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The Conan Tales Were A Success And The Kull Stories Less So. Why?


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#1 Rockamobile

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 01:13 AM

Ive read both The Conan and The Kull Tales , I have found both to be equally excellent. Why did Conan succeed with the Publishers and Kull not succeed? I just don't understand the decision making on the part of the publishers. What did publish like about Conan and what did they find lacking in the Kull Stories? :huh:

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 01:16 AM

The truth of the matter was that Weird Tales simply rejected most of the Kull stuff

#3 Rockamobile

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 01:18 AM

The truth of the matter was that Weird Tales simply rejected most of the Kull stuff



I double posted this Topic. Oh Just lovely :wub:

Edited by Rockamobile, 31 January 2012 - 01:19 AM.


#4 Rockamobile

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 01:21 AM

The truth of the matter was that Weird Tales simply rejected most of the Kull stuff


It makes no sense , The Kull stories are every bit as good.

#5 Almuric

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 01:33 AM

And two of them are among Howard's best work, too.

I think the real difference is that Conan has more mass appeal. He's the big, adventurous alpha male who fights hard, drinks hard and loves hard. That's an achetype that has always been popular, and probably always will be. Kull is a great character too, but he's often gloomy and introspective, which doesn't have quite the same appeal.
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#6 Rockamobile

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 01:38 AM

And two of them are among Howard's best work, too.

I think the real difference is that Conan has more mass appeal. He's the big, adventurous alpha male who fights hard, drinks hard and loves hard. That's an achetype that has always been popular, and probably always will be. Kull is a great character too, but he's often gloomy and introspective, which doesn't have quite the same appeal.


Yeah Kull is little bit on brooding side, but I never found that to be a problem. I enjoyed then equally as much as I did the Conan stories.

Edited by Rockamobile, 31 January 2012 - 01:42 AM.


#7 Axerules

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 02:10 AM


The truth of the matter was that Weird Tales simply rejected most of the Kull stuff



I double posted this Topic. Oh Just lovely :wub:

I've deleted the redundant thread.
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#8 amster

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 01:05 PM

The Kull stories were a hard sell for a variety of reasons. Take By this Ax I Rule, for example. There was simply no market for it. Their was no supernatural element, which made it unsuitable for Weird Tales. On the other hand, it takes place in an antediluvian setting, which makes it unsuitable for the standard adventure pulps at the time. None of the stories have any romantic subplot (at least not involving the main character), another strike against them. And stories like The Skull of Silence and The Striking of the Gong are a bit cerebral compared most of Howard's work.
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#9 johnnypt

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 03:14 PM


The truth of the matter was that Weird Tales simply rejected most of the Kull stuff


It makes no sense , The Kull stories are every bit as good.


Delcardes' Cat had the requisite fantastic aspect to it, but I think the story's change of focus (twice) led Wright to reject it. Personally I probably would've taken it but it's not up to the level of Shadow Kingdom or Tuzun Thune. Amster laid out the case why the rest of the completed stories remained unpublished. They were ahead of the curve by about a decade.

#10 amster

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 04:57 AM



The truth of the matter was that Weird Tales simply rejected most of the Kull stuff


It makes no sense , The Kull stories are every bit as good.


Delcardes' Cat had the requisite fantastic aspect to it, but I think the story's change of focus (twice) led Wright to reject it. Personally I probably would've taken it but it's not up to the level of Shadow Kingdom or Tuzun Thune. Amster laid out the case why the rest of the completed stories remained unpublished. They were ahead of the curve by about a decade.


I would also disagree with the assertion that the Kull stories are every bit as good as the Conan ones. While The Shadow Kingdom, Kings in the Night, and The Mirrors of Tuzan Thune rank right up there with Howard's finest work, but taken as an entire body of work, the Conan series is vastly superior to the Kull series. But that shouldn't be surprising. REH was more more experienced as a writer when he started writing the Conan stories. He knew what worked in a story and what didn't. His themes are much stronger as well, as a whole. The idea of a barbarian among civilized people is much more fully developed in the Conan stories than in the Kull stories. While some people prefer By This Ax I Rule, I find The Pheonix on the Sword much more exciting and satisfying. And damn it! Conan is just more fun to read than Kull!
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Money and muscle, that's what I want; to be able to do any damned thing I want and get away with it. Money won't do that altogether, because if a man is a weakling, all the money in the world won't enable him to soak an enemy himself; on the other hand, unless he has money he may not be able to get away with it.
--Robert E. Howard to Harold Preece, ca. June 1928--

#11 Rockamobile

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 02:57 AM

I often wonder if Howard lived had , would he written any more Kull stories ?

Edited by Rockamobile, 06 February 2012 - 04:05 AM.


#12 johnnypt

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 04:29 AM

I often wonder if Howard lived had , would he written any more Kull stories ?


Doubtful. It seems he was pretty much done with the character, especially since it hadn't been successful. He took the groundwork he'd laid with Kull, built Conan's world out of that, then seemingly was prepared to move on from that as well.