Odd as it may seem, the concept that eventually became The Adventures of Two-Gun Bob didn't start out with Robert E. Howard in mind. The idea of creating a purely anecdotal biography (in comic strip form) occurred to us without a specific subject in mind.
For a while, we considered doing a series about the life of Edgar Allen Poe, or maybe George Washington, but neither seemed quite right. It wasn't until our friend James Van Hise introduced us to the work of Robert E. Howard that we knew we'd found our man.
Every once in a while someone will suggest how interesting it would be to see us give a similar treatment to a different historical or literary figure -- Beethoven was suggested once. Recently, when Spectrum Fantastic Art publishers Arnie and Cathy Fenner posted a Two-Gun original to their ComicArtFans page, they added the following note, "I'd love to see them do the same thing with Lovecraft or the Futurians or maybe even Harlan!"
Once they mentioned it, we were ashamed to admit that we'd never imagined Harlan as a subject -- God, what a wonderful hoot that would be! Maybe someday, with his permission, of course.
On the other hand, H. P. Lovecraft has appeared as a character in occasional episodes of The Adventures of Two-Gun Bob, but there's only so many hours in a day, and considering the other comics and illustration work we have on our plate, it seemed unlikely that anything more specific would ever happen.
As fate would have it, Dark Horse editors Brendan Wright and Sierra Hahn happened to be doing an all Lovecraft issue of their B&W horror anthology, CREEPY, and asked if we would be interested in contributing a one page biographical Lovecraft strip, somewhat in the style of Two-Gun Bob.
They asked us to submit two sample ideas for them to choose from, and decided to choose BOTH -- even offering us the full-color back cover for one of them!
So, for Arnie & Cathy, and everyone else who asked for it, CREEPY #10 hit the stands last Wednesday, featuring our two Lovecraft strips, titled "The Runes of Ec'h-Pi-El" -- "Ec'h-Pi-El" being a mysterious-sounding, phonetic spelling-out of "HPL" that Lovecraft occasionally used in signing correspondence with friends.
It should also be noted that the name "Two-Gun Bob" likewise comes from Lovecraft, being the alias HPL first gave to Howard in the farcical 1934 story he wrote with R. H. Barlow, "The Battle that Ended the Century."
We can't say if there'll ever be more episodes in of "The Runes of Ec'h-Pi-El," but you never know.
I'm sure Dark Horse would prefer if we didn't post the entire strips here, so these jpgs will have to give you a taste until you are able to check out CREEPY #10:
|We based this little opening panel on a silhouette HPL posed for during his life.|
|A few panels from our interior strip.|
|A panel from the color strip on the back cover, based on a dream HPL described in a letter to author Robert Bloch.|