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The Robert E. Howard United Press Association.

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Robert E. Howard Days 2013 Schedule

Posted by indy on 13th March 2013

For those of you clamoring for information (I can hear you clamoring out there!), here’s a summary look at what we have scheduled for Howard Days this year.

The basic theme of Howard Days this year is REH in the Comics. We have at least three panels where the impact of REH in comic books will be discussed by both pros and fans, but that’s not all! Rob Roehm and his dad Bob Roehm will present a fascinating look at their travels with Ol’ Two-Gun. And there’s the ever-popular To Be Announced panel, so stay tuned for that one. We’re also repeating what turned out to be a pretty popular panel: Fists at the Ice House at 9 pm on Friday. (Note: this schedule is subject to change…)

All the normal goings-on are still happening: House tours, Gift Shop, bus tour, special REH postal cancellation, swap meet, Celebration Banquet & Silent Auction, REH Foundation Awards & Legacy Circle Members Luncheon, Poetry Readings at the House and the Caddo Peak Ranch Barbeque. Plus we’ve got a few surprises for HD attendees this year, so you won’t want to miss out!

I’m in the process of updating the REH DAYS page with more details and should have it up & running very soon. In the meantime, hope this information helps! Also, you can register at any time – check out the info at the bottom of the page.

2013 HOWARD DAYS SCHEDULE SUMMARY VERSION

FRIDAY JUNE 7

8:30 – 9 am: Coffee and donuts at the Pavilion, compliments of Project Pride

9 am – 4 pm: Robert E. Howard House Museum open to the public.

9 am – 4 pm: REH Postal Cancellation at Cross Plains Post Office

9 am – 11 am: Bus Tour of Cross Plains & Surrounding Areas

10 am – 5 pm: Cross Plains Public Library open

11:00: PANEL: REH in the Comics

Noon: Lunch hosted by Project Pride. Donations Welcome.

10:00 am to 4 pm: Pavilion available for REH items Swap Meet

1:30 pm: PANEL: Tim Truman, Guest of Honor

2:30 pm: PANEL: Travels with Bob, Rob and Bob

5:30 – 6:30: Silent Auction items available for viewing & bidding at Banquet site

6:30: Robert E. Howard Celebration Banquet & Silent Auction at the Cross Plains Community Center.

Following the Banquet & Silent Auction: The Fourth Annual Robert E. Howard Foundation Awards.

9:00 pm PANEL: Fists at the Ice House (meet at the Pavilion and walk to the Ice House).

Afterward there will be some extemporaneous REH Poetry Reading at the Pavilion.

SATURDAY JUNE 8

9 am – 4 pm: Robert E. Howard House Museum open to the public.

9 am – 4 pm: BARBARIAN FESTIVAL held this year at Treadway Park, 3 blocks west of REH House

10 am – 3 pm: Cross Plains Public Library open

10:30 am PANEL: REH and Dark Horse Comics

10:00 a.m. to 4 pm: Pavilion available for REH items Swap Meet

Noon: The Robert E. Howard Foundation Legacy Circle Members Luncheon.

Lunch & Festival Activities at your leisure during the day

2:00 pm PANEL: To Be Announced

3:30 pm PANEL:What’s Up with REH? (at the Pavilion)

5 pm: Sunset BBQ at the Caddo Peak Ranch

PLEASE NOTE: The Robert E. Howard House Museum will be open again this year on Thursday (June 6th) from 2-4 pm. No docents on duty.

HOWARD DAYS PRE-REGISTRATION

PLEASE NOTE: You do not have to pre-register to partake of the weekend’s festivities. All are welcome to attend, visit the House and enjoy all of the activities free of charge. Project Pride likes to pre-register folks primarily to get a head count of how many will be attending the Banquet on Friday night. All the panels, tours, Swap Meet, Pavilion activities etc. are presented at no cost. Your registration fee covers coffee & donuts Friday morning, lunch at the Pavilion Friday noon, the Friday Banquet and the Saturday BBQ.

