Thursday, March 3, 2011
Epic Illustrated #34: "Death of a Legend" (Tribute to Robert E. Howard)
In 1936 Robert E. Howard, depressed over the imminent death of his mother, killed himself. He was just 30 years old. His stories of Conan, epics of adolescent fantasies and fears, were forgotten for nearly two decades. Then gradually they began coming back into print, first as hardcovers and then, with striking covers by Frank Frazetta, as paperbacks.
Conan found his widest and most enthusiastic audience in the 1970s, thanks to Roy Thomas and Marvel Comics. Thomas began as a fan and by 1970 he was an editor and writer at Marvel, concentrating on superheroes. Although he is often given sole credit for deciding to adapt Howard's barbarian to the comic-book format, artist Gil Kane maintained that he was the one who originally got Thomas and Marvel interested in experimenting with the character. At any rate, Conan the Barbarian hit the newsstands in the fall of 1970.
Cover: Arthur Suydam
Script: Roy Thomas
Pencils and inks: Sandy Plunkett