The Dark Barbarian first appeared in an edition of 1250 copies from Greenwood Press in 1984 — a personal favorite partly because it was the first book to treat Texas author Robert E. Howard seriously, and partly because it was my first title to appear in hardcovers. In Howard and weird fiction studies, it has a nice landmark status. Essays by Fritz Leiber, Glenn Lord, and others.
The Greenwood Press edition was released without a dustjacket, aimed at sales to academic libraries. The edition pictured here is a trade paperback reprint from Wildside Press, done as print-on-demand beginning in 2000 and now pulled from production — best I can figure out, the Wildside paperback sold at least 275 copies.
The Barbaric Triumph is a sequel to The Dark Barbarian, twenty years later. As good or better than the original, proof positive that the critical community has yet to cover the potential depths of Howard’s writings. Released in print-on-demand by Wildside Press in 2004, it sold at least 150 hardcover copies in dustjacket and at least 300 trade paperbacks before being pulled from production.
To celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of my essay “Conan vs. Conantics” seeing print in 1976, Leo Grin released the chapbook “Yours for Faster Hippos,” — read the book, the title makes sense — as the fourth and what would be the last of his Cimmerian Library series. 100 copies, sold out, the booklet gathers the original essay and other materials commenting on the whole idea of later writers adding to the adventures of characters created by earlier, greater figures — including one of my favorite pieces, “The Shadow of the Dragon,” on Bruce Lee and Conan.
Currently all the essays from these three titles can be found in the eBook The Dark Barbarian That Towers Over All, the first ever “Robert E. Howard LitCrit MegaPack” — if you don’t want to shell out the asking prices on the rare book market, an affordable way to read over thirty years worth of essays on the creator of Conan, Kull, and Bran Mak Morn.