Publishing Portfolio : Chapbooks & Promotionals

Wandering Star Artist’s Sketchbooks (1997 - 2003)

In keeping with Wandering Star’s commitment to lushly illustrated story collections, these four sketchbooks were used to show work in progress – not just the style and content of the forthcoming book, but giving some insight into the process of the collaborating artist, as well. These sketch portfolios were usually accompanied by short excerpts from Howard’s text, and sometimes, notes by the artists.

To date, Wandering Star has featured the work of Gary Gianni in Solomon Kane, Bran Mak Morn, and The Complete Conan, v.2. Mark Schultz took the lead on The Complete Conan, v.1, with his first oil work in more than twenty years. Since The Ultimate Triumph relied on existing art, albeit largely unpublished, by Frank Frazetta (whose name is pretty much synonymous with Robert E. Howard’s work), there was no promotional sketchbook for that volume.

 
 

Keegan, Jim and Rusty Burke

Robert E. Howard in Top-Notch

Privately Published, December 2000

16mo, 12pp., color plates + b&w illus. Limitation: 50.

Specially designed for exclusive distribution to members of the Robert E. Howard United Press Association (REHupa), this limited edition chapbook provides a brief essay history of Howard’s publishing history with the then-fledgling pulp magazine, Top-Notch. Includes cover paintings, table of contents summaries, and interior illustrations from each of Howard’s four appearances in the classic Street & Smith Publication.

 
 

Howard, Robert E.

Black Stranger, The : Original Manuscript Facsimile

London: Wandering Star, 2002

Folio cover, looseleaf, 98pp., b&w illus. Limitation: 250 numbered + 26 lettered copies.

Believe it or not, Weird Tales editor Farnsworth Wright rejected this Conan novella of piratical adventure and a mysterious treasure as being deficient in “weird elements”. As a consequence, the story never saw publication during Howard’s lifetime. It was rewritten during the 1950’s to conform to an editor’s imaginary chronology, and reduced by more than a third of its length. This is the first time that it has ever been published in its entirety.

Conceived as a promotional piece for Wandering Star’s highly anticipated Complete Conan trilogy featuring all of Howard’s stories and poems chronicling the exploits of his legendary Cimmerian thief, adventurer, mercenary, and eventual king, The Black Stranger is a meticulous facsimile of the original typescript – pencilled corrections and all.

The manuscript is looseleaf – as if it had just come off the typewriter – appropriately printed on Howard paper, and packaged in a wraparound cover featuring an analytical essay on the literary inspirations behind Howard’s tale, and four original pen and ink sketches by Gary Gianni, the artist for Conan of Cimmeria, v.2. Signed and numbered by the artist. An additional 26 signed and lettered copies were produced for exclusive sale through the Cross Plains Public Library (Cross Plains, Texas), who generously provided access to the original manuscript.

 
 

Yeates, Thomas

ECOF 2002 : The Edgar Rice Burroughs Art of Thomas Yeates

Privately Published, 2002

Folio, 48pp., b&w illus. Limitation: 100.

From renowned artist Thomas Yeates comes this exclusive collectable book prepared especially for the members of the Edgar Rice Burroughs Chain of Friendship (ECOF) society. Inspired by the classic series, John Carter of Mars and Tarzan of the Apes, this limited edition of Twixt Two Worlds No. 2 features ink sketches, character studies, and reproductions of commissioned artwork from Yeates’ long association with Burroughs publishing. Signed and numbered by the artist.

 
 

Wandering Star

The Illustrated World of Robert E. Howard

London: Wandering Star, 2004

Folio, 32pp., color plates. Limitation: 3000.

Wandering Star presents a truly unique promotional item. This 32-page poster book is a rogues gallery of Howard characters interpreted by the artists commissioned to illustrate the corresponding books and stories in the Robert E. Howard Library of Classics: Mark Schultz (Almuric, Sword Woman), Scott Gustafson (Breckinridge Elkins), Gary Gianni (Boxing Stories, Bran Mak Morn, Solomon Kane), Greg Manchess (Conan of Cimmeria, Volume Three), Tom Kidd (Crusades Stories), Jim & Ruth Keegan (El Borak), Mike Mignola (Horror Stories), Scott Caple (James Allison), Justin Sweet (Kull), Jim Silke (Red Sonya), and Glen Orbik (Skullface). The front of each leaf carries a full-page illustration, while the reverse side features an essay about the character and its creation. Of the limitation, 50 copies were signed numbered by each of the artists involved.