11 November 2008

Does Obama read Howard?

I have a question for our future president, Barack Obama, and I promise this has nothing to do with politics.

An article for Telegraph, the British newspaper, lists “The 50 Things You Might Not Know” about President-Elect Obama. I already knew a few of them—I’ve taken an interest in the man since 2004—but the top one on the list surprised me: “He collects Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian Comics.” Hey, cool… Obama is a geek like me! And apparently a member of the Merry Marvel Marching Society. Will Stan Lee get invited to the White House? (How about Steve Ditko, or am I just being a loon?)

But here’s the question I have for our the soon-to-be-leader of the Free World that arises from the revelation:

“Future President Barack Obama, if you enjoy Conan the Barbarian comic books, have you also read and enjoyed the original Conan stories by Robert E. Howard?”

Because I so hope the answer is “Yes.”

To know that my president reads and enjoys the same violent, depressing, weird, fantastic pulp literature of the 1930s that I do would… well… it would make me weep joyful tears of blood.

Please Barack, tell us how much you love “The Queen of the Black Coast.” Do you prefer “The People of the Black Circle” to “Red Nails”? How many times have you read The Hour of the Dragon? Do you also like the Kull stories? How about Solomon Kane? And what’s your opinion of some of Howard’s stories with racial overtones, like “Black Canaan”?

I know you’re a busy man, you’ve got a huge schedule ahead of you and a country to run, but I’d like to start a symposium with you one day: “U.S. President Sits Down with Fans of Robert E. Howard for Serious Talks.” When you’re president, Mr. Obama, reach out to the pulp lovers. We’re a small and sometimes misunderstood group, but we’re damn interesting company, I guarantee. Better than those Wall Street blowhards.

And make sure the last word at your inauguration speech is… “CROM!”