REHupas for sale


Six more mailings of REHupa are on eBay, filled to the brim with rare Howardiana.

For information on why REHupa mailings are rare, collectible, and an essential cornerstone of any good Howard collection, see here.

REHupas on sale at eBay


Just a heads-up to all Howard fans out there looking to increase their holdings of REHupa mailings. In the coming days I will be posting a bunch for sale. The first five are already up, with more to follow in the coming days. For information about why REHupa mailings are so collectible, go here.


Also, for those of you looking to complete your Deluxe sets of The Cimmerian, there have been some lots for sale at eBay that include some of the out-of-print issues you are looking for. The latest is here.

A new Howard collecting high

Longtime fantasy and sci-fi rare bookseller Barry R. Levin, based in Santa Monica, California, has put on offer the typescript for Robert E. Howard’s Conan tale “Black Colossus,” signed in ink and inscribed to H. P. Lovecraft’s good friend Robert Barlow, another famous suicide in fantasy circles. The asking price of $125,000 seems incredibly steep, but if someone pulls the trigger and grabs it, the sale will vault Howard collecting into an entirely new stratosphere.

To put this into perspective, in 2001 I purchased what was then only the seventh known surviving copy of Howard’s first hardcover book, A Gent From Bear Creek, for $4000 — that copy now sits in the Robert E. Howard Museum in Cross Plains. In the years since other extant copies of Bear Creek have been found, bringing the total to twelve — in 2006 one of those copies sold, in much worse condition than mine, for $8000 (lots of information about these books has been published in The Cimmerian, most prominently in V3n8).

I know of another Howard signature (in full, in pencil, on an original Howard photo) that was recently on sale for around $10,000. The single most expensive Howard-related sale I’ve ever heard of was when the same Barry Levin who now owns “Black Colossus” unloaded the original Margaret Brundage painting for the August 1934 Weird Tales (featuring Howard’s “The Devil in Iron,” with a snake wrapped around Conan) to a private collector for $65,000. If the typescript for one of Howard’s middle-to-better Conan stories sells for $125,000, all records will be smashed, and my guess is that many other items will have their sale prices rise accordingly. With the recent news, broke in The Cimmerian earlier this year, that Robert E. Howard is set to be added to the exclusive all-star lineup of authors featured in The Library of America, it would seem that his reputation and legacy are entering an even more rarefied phase.

As Levin’s bookstore is only fifteen minutes away from where I live, I may have to drop in and take a look at the “Black Colossus” typescript. Back when he was selling the Brundage painting, I visited the shop with Howardists Ed Waterman and Jim Keegan, and it was way cool seeing that large chalk masterpiece in the original. It was very large, and the slightest bit blurred due to the chalk shifting under the glass over the decades, but the colors were still gloriously vibrant.

Subterranean’s Kull

Subterranean Press reports that their Wandering Star-like Limited Edition of this title is about to go out of print. Check out the details of this edition and buy your copy here.

Frankly I’m skeptical of this claim. Wandering Star had enough trouble selling out of their books even when there were no Del Reys competing with them, and even when titles like Bran Mak Morn: The Last King and The Ultimate Triumph were selling much cheaper than $150 the copy, which is what Kull is going for at Subterranean. And once the Del Reys hit the scene, boom — Wandering Star’s sales fell drastically, and they were left with a lot of books they couldn’t unload.

And now here is Subterranean — with a reported print run of 1500 copies, competing against the Del Rey trade paperbacks, and in the middle of a frighteningly shaky economy to boot — on the brink of selling out their run a scant few months after the volume’s debut? Nah, don’t believe it. I suppose they may have successfully foisted them onto various middlemen and independent booksellers, but those guys are going to hold on to the majority of them for a loooong time if past performance is any guide. And if there is any plan in place to return unsold copies they might end up flowing back into Subterranean’s headquarters like a receding tide. I might be wrong, but judging by everything else I’ve seen happen with these high-priced deluxe editions the numbers don’t add up.

As for the initial reviews, the ones that have made their way to me have been mixed. On the positive side, the book’s editor Rusty Burke is quoted on the Subterranean Press website as follows:

Thing’s freakin’ gorgeous. The whole point that Marcelo sold me on when we discussed the REH Library project was that our books would show REH being treated with the kind of respect he deserved, and that the presentation of quality editions would make people think he was indeed a writer who was worthy of respect. I work my tail off on the editorial matters because I want them to be as worthy as the physical presentation. I thank you for continuing the series with the same level of respect.

There’s also a handful of other encomiums on that page. One of my favorite Cimmerian readers, Tim Haberkorn of Colorado, also sends in praise for this volume, telling me via email that it, “matches my Wandering Star editions perfectly.”

But does it? One perilous note can be found here:

Our Director of Production, Yanni Kuznia, is helming our continuation of the Wandering Star Robert E. Howard Limited Editions. Right now, she’s cranium deep in Kull: Exile of Atlantis, proofreading our text against the del Rey version, and also double- and triple-checking the index to make certain everything is aright in that regard as well.

Say what? The exact text that had already been formatted for the Del Rey book wasn’t used? it sounds here as if they are using a separate text and proofing it against the Del Reys. If true, the possibility of typos creeping in looms large.

[UPDATE: After reading the above, Bill Schafer at Subterranean sent along an explanation: “We did indeed receive the del Rey files, but we always proof against a finished copy of the book in case errors have crept into the files we are given, or are introduced when files are converted.” Nice to hear.]

More promising is the revelation on the same page that artist Justin Sweet touched up some of his art within this new volume, and they “played with the contrast” in an attempt to mark an improvement over the reproduction in the Del Reys.

