REH is autobio
stories about Robert E Howard.
story & words - Brian
artwork - Andrew White
"You can't write an autobio comic about someone else."
John Mitchell: "Don't
try to put your artistic limits on me!"
E Howard is a pulp
author who lived from 1906-1936. His most famous creation is
individual issues of REH for $1.50 ($2.50 intn'l) (includes shipping)
(may contain spoilers):
* REH #1 *
than perhaps any other mini-comic series I have seen from Silber Media,
the new and so far three part series R.E.H. is the most straightforward
and emotionally invested. It is clear that writer Mitchell is
interested in the work of Robert E. Howard, as well as in his life.
This is not a comic in search of itself, it is a story which has found
If Speculative Biography is a genre, then the R.E.H. mini
is in it. As a prolific author of both prose and poetry, Howard is
perhaps best known for his creation Conan the Barbarian. When I say
"best known" I am stretching his fame a bit — although Conan became
very famous, I am not sure that Robert Howard really did. I suspect he
was what's known as a "seminal" artistic influence, meaning he had a
great impact on other creators, but maybe did not strike ore with the
See what happened there? I started speculating, too,
it's probably contagious. You should wash when you are done reading
To return to the point, this first in the series, R.E.H.
#1, introduces readers to a grown man who lives with and cares for his
bedridden mother. Life as a care-giver is not easy, no matter how much
love one has for the invalid in question, and R.E.H. #1 does a super
job of presenting that particular form of loving distress.
I was not, prior to reading this book, looking for information about
Howard, it did pique my curiosity. It is well that there are already
two more issues in this series available. I am glad that Brian John
Mitchell is in a groove with this one.
~ Holly von Winckel, Sequential Tart
* REH #2 *
second issue of the Robert E. Howard bio-fic comic is very tightly
focused on a single incident. It starts as a narrative of the the
author's daily quality of life and transforms into a prayer for his
mother. This is an evocative little comic, thirty-two pages of
emotional tension, and it does a fantastic job of conveying Howard's
fragile mental state. I have no idea the extent of Brian John
Mitchell's research and sources on this project, but I am finding it to
be compelling material. If nothing else, Mitchell has a tremendous
empathetic sense of his subject.
The art here is a mix of
naturalistic sketches of the characters and locations of the story, and
minimalistic panels consisting of only words and a bit of rhythmic mark
making — a scattering of scratches at the page. I can tell I am doing a
poor job of describing it, but the effect it had on me was to give me
the sense of the desperation Howard may have felt in his efforts to
keep his mother alive and as well as she ever could be.
I think one
of the functions of biographical work is to establish a sense of scale
between the reader and the subject of the biography. Silber Media's
R.E.H. series seems to be placing Robert E. Howard in very ordinary
human light, in that we are getting to know a man who dealt with a
bouquet of family issues, as so many of us do. He is a very relatable
character in this sense, a person who has experiences that many of us
can fathom. Meanwhile, the magnitude of those struggles, and the depth
of impact this has on Howard's life, is also showcased. For example,
most of us have or will lose one or both of our parents. Not all of us
will feel that as keenly as losing everything, which is the role of
Robert Howard's mother in this series. She is his life.
amazed to see that so much as been conveyed in a couple of tiny little
mini-comics? You should be. Hustle on over to Silber Media and check
out the offerings.
~ Holly von Winckel, Sequential Tart