Robert Ervin Howard (January 22, 1906 – June 11, 1936)
I became a Conan fan in 1982, I had leant a friend my copy of Norman Winski’s “The Sword and the Sorcerer” a book that set my 14 year old mind a fire, filled with graphic descriptions of sex and high fantasy. In return my friend leant me his Lancer/Ace edition of Conan #1. I was enthralled by the amazing Frazetta art on the cover, and by the time I finished “Tower of the Elephant” I was addicted. I was instantly embarrassed that I had praised “Sword and the Sorcerer” so highly, here was the real deal. Later that year “Conan the Barbarian” opened at theatres and between that and the piles of “Savage Sword of Conan” I had aquired I was firmly hooked.
I beacame a Robert E. Howard fan while on vacation with my family. I don’t remember the details, but we had to stop at a mall for something and I wandered into a bookstore and started looking around and stumbeled upon a book with a half naked woman lying at the feet of a powerful man dressed all in black, his pilgrim hat upon his head and sword at his side. The title was “Solomon Kane: The Hills of the Dead” by Robert E. Howard. And there right below his name it read “From the Creator of Conan.” I don’t know why I never thought to look for anything else by Howard before that, all I knew was that I had to have this book. When my parents finished their business and came to get me I quickly begged for the money to buy the book, and they gave in, probably to get us back on the road as quicker.
What I found in the pages of that book filled me with such wonder, as I followed Kane’s quest to hunt monsters and vanquish the world of evil. I was hooked, from then on I have searched high and low for anything Howard. It’s an obsession that continues to this day. I haven’t made the pilgimage to Cross Plains, Texas yet, but I hope to one day soon.
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For more information on Robert E. Howard be sure to check out the following links:
Mike Kane has made an impressive short independent Solomon Kane film based on Howard’s poem “The Return of Sir Richard Grenville.” Watch it here.
Robert E. Howard.com
The Robert E. Howard Amateur Press Association