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s&s lit: the return of REH

Started by joshua neff, December 15, 2003, 02:39:42 AM

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joshua neff

I mentioned in another thread (but decided to start a new one this time) that I was going to be getting the new Coming of Conan. It's not just a rerelease of Robert E. Howard's Conan stories, it's the first volume of a series of the original Conan stories, in their original published form, in their original order. And it's fucking amazing.

First of all, it's profusely illustrated, & the illustrations are really, really good. (And Conan isn't constantly pictured bare-chested in a loincloth--only if REH describes him that way in the text.) Secondly, it has a really nice introduction (by someone named Patrice Louinet), which says the same thing Ron's been saying for years: it's silly to attempt to "biographize" Conan by rearranging the stories into some chronological order, & the "posthumous collaborations" are pretty much pastiches that ape the worst of REH's stories. Also, there are miscellanea & appendices with lots of cool stuff, like original drafts of stories, notes on the Hyborean Age, & REH's maps. Finally, for someone like me who has had a damn hard time tracking down any Conan that wasn't reconstructed & "posthumously collaborated," this book is a godsend. Damn, these stories are amazingly good.

Unfortunately, some of the classics, like "Red Nails" & "People of the Black Circle," aren't in the collection--I assume they'll be in a second volume. Which isn't on Del Rey's schedule yet. The cool thing? Solomon Kane is coming out next June. It's already on my Amazon Wishlist.

"You can't ignore a rain of toads!"--Mike Holmes

Ron Edwards


Some of the best stuff I've read in recent years has come out of the Adept Press forum threads; first Thieves & Kings, and now this. Testament to Ron's design work that people can give such awesome examples to draw on for his games. ;)
You see:
Michael V. Goins, wielding some vaguely annoyed skills.

Zak Arntson

Just wanted to pipe in and say that the Coming of Conan is an amazing collection. I've been slowly collecting Howard paperbacks for a while, and even so I haven't come across any of the stories so far (I'm up to Black Colossus). The drive to produce the original stories is commendable; there are even entries in the back listing edits (typos, mostly) from the original text!

I can't wait for the rest of his stories in this format. Thanks for pointing out the Kane trade (June 2004? That's going to seem like forever). I hope these do well enough for us to get the rest of the Conan and the Kull stories with the same treatment.


Me too! Me too!


I finished Theives in the House earlier thisevening. Very cool stuff (that I'd not have known about if not for this board). And because I wanted to check out on that Solomon Kane deal I discovered Random House is putting out a manga series I'd seen and was interested in!

Ron Edwards


I finally got my copy - it's a real achievement. After years of combing collections and special editions in order to read the stories as written, here they are.

I think the payoff for me is the introduction by Mark Schultz, the artist for the book, in which he clearly describes the development of the character through the stories.

His depiction of Conan's face especially interests me, as it's very Irish-looking, and therefore perhaps captures Howard's "who I want to be" or "how we oughtta be" themes in the character.

His illustration of the fight with Thak for Rogues in the House is the only Frazetta homage ... but boy is it a good one.

Clearly Howard's work with Conan went through something of a dry spell (if something marked by so much gore-splatter can be called "dry") after the first wave; I consider Pool of the Black Ones, The Vale of Lost Women, The Devil in Iron, and a few similar stories to be pretty low-grade in contrast with People of the Black Circle, Beyond the Black River, and Hour of the Dragon. Still, the book has Rogues in the House, Queen of the Black Coast, The Frost Giant's Daughter, and Tower of the Elephant, which should be enough for anyone and certainly is for me.

I'm really looking forward to the next collection.


Zak Arntson

I finally finished it up last night. Of the stories in there, I have only read Devil in Iron before. The most enjoyment for me was reading each story and then flipping to the essay in the back to read about how it was conceived, received by Farnsworth, etc.

Now I'm off to read the collected Wagner's Kane novels (and waiting for the collected short stories to show up in the post). I don't know if it warrants its own thread, but you may find a few copies of the Wagner compilations at (where I found them).  They're titled Gods of Darkness and The Midnight Sun, both from Nightshade Books. I hope to keep busy with these while I wait for the second Conan compilation.

Gordon C. Landis

About that next collection . . . (from the DelRey books website):

The contents for next fall's THE BLOODY CROWN OF CONAN have been finalized. This is the second volume in the complete Robert E. Howard Conan trilogy and will feature three of the longest Conan adventures, including his one Conan novel, HOUR OF THE DRAGON, which will be produced from the original version that appeared in the legendary pulp magazine Weird Tales; a version which has been unavailable for about sixty years. Also included, THE PEOPLE OF THE BLACK CIRCLE and A WITCH SHALL BE BORN will be produced from carbon copies of Howard's original manuscript, and thus will appear in this form for the first time ever." (under construction)

joshua neff

Cool. Cool cool cool cool cool.

"The Bloody Crown of Conan"--Damn, that's cool.

Looking at the sidebar article on that page, there's also Bran Mak Morn: The Last King coming out in May of '05 & The Conquering Sword of Conan coming out in the fall of '06.


"You can't ignore a rain of toads!"--Mike Holmes

Ron Edwards


Also, for those who don't know it, the artist for these collections, Mark Schultz, is also the creator of Xenozoic Tales, an excellent comic series which is currently available in two collections from Dark Horse Comics. Highly recommended.




Well, I don't really care for any of this new release Conan schtuff mucking up the original deCamp version ;-)

But Mark Schultz is an illustrating god, and xenozoic represents for me the all time pinnacle of the black and white comic artform in terms of conveying story with pictures.  His work is IMO one of the few comics I've ever read that I didn't think would have read better as pure prose.

I will have to pick these up for his art alone (and that's saying something since pretty much he and Angus McBride are the only artists I would actually buy just for the art.