|Lansdale and Truman|
After lunch, I swung by the post office and picked up some post cards with this year’s commemorative cancellation. Then it was back to the library for the panels. The first one featured GoH Tim Truman. Joe Lansdale interviewed him. Joe wasn’t on the original schedule but had driven over to see Tim. They’ve worked together on a number of projects, including a Conan comic, The Songs of the Dead. As is typical with old friends, their conversation flowed smoothly. This panel was one of the highlights of the weekend.
I have to say that both of these guys were some of the most open and approachable pros I’ve ever met. I’ve met Lansdale at a number of conventions, but this was my first time to meet Truman. They never hesitated to sign something, pose for pictures, or just chat with fans. They were both gentlemen. The fact that they’re both fans of Howard helped, I’m sure, but that’s just how these guys are. I hope they come back.
|Rob and Bob Roehm|
The next panel was Rob Roehm and his father Bob discussing how they got started traveling around doing research on the places Howard visited in his travels and identifying some of the places in the photos we have of Howard. They showed the latest results of their research, identifying the bridge on which Howard and one of his friends are posing in a boxing stance.
Afterwards, I hung out at the Pavilion visiting with folks until it was time to go to the Banquet. The Staghorn Cafe catered chicken fried steak, and it was excellent. I put in some bids on a few items in the silent auction, winning most of them. The speaker’s stand is in the photo to the left; the initials are old Conan comics. There weren’t as many fans this year as in the past few years, but more people from Cross Plains attended. This is a good thing because it means the community as a whole is getting more involved in continuing Howard’s legacy.
Tim Truman spoke how he discovered the works of Robert E. Howard and the impact that discovery has had on his life. The REH Foundation Awards were given after dinner. A complete list of the winners can be found here.
|Fists at the Ice House: (l. to r.) Gruber (foreground), Shanks, Finn|
The last panel of the night was presented by Mark Finn, Chris Gruber, and Jeff Shanks. “Fists at the Ice House” has been a popular panel for several years. Started by Finn and Gruber, it takes place at what was once an ice house where Howard boxed in his early 20s. Because the panel takes place outside, it was moved to an after dark event due to the relentless Texas sun and heat. With the publication of the first volume of the collected boxing stories, Finn announced that this panel is going to be retired for a while. I’ve never really gotten into boxing, but after listening to these guys discuss the role boxing played in REH’s life and read from his boxing stories, I’ve really come to appreciate that aspect of Howard’s work and personality.
Saturday was another great day (except for when I discovered the hard way the location of a yellow jacket nest outside the library). The morning panel was Mark Finn interviewing Tim Truman and Joe Lansdale about working for Dark Horse comics.
Lunch was the REH Foundation Legacy Circle luncheon. The Tex-Mex was good (few people can make rellenos right), the company was great, and the perks were outstanding. Although this year’s commemorative pin wasn’t ready, there were two newsletters. The first was the regular newsletter. The second was a special edition containing drafts of letters Howard wrote to HPL but never sent. These letters are not included in A Means to Freedom and have not been published anywhere else. Truly, membership does have its privileges.
After lunch Rusty Burke, Paul Herman, Joe Lansdale, and Mark Finn discussed Howard’s Texas. The what’s up with REH panel back at the pavilion was pretty short. No one from Paradox Entertainment, which owns the rights to Howard’s work, was in attendance this year, so there wasn’t any news about film deals. The Foundation publishing schedule was announced, consisting mostly of boxing and westerns.
|Jeff Shanks on Caddo Peak|
Dinner that night was the traditional barbeque at Caddo Peak Ranch. I hadn’t intended to climb the peak this year, but with the temperatures so low, I decided to make the trek. At least this year there were no snakes. After dinner, picture taking, and watching the sunset, many of us returned to the Pavilion for poetry reading and general socializing. I stayed until everything started to break up, then headed home. Howard Days 2013 was over, and it was one of the best.
A special thanks is due to the members of Project Pride: Arlene and Tom Stephenson , Era Lee Hanke, Diana Miller, Tom and Anne Rone, Larry and Nora Pointer, Betty Sue Adams, Don Clark, Janette Dugger, Kennith and Ann Beeler. Without those folks and their tireless work, Howard Days wouldn’t be what it is.
Photos continue below.
|Watch out for the thorns.|
|The Guests of Honor pose with no one important.|
|Al Harron strikes a Howardian pose|
|Gruber and Finn discuss Howard’s works.|
|Sunset on the ranch|