The Miscast Barbarian: A Biography of Robert E. Howard (1906 – 1936)

The Miscast Barbarian: a Biography of Robert E. Howard is a biography by science-fiction writer L. Sprague de Camp, first published in hardcover and trade paperback in 1975 by Gerry de la Ree.

The book is an expansion of de Camp’s article “The Miscast Barbarian”, which appeared in the magazine Fantastic in June, 1971. Later, in collaboration with Catherine Crook de Camp and Jane Whittington Griffin, he expanded the text again, into Dark Valley Destiny: the Life of Robert E. Howard (1983), the first major independent biography of Howard.

The Conan Swordbook

The Conan Swordbook is a 1969 collection of essays edited by L. Sprague de Camp and George H. Scithers, published in hardcover by Mirage Press. The essays were originally published as articles in Scithers’ fanzine Amra. The book is a companion to Mirage’s other two volumes of material from Amra, The Conan Reader (1968) and The Conan Grimoire (1972). Most of the material in the three volumes, together with some additional material, was later reprinted in two de Camp-edited paperback anthologies from Ace Books; The Blade of Conan (1979) and The Spell of Conan (1980).

Sword & Fantasy #1

Fanzine published by James Van Hise.

Articles include detailed guides to several classic Robert E. Howard fanzines (CROSS PLAINS, LONE STAR FICTIONEER, etc). Jim also gives a detailed look at the Robert E. Howard story “Valley of the Worm.” There is also the transcript to the Wandering Star Robert E. Howard panel (which I was on) from the 2002 San Diego Comicon. Plus featuring his 7,000 word article on Karl Edward Wagner’s KANE series wherein he reviews and examines every published Kane story Wagner wrote. Jim also takes a detailed look at Gil Kane’s classic sword & sorcery comic BLACKMARK.

This issue also features artwork by Mike Zeck (a vintage Conan illustration he did in the 1970s, which is a real knockout), art by Steve Fabian, Rick McCollum and others. Plus some surprises, like a nice repro of an illo from the WEIRD TALES appearance of “Kings of the Night”.

Red Nails

Red Nails, published by Donald M. Grant. This was part of an 11-book series. These where published from 1974 to 1989 containing one or two stories per volume.

On the right is a picture of 10 of the books with the publisher’s quarter red cloth over gray boards. In dust jackets. Housed in clamshell cases. These volumes accompanied by their cases are a rare find.

The series lapsed before publishing the last five of the stories and three of the fragments. Sadly several unnecessary editorial alterations to the text have been made in these book. Most of the changes were done to make the text more “politically correct.” Racial slurs, names, and other “potentially offensive” remarks and phrases were edited, as well as some tampering with adjectives, deletions or words, and some punctuation changes.