I’ve heard tale from Don Herron, which he himself apparently heard secondhand, of a blistering review of the book appearing on one of the REH Yahoo groups, written by a source I trust implicitly in matters bibliographic: Cimmerian reader Doris Salley. Apparently Doris considers the book an enormous disappointment, criticizing everything from the quality of the slipcase to the paper used to the art layout and binding. Ouch. Doris is exactly the kind of discriminating, hardcore bibliophile that the Wandering Star books were built to appeal to, and if she is that unhappy with Subterranean’s product, it doesn’t bode well for the series.

Looking at the picture posted on their website of the book and slipcase, I can sort of see what she means — it looks at first glance as if the raw materials used for the boards and case don’t hold a candle to the Wandering Star versions Marcelo spent so much money on. People have picked about things like the font size, art, and margins in the WS editions, but the quality of the paper, the workmanship of the slipcases, and the binding and gilded edges have no real peer in modern popular bookmaking as far as I can tell (the sole exception to this sterling record of WS workmanship is the Bran Mak Morn slipcase, which is maddeningly just a bit too tight for the book due to an extra item being added to the Table of Contents at the last minute. But even then, the slipcase is still great, it’s just a bit too tight, especially with a Brodart on the dust jacket).

Me, I’m hoping that Del Rey releases affordable hardcovers of these books to match the one they did for the first Conan volume. That one is perfect for my needs, and if I could get the others in cloth I’d be a happy camper. Unfortunately, it looks as if they decided that sales wouldn’t justify releasing all of these books between boards, and the fallback option of the Science Fiction Book Club hardbacks doesn’t work well either, because those are slightly smaller than the Del Reys and use a much inferior grade of paper.

Next up for Subterranean is The Best of REH Vol. I. The run for that is due to be only half of Kull’s 1500 copies — why the massive reduction, if indeed Kull is selling as briskly as they claim? I suppose Best Ofs might not sell as well as the individual titles as a rule, but you’d think that any 1500 people willing to shell out $150 for a book would plan on getting the entire set. Tim Haberkorn reminds me that it’s Conan III that the Deluxe fans are really waiting for, but the Subterranean site says there is a “rights situation,” adding: “Thus far, the one party that needs to sign off on the third Conan volume has refused to do so, though we thought an understanding had been reached with everyone, and they had been sent a contract promptly.” That was way back in March, and it looks as if they have moved on with the Best Ofs. I feel damn sorry for the guys who bought Conan I and II and have been patiently waiting for III ever since (especially the book’s artist, Greg Manchess, who has yet to see his color plates reproduced as they were intended alongside the text). Stuff happens and all that — with luck it’ll get made eventually, at Subterranean or somewhere else.

Some Rare REHupas on eBay


I haven’t gotten around to auctioning off the rest of my REHupa collection yet — confound it! — but Mark Corrinet is now getting rid of the numerous extra copies he was forced to purchase when building his own collection. Up on eBay right now are four really hard-to-find issues, numbers 63, 64, 83, and 94, all dating back over twenty years. If you’ve ever wanted to acquire some of these, now is a rare chance to do so. My own earliest copies are in the #90s and #100s, so there’s no overlap with Mark’s first batch here. Get ’em while you can, or you may never have another opportunity. You’ve been warned.

Echoes of Cimmeria available for pre-order


Cimmerian reader Fabrice Tortey hails from France, and for the last few years he’s been working steadily on a massive tribute volume to Robert E. Howard. That project is now reaching fruition. Bringing together a generous mix of Howardian luminaries from both sides of the pond, he has assembled a wide-ranging collection of material and added lots of pictures and illustrations. American stalwarts Glenn Lord, Don Herron, Rusty Burke, and others appear alongside French counterparts such as Jacques Bergier, along with other assorted folks such as the inimitable Donald Sidney-Fryer, a scholar facile in both languages. Of course Robert E. Howard himself is represented, and some of those items have never before appeared in that language. The book itself is all in French, but the result is nevertheless bound to entice many collectors from this side of the pond, too.

You can download the official order form here in PDF format (400k file). Note that you can become a “subscriber” by pre-ordering before March 31, 2008. This gets you a numbered copy of the book, along with your name listed on a special page inside the volume.

For those of us wanting to read some of this material in English, take heart: The Cimmerian is on the case.


1906 – 1936
A book edited by Fabrice Tortey

Solomon Kane, El Borak, Bran Mak Morn, Kull the Barbarian King, Conan the Cimmerian and many other characters, all unforgettable creations that sprang from the fertile mind of Robert Ervin Howard. A pioneer of heroic fantasy, the Texan writer has excelled in many genres: tales of adventure, fantasy and horror, sports and western stories, poetry… At the time when Two-Gun Bob finds a second life in France, the Éditions de l’Œil du Sphinx are pleased to pay homage to Robert E. Howard and display his many facets as the man, the boxer, the storyteller, the poet.

Renowned specialists and dedicated fans of Howard have all gathered to explore the epic universe of the Cross Plains Bard. This opus, under the direction of Fabrice Tortey, opens on an overview of Robert E. Howard’s life, completed by more specific biographical studies by acknowledged experts such as Rusty Burke with La dernière lettre / The Note, Glenn Lord with Herbert Klatt : le quatrième mousquetaire / Herbert Klatt : the Fourth Musketeer and The Junto, or Chris Gruber who shares with us his passion both for boxing and the creator of Steve Costigan in Howard et la fabrique de glace / Howard at the Ice House

