Report on Howard Days 2017

I know I should have posted this almost two weeks ago, but I’ve been pretty swamped.  I’m teaching a class at the moment that’s taking up most of my time.  But since I don’t feel like grading exams on a Friday evening, I’ll blog instead.

This year’s theme was “Howard Detectives: The Ongoing Search for Undiscovered Information”.  Since there weren’t any anniversaries this year, things were a little low key compared to recent years.  That was fine with me. The attendance was down a little, which was disappointing.

I got in on Thursday afternoon.  Like I did two years ago, I stayed at the isolated farmhouse down the hill from the cemetery.  There weren’t any creepy things this time, but then I had a better idea of what to expect.  There also wasn’t a working air conditioner.  I slept with the windows open.  At first I thought about going to a hotel, but if Two-Gun Bob could sleep without AC all his life, I could do it for a few nights.I went to the fish fry Thursday night and then hung out at the Pavilion for a while visiting with folks.  Friday morning, I set up some books I’d taken to sell.  Some were anthologies in which I have stories, but I also had some things I wanted to get  rid of, mostly stuff I’d gotten in grab bags that were either duplicates or things I had no interest in reading.  This year’s Howard Days was almost a pulp convention.  There were a number of people selling pulp related items, much of it out of my price range.  Those of us with more economical items didn’t do so well.

The first panel of the day was about all the things the late Glenn Lord had in his collection.  Glenn had the most complete collection of Howard typescripts.  Paul Herman, Rob Roehm, and Patrice Louinet discussed how they organized everything and went through it, cataloging the different versions of the poems and stories.  Howard had a tendency to type on both sides of the paper when working on drafts.  It’s common to find two different stories on a single sheet.  This makes cataloging fun.  That’s Paul, Rob, and Patrice in the picture, discussing Glenn’s collection.  Or maybe a presentation on the benefits of Rogaine.

Good thing a meteor didn’t hit.

One of the highlights of the weekend involved the panel on collecting Howard.  Howard’s first book was A Gent From Bear Creek.  It was published in the UK by Herbert Jenkins in 1937.  There are only 17 copies known to exist.  It is the Holy Grail of Howard collecting.  Your only of finding one is in an estate sale somewhere, because you can’t afford a copy, assuming one went on sale.  Seven copies are in libraries.  The remaining ten are in private hands.  One of those is Cross Plains, property of Project Pride.  Patrice pulled off a major coup when he managed to have five of the copies in private hands on display.  He pulled them out one at a time, baiting the audience.  I had been with him when he went to get one of the copies from his room before the panel, so I knew what was coming.  It was great to watch the audience’s reaction.  Those of us with cameras rushed the table to get pictures.  You’ll notice that only one copy has a dust jacket.  Those are extremely rare.  If my memory is correct, that was Glenn Lord’s copy.

Howard Days haberdashery

I didn’t go to the other panels on Friday.  Paul Herman was the guest of honor and gave a great speech at the banquet.  The chicken fried steak was excellent as always, and I did pretty well at the silent auction terms of both not spending too much and getting some good items.  See the pictures of the loot at the end of the post.  That evening I hung around at the pavilion for a while.  Saturday morning I got some writing done before I headed into to town.

Saturday included an interview with Paul Herman, and after lunch there was a panel on photos of Howard.  That one got kind of lively.  There’s a picture from August Derleth’s collection that is, generally referred to as “The Dude on a Rock”, labeled as being Howard.  Not everyone believes it is.  I don’t have a copy of it and can’t find one online.

Saturday’s formal activities ended with the traditional barbeque at the Pavilion, followed by hanging out.  Rather than staying overnight, I drove to my parent’s house so I could get a head start on the long drive home the next morning.  This year’s Howard Days was much more laid back than some of the more recent ones, but I had a great time.  It was good to reconnect with friends.  The regulars who weren’t able to make it were missed.  Hopefully we’ll all meet back up next year.

Here’s what I ended up coming home with.  Some I bought, some I traded for, and a few things I won at auction.  The Cave and Leiber volumes are signed.

16 thoughts on “Report on Howard Days 2017

  1. Paul McNamee

    That’s some loot! I’ve seen that DOC SAVAGE mega-pack at a comic store.

    Funny you grabbed TANAR OF PELLUCIDAR. I’m listening to the audiobook of PELLUCIDAR now, but TANAR isn’t available on audio (probably not public domain yet) so I’m keeping an eye out for a copy, too.

    1. Keith West Post author

      I had gotten all the Pellucidar editions with the Frazetta covers for a few bucks each at either the Friends of the Library sale or one of the comic shops that had a small selection of paperbacks, with the exception of TANAR. It was at a second hand shop that closed over Christmas. The owner wanted $10, which I really wasn’t interested in paying. Jeff was selling it for $3, so I grabbed it. If I see a copy of it, I’ll grab it for you. I’m looking forward to diving into the Pellucidar series later this year. Once Summer I is over, I”m going to clear what few review commitments I still have and dive into Burroughs.

      The guy who published the DOC SAVAGE edition was there; he came last year at John Bullard’s urging. John can be a pretty good enabler when he wants to be. Tony saw there was a market and brought even more stuff this year.

      The big surprise were all the Fedogan & Bremer titles, many out of print. That made the trip really expensive.

  2. John Bullard

    Heh heh heh. Guilty as charged.

    In Tony’s defense, he has wanted to come to Howard Days since 2006, when his good friend Roy Thomas was the Guest of Honor (he nearly made it in 2013 when Tim Truman was GOH). I just gave him the final kick in the pants to go last year, and he’s had such a good time at the 2 he’s attended that he is a converted HD fan. Now, all he has to do is make it to a panel to have the complete Howard Days experience.

    Howard Days is magical, and for anyone interested in going, you won’t be disappointed. So COME!

    1. Keith West Post author

      You’re welcome. Hopefully someday soon. *Begins hatching plot to convince whoever is in charge of programming to consider Jim as GOH and speak on Howard as a Frontier Partisan.*

    1. Keith West Post author

      Thanks, Bobby. I’ve skimmed through, and I’m looking forward to spending some time with it.

    1. Keith West Post author

      Thanks, Deuce. I’m sorry you weren’t able to make it. Maybe next year. I’ve turned Jim Cornelius’s name in for consideration as GOH. I’d love to hear him speak on Howard as a Frontier Partisan. If that happens, you’ll have to come. And Paul McNamee, too.

      Thanks for the link to the “Dude on a Rock” shots. I haven’t made up my mind if I think that’s Howard or not.


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