The cost for pre-registration this year is only $15 per person. Please send your name(s) & address with a check or money order or  register via PayPal: ProjPride@yahoo.com

Project Pride
Attn: REH Days 2013 Pre-registration
PO Box 534
Cross Plains, TX 76443

Please pre-register before June 1, 2013.

Posted in Cross Plains, news, REH Days, REH in Comics |

…and Another 2011 Anniversary!

Posted by indy on 3rd April 2011

Our pal Terry Allen over at the The Robert E. Howard Comics Group Facebook page reminds us of yet another anniversary in 2011: the 40th Year since Marvel Comics first published Conan the Barbarian.

Whenever I’ve gathered with a bunch of Howard friends, I always pose the question: What was your first exposure to Robert E. Howard? Over the years I’ve been doing this, the answers have varied by age brackets, of course. For those fans over 40, the three primary answers are: the Lancer Conans, the Arnold movie – and Marvel Comics’ Conan the Barbarian.

I had already been a fan of REH since 1966 through my exposure to the Lancer Conan the Adventurer (undergoing it’s 45th Anniversary this year, as pointed out in an earlier blog post here). I remember when the Conan comic came out that I was not particularly excited – there weren’t many Howard stories that could stand up against that stamp in the corner of every comic: APPROVED BY THE COMICS CODE AUTHORITY. REH was way better than any damn comic book, for sure. But, I was a longtime comic book kind of guy, so I’d check this out.

Comics have always appealed to me primarily because of the artwork. I was a fan of Jack Kirby and this new Conan comic had a guy mimicking  Kirby’s style pretty close. However, that way of drawing was not suited for a Conan comic, so I was not initially enamored by this “Barry Smith” fellow. Those first three issues were “okay”, but then along comes #4 with Roy Thomas’ adaptation of The Tower of the Elephant – Yowsa! – Smith had stepped it up considerably. I became a life long fan of his after that.

The Conan comic book has undergone a number of incarnations since that initial long-running Marvel title, but the “original” of anything most often turns out to be the best.

2011 has turned out to be quite a year for Robert E. Howard anniversaries!

Posted in REH in Comics |

A Double Shot of Dark Agnes

Posted by Damon Sasser on 16th November 2010

Howard’s epic swordswoman will finally be getting her due after a 25 year absence from bookstores with the January 25, 2011 publication of Del Rey’s Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures. The book is edited by Rusty Burke, with an introduction by acclaimed historical author Scott Oden. Award-winning artist John Watkiss provides the lavish illustrations.

In addition to collecting all three Dark Agnes stories (“Sword Woman,” Blades for France” and “Mistress of Death”), the volume will also include the complete set of the three Cormac Fitzgeoffrey adventures (“Hawks of Outremer,” “Blood of Belshazzar” and “The Slave Princess”). While the remainder of the contents have not been  officially announced, I suspect they will be similar to another Burke edited historical volume, Lord of Samarcand and Other Adventure Tales of the Old Orient.

A month before this collection appears, Dark Agnes will be featured in an original story in Dark Horse’s Robert E. Howard’s Savage Tales No. 1. This will be first comic book appearance of Howard’s sword woman. Author Marc Andreyko is a long time Howard fan who is fulfilling a dream by writing a two part tale that introduces readers to Agnes de Chastillon and her life and times, while artist Robert Atkins provides the graphics for the fast paced tale of 16thcentury France. Or, as Andreyko puts it, “She is waaay ahead of her time. She’s a woman who, when faced with abuse and adversity, stands up to it and kicks its ass!”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Posted in Howard's Writing, news, REH in Comics |

One Hundred Two-Gun Bobs

Posted by indy on 19th April 2009

two-gun-bob-1002

A milestone in support of the Legacy of Robert E. Howard happened recently within the pages of Dark Horse Comics’ Conan the Cimmerian title. Issue #9 marks the one hundredth appearance of  the fantastic comic strip THE ADVENTURES OF TWO-GUN BOB by Jim & Ruth Keegan.