Four texts of Robert E. Howard are published here for the first time in France: two fragments (Le Tueur / The Slayer; Sous l’éclat impitoyable du soleil… / Beneath the Glare… ) and two poems (Les Cellules du Colisée / The Cells of the Coliseum et Comme un bruit sourd à ma porte / A Dull Sound as of Knocking). Introduced by Don Herron, a series of essays analyzes different aspects of the Texan’s opus : Le Sens du récit chez Robert E. Howard / The Narrative Sense of Robert E. Howard by Simon Sanahujas, Bob Howard ou le pouvoir du regard intérieur / Bob Howard or the power of the inner look by Argentium Thri’ile, Robert E. Howard : pionnier des lettres/Robert E. Howard: Frontiersman of Letters by Donald Sidney-Fryer, Conan, Kull et Bran Mak Morn : les rois de la nuit / Conan, Kull et Bran Mak Morn: the Kings of the Night by Patrice Louinet, Kings of the Night : Une allégorie shakespearienne ? / Kings of the Night : a Shakespearean allegory? by Pierre Favier, Le Phénix sur l’épée et autres fulgurances. Une lecture spirituelle du cycle hyborien de Robert E. Howard / The Phoenix on the Sword and other blinding flashes. A spiritual reading of Robert E. Howard’s Hyborian cycle by Rodolphe Massé, Solomon Kane and Face à Cthulhu : le club des aventuriers de Robert E. Howard / Facing Chthulu : the Adventurer’s Club by Patrice Allart, Solomon Kane et le racisme : une étude en noir et blanc / Solomon Kane and racism : a study in black and white by Olivier Legrand, Des rites impies de sadisme et de sang. Le réveil de l’archaïque chez Howard, Lovecraft et Vere Shortt / An unhallowed ritual of cruelty and sadism and blood: The revival of the archaic in Howard, Lovecraft and Vere Shortt by Michel Meurger, Un nouveau monde, ou l’Almuric de Robert E. Howard / A New World, or the Almuric of Robert E. Howard by Rémy Lechevalier and Jacques Bergier, ou l’homme qui découvrit aussi Robert E. Howard / Jacques Bergier, or The Man Who Also Discovered Robert E. Howard by Joseph Altairac.This thick volume is concluded with a bibliography of Howard’s works published in France, compiled by Simon Sanahujas. Many photographs of Bob Howard, his family and friends, open for us a vista of a past cut short all too soon.

This anthology also contains the works of Howard’s main illustrators in France : foremost is Christian Broutin, with his drawings for “Phoenix on the Sword” in Planète magazine, then Philippe Druillet who illustrated Conan for Édition spéciale, and of course Jean-Michel Nicollet whose covers for Titres SF and the Nouvelles Éditions Oswald have been the French readers’ companions in their discovery of Two-Gun Bob. The cover is by the great american illustrator Frank Frazetta.

Softcover, 22.5 x 17 cm, text in French, about 400 pages


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I subscribe to ……. copies of Échos de Cimmérie, hommage à R.E. Howard, a collection edited by Fabrice Tortey and to be published by Éditions de l’Œil du Sphinx at 35 € per copy. Shipping (Priority Rate) is 8.50 € for European Union Countries and Switzerland, 10.50 € for USA and Canada. For other destinations, please contact the Publisher.

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The Collector’s Corner: Lost Issues and Issues We Wish Would Get Lost



The “Lost Issue” of The Howard Review: Dennis describes the history of this issue in his auction, how it was an aborted issue that is only now being reprinted in REHupa, with only four copies reserved for the outside world. As such, the piece generated the same amount of interest that many of McHaney’s other items have, selling in the low hundreds ($257.07). A first printing mimeo (copy #2) of The Howard Review #1 recently went for $52. Surely there must be a subset of Howard collecting fandom developing, concentrated on the McHaney line of releases. There’s enough “lost issues” and “special editions” and “proof copies” to keep such an acquirer busy for a long time.

REH pulps: A September 1936 Action Stories went for $383.88, while a July 1936 Weird Tales with classic “Red Nails” cover went for $255.01. Both had lots of bids, 12 and 24 respectively, which demonstrates a healthy interest. Other pulps with absurd starting prices, however, didn’t get any bids. These are prices that were unheard of in the pre-eBay years, and they show that the market for collecting pulps is alive and well. Those who got in the hunt early have holdings that have appreciated many times over what their money would have done in most other investments.

What I’m waiting for is someone to digitize all of these pulps and make torrents out of them. When that happens (as it already has for comics and RPG rule books) will the prices go down for these? Not likely. They already are almost exclusively owned by collectors, and not general fans buying them only to read their contents.

Writer of the Dark: this old fandom warhorse from the 1980s is still going strong, selling yesterday for $190.63 in heavy bidding.

Lancer paperbacks: The rub on these was that they were a set of Lancers in exceptional condition. Bought when new, only read once, etc. Ended up going for the princely sum of $99.27. Other similar lots went for $78 and $76. Every time you hear a cash register ding, a de Campian gets his wings.

Eclectic REH chapbooks: it seems that anything REH that has just a little spin on it to make it “never-before-seen” or “different from other published versions” is catnip for Howard collectors. The latest is a little chapbook for an alternate version of “An Elkins Never Surrenders,” hardly one of the more famous tales in the Texan’s canon. Originally printed for the historic #200th mailing of REHupa last year, it was just sold at auction for an impressive $47.07. If you saw it up close, you would understand why I say that figure is “impressive.” People buy this sort of thing for the content, not the presentation, hypnotized by the “few-of-a-kind” siren song.



Arkham House Skull-Face and Others: One copy without dust jacket was advertised with a BUY IT NOW price of $250, but failed to sell. Another with a dust jacket had a BUY IT NOW price of $450, but ended up selling for a BEST OFFER price of only $300. Judging by past auctions, these prices are a bit soft compared to earlier in the year. One theory: the sellers are starting the auctions at minimum prices too high to spark the kind of furious bidding feeding frenzy that pushes prices up into the $500 range. Another theory: Christmas is a bad time to sell high-priced items like this, as most people have their time and money tied up in buying Christmas gifts for the family rather than choice high-ticket items for their own collections.

