Fantasy author commits suicide
On this day in 1936, author Robert Ervin Howard committed suicide in Cross Plains, apparently distraught at the approaching death of his mother. The Texas native finished high school in Brownwood and, while attending Howard Payne College, began writing his very successful heroic fantasies. Conan the Barbarian is the most widely known of his characters. Others include Solomon Kane, who fought the ghosts and vampires of Elizabethan England; Bran Mak Morn, who battled the iron legions of Rome; and King Kull, a warrior of fabled Atlantis. Describing his protagonists, Howard said, "They're simpler. You get them in a jam, and no one expects you to rack your brains inventing clever ways for them to extricate themselves. They are too stupid to do anything but cut, shoot, or slug themselves into the clear."