In all of Dark Horse’s Robert E. Howard inspired comic books (Conan and all its various offshoot books, Solomon Kane, Kull, Pigeons from Hell, etc.), Jim & Ruth’s absolutely brilliant half-page comic strip detailing the life of REH has been present. Each strip uses either the words of Robert E. Howard as its text, or the words of people who actually knew REH, like Novalyne Price Ellis or Tevis Clyde Smith, as the basis for the mini-story line.

When Jim & Ruth combine their wonderful cartooning skills with the actual words of REH, the result is today’s most important pop culture presentation of the man who was Robert E. Howard. I’ve said this before, and I will continue to sing the praises of 2GB. The service and entertainment that Jim & Ruth provide all of Howard fandom with Two-Gun Bob cannot be adequately measured.

If you have not picked up a Dark Horse comic with THE ADVENTURES OF TWO-GUN BOB, shame on you! Jim & Ruth Keegan have indebted all of us with their marvelous talent, and as fans of REH, we all need to support this important work that spreads the Gospel According to , well - Two-Gun Bob!

Indy sez Check It Out!

Posted in Popular Culture, REH in Comics |

A 2008 Robert E. Howard Recap

Posted by indy on 26th December 2008

I’m going to continue to stick to my guns here regarding the 21st Century as being the very best time ever to be a fan of Robert E. Howard. The soon-to-be-done year of 2008 was yet another productive one in furthering the Legacy of REH. Here’s a bit of an opinionated re-hash of how the year went for Ol’ Two-Gun, and no doubt I’ll be missing something, so let me know and I’ll revise.

First, in light of the forum I am presently using, the two main REH internet blogs continued on, here and over at The Cimmerian. Lots of meat and interesting posts, and I’m giving shout-outs to the main posters, Morgan Holmes and Steve Tompkins. Both just educated and entertained the hell out of me. The paper versions of both REHupa and The Cimmerian steamed ahead; Leo’s been going great guns for five years now, and REHupa‘s just started their 37th year of continuous production.

Damon Sasser continued his postings over at the REH:Two-Gun Raconteur site, and a couple of times scooped all of us. Bill Thom maintains the info-packed site over at HowardWorks, the Conan.com forums continue to have lots of posts, and even rehinnercircle remained strong until just this month. The Robert E. Howard Foundation website recently got a kick-ass new look, thanks to Leo Grin and Rob Roehm. And Frank Coffman is reviving his electronic journal apa REHEAPA as well.

Howard Publishing carried on in fine form. With the addition of the ninth volume, The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard to Del Rey’s ever-growing REH library, REH is now easily found in major bookstores. This has always been a major sticking point with me, and to look in any brick and mortar bookstore now, anyone can see at least a half a row of majestic Robert E. Howard BOOKS. Fan-freakin’-tastic!  (One book scheduled for 2009 is The Desert Adventures – all right!) And found next to the Del Reys are the real paperback-sized Cosmos Publishing editions, in a five book series of Howard stories selected from the ten book Wildside series of PD Howard from Weird Tales. Howard books for eight bucks! Woo hoo! And, the Wildside series still shows up in some bookstores, as do the Bison editions.

The other major Howard publishing is coming from the REH Foundation Press: Vol. Three of The Collected Letters of Robert E. Howard is now out, completing this massive project. Howard scholarship is at new heights, thanks in large part to making his letters available. If you want to know Howard, read his letters. Look for the Complete Poetry in 2009. Subterranean Press stepped up to carry on in the tradition of Wandering Star by offering deluxe editions of Howard books. Legal stuff prevented them from doing the third CONAN volume, so they did a bang-up job with KULL. Paul Herman updated THE NEVERENDING HUNT in what will be a neverending project, Crom willing!