Complete set of the incomplete, horribly illustrated, error-ridddled Grant Conan editions: the seller wanted a minimum of $1500 for his set. He, um, didn’t get it.

Wandering Star series: This just keeps getting worse and worse. First Conan III never appears, then WS head honcho Marcelo doesn’t continue designing with Del Rey, then their website disappears, and now three of the books together (Conan I, Bran, and The Ultimate Triumph) have sold on eBay in unopened condition for $290 in heavy bidding. Set against that, we have a copy of Conan II that went for $159.99, but which was the result of a single bid for an inflated minimum price — in other words, a sucker got taken. A Bran went for a $65.00 BUY IT NOW bid, another for $49.99, more in line with current trends. These are terrible prices for what was supposed to be the “pay the high price, but treasure it for a lifetime” REH Library of Classics series. Don Herron was right (he’s almost always right) way back in 2004 in TC #1’s “Conan the Expensive”: they tried to do too much too slowly, and ended up becoming just another in a looooong like of broken, half-finished sets.

I was thinking that the announcement that Subterranean Press was continuing the Deluxe editions that Wandering Star let drop would have bolstered the price of the ones that were already in field, the logic being that, instead of dumping a forever-incomplete set, collectors could now look forward to completing it. But this makes me wonder if many collectors are considering the Subterraneans as faux, and hence will still consider the WS editions as incomplete and essentially damaged beyond hope. Might I remind you that the Del Rey’s are now and forever the first editions of Conan III, Kull, etc., a major selling point that Subterranean cannot claim. Subterranean Press might end up eating their shirt on this deal, depending on how much it’s costing them to get the rights, how many copies they intend to print, etc.

Comic book REH: whether it’s the Marvel Conans or the Cross Plains Comics abominations, it’s hard to even give them away these days. Last week, copy after copy went unsold by virtue of the seller attempting to eek out small margins in their minimum bid prices. They are in no position to bargain, and if they really want to sell the stuff they’ll have to price them at 99 cents and let the market decide what they are worth. Even then they may not sell, necessitating combining them into larger lots. Grim times for REH in comics.

Small Press Howard fiction: meaning the collections from outfits like Wildside. The superabundance of such books over the last few years has finally surpassed the arena’s ability to keep up. Readers have been making decisions over how many versions of the same story they need, and have been forgoing the rest of the options out there. It looks like the ones who have made out best are the Bisons and the Del Reys, leaving Wildside and lesser publishers getting the short end of the stick. I actually look forward to the time when simply publishing public domain Howard isn’t enough, when the quality and/or completeness of the contents matters more, as do the introductions, the font size, the construction of the books, the cover design, the illustrations (or refreshing lack thereof), etc. I don’t just want the stories for the umpteenth time, I want a good reading experience. The recent reprinting of The Hobbit in The History of the Hobbit set gets it right on all counts.

The Dark Man: I can’t remember seeing an REH-themed publication so completely in the dumps collecting-wise. It seems that in all of the magazine’s three major incarnations, the desire among fans to read and collect them is nil. Copy after copy fails to sell on eBay at the cover price, much less any sort of markup driven by time and demand. In the coming years, fans will get to argue over when was the moment that The Dark Man jumped the shark. Was it the format changes? The infamous publishing gaps of whole years? Their recent trend towards wreathing REH in the garland of Gay Studies? Probably it’s a combination of all of this and more.



Arkham House Skull-Face and Others: The seller has it listed at a $450 minimum, which I believe will doom it to getting no bids. You can start low and let the bidders work their way up to those amounts, but starting that high usually doesn’t work.

Wandering Star Complete Conan of Cimmeria II: listed at $225. See above on why this won’t sell at this price without a major sucker coming along at unawares.

Dark Valley Destiny, paperback version: this yahoo is asking for $64.75 MINIMUM, for the paperback version of a book whose hardcover, signed, slipcased version typically sells for $20 or less. For $64.75 it better include a lock of de Camp’s hair or something.

Spanish versions of the Conan lancers: these are interesting. Priced at $25 the copy, will they sell to the ravenous REH collecting crowd ever on the lookout for the strange and rare? Are these editions in fact strange and rare among collectors who look for such things? I think they are plenty rare enough on this side of the pond to go for the minimums, at least. If there are a few guys out there with the same gleam in their eye, they could end up going for more. We’ll see.

The Acolyte #11: Ah, Francis Laney’s old mag, already up to $21.50 after 5 bids. I have a soft spot for this because my buddy Rah Hoffman (87 years old and counting) was a friend of Laney’s and contributed art and so forth to The Acolyte during it’s now-legendary run in the 1940s. In fact, Rah has an awesome photo taken at an army base where he was stationed while awaiting deployment to the European theater as a JAG officer during WWII. The photo was taken by an official Army photographer for publicity and print purposes, so it is exceptionally lit and razor sharp. It shows the base’s recreation room, with various soldiers talking, laughing, playing pool, etc. In the back, Rah planted himself at a table as if reading, and held up the subject of his concentration so that it is clearly visible in the ensuing photo. What was he reading? An issue of The Acolyte, of course.

