Portal:Robert E. Howard

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Robert Ervin Howard (January 22, 1906 – June 11, 1936) was a prolific American author and poet. He wrote pulp fiction in a diverse range of genres and is today most famous for the creation of the character of Conan the Cimmerian.

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"Spear and Fang" was Howard's first published story; in the July 1925 issue of Weird Tales.

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Weird Tales was an American pulp magazine specialising in fantasy and horror fiction which was first published in March 1923. Under the editorship of Farnsworth Wright, this was the first publication to print material by Howard and remained his main outlet for the remainder of his life. Howard became one f the magazines most popular authors and corresponded with others such as Clark Ashoton Smith and H. P. Lovecraft.

In the same period (from 1933), the magazine's cover illustrations were produced by the former fashion designer and illustrator Margaret Brundage, making Brundage the first and only female cover artist of the pulp era. She created many striking images, especially of nude or semi-nude young women in provocative poses; her whipping scenes attracted the highest attention. Though her art was far from flawless, Brundage's covers became a focus of extreme attention and controversy, which helped to sell the magazine. Howard deliberately put such scenes in his works so that his story would be the one illustrated on the cover; the cover story paid more than the other stories in the magazine.

Weird Tales always struggled financially. In the 1920s and '30s, the magazine's business manager, William Sprenger, was crucial in keeping the enterprise afloat. It is estimated that the monthly circulation of Weird Tales never topped 50,000 copies per issue compared to circulations of 300,000 per issue for popular pulps like Doc Savage or The Shadow, even in the depths of the Great Depression. Wright paid his contributors at the rate of one cent per word, double the going pulp rate of a half-cent per word; but during the 1930s the magazine was sometimes very late in making its payments to authors, which was not unusual at the time in the pulp field. At the time of Howard's suicide, Weird Tales owed him almost $1,000.

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Weird Tales December 1936.jpg
Cover of Weird Tales (December 1936, vol. 28, no. 5) featuring the posthumously printed story "The Fire of Asshurbanipal".

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The Moor Ghost

They hauled him to the crossroads
As day was at its close;
They hung him to the gallows
And left him for the crows.

His hands in life were bloody,
His ghost will not be still
He haunts the naked moorlands
About the gibbet hill.

And oft a lonely traveler
Is found upon the fen
Whose dead eyes hold a horror
Beyond the world of men.

The villagers then whisper,
With accents grim and dour:
"This man has met at midnight
The phantom of the moor."


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