Tag Archives: conan the cimmerian

Conan the Cimmerian

Conan of Cimmeria is the creation of pulp author Robert E. Howard. Conan was introduced to the world in a short story called “The Phoenix on the Sword” in the December 1932 issue of Weird Tales. Through a series of fortuitous if controversial events in the decades after Howard’s death, the character grew to become a part of American mythology and culture, one of the most well known fictional characters in modern history.

It is best to know Conan as introduced by Robert E. Howard.

Hither came Conan the Cimmerian, black haired, sullen eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandaled feet.

Howard wrote less than 30 stories featuring Conan during his lifetime. The number of Howard stories featuring Conan represents just a fraction of Howard’s total output; a prolific author who made his living writing for the pulps in the 1920s and 1930s, Howard wrote somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 stories. The Hour of the Dragon was Howard’s only full-length Conan novel. Stories featuring his other characters were revised or rewritten by L. Sprague de Camp and released as Conan stories long after his death, hence elements of Kull stories in particular came to be associated with Conan lore. The original Conan stories by Robert E. Howard were later curated, restored, and released in modern editions now available from Del Rey. These include The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian, The Bloody Crown of Conan, and The Conquering Sword of Conan.

There are Conan purists, and there are Conan fans regardless of creator or medium. Aside from the collected stories, Conan has appeared in novels, comics, movies, live action television series, cartoons, RPGs, and video games. Like many Conan fans from my generation, I came to know of his adventures through the paperback story collections published by Lancer, later reprinted by Ace. The Frank Frazetta covers are iconic representations of Howard’s best known character. These editions spawned myriad pastiches in the sword and sorcery vein.

These cover scans are from the library of Christopher Fulbright. Please note that Realms of Night has an eBay page with occasional horror auctions. Follow our page and save us as a favorite seller for updates.

Rest In Peace Bernie Wrightson (1948-2017)

Author Christopher Fulbright meets Bernie Wrightson at the Sci-Fi Fan Expo in Richardson, Texas 2009.

I was just getting ready to wrap up an already late night when I read on a friend’s feed that Bernie Wrightson passed away. His wife Liz posted the news on his Facebook page and website tonight in a touching and comprehensive obituary. The artist spent the past few years beset with illness, in a long battle with brain cancer. He hailed from Baltimore, Maryland but spent his recent years in Austin, Texas. He was 69 years old.

Bernie was a legendary comic artist, rising to prominence in the late-1960’s with his work on House of Mystery, birthplace of the Swamp Thing in issue #92 under the editorship of Joe Orlando with writer Len Wein. He went on to undertake so many great artistic endeavors that I would no doubt omit something important if I attempted to list them. My first encounter with Wrightson’s work was a kind of random but impressive poster of Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Cimmerian printed in 1976. I went on to discover Wrightson’s illustrated edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the Creepshow comic adaptation, and of course, the illustrated edition of Stephen King’s Cycle of the Werewolf in 1983, which made him a superstar in my eyes.

I met Bernie in 2009 and again in 2011, and I only feel justified in calling him by his first name because he was so friendly and happy to discuss the projects and titles I brought for him to sign. At the time I met him, he was working with Steve Niles on a title called Doc Macabre, which had only been out for a few issues. I met them the same convention. As they sat next to each other, it was a pleasure to be a small part of their conversation. They had stories to tell of each title, details about how it had all gone down.

Mr. Wrightson was a kind man, humble about his accomplishments, but so clearly a virtuoso of his art that few people could ever compete. He was truly a great artist, and his death represents a massive loss to the horror community. Rest in peace, Mr. Wrightson, and thanks so much for your contributions to the field.

The following scans are from my personal collection.