That’s good old Rah for you — he has many, many stories about early fandom, filled with names we all know and revere, such as Robert Barlow, Charles Hornig, Emil Petaja, Hannes Bok, August Derleth, C. L. Moore, Clark Ashton Smith, and on and on. There’s much Howard material in some of those old magazines from the 1940s, stuff that the vast majority of modern Howard collectors — even the most knowledgeable — have no clue about. I’ve seen many examples, thanks to leisurely tours of Rah’s collection, the issues of which were acquired on the ground, at the time, from the original editors. It’s indescribably helpful to have him there at my side telling me all about the various names mentioned, people who to us are long forgotten fans, but to him were living and breathing friends. People who laid the groundwork of our field, but who now get precious little credit for the seminal work they did.

Looks like Darrell Schweitzer is selling this copy. I can’t agree with Darrell that Laney was “one of the most intelligent and articulate” fans of the period — that’s a typical mistake made by guys who know these characters only through browsing the fanzines and not through personal anecdotage. Laney was a fanboy through and through who made more than a few mistakes in his classic autobiographical take on the fandom arena, Ah, Sweet Idiocy! The doomed Paul Freehafer was the truly exceptional mind from the early LASFS group that included Hoffman, Laney, and so many others, but he died so young that his influence is felt more through the people he befriended like Rah than via a printed record of scholarship. Laney deserves props for pubbing The Acolyte and for being a mover and shaker in First Fandom, but most of his contributions are of interest to pure fans rather than scholars (if you thought the fandom fights of today seem petty and weird, check out the ones Laney describes in Ah, Sweet Idiocy! It used to be even worse than today). Compare what Laney was doing to what fans like Donald Sidney-Fryer and Glenn Lord did, and the gap in intelligence and articulateness is profound.

The Collector’s Corner: Solomon Kane Stabilizing?


WHAT’S HOT: Wandering Star’s Solomon Kane, as envisioned by Gary Gianni. After reaching top prices of over $1000 in some instances for the Limited Edition (forget about the ultra-rare leather edition), prices for this have dropped steadily since the Del Rey trade paperback appeared. This latest copy sold on eBay for $380.00 (another copy was bid up to $427.22, but the reserve was not met). Add to this the fact that a Gianni-inspired Kane statue sold around the same time for $325.00 in furious bidding, and it’s a pretty good showing for the now somewhat venerable presentation of the Puritan.

My guess is that prices on the Wandering Star books are beginning to stabilize, and that $300-$400 is what you can expect to shell out for a copy of The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane for the foreseeable future. That’s only about double the price it cost to buy it new, but not too bad for a collectible and fully-illustrated volume. Presumably, as time passes and more copies get lost or destroyed or damaged, the remaining fine copies will inch up in price. If Howard fandom experiences any serious growth as a result of the coming onslaught of films and books, that might spike it up, too. Certainly Solomon Kane remains the best illustrated of the Wandering Star volumes to my mind, the one where artist and subject were most perfectly matched (it also seems as if there are more illos in this book than the others). The other books all have their champions and detractors art-wise, but few have argued that Gianni failed to nail Kane.

Other Wandering Star titles may be stabilizing as well. The Ultimate Triumph, for example, recently sold in the Limited state for a flat $100.00. Frazetta is Frazetta, so on the one hand you might expect this title to go for a bit more than a single Benjamin. Then again, much of the art is mere sketchwork, and while it’s been linked to the stories often quite cleverly, it just doesn’t have that cohesive, made-to-order feel of Gianni’s Kane drawings and paintings. My biggest problem with the WS books has always been that they are a lot more fun to have on the shelf than to read, as the text is quite small and you are always worried about spilling something on them. But the stories in this volume are all top rate, and Frazetta even in minimalist form is, as I said, F-R-A-Z-E-T-T-A.


WHAT’S COLD: Wildside Howard hardcovers. Just about everything they’ve put out remains in constant circulation on eBay at list price without getting sold. It’s understandable: for much of that material, this series represents the umpteenth time they’ve been reprinted, and who is about to give up their Grant, Arkham, Bison, and Wandering Star editions in favor of what basically amount to public domain, print-on-demand versions. Wildside’s books are also a bit garish for my tastes, with in many cases bright yellow titles and generally poor artwork on the cover and poor sans-serif fonts in the interiors. I think of all of them my favorite has been Treasures of Tartary, as it seemed a bit better designed than most. But one can easily see newer editions supplanting these in the future, dooming these to the eBay doldrums normally reserved for the cheap paperbacks of the 70s.


WHAT TO WATCH: Conan’s World and Robert E. Howard. James Van Hise (editor of the equally cold Fantastic Worlds of Robert E. Howard) is trying to sell the infamous Conan’s World at a starting price of $14.99, with a BUY IT NOW price of $20.00, AND an astronomical $10 priority shipping charge for a book so small and thin it would have zero problem fitting comfortably in a $4.60 USPS priority flat rate envelope (even flat-rate boxes are only $8.95). This for a book which everybody — even the author himself — calls the single worst book on Robert E. Howard ever written, ever. Add to that the fact that never-read copies of the same book (after thirty years, it’s still hasn’t sold out it’s original run) are available from Wildside Press for only $10, and you have to conclude that Van Hise is hoping that one of you is a complete idiot. The auction even has the gall to post a picture of a noticeably browned copy and call it “mint.”

If you really feel you need to shell out money for this book, I suggest contacting Darrell yourself, as last I heard he still has a stack of them that he sells at conventions for $3 or so (although perhaps the Wildside website is not only selling the old Borgo stash at $10 a pop, but Darrell’s excess copies as well). Every time I think I’ve seen it all….

Speaking of what’s cold, it seems I lasted about a week of posting REHupas on eBay before running out of steam. I’ll have to start that again soon. Each one has sold for almost $50, which as I’ve said is the new average price for a REHupa (a few years ago, which may as well be a million at this point, it was $20). Once guys like me have exhausted our store of old ‘zines and a new generation of collectors has snapped them up, REHupa mailings are going to become mighty scarce, held long-term and seldom coming to market. The universe of extant copies is so small, and the contents frequently so valuable, that in the coming years collecting REHupas is going to get brutal.

