(I can't tell you how much I've wanted to use the Elrond Facepalm again)
Yeah, this old chestnut's raised its ugly spectre again.
With regard to REH, Lupoff alludes to the Big Three not having led a so-called "standard model" American lifestyle of wife, kids, suburban etc, then includes a paragraph as follows:
Howard never married. He reportedly bragged of his sexual exploits but his claims were at best unsubstantiated. The details of Howard's suicide are well known. The reason or reasons may be more complicated than the following bald statement: His mother lay dying, her nurse told him that the end was near, he took a gun and put a bullet through his brain. Chronic depression, financial stress, a failed relationship, and what I am informed is now known as "Caregiver Stress Syndrome" may all have contributed to his act of self destruction.
I confidently predict that certain people in the wacky world of Robert E Howard fandom will have a fit when they read Richard Lupoff's introduction.
- Jojo Lapin X
I have no doubt about that whatsoever, and by this time one would think they could just let the matter rest. There is a point at which these continual leaps to Howard's defense cease doing Howard any good and merely suggest to the world that this is an author who must always be treated with kid gloves, a notion Howard himself would most likely have found ridiculous.
You should've seen the original version!
- Scott Connors
Conan and Solomon Kane may be the marquee characters of Robert E. Howard’s pulp adventures, but the writer created a whole host of fascinating heroes and heroines in his too-brief life. Among the classic REH characters being revitalized in Dark Horse’s “Savage Sword” anthology is Dark Agnes, or Agnes de Chastillon, a woman who fights back against her expected submissive role in society in 16th century France - with a sword.
- Stone & Milius' for Conan the Barbarian, where Conan's parents are murdered by Thulsa Doom, his village is destroyed, he is sold into slavery, and pushes a wheel for 20 years
- Harry Turtledove's for Conan of Venarium, where Conan's home has been conquered by Aquilonia and Conan leads the rebellion
- Christy Marx's for Conan the Adventurer, where Conan's parents and grandfather are turned to stone by Wrath-Amon, and he embarks on a quest to restore them and defeat Wrath-Amon with his marvellous star metal sword along with his trusty sidekicks
- Michael Higgins' for Conan the Barbarian #235, where Venarium is a hyper-futuristic city destroyed by sorcery
- From the Conan the Cimmerian game, where Conan was living happily as a blacksmith with his wife in the sleepy village of Irskuld, until a group of horsemen under the command of Thoth-Amon raid the village, knock Conan out, murder his wife, butcher his friends, and ride away
- Dennis Richard & Charles Henry Fabian's for the Conan series, where Conan's homeland is enslaved by Hissah-Zuhl
- Busiek's for "Born on the Battlefield," the only one that actually starts with REH's letter as a basis, albeit also making Conan a Chosen One responsible for the Aquilonian invasion
- Doppenheimer's for "Conan,"where "Conan's" father is slain by Khalar Zym, his village is destroyed, and he manages to escape to embark on a life of vengeance/faffs about the Hyborian Age without really caring about the dude who wiped out his people until he comes across him years later
Were pulps racist?
One common perception of the pulps which is not true is that they were exceptionally racist. Certainly, the pulps were racist. Numerous pulp stories featured overtly stereotyped characters, from anti-Asian Yellow Perils to subhuman black or native savages, and many other stories described worlds in which people with non-white skin didn't exist. The science fiction pulps were particularly bad in this regard, exceeded only by the romance pulps, which were the most egregious offenders. Racism is widespread in the pulps.
But it is not true that the pulps were exceptionally racist. Racism was common in the rest of American popular culture during the pulp era. The pulps were only marginally more racist than the slicks, or genre novels, or movies and radio, all of which commonly portrayed people of color in racist and bigoted ways.
In fact, pulps were often racially progressive. Many pulp stories were racist, but the pulps had people of color and female protagonists far more often than did the slicks, genre novels, and movies and radio programs. These characters were active in primarily-white environments and were portrayed as capable, efficient, and in as progressive and non-stereotypical a fashion as the author could manage. Moreover, most of these characters were portrayed as cowboys or detectives or big-game hunters first, and black or Chinese or Jamaican second or third. The characters were defined by their profession rather than their ethnicity, just as white characters were.