I am the in-house mystery guy (that’s how I hoodwinked John O’Neill into giving me a weekly column). Eight years later, he’s still trying to configure the Fire Wall to keep me from getting up my Monday morning post! I organized the Discovering Robert E. Howard, and Hither Came Conan series’ here at Black Gate. And contributed, of course. That’s the advantage of being in charge of them!
Robert E. Howard is my second-favorite writer (trailing only the terrific John D. MacDonald), and I’ve written quite a bit about him here at Black Gate. With more to come, of course. I’ve got part of a series written, in which I’ll look at the first dozen of Roy Thomas’ Conan the Barbarian comics; including how the series came about. And I’m pretty sure Solomon Kane will succeed Hither Came Conan in the all star contributor series.
I came late to Howard. I have loved mythology since grade school. The Iliad remains one of my all-time favorite stories, and I have a copy of Schleimann’s Ilios. That led me to Dungeons and Dragons in Middle School, and I know I was reading The Lord of the Rings somewhere around the 8th grade. I was a fantasy fan for life.
I bought the first Ace Conan paperback, but it sat on my shelf, unread. Not sure why. I know I read David C. Smith’s Oron, but not that one. As my son was playing with the Thomas the Train layout in the kids section of Barnes and Noble one day, I started reading the first Dely Rey Conan book. I read that the next time we were there. And I bought it. And Robert E. Howard would move up the ranks of my favorite writers, as I bought more Del Reys. Conan still holds the top REH spot, followed by El Borak, and then Solomon Kane. But I just continued to like Robert E. Howard, more and more.
I’m off to my first-ever Howard Days in a few days! It’s gonna be great!! Here are all of my own Robert E. Howard-related essays here at Black Gate. A couple are pretty good, I think. Mostly in the first two sections below. Check out a couple, please. By Crom!
REH Pastiches Coming in 2018 (I was hoodwinked on that one…)
Bob Byrne’s ‘A (Black) Gat in the Hand’ made its Black Gate debut in 2018 and has returned every summer since.
His ‘The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes’ column ran every Monday morning at Black Gate from March, 2014 through March, 2017. And he irregularly posts on Rex Stout’s gargantuan detective in ‘Nero Wolfe’s Brownstone.’ He is a member of the Praed Street Irregulars, founded www.SolarPons.com (the only website dedicated to the ‘Sherlock Holmes of Praed Street’) and blogs about Holmes and other mystery matters at Almost Holmes.
He organized Black Gate’s award-nominated ‘Discovering Robert E. Howard’ series, as well as the award-winning ‘Hither Came Conan’ series.
He has contributed stories to The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories – Parts III, IV, V, VI and XXI.
He has written introductions for Steeger Books, and appeared in several magazines, including Black Mask, Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, The Strand Magazine, and Sherlock Magane.