Semi-pro publishing slowed up a bit in 2008. The Cimmerian kept up its bi-monthly schedule and continued to be the premiere REH journal around. But unfortunately, the wonderful REH:Two-Gun Raconteur only appeared once (due in part to Hurricane Ike smashing Damon Sasser’s house!) Jim Van Hise got back on track with Swords & Fantasy, but it’s got to be difficult doing labors of love in these trying economic times. Sigh. The Dark Man was sadly again too dark, and one can only hope we’ll see this fine scholarly Howard journal again.

Craziness seemed to take over some of Howard publishing this year. A self-proclaimed Howard scholar named Francis DiPietro brought out a POD Howard biography called The Supreme Moment. This was a hodge-podge collection of words cobbled together from various already-written Howard biographies and on-line musings about Ol’ Two-Gun, typed out slap-dash - along with a complete reprint of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Silver Eel (huh?) – with wild-ass Howard-was-a-homo theories thrown in for good measure. America – land of free speech – love it or don’t read it! Yikes! Mr. DiPietro also tried his hand at Howard publishing, bringing out two collections of Howard stories that he just rewrote a wee bit to string them together. If you blinked you missed ‘em, because Paradox Entertainment thankfully put the ki-bosh on that nonsense! Dodo Press, some goofy UK POD place, decided to cash in on the Howard boom for a bit, providing 50+ REH “books”, available through Amazon, consisting of two or three Howard stories slapped between covers of the most ridiculous art ever stolen, for the ridiculous price of $10! That shit “mysteriously” vanished as well. Mercenary bastards!

The book that had most of the hard-core up in arms this year actually had pure Robert E. Howard Conan stories in it. It was the introduction to this book that had a number of us ready to tar & feather ol’ Arnie Fenner, he of the 1970′s Howard fanzine boom infamy. “and their memory was a bitter tree”- Queen of the Black Coast and Others is an oddly-titled collection of eight Conan stories (public domain of course) placed in a book with some of the Frank Frazetta paintings and a new cover by Brom. Ok, while we really didn’t need a new Conan book – the stories are all out there – why did Fenner have to sound like such a putz in his introduction, demeaning the very writer of the book he’s trying to sell you? Plus, the reproduction on the Frazetta paintings was horrible, and this from a guy who does those nice Spectrum art books. We’re all still scratching our heads and grousing about this one…

On the other publishing front, Dark Horse Comics is continuing full-tilt on their Howard library of titles. They halted their Conan comic at issue #50(?) then started it up again at #1 as Conan the Cimmerian. 2008 proved to be a good year for REH volume in the comics, as DH also brought out SOLOMON KANE and KULL in an ongoing limited series. Horror writer Joe Lansdale wrote a sequel (huh?) to Howard’s magnificent Pigeons from Hell and brought that out in comic form, forgetting to tell me that it wasn’t an adaptation of Howard’s story, but that it was his take on how the story should be updated. WHATever…!!!!!! I was going to say that’s what I get for reading comic books (and I should mention that all of these comics are very boringly written…), but I’ll tell you the real reason I buy the Dark Horse REH comics:

THE ADVENTURES OF TWO-GUN BOB by Jim & Ruth Keegan. With the exception of the actual stories written by Robert E. Howard, The Adventures of Two-Gun Bob is the most important bit of REH in Pop Culture ever printed. Jim And Ruth have their marvelous continuing comic strip printed in every edition of a Howard-based comic from Dark Horse, and there is nothing else available in print that reaches more people and preaches the gospel of REH better, and nothing that humanizes him better to hundreds of thousands of people who might not take the opportunity to learn about REH. It is absolutely brilliant.

