Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Adventures of Two-Gun Bob: Burkett

Here's a quick anecdote about the research gymnastics required for barely noticeable details in a biographical comic strip.

In an undated letter (ca. March 1933) to August Derleth, Robert E. Howard wrote about shooting a gun off the back porch of his house, resulting in his getting chewed out by a neighbor. REH gave no specific details regarding when and where this happened, but he does mention that he was just a kid at the time, and that his family had, "just moved in from the country." As far as we know, biographers had always assumed that the incident happened at REH's house in Cross Plains, Texas — so we drew our comic that way. It wasn't until we'd finished that we suddenly realized the incident couldn't have taken place in Cross Plains, since REH clearly wrote that he'd, "just moved in from the country!" He wouldn't have considered his previous hometown of Burkett "the country," so he must have been referring to his family's move from the remote area of Cross Cut to Burkett in June of 1918.

The Howard's house in Burkett is no longer standing and no photos (that we know of) exist, so we redrew the appropriate panels using a generic house design common to the area. The minute we finished the redo we discovered a small floor plan to the Burkett house, drawn from memory by Deoma Morgan (daughter of Howard family friend, Dr. Chambers).

So ... we redrew the house again, this time following Deoma's plan.

Of course, in the finished strip you barely see any of the house, but, for what it's worth, we tried our best to make what little you do see as accurate as possible, with the door and windows is in the right places in relation to the back porch. Maybe someday someone will find a photograph of the house, and we'll get to do it all over again.

Here's the finished strip as it appeared in Dark Horse's Conan and the Demons of Khitai #2, back in 2005 (click to see larger):

No comments:

Post a Comment