ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Lesser Known Werewolf Stories of Conan The Barbarian's Creator Robert E. Howard

Updated on October 8, 2017

Robert E. Howard

Robert E. Howard was an innovator in the werewolf subgenre.

As many are well aware, Robert E. Howard is best known as the pulp author who created Conan the Barbarian. Unfortunately, many assume that Conan was the only character who Howard created. Fans of the “man who walked alone” know that Howard wrote scores of different short stories and crosses many different genres.He created a variety of different characters such as King Kull and Solomon Kane. Howard was also a prolific action-adventure writer and even wrote several tales of bareknuckle boxers in the vein of the classic Charles Bronson film HARD TIMES.

Howard & Short Horror Fiction


Howard was equally a dedicated writer of horror tales having written well over 50 yarns of the macabre. In his horror works, Howard seemed to have an affinity for the werewolf as the legendary creature made several appearances in his stories. By today’s standards, the use of a werewolf in a horror tale would not be very out of the ordinary. However, Howard was writing these tales in the 1920’s long before the release of Universal’s THE WEREWOLF OF LONDON and THE WOLFMAN. For Howard to have knowledge of the legend of the werewolf he must have had access to research material covering the legends of the creature from the 17th and 18th centuries. Not very many people were knowledgeable about the werewolf myth at the time and the only well known novel featuring the creature was Guy Endure’s THE WEREWOLF OF PARIS. This novel was adapted in the film THE CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF by Hammer Films with the setting changed to Spain for no reason other than the fact they had already built sets for an unmade film about the Spanish Inquisition. Besides this work, there is not much of an early literary tradition for the werewolf as far as fiction is concerned. Folklore wise there are quite a number of works that deal with the werewolf. The quality of the works, as is the case with all genres and subgenres in pulp works, vary.

In the 1920’s, the rise of pulp magazines presented a great many works of fantasy, sci-fi, and horror. Within these magazines, the werewolf would finally gain some exposure in works of fiction. Robert E. Howard’s works are among the better presentation of the werewolf in fiction.

Wolfshead


“Wolfshead” is one of Howard’s most well known werewolf tales and it features the first of two appearances of a character named DeMontour deals with a man who has been cursed by a werewolf and now becomes a werewolf himself. While the tale takes place in Africa, the afflicted was cursed in France. Those with knowledge of the legend of the werewolf will make the connection to the legend of the Beast of Gévaudan.

Interestingly, this tale clearly mentions that the full moon can turn a man into a werewolf. Many sources note that it was Hollywood that created the concept of the moon turning a man into a wolf. Considering this work was produced many years before the Universal werewolf films this would note that Hollywood did not create the legend.(Wolfshead appeard in WEIRD TALES in 1925) Perhaps this concept of the moon turning a man into a wolf originated in Irish and Scottish myth which was were the origin of silver bullets derive.Robert E.Howard was of Irish descent so he may have come across werewolf legends in Irish folklore.

What is not common in folklore is the presentation of the werewolf as a tortured figure which is how the werewolf is presented in this tale and a very strange poem Howard would craft.

Up John Kane


“Up John Kane” is a bizarre and creepy poem that is an homage to the mythos of selling one’s soul to the devil to become a werewolf. In ancient myths, this was the common means of turning oneself in a werewolf as opposed to the later means described in Hollywood films.

The creepiest in the poem revolves around John Kane’s realization as to what he did and his newfound reluctance to actually become a werewolf. Of course, once you have made a pact with the devil there is no going back....

In both of these works, we see characters who are cursed by the werewolf which is a common symbolic theme of the werewolf that we see in many of the early films. In many ways, the concept of turning into a werewolf is symbolic of a man trapped in a life or a world he wants nothing to do with. Robert E. Howard definitely felt being trapped in his own personal life so it is no surprise he would find werewolf tales to be attractive subject matter.


A common myth in popular culture is that werewolves first emerged in the classic films made by Universal Studios. Once you read the early works of Robert E. Howard, you see the pulps were the true origin.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • TCaro profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony Caro 

      5 years ago

      He wrote four that I am aware of. There may be more.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well I had no idea. Thanks for the information and education.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)