Movies based on Robert E. Howard characters are becoming a reality. The Solomon Kane movie is in post-production, but I just read recently it might get pushed back to Labor Day for a release. The Conan movie is also underway with a complete script, and Fred Malmberg of Paradox Entertainment has said a director may be named in January, with production set to begin in June. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. Funcom’s AGE OF CONAN MMOG computer/X-Box/etc. game continues, but I know zero about it. It professes to portray Robert E. Howard’s Hyborian Age in great detail, but I’ve always found the greatest Howard details are the ones in my ever-greying noggin. There are also a pile of REH audio CD’s available on Ebay of which I know nothing – again, I’ve got my own versions rattling around upstairs here.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the up close and personal Robert E. Howard events that took place in 2008. We had a Birthday Bash at his House back in January, and Robert E. Howard Days in Cross Plains in June was another resounding success. As they’ll both be repeated in ’09, y’all come! The fine folks of Cross Plains honored Joan McCowen earlier this month, the fine lady who was instrumental in getting Howard Days (and lot of what we’re doing here) going back in 1986. We can never thank her enough.

But, as this is MY blog, I CAN thank all of you for helping to keep the lamp lit for the one and only Robert E. Howard, a feller in Texas who wrote some pretty damn good stories a few years ago, and left them for you and me to read and talk about and have some fine fellowship over. Shall we?

Happy 2009, y’all.

Posted in Popular Culture, REH Days, REH in Comics, Reviews |

New Prez a Conan Fan!

Posted by Rusty Burke on 11th November 2008

We are alerted by Paul McNamee, over on the REH Forum, to an article in the Telegraph, “Barack Obama: The 50 facts you might not know,” in which it is reported that the newly elected President “collects Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian comics”!  Will the mighty Cimmerian find a place in the White House library?

Posted in news, People, Popular Culture, REH in Comics |

Pigeons from – Oh Hell!

Posted by indy on 7th July 2008

OK, I’ve been going around and around tonight with Joe Lansdale. He’s really pissed at me, and with me being “The Friendly REHupan”, I can’t really put up with myself being mean or having someone think I am, so I’ve spent the last hour doing some damage control with personal e-mails with him. I hope it works, but this should be the last I’ll say about Dark Horse’s Pigeons from Hell. I hope.

Anyway, Joe explained to me that his version of PFH is a sequel to Howard’s story. That’s how he wrote it, and that’s how he explained it to me. And y’know what? He’s right – It totally works. I sometimes need things spelled out for me, and this time it all clicked. Joe Lansdale’s version of Pigeons from Hell, written as a sequel, makes total sense. He borrowed little bits from Howard’s original story, and if I back away from being a Howard hard-ass for a bit, I can appreciate this work. And I do.

While I wish this “sequel” business had been explained either on the cover or somewhere within the comic, I’m not above backtracking and saying this comic got a lot better for me. Sorry, Joe.

So I won’t try to promote – or demote- this comic as being a Howard story, because it’s really not. But as a sequel, with Howardian elements, I’m good to go.

So I will.

 

Posted in REH in Comics |

Pigeons from – What the Hell?! Part 3

Posted by indy on 7th July 2008

Ouch.

Got a personal e-mail from Joe Lansdale his own self, and he thinks I’ve gone over into personal insult with my comments about Dark Horse’s PIGEONS FROM HELL adaptation, which Joe Lansdale wrote. (See below).

Well, I don’t believe that I did insult him personally, and we could go ’round and ’round about that forever, so I’ll just end my postings about the Pigeons from Hell comic with what I wrote to him:

Hi Joe:

While I can’t and won’t apologize for what I think of Dark Horse’s Pigeons from Hell, and I obviously don’t understand what you are trying to do with Howard’s story, I can apologize to you if I have offended you personally.

That was not my intent at all, and I will say I’m truly sorry if my words have hurt you.

I’m done here.

Posted in REH in Comics |

Pigeons from — What the Hell?! Part 2

Posted by indy on 1st July 2008

Well, it’s not gonna get any better, this abomination of a comic book re-telling of a Robert E. Howard story. Uh, sorry, did I say “re-telling”? I meant to say re-tarding.

Props to Brian Leno for keeping us up to date with a short review of the third installment of Dark Horse’s PIGEONS FROM HELL four-issue run of Joe Lansdale’s meatgrinding of Howard’s classic horror story. Hard-core Howardist that Mr. Leno is, he reports being “actually stunned” at how far from Howard’s story this comic adaptation has gotten under the heavy handedness of Mr. Lansdale.

