On April 27 I wrote a Vintage Treasures article about Robert E. Howard’s The People of the Black Circle, one of the first fantasy books I ever owned.
The Comments section quickly became a discussion of REH collecting, with readers swamping photos of their favorite Howard books. Joe H. shared a LibrayThing catalog of his Howard collection, noting the hardest title to find had been Cthluhu: The Mythos and Kindred Horrors. “It took me years to track down a copy,” he said.
Well, that’s exactly the kind of thing that perks up a collector’s ears. Intrigued, I went on a quest to find my own copy of Cthluhu: The Mythos and Kindred Horrors, a collection of Robert E. Howard’s Cthulhu stories.
I finally succeeded this week, after a two-week search. I settled in with my new copy today. First thing I noticed is that the cover, by Stephen Hickman, depicts a treasured artifact from my own collection: the Hickman-designed Cthulhu statute by Bowen Designs — a prized collectible these days. Now that it’s worth something, maybe my wife will let me bring it up out of the basement.
The other thing I noticed is that this is a sizable collection: 250 pages. While I knew Howard had made some minor contributions to Lovecraft’s famous milieu before his death, I had no idea he’d written so many stories that could be categorized as part of the Cthulhu Mythos.
Perhaps editor David Drake has been fairly liberal with his selections. I note that “Pigeons from Hell” is included, and that’s only peripherally a Cthulhu story — but it’s a damn good tale, so I’m not complaining.