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AuthorRobert E. Howard
CountryUnited States
Published inWeird Tales
Publication typePulp magazine
Publication dateOct–Dec 1929
Skull-Face was reprinted as the cover story of the December 1952 issue of Famous Fantastic Mysteries

Skull-Face is a novella written by Robert E. Howard, which appeared as a serial in Weird Tales magazine, beginning in October 1929, and ending in December, 1929.[1] The story stars a character called Steve Costigan but this is not Howard's recurring character, Sailor Steve Costigan. The story is clearly influenced by Sax Rohmer's opus Fu Manchu but substitutes the main Asian villain with a resuscitated Atlantean necromancer (similar to Kull's bit character Thulsa Doom) sitting at the center of a web of crime and intrigue meant to end White/Western world domination with the help of Asian/semite/African peoples and to re-instate surviving Atlanteans (said to lie dormant in submerged sarcophagi) as the new ruling elite.


The story begins with Steve Costigan wearily waking in Yu Shantu's Temple of Dreams, a hashish den in the city of London, England. He has recurring dreams of something he calls "Skull Face", and is puzzled about their meaning. He is broke, and in need of more hashish, the drug he is desperately addicted to, leaving Costigan barely able to survive. When confronted by the doorman, Hassim, Costigan informs him of his lack of funds. Hassim promptly throws him out through the front door of the den. Bruised and bleeding, Costigan is helped to his feet by a young woman, Zulieka.


  1. ^ The Weird Works of Robert E. Howard, pages 194–320. Cosmos Books, July 2007

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