I’m told that Mr. Lansdale is a big-time horror writer himself. Having no direct experience with reading anything he’s written (except his really REALLY bad stint on the Dark Horse CONAN comic), I’ll have to let that slide. All I know is that he’s totally butchered Howard’s story for this comic, and states it’s his homage to Ol’ Two-Gun. Sheesh. The Dark Horse gang has been pretty good about the props they’ve given Robert E. Howard over the last few years, but they have totally screwed the pooch on this one.

But hey, on a lighter note, I had the opportunity to chat with Pigeons from What the Hell’s artist Nathan Fox at the Wizard World Chicago ComicCon this past Saturday. He even sketched the above doodle (a giant monster eating pigeons???) in the copy I decided to pick up, and I do like stuff like that. I gave him some of my Howard credentials and told him, ‘Y’know this story is nothing like Howard’s Pigeons from Hell’. I should’ve asked him if he’d ever read REH’s original, but instead I complimented him on the good job I think he did with what he was presented – except for the “ghosts”. He said those weren’t ghosts, but transparent entities of some sort, and said he had some trouble making those work. I told him he’d be great at a straight up adapatation of Howard’s original story, where there were no “ghosts”. Duh.

Like so many of us, I’m a lot meaner through a faceless medium like a blog or message board than I am in person. Just as long as I never meet Joe Lansdale.

Posted in REH in Comics |

Pigeons from — What the Hell?!!

Posted by indy on 22nd June 2008


Let me start out by saying I would have bought these comics anyway, because they each contain another entry in Jim and Ruth Keegan’s magnificent The Adventures of Two-Gun Bob. That being said, Dan Rosenfelt of Paradox Entertainment showed up at Howard Days in Cross Plains with a box full of the Dark Horse Comics’ “adaptation” of Robert E. Howard’s PIGEONS FROM HELL, numbers 1 & 2 of the four issue “adaptation”.

This “adaptation” of Howard’s story, which Stephen King has called one of the greatest horror stories of the 20th Century, was penned by Joe R. Lansdale. Well, maybe “penned” is not an accurate term — more like: carved it with a dull knife from the body of Howard’s original tale, and then reassembled it in a bloody meat-loaf shaped like a turd. (Over on the rehinnercircle board, Brian Leno calls this comic “excrement”, so I can’t take total credit for comparing it to crap.) But I can say that it is unbelievable what has been done to this story, as it is UNRECOGNIZABLE as Robert E. Howard’s PIGEONS FROM HELL. “Adaptation” indeed!

Mr. Lansdale says, in an afterword in #1: “…the thought was it might be nice to update it a bit, introduce new readers to the story, and perhaps lead them to the original tale and all things Howard.” Wait, it gets worse: “…I was doing an adaptation of Howard’s story, not Howard’s story literally”. Huh?! “Like it or not, I let Landsdale slip in.” Well, no, you let Lansdale totally destroy and then re-write Howard’s story, adding the overworked Hollywood cliche element of Kids Find a Deserted House in the Swamp and Get Killed One by One by Sub-human Monsters. Plus, he throws in “ghosts” that look like my 8 year-old granddaughter drew them! And, he adds in a bunch of other crap, like hip dialogue and cell phones (!) to pad the story out for what will be four comics’ worth of torture, at least for this ol’ Howard Purist.

Maybe not so oddly enough, I actually like the non-ghost parts of Nathan Fox’s artwork. Nice brushwork throughout, even if there’s a slight Renn & Stimpy feel to the depictions of the five (!) characters who come to the house. Drawings of the house and swamp and pigeons are excellent. The guy’s a good cartoonist, and I think his work would look great in a straight adaptation of this story.

So, reluctantly, I’ll buy the final two installments of this comic, flip through it, shake my head at what Mr. Lansdale thinks is a “love letter to one of my formative writers”, and go straight to Two-Gun Bob. That’s the only reason to buy this comic.

Posted in Popular Culture, REH in Comics |