While spending the requisite hours at the post office mailing packages containing the June issue and Volume 2 of The Cimmerian Library (yes, they are finally on the way), I was surprised to bump into not one but two people who had heard of Robert E. Howard.
First, my teller asked me what was in the packages. “Books,” I said.
“What kind of books?”
“Sort of like a literary journal about an author.”
“Neat. Which author?”
“Robert E. Howard.”
“Oh, I think I’ve heard of him. That guy who wrote the Conan books, right? I read those when I was a kid.”
It’s not very often you get that kind of name recognition for REH. After a bit more small talk, the guy asked, “So what’s in the latest issue.”
“Oh some stuff about a festival that happens each year in his home town.”
That’s when a customer at the next teller pipes up with, “That happens in Cross Plains, right?” Now I start wondering if I’m on candid camera.
“Yeah, Cross Plains.”
“OK. I’m into pulps and stuff, that’s why I’ve heard about it. Bob Weinberg told me he went down there a few years ago.”
“Yeah, that’s right, he was Guest of Honor.”
“He owns the rights to Weird Tales.”
“Well, not anymore. He sold them to Wildside Press.”
The final exchange was kind of fun. The guy asks, “So how many people do you get down there? Most pulp gatherings like that have only twenty people or so.” I was able to proudly reply, “A slow year is about a hundred, but this year is Howard’s centennial, so we had about three hundred.” The guy, probably used to PulpCon or Burroughs Dum-Dums, seemed suitably impressed.
Like Mark said a few posts back, Howard’s name is seeping into various nooks and crannies of the literary world. Growing his name and reputation, one reader at a time.