Thursday, December 06, 2007
Hither Came Conan...
Ah, here we go. Page 329 of the Collected Letters of Robert E. Howard, Volume II. In a letter to H.P. Lovecraft dated April, 1932Howard says:
"I've been working on a new character, providing him with a new epoch_The Hyborian Age which men have forgotten, but which remains in classical names and distorted myths. Wright rejected most of the series, but I did sell him one_'The Phoenix on the Sword,' which deals with the adventures of King Conan the Cimmerian, in the kingdom of Aquilonia."
And there you have it. Conan arrives in the world. "Most of the series" referred to two other stories. The Frost Giant's Daughter and The God in the Bowl. Howard had sent all three at the same time and Farnsworth Wright had rejected two of the trio. It's somewhat interesting to note that "The Phoenix on the Sword" was a rewrite of an earlier Kull story, "By This Axe I Rule", so the first published Conan story was made from a story featuring another Howard character. Neither of the rejected stories would see professional publication in Howard's life time. Frost Giant's Daughter, retitled to Gods of the North appeared in a fanzine, and The God in the Bowl had to wait for the Conan revival of the 1960s to see print. Humble beginnings for what would become Howard's best known character.