Specialist periodicals 1: Skelos

During summer PD's thoughts turn to reading. For August PD will highlight some special periodicals. Not the usual magazines one sees at the bookstore or corner shop, but ones meant for the enthusiast. This week PD introduces Skelos: the Journal of Weird Fiction and Dark Fantasy which has recently been funded on a successful Kickstarter Campaign. Do not despair, it may be purchased directly from Skelos Press (see the link below).

This is a beautifully produced quarterly journal which features short fiction, essays, poetry, reviews, and art by both seasoned pros and talented newcomers to the field. It is reminiscent of old fashioned tales of adventure. Judging by its popularity, PD is glad that it is very much alive and kicking.

It is edited by Mark Finn, author of the World Fantasy Award-nominated "Blood and Thunder"; Chris Gruber, editor of Robert E. Howard's "Boxing Stories" from the University of Nebraska Press; and Jeffrey Shanks, co-editor of the Bram Stoker Award-nominated "Unique Legacy of Weird Tales".

PD thinks that the artwork is superb.

Here some information on the contributors to the first edition:


Veteran sword and sorcery author Keith Taylor headlines the debut issue with the return of one of his most popular characters, Nasach the Firbolg, The new story will be illustrated by the spectacular Tomas Giorello, who has been blowing away fans of the Dark Horse Conan comics for years. Keith's new Nasach story for Skelos - "The Drowned Dead Shape" - immediately follows the Irish warrior's last appearance in the Fall 1988 issue of Weird Tales.


The first issue of features a never-before-published fantasy piece by Robert E. Howard (Conan, Kull, Solomon Kane) illustrated by the legendary Mark Schultz (Xenozoic Tales, Coming of Conan, Prince Valiant)


Nicole Emmelhainz – "A Sword-Edge Beauty as Keen as Blades: C. L. Moore and the Gender Dynamics of Sword-and-Sorcery"

Karen Joan Kohoutek – "From the Cosmos to the Test-Tube: Lovecraft, Machen, and the Sublime"

Jeffrey Shanks – "Nameless Tribes: Robert E. Howard’s Anthropological World-Building in 'Men of the Shadows'"

Nicole Emmelhainz is assistant professor of rhetoric and composition at Christopher Newport Universty. Her research interests include collaboration and writing as a community as well as feminism and weird literature. Most recently she contributed a chapter to the Bram Stoker Award-nominated The Unique Legacy of Weird Tales

Karen Joan Kohoutek's essays on Robert E. Howard have been published at Two-Gun Raconteur, On an Underwood No. 5, and The Dark Man and in 2015 she won the REH Foundation Award for Emerging Scholar. She has published two books through Skull and Book Press, and blogs sporadically at octoberzine.blogspot.com. Her areas of interest include world religions and the occult, Gothic literature, cult horror films, and Bollywood ... among other things. She lives in Fargo, North Dakota.

Jeffrey Shanks is an archaeologist and pulp scholar and he currently serves as co-chair of the Pulp Studies area for the Popular Culture Association. He has written numerous popular and scholarly articles on Robert E. Howard, H. P. Lovecraft, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and other topics. He is the editor of Zombies from the Pulps! and co-editor of the Bram Stoker Award-nominated essay collection The Unique Legacy of Weird Tales: The Evolution of Modern Fantasy and Horror.


Some of the books we review in issue include Atomic Age Cthulhu, Swords Against Cthulhu, A Look Behind the Derleth Mythos, Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos, and Tolkien, Howard, and the Birth of Modern Fantasy, among others.


Josh Adkins is a biology instructor and laboratory coordinator at Transylvania Uni-versity in Lexington, Kentucky, and is one of the three hosts of The Cromcast, a pod-cast dedicated to the works of Robert E. Howard and other weird fiction.

Bobby Derie is a weird fiction scholar and the author of Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos from Hippocampus Press. He also compiled The Collected Letters of Robert E. Howard: Index and Addenda from the REH Foundation Press. He is a regular contributor to the blogs REH: Two-Gun Raconteur and On An Underwood No. 5.

Charles Hoffman is a Pittsburgh native, now living in Los Angeles. A lifelong writer he has been having his work published since he was 19. He is a leading authority on Robert E. Howard, and his essay “Conan the Existentialist” is considered to be the first serious critical examination of Howard’s work. Chuck is returning to writing fiction and is promoting his new novel, Twilight's Last Gleaming.

Paul McNamee is a lifelong resident of Massachusetts, where he still makes his home with his family. When he's not working his day job or prowling the streets of Arkham, he enjoys reading, writing and book hunting.

Brian Murphy is a longtime fan of fantasy fiction with a particular interest in sword and sorcery fiction. He has publishing credits in numerous print and online publications including The Cimmerian, The Dark Man, Mythprint, Black Gate, and REH: Two Gun Raconteur.

Deuce Richardson is a weird fiction fan and scholar. He is the former editor of the award-winning blog The Cimmerian and has contributed to REH: Two-Gun Raconteur. He is currently serving as an advisor on the Kull supplement for the new Conan RPG from Modiphius Games.

Todd Vick is the founder and editor of the Robert E. Howard blog On an Underwood No. 5 and the owner of Papertown Books. He has essays and reviews for REH: Two-Gun Raconteur and The Dark Man and has been nominated for multiple REH Foundation Awards.

Keith West has been a fan of the fantasy, science fiction, horror, and mystery genres for more years than he's willing to admit. He currently makes his home in West Texas where by day he teaches impressionable young people his bad habits (of which there are many) and by night tells lies for fun and profit (more fun than profit). You may address him as Future Potentate of the Solar System


Jason Ray Carney is a professor of creative writing and popular literature at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. His fiction has appeared in Beecher's Magazine, District Lit, The Blue Lake Review, Swords and Sorcery Magazine, and others. His scholarship has appeared in The Dark Man, Lovecraftian Proceedings, and the Bram Stoker Award-nominated The Unique Legacy of Weird Tales. He is currently working on a monograph-length study of Weird Tales and its relationship to literary modernism.

Scott Cupp is a John W. Campbell Award-nominated short story writer from Texas. He was the editor of the World Fantasy nominated anthology Cross Plains Universe: Texans Celebrate Robert E. Howard (with Joe R. Lansdale). His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies, such as Razored Saddles, Obsessions, and Freak Show. His REH inspired story "Hell in a Boxcar" is scheduled to appear in Weirdