…and the lamps expire

Robert E Howard signature

Robert E Howard

On the morning of June 11, 1936, Robert Erwin Howard ate a bullet, bringing a violent and bloody end to his far too short life. He was only 30 years old. But I don’t want to focus today on his death, even though it looms large against his legacy. I want to celebrate what he left us in the wake of his tragic departure.

conanthefreebooterI discovered Robert E. Howard through Marvel Comics, via the monthly Conan the Barbarian comic and the brilliant magazine Savage Sword of Conan. These led me to Howard’s written works.

In 1977, at the tender age of 11, I bought my first Howard paperback — Conan the Freebooter. The first story I read was the last in the book, because of the title — “A Witch Shall Be Born”. It was love at first read.

I’ve been a die-hard, obsessive fan ever since and I don’t believe there’s been a Howard-penned tale that my eyes haven’t pored over.

I frequently revisit the tales of Conan, Kull, Solomon Kane, Steve Harrison, and more.

Howard wrote with fire. He was a master of kinetic wordplay, of mood, tone, and setting. His characters were alive, visceral, and filled with a ferocious energy unmatched by his peers and not by anyone since.

78 years ago today, Howard typed these words:

All fled, all done, so lift me on the pyre;
The feast is over and the lamps expire.

Rest In Peace, Two-Gun. You earned it, and then some.




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