Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A Brief Word on the 80th Anniversary of Robert E. Howard's Death by Todd Vick

I was in Cross Plains, Texas this past June 11th on the 80th anniversary of Robert E. Howard's death. Along with around 400 or so people (townspeople included), we were there celebrating, not the death of Howard, but his life and works. Several people mentioned this was the 80th anniversary of the writer's death. Many of us raised a glass in his honor, read poetry he had written on his front porch, and presented panel discussions about his life and works.

I spent from Wednesday to Sunday morning in Cross Plains. I met many new faces (this was my 5th year attending the annual event), shook hands with old friends, and participated in some meaningful conversations. If you've never experienced a Howard Days in Cross Plains, TX, and you're a Robert E. Howard fan, then you are missing something quite special.

Regarding the anniversary of his death; Robert E. Howard died on a Thursday, approximately eight hours after he shot himself in the head. Below is a picture of the actual headlines the day after Robert E. Howard died, June 12th, 1936:

Below are two images of the actual story in the Cross Plains Review, June 12th, 1936 (these scans are of an actual copy of the newspaper. Parts of the right edges of the paper have been worn away from wear over time):

Part 1                                                             Part 2

To say the death of Robert E. Howard was a tragedy is certainly an understatement. He left a large gap not only in the pulp fiction world (esp. in Weird Tales) but also in the general world of fiction. Even so, his works have survived in magazines, academic journals, books, anthologies, and his characters are seen on television, the big screen, comic books, RPG and board games, as well as video games. Howard and his works have become an international phenomenon!

Robert E. Howard's impact has sent waves across the world to a variety of people from all walks of life. And just imagine, it all started in the small central West Texas town of Cross Plains, where his life and works are still celebrated.

A trip report is soon to follow. Cheers!

Todd B. Vick

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