Originally uploaded by Thomas Roche
This photo of pulp writer Robert E. Howard on Wikipedia has the following amusing note:
“This is a very well-known photograph of Robert E. Howard taken in 1934. According to his then-girlfriend Novalyne Price, he hated wearing a suit, tie, and hat, yet he went to a studio and had several photographs taken because she liked it when he dressed.”
I have been reading Howard’s Steve Costigan stories. Costigan is a sailor and champion boxer who travels all of the world with his bulldog Mike (or Bill in some stories). He gets into fights a lot and gets chased by evil conspirators. The racial politics are of the times; one of the stories, for instance, is called “Blow the Chinks Down.”
That aside, the stories are remarkably funny and the fight scenes are top notch. Costigan himself is a character not unlike Ring Lardner‘s Jack the Kaiser Killer. Oftentimes misspelling or misusage is used for comic effect, giving these ultra-pulpy stories some of the same charm seen in The Catcher in the Rye. It’s a charm that is utterly absent from the overheated, dead-serious melodramas of Conan.
With the imminent Indiana Jones disappointment about to trainwreck its way through the summer, I figured I oughta revisit the writers Lucas was cribbing from in Raiders, which I loved so much as a kid.