medical education, a combination of on-the-job training, apprenticeship to his uncle, himself a doctor, and attendance at a variety of schools, lectures, and courses, would spread out over the next four decades. His initial training took four or five years, and allowed him to practice medicine as early as 1896. From that time on, Dr. Isaac Howard moved frequently from place to place, venturing as far out as Missouri and back to the family farm in Limestone County again.

Sounds good, right? Just one problem—turns out de Camp is wrong again. True, “I. Howard” shows up in Forsyth, Arkansas, for the 1896 edition of Polk’s Medical and Surgical Register (above), but he also shows up ten years earlier in the 1886 edition (below; thank you Google Books). Further, Dr. James T. Henry is nowhere to be found in the earlier edition. So, is the I. Howard in these early editions of Polk’s our Isaac?

I guess there are two possibilities. Option #1: immediately after selling his share of the Limestone County farmland in 1885, Isaac went to his Uncle Henry’s place to start his apprenticeship and ended up listed in Polk’s at the tender old age of 14. Both editions of the register indicate that “No report received in answer to inquiry regarding graduation” for I. Howard. So, if this is Isaac Howard, he’s literally “practicing” medicine in Forsyth for at least ten years. Option #2: “I. Howard” is not our Isaac Howard. I lean toward option #2; I have trouble believing Isaac was listed when only 14.

Given this “new” information, let me spin a couple of scenarios that makes sense to me. The first listing of James T. Henry (seen above) in Polk’s (that I’m aware of) is in the 1893 edition, which has him in regular practice at Eagle Mills, Ouachita Co, Ark, population 250.  Henry was an 1873 graduate of the medical dept of the Univ. of Nashville, TN (hat tip: Rusty Burke). He shows up again in the 1896 edition in Millville, Ouachita Co., Ark, population 250. In 1898, he’s back in Eagle Mills. If the future father of Robert E. Howard was an apprentice of Dr. Henry’s, or anyone else for that matter, why would he be listed in Polk’s? Seems to me that he would have moved around with his uncle until he’d received enough training to strike out on his own or was making enough money to get by alone.

The second scenario is that Isaac Howard used brother Dave’s money to pay for training in Texas. (Dave’s headstone, from Mt. Antioch Cemetery, is above.) I like to have documents that support my suppositions, and, if I exclude the 1896 edition of Polk’s, I’ve got nothing to indicate exactly where Isaac M. Howard was between 1885 and 1898, when he was definitely in Limestone County, Texas, signing land documents. I have no problem believing he received medical training in the years in-between, because, according to de Camp: “In July 1899 the newly certified Dr. Howard presented his credentials at the courthouse in Fairfield, Texas, the county seat of Freestone County, adjacent to Limestone County, where his mother lived on the family farm near Delia.” If we exclude the 1896 Polk’s directory, we’ve got no reason to have Dr. Howard in Missouri.

What we do know, thanks to de Camp and Rusty Burke, is that the Medical Board of Examiners, Fifth Judicial District, State of Texas, done at Texarkana, Texas, April 19, 1899, I.M. Howard of Limestone County received his Certificate of Qualification to Practice Medicine in any or all of its branches throughout the State of Texas. We also know that three months later—July 20, 1899—as de Camp said, Dr. I. M. Howard filed his medical certificate in Freestone County (Physicians’ Certificates, Vol. A, p. 64; thanks again, Rusty). Where he received his training is, to me at least, still a mystery.

After he registered in Freestone County, Dr. Howard’s movements start to be a bit easier to track. There are still some gaps, but they’re not decade-wide gaps, at least. As the 1800s turned into the 1900s, Isaac M. Howard’s moves require some work. Perhaps I’ll get to them next time. I’ll let de Camp close out the 19th-Century and start the 20th:

For some reason Freestone County did not seem to meet Isaac Howard’s needs. While most of Texas was rushing southeast in 1901 to Beaumont, where a gusher had blown at Spindletop, starting the first big Texas oil boom, Dr. Howard headed northwest, where he filed his credentials in Montague County, just across the Red River from Indian Territory, which later became the State of Oklahoma.

UPDATE: After receiving Ed’s comment, I went back and found an Isaac Howard on the 1860 US Census in Webster County, Missouri. He’s 41, married to Esther, born in Rhode Island, and has “M.D.” listed under “Profession.” After the Civil War, the 1870 Census has the same Isaac as a “Farmer” in Swan Township, Taney County; the post office is listed as Forsyth and Isaac Howard appears to have been the enumerator—his name is signed at the top of the document as “Ass’t Marshal.” In 1880, he’s listed as a “Physician” in Oliver Township, Taney County. He’s 62 years old here. Most of the 1890 Census was destroyed in a fire, so no help there. All this would make Isaac 78 at the time of the 1896 edition of Polk’s Medical and Surgical Register. Seems pretty clear that the “I. Howard” in Polk’s is not our man.