The other day I mentioned in passing some magazines I’ve been associated with over the last thirty-eight years, and to that list you’d have to add Damon Sasser’s REH: Two-Gun Raconteur — one of the earliest of “my” magazines and now certainly one of the longest-lived.
In 1976 I contributed the essay “Conan vs. Conantics” and some fan art to the third issue, then returned in the fourth issue with more art plus a brutal debate in the letters column with L. Sprague de Camp.
I wouldn’t say that “CvC’ is the best essay I ever wrote, but it might well be the most historically significant, and TGR presented it to the world at large.
Not long after that, Damon took a break — a break that lasted for many years — but came back strong circa 2005. I appear in one of his return issues with an illo I did circa 1978 or 79 for a REH story that had been in his files all that time.
Since then Damon has been chugging along on at least an annual schedule, and for the REH centennial in 2006 got out three issues, doing his bit to add to the glory. By no means have I contributed something to every issue, but I keep a hand in. Among my favorite contributions are a complete survey of another REH fanzine, The Dark Man, which appeared in issue 14 in 2010, and a review of some litcrit books on Howard that appeared in issue 15 last year. Those would have to go in any Best of Me Being a Wiseacre collection, and that’s always me at my best.
I don’t have a single thing in issue 16 which just came out, but my occasional Guest Blogger Brian Leno contributes one of his trademark articles on REH and boxing, and Morgan “The Morgman” Holmes handles the review duties this round. Brian does most of his blogging over on Damon’s TGR website and just put up a Xmas post on Joe Grim, one of Howard’s favorite pugilists, which includes a link to a post Brian did here on the cartoonist TAD — he of the Black Hat in the Black Room deal that Hammett referenced a couple of times.
TGR is the best REH zine left standing at the moment (yes, The Dark Man still ekes out an issue every year-and-a-half or so, but they could make some kind of effort to improve the contents, one would think).
And who would have guessed back in 1976 that either Damon or I would still be around today, much less playing a hand in the game?