More REHupas Being Put Out To Pasture


Every few months I announce with trumpet blasts that I’m going to be getting rid of all my old REHupa mailings, putting them up on eBay at the rate of one per day. Each time this happens, I last but a few days before Real Life drags me off to other things. A few months later, the cycle repeats.

Well, it’s almost November 2007, time to give it the ol’ college try once more. REHupa #132 has been posted at eBay. It’s a fine example of a.p.a. material — here’s my description from the auction entry:

REHupa #132 clocked in at 195 pages, and included many items of interest. This was Morgan Holmes’ first mailing as Official Editor, a reign that would become noted for its kept-the-trains-running professionalism and for several unfortunate battles within the a.p.a., leading to the very first (and to date only) expulsions in the a.p.a.’s history. Morgan lays down the law in his Editorial: “If a member persists in making his ‘zine reading like it belongs in the basket weaving a.p.a….I will kidnap the offender, put him in a bare room, force him to read Lin Carter paperbacks and pump Ace of Base music constantly into the room. I mean business.” A new sheriff had just entered town.

Sword-and-Sorcery author David C. Smith (Oron, et al.) joined the a.p.a. with this mailing. At the time, Novalyne Price Ellis, L. Sprague de Camp, Glenn Lord, and Roy Thomas were Honorary Members, and this issue has a nice letter from Sprague in which he admits that “My biggest mistake in reviving Conan was taking on Carter as a collaborator without first trying to lure Leigh Brackett into the job.” But then he goes on to suggest: “My second biggest, I think, was in not taking a stronger line against the waist-length hair attributed by Frazetta to Conan in his cover painting for Conan the Adventurer.” Typical de Camp, getting so close to the real problem (bad pastiche) and then losing his way in criticism of the classic rendition of the Cimmerian, which most fans rightly see as perfection.

This mailing of REHupa is also notable for the announcement made by screenwriter Michael Scott Myers that The Whole Wide World had been greenlighted by Hollywood, complete with newspaper announcements. Other highlights of the Mailing include a reprint of Karl Edward Wagner’s essays “Celluloid S&S: Boon or Menace?” and “Hold the Bologna On Mine,” Steve Trout’s “final notes” on the editorial alterations in the Donald Grant Solomon Kane volumes (a revelation which has since become legendary in the field), Part III of Richard Toogood’s “Solomon Kane Chronology,” a review from the always interesting Rick McCollum titled “Baen’s Cormac Mac Art in Review,” Scott Sheaffer’s latest response to Richard Toogood in an a.p.a. shaking fight that along with one other would eventually get Sheaffer expelled from REHupa, and much else. At almost 200 pages of Howardian writ, it’s a good Mailing.

Let’s see if I can’t get a streak going with these things, and finally get them out of my archives and into the hands of fans who will give them a much better home.

The Collector’s Corner: The House Derleth Built


What’s Hot: Arkham Howard Books, REH Weird Tales, Grant slipcase editions, Individual Grant Conans, REH Poetry, REHupa, Perils of Sailor Costigan.

When a guy gets serious about REH collecting, generally the first thing they hunt for are good copies of the two major REH books from the premiere fantasy press of the twentieth century, Arkham House. Looks like the magical patina shimmering around these books is in no danger of vanishing anytime soon. Augie Derleth’s version of The Dark Man and Others just sold for $179.48, a fairly typical price, and his Skull-Face and Others ended up going for $518.13, also a typical price. Note that last week I predicted that this one would top out at around $550 — I guess I’m not as stupid as I look.

After the Arkham volumes, our new collector might make a stab at grabbing some of the pulps Howard made famous. You can occasionally get a steal of a deal on eBay with these, but for the most part online auctions have sent the price of pulps through the roof, making it harder than ever to add a lot of them to your collection. The guys who bought them as recently as ten years ago are felling pretty good about themselves. This week we’ve seen some confirmations of this: Weird Tales July 1932 (“Wings in the Night”) sold for $49.95, an issue of Argosy (10/17/36, containing REH’s “Gents on the Lynch”) went for $49.99, and most impressively the classic December 1932 issue of Weird Tales (containing the first appearance of Conan in “The Phoenix on the Sword”) topped out at a monstrous $600.00. Those old babies still have the magic, and I pity the collector just starting out, daunted by everything he needs along those lines.

It’s often eye-opening to see what fairly average books can do with just a bit more gussying up. Two 1970s Grant titles just sold for big bucks due to having special cases and signatures. The Road of Azrael, a copy signed by the late great Roy Krenkel, sold for $131.50, and a cased copy of Red Nails went for even more, a very respectable $144.50. I see that as a lesson to all the people out there making Howard items: put a bit more thought into the general design and all the little collecting touchstones, and it will do much to make your contribution to the field a lot more valuable.

Maybe those cased Grant books made folks a bit loopy, because amazingly this week there was a pretty good showing for the much-maligned-by-me Grant Conans. And this feat can’t be blamed on a single desperate or uninformed collector — most of them sold to different guys. A Witch Shall Be Born ($31.01), People of the Black Circle ($41.09), Pool of the Black One ($52.05), Hour of the Dragon ($27.55), Rogues in the House ($29.99), Black Colossus $29.99, Jewels of Gwahlur ($35.00). Pretty amazing, but perhaps it was just a matter of different people filling little holes in otherwise complete Grant collections (whereas to pay $40 each for a whole set is much more unrealistic). We’ll have to keep an eye on the Grants and get a better long-term idea of what they are worth.

The new poetry volume Winds of Time from Tom Kovacs (publisher of “What’s Hot” staple Writer of the Dark) sold for a decent figure for an in-print item filled with poems most of us already have in various editions: $53.52. Time will tell how well this book does over the long term of years and decades. Tom is known for putting out quality materials, and the book has a Glenn Lord introduction, so that helps.

REHupa continues to educate the “$20 crowd” that times have changed: #174 sold for $47.01, over double what some people were crying that REHupas were worth just a scant few months ago. As I’ve said before, get these while you can. Right now they are in flux, heading out of the hands of old members and into the hoards of a new set of REHupa collectors, the kind that hold onto such things for life. Once this shake-out finishes in a year or three, these will become rare on eBay. The time to get them is now.

The way I had heard it, Perils of Sailor Costigan was a collection of three Sailor Steve Costigan fragments, published in McHaney’s Howard Review at one point. Now here’s an auction showing it as a separate booklet and claiming that it contains four Costigan tales. Dennis will have to clear this up for me. Until then, I consider someone purchasing this for a BUY IT NOW price of $125 to be a bit excessive, yet another aftershock of the recent McMania online.


What’s Cold: Necro Press’ Selected Letters 1931-1936, The Howard Review, Baen Library, REH comic books, REH “Limited Edition” collector ripoffs, Berkley Conan hardcovers, The New Howard Reader, The Dark Man journal.

As I predicted last week, Robert E. Howard’s Selected Letters 1931-1936, a collection of heavily condensed letters from longtime chapbook producer Necronomicon Press, didn’t get a single bid on a $15 minimum. Necronomicon Press publishes booklets rich in content but of generally awful quality (the art especially is usually hideous) and although collectors will always need a fair amount of them in-house (John Haefele wrote the definitive article on REH in the press for The Cimmerian) I for one will be happy when I’ve sold off the last of them forever. Such items measure up to S. T. Joshi ‘s ideas of bookmanship perhaps, but for the discerning REH reader they fall way short of what I consider a minimum level of class and competence. This second Letters volume is infamous in REH circles for containing one of the all-time worst REH introductions, one from Reverend Bob Price opining that surely one cannot find the real REH in his letters the way you can in HPL’s. Too laughable for words.

It’s probably a stretch to call The Howard Review “cold” this week, but I’m comparing the recent sales to the gargantuan hauls of the past few weeks. The seventh issue was described in the auction description as “seldom seen…one of the rarest editions of this fanzine” and yet it only sold for $37.99, a far cry from what earlier numbers have sold for. A “second edition proof” of #3 did better, going for $102.50, but a copy of The Howard Review #5 received no bids on a mere $7 minimum. of course, that issue wasn’t very rare — the print run was a thousand copies. Another McHaney publication titled World’s Largest Robert E. Howard Fanzine (a book containing most of the contents of The Howard Review #1 and #2) nabbed a respectable $87.00. So not too cold, but the value of these various issues and states is varying widely. That’s what you get when a magazine has been around for thirty years and change.

The Baen Library “Homer Simpson” auction didn’t get a single bid last week, no surprise there. Individual Baens have a much better chance of selling, and for fairly decent (if not impressive) prices. Solomon Kane, for example, sold effortlessly last week for a BUY IT NOW of $5.99, which is amazing considering you can get the illustrated Del Rey with pure text for less than that if you shop around a bit.

It’s no secret that I’m not a big fan of the comics medium. The stylization and miniaturization of my favored literary works especially grates. I’m not shedding any tears, then, to see most REH comics doing abysmally in the ruthless eBay marketplace. REH’s Mythmaker (from the doomed and now long-defunct Cross Plains Comics) didn’t get a single bid for copies listed at $3.99 or even at $2.95. However, a much more egregiously silly comic, Bloodstar, sold for $37.99. Whether this is a good price for this item is for others to say. This early “graphic novel” (comics too often revel in such illiterate contradictions) is supposedly an adaptation of one of REH’s single best tales, “The Valley of the Worm.” In standard comic fashion, it utterly destroys the artistry of the original work: it now takes place in a — surprise! — “post-apocalyptic future,” and the main character prances around with a star on his forehead (Captain America should sue). According to one of the dink websites the comic guys added “romance and humanity” to Howard’s original, in part by naming the “romantic interest” Helva (I await the sequel where we meet her lovely sisters Vulva and Placenta). And on it goes: Spookhouse #2 (containing an adaptation of “Pigeons from Hell” among more atrocities committed against other authors) didn’t sell even at a minimum of $2.99.

Another nefarious result of the second Howard Boom is the growing horde of fans intent on milking REH collectors for whatever they can get for what are in essence useless and meaningless items. Take Medusa Expression, an imprint who has suddenly begun releasing so-called “collector’s editions” of public domain tales in limited runs. Trouble is, the book design sucks, the text quality sucks, and the stories are easily available elsewhere. But of course that is all beside the point: the hope is that there are at least 150 suckers out there who feel the overwhelming need to collect one of everything REH, no matter how awful. On eBay they’re currently trying to sell a snot-green The Daughter of Erlik Khan sporting a generic naked-lady cover for a $50.00 BUY IT NOW price. No suckers yet, but let’s see if in time they get rid of all their copies.

I always thought the Berkley hardcovers looked pretty cool, with Ken Kelly at his Frazetta-imitating best (I’m not complaining), and with those fine Karl Edward Wagner intros. But of course like so many other tries at making a good Conan series the set was never completed, and now they are just another group of failed books. This week a copy of the Red Nails hardcover sold for a paltry $3.99. This series will always be one of the sadder ones, laden as it is with the memory of Wagner’s ultimate demise, and with the thought that de Camp had the series killed in mid-stream via threats of legal action.

Somewhat surprisingly, a copy of The New Howard Reader #5 didn’t get a single bid on a $25.00 minimum. It’s possible that these previously high-demand items are about to plummet in value as the REH Foundation gets out much of the rare material found in these volumes. But at least they have a chance — the poor Dark Man #1 continues to languish in eBay limbo week after week, unable to find a nice REH fan’s collection to call home. If Don someday publishes a book of his essays, that will put this issue in even more trouble.

Things to Watch:


AUGUST 1928 WEIRD TALES: another blockbuster in the making, this ish contains not only “Red Shadows” but Tennessee Williams’ “The Vengeance of Nicrotis,” his first published story. For you comic fans out there, Williams was a writer, one who generally didn’t put stars and purple stripes on the faces of his characters (Stanley “Bloodstone” Kowalski, anyone?). The only problem is the minimum of $400 the seller put on it. If he had let it float, there is no question the bidding would have risen into that storied stratosphere, but will someone plonk down four bills just to get into the club? Probably — look for this to sell, perhaps for as much as the $600 the Conan debut issue went for.

ORIGINAL KEEGAN REH ART: Now this is cool, an original strip of “The Adventures of Two-Gun Bob” listed at $100. Now we see if the Keegans’ have built up a name in Howard art worthy of commanding the sort of prices normally reserved for the likes of Fabian, Gianni, and Krenkel. My guess is yes. With the two-volume Best of REH coming out soon and fully illustrated by the husband-wife team, their art is about to break out in a big way. $100 will look dirt cheap for this item before long. Look for this auction to heat up big-time in the closing minutes, as smart collectors vie for what is a ground-floor shot at a major bit of REH artistry.

And I like that “award-winning” remark in the description. True, true. The influence of The Cimmerian Awards continues to spread.

MORE CRYPTIC CHAPBOOKS: The Coming of El Borak, The Sonora Kid, Risqué Stories #1-#5, The Adventures of Lal Singh, Two-Fisted Detective. Has anyone else noticed that these are beginning to pop up quite often, seeming less and less “rare”? The ultimate question is whether these will continue to hold at the $50-$100 mark. After all, as they become less necessary to collectors, more of them will drop into the marketplace. Eventually the demand will lessen, and the price will fall. Has that time arrived yet? My guess is no — these will each get at least one bid and sell at $50 and up. Of course, if there are still a few guys out there needing these, they could go for double that.

WRITER OF THE DARK: Tom Kovacs publications have been doing well on eBay the last few weeks. Will this one continue the trend? Yep. This item has five bids already, and is up to $76.00. How high will it go? Two weeks ago, one sold for $177.50. We’ll see if this one does, too, and establishes that as the ballpark selling figure for this sort of thing.

GRANT HOUR OF THE DRAGON: Some guy’s got it listed for a minimum of $99. Hahahahahahahha……

BICENTENNIAL TRIBUTE TO REH: So far it’s got one bid at $49.99. I’m interested to see how high this goes. It’s pretty rare and has a pretty good rep among Howard insiders as being one of the old 1970s things with some quality stuff inside.

HOWARD REVIEW #9: $30.00 and rising. Go, Dennis, go!

BAEN LIBRARY: The same guy who failed to sell it at the Homer Simpson price of $49.99 has re-listed it at $39.99. Closer to reality, for sure, but still no cigar. List it at 99 cents already and let’s see how high it gets in true bidding.

NEW HOWARD READERS #3, #5, and #6: Dennis McHaney is having lots of fun in his eBay descriptions, subliminally teasing me on my complaint about people overusing terms like “ultra-rare!” He makes a great point when he notes that these issues are for the most part more rare than the original publications this magazine was designed to supercede and rescue all that obscure REH from.

GEORGE HAMILTON REH BOOKS: The Shadow of the Beast, The King’s Service, Spears of Clontarf, etc. These little collector’s booklets are another set of items that are useless to modern REH readers but still take up a small chunk of real estate on the lists of collectors. These are listed at $24.99. Too much? Or will they get some bids? Hard to say, but I’ll go out on a limb and say that these won’t sell at this price. Too much for too little.

REPORT ON A WRITING MAN CHAPBOOK: Another ugly Necro Press chapbook, but one that is still absolutely essential for Howard fans. All of the REH commentary by his best friend Tevis Clyde Smith assembled in one place, plus pictures of REH available nowhere else but in old TCS publications (sadly, the original photos are apparently lost forever). No REH fan can live without this booklet, it’s chock full of Howardian goodness. Expect this to sell and for a premium to boot.

REHUPA #146: Another day, another issue of REHupa. And an older copy, one that was pretty good. Make some popcorn and sit back — $20 would be disappointing, $50 average, and $100+ not unreasonable.

ACE CONAN BOXED SET: The first five de Camped Conans in their Ace versions, in a slipcase. Already three bids have been logged, and the total is up to $14.99. Yet another showcase for the theory that slipcases make everything seem better. How high it goes depends on how hot and bothered the handful of de Campians get out there.

REH IN TOP-NOTCH: This little booklet first appeared in REHupa courtesy of Jim Keegan, but here it’s being sold as a standalone item. What’s it’s worth? More than $10, I think. This is one of those infrequent little ephemeral items that is more than just a curiosity — its contents (art and info on all the issues of Top-Notch REH landed stories in) justifies collectors adding it to their hordes.

99-CENT STEALS: Someone just listed eighteen REH books at 99 cents each, including the Grant Conans and The Last Celt in hardcover. That’s what daddy’s talking about: now we’ll get a chance to see what these will go for in the real world, as opposed to the “trolling for suckers” world of the average eBay “Power Seller” hack.