This may have been touched on before but for those of you who haven't heard; Conan was not created by Robert E. Howard. The character was taken/stolen from another author. Being a big REH fan this shocked me and made alot of things fall into place. I had questioned his writing and life for some time based on his writings in Conan but always attributed it to bad life events etc. Conan was actually created around 100 years or so before REH was born. His creator may shock some of you and have others laughing. Being an avid reader I have always studied the writings of authors and found that they all have a certain, lets say beat of their own. REH always seemed to be like an instrument a bit out of tune.
A while back an old manuscript was found among his papers that was not in his handwriting and had the basic story of Conan outlined in it. Now any writer knows that those first few pages, outline, etc. are the basis for all stories pertaining to the character and is the foundation of what one creates. It seems REH was not as unique as I had previously believed. He simply took the creation of another and ran with it. I had always wondered why his Conan stories just dried up after so much success. I also wandered about the repetition and flaws in his writings. When one does not create the character there is only so much that can be written with any success.
The true creator of Conan was in fact Jane Austen author of Sense and Sensibility among other books. So we have Jane Austen to thank for the sword and sorcery genre. What a strange twist of events. Now I am sure that Howard wrote many of the tales of Conan and came up with material of his own but with the discovery of this manuscript I wonder if there were more that he used to write his tales of the barbarian and if this was not an isolated case of creative theft. I had often wondered at the name he choose for the hero as Conan is an English name and a boy from west Texas just wouldn't normally use that name. This turn of events has put REH on a much lower level for me. For so long I believed what he said about the creation of the character. He even went so far as to state that Conan stood behind him with his battle ax and forced him to write his story. What a load of BS! Now all of the weird pictures of him posing with his friends and weapons in hand make sense. I always just thought he must have been a bit crazy but now think something else entirely. I think he was simply a little boy in a man's body. So much now falls into place. His suicide at the top of the list. Now there will be those that will be mad about what I have said but let me say that these are my opinions on the subject and that is all.
I no longer feel as badly towards Milius for changing Conan for his movie. For he did exactly what Howard had done himself. Took someone else's work and turned it into his own. If what Howard did can be considered work. Taking another's character and playing it off as your own is one of the worst things someone can do. I have had several of my characters and stories ripped off and it makes one extremely upset to say the least. I have researched to see if Howard ever gave the mother or sword and sorcery credit for her work and can not find one piece of evidence. Certain parties with an interest in Conan have stated that Howard wanted to but was stopped. I can see that in the beginning of his career but not in the end. He should have come clean and made it good. The manuscript was professionally examined and is in deed real for those who would doubt it. It out dates Howard by some 100 years and has his writing in the margins of the Austen manuscript. No denying the guilt.
So in closing REH rest in peace, but I would like to ask you if you came up with your other characters or if they were taken from someone else too. To Jane Austin I give a big thanks for being creative enough to dream up such a character and world. It is a shame she did not continue with the work and publish it. One wonders what other great things were lurking in her mind.