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Anticipating Kull

Halloween is looking to be extra-special this year. On that Tuesday, Del Rey is slated to release the latest book from the Wandering Star gang, Kull: Exile of Atlantis. Interested readers can visit Dale Rippke’s website Heroes of Dark Fantasy for a listing of the volume’s contents, or cruise on over to Amazon.com to reserve your copy now for only $10.85.

In addition to what should be a serpent-riddled Introduction by this blog’s own Steve Tompkins, the book contains an essay by Patrice Louinet titled “Atlantean Genesis” that is sure to expand on the many textual discoveries already revealed in The Dark Man #6’s “A Short History of the Kull Series.” There are also numerous unpublished fragments, a variant of one of Howard’s best poems — the Kull-themed “The King and the Oak” — and of course a cataclysmic tsunami of illustrations by the talented Justin Sweet. Justin’s work evokes Frazetta more than any of the other Wandering Star artists, and those wishing to see a preview of his work should click over to his website, or visit this page for an in-depth demonstration of how he paints everything on the computer (warning, there are lots of big images that take awhile to download).

Incidentally, for anyone who wants great hi-quality scans of all the Del Rey Howard covers, you can visit their public archive.

What I have been waiting patiently for are the hardcover editions to each of the Del Rey books. It’s been about a year since The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian appeared in hardcover, and since then nada. Back in May of 2005, a Howard fan posted information about a talk he had with Del Rey editor Steve Saffel, wherein Steve states that The Bloody Crown of Conan (a.k.a. Conan II) and The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane each sold only two-thirds the amount that The Coming of Conan did. This might have caused Del Rey to rethink their plans about releasing hardcovers of these titles. I hope not: The Coming of Conan was a great book at a great value, and it would be unfortunate if yet another hardcover set was derailed before it was finished.