From the frying pan and into the fire...having just finished the fourth and final volume of Tales of the Ice House: The Collected Boxing Stories of Robert E. Howard, I turned my attention to the 2013 PCA/ACA conference held in Washington, DC this past weekend. My paper considered the impact of John L. Sullivan and the cult of masculinity upon the creation and execution of Howard's uproariously funny boxing character Sailor Steve Costigan.
Joining me in the nation's capitol were fellow Howard-heads Mark Finn, Jeff Shanks and the legendary Rusty Burke and many a night was spent discussing the state of Howard Studies with our new friend - John L., he of the single barrel variety. He swore up and down he "couldst lick any son of a bitch in the world" and he done so - just ask Mark Finn.
Understand, these folks were not asking about Howard solely because of Conan, but were instead interested in learning about his other creations as well - specifically Sailor Steve Costigan and his iron man brothers. Thanks must go to Shanks, Finn, Burke and the other Howard scholars who had paved the way in years prior - well done fellas! I just hope I helped advance the Howard cause for Sailor Steve Costigan and Mike the bull dog in a manner that does them proud.