Welcome to my new blog post series here on Mighty Thor JRS, Definitive Sword and Sorcery. At least what is definitive in my opinion. I will spotlight some of the best authors and books fantasy has ever known. I can’t wait to share these amazing books, authors, and the amazing cover art and artist. For my fifth post I am going to go with Robert E. Howard and his Bran Mak Morn stories.
So yeah Robert E. Howard is basically the most definitive of definitive Sword and Sorcery! Conan everybody knows and even Kull is very popular , as he should. (more on these two in post to come) But I feel Bran Mak Morn gets overlooked. Every S&S character gets overlooked next to Conan but hey he is pretty awesome! Bran Mak Morn is the last king of Howard’s version of the tribal race of Picts. He is a bad ass in his own right and deserving of some definitive S&S love. There are not many Bran stories but they are worth the same praise as other REH works. The most popular and my favorite is Worms of the Earth. First published in Weird Tales, (November 1932.) This is the last Bran story and the only story told through the Pict’s point of view. So do yourself a favor and if you are not already familiar with this Pict barbarian, go read these amazing stories.
As I become more and more disenchanted with modern fantasy and modern fantasy authors, I find myself going back to the books and authors that got me into fantasy in the first place. So I decided to shed some light on these books and authors. I am going to try and do this on a weekly/monthly basis but we will see how it goes.
If you have some comments, suggestions, recommendations, let me know!
Are you are a modern author that writes books/stories like the ones I will spotlight here? Get in touch. I want to work with you and spread the word. There has to be something new out that I can read and love. Short stories, collections, magazines, whatever! Let me know what you got and are working on.
James – Mighty Thor JRS
Check out my other Definitive Sword and Sorcery post:
Cover art by Gary Gianni
From Robert E. Howard’s fertile imagination sprang some of fiction’s greatest heroes, including Conan the Cimmerian, King Kull, and Solomon Kane. But of all Howard’s characters, none embodied his creator’s brooding temperament more than Bran Mak Morn, the last king of a doomed race.
In ages past, the Picts ruled all of Europe. But the descendants of those proud conquerors have sunk into barbarism . . . all save one, Bran Mak Morn, whose bloodline remains unbroken. Threatened by the Celts and the Romans, the Pictish tribes rally under his banner to fight for their very survival, while Bran fights to restore the glory of his race.
Lavishly illustrated by award-winning artist Gary Gianni, this collection gathers together all of Howard’s published stories and poems featuring Bran Mak Morn–including the eerie masterpiece “Worms of the Earth” and “Kings of the Night,” in which sorcery summons Kull the conqueror from out of the depths of time to stand with Bran against the Roman invaders.
Also included are previously unpublished stories and fragments, reproductions of manuscripts bearing Howard’s handwritten revisions, and much, much more.
Special Bonus: a newly discovered adventure by Howard, presented here for the very first time.
Bran Mak Morn – 1969 Dell Books
Cover art by Frank Frazetta
Robert Ervin Howard (January 22, 1906 – June 11, 1936) was an American author who wrote pulp fiction in a diverse range of genres. He is well known for his character Conan the Barbarian and is regarded as the father of the sword and sorcery subgenre.
Howard was born and raised in Texas. He spent most of his life in the town of Cross Plains with some time spent in nearby Brownwood. A bookish and intellectual child, he was also a fan of boxing and spent some time in his late teens bodybuilding, eventually taking up amateur boxing. From the age of nine he dreamed of becoming a writer of adventure fiction but did not have real success until he was 23. Thereafter, until his death at age 30, Howard’s writings were published in a wide selection of magazines, journals, and newspapers, and he had become successful in several genres. Although a Conan novel was nearly published in 1934, his stories never appeared in book form during his lifetime. The main outlet for his stories was the pulp magazine Weird Tales.
In the pages of the Depression-era pulp magazine Weird Tales, Howard created Conan the Barbarian. With Conan and his other heroes, Howard created the genre now known as sword and sorcery, spawning many imitators and giving him a large influence in the fantasy field. Howard remains a highly read author, with his best works still reprinted.