Sunday, 22 March 2009
Robert E. Howard was my favourite writer even before I read any of his books. Having devoured every british reprint of Conan The Barbarian I could, it wasn't until 1976 that I actually got to read Howard (and Conan) for real, thanks to New English Library's run of Conan collections. I gave up reading Burroughs & Moorcock in my teens, but I still re-read Howard. Nobody grabs you by the throat and shoves you through a story like REH does, he's the very definition of 'unputdownable'. Bearing that in mind, let's look at some of his poetry!
Here's Barry Windsor-Smith & Tim Conrad teaming up for Cimmeria:
The Howard Collector was published in 1979, and was a compilation from the fanzine of the same name, with unpublished stories, poems, and letters REH wrote to pen pals August Derleth, Clark Ashton Smith & H.P. Lovecraft. Here's a few selected pieces:
This one sums up the appeal of REH's writing for me.
This one is clearly about the depression (both Howard's & the country's!) at the time.
And finally, well, we all know how Howard ended his life.
By the way, for anyone yet to see it, can I recommend the REH biopic The Whole Wide World.
Yeah, it's got Renee Zellwegger in it, but she's actually quite good. And Vincent D' Onofrio is phenomenal as Howard. It's clearly made by a fan (as well as one of the producers being Olivia D' Abo, the spoilt princess in Conan The Destroyer) , and is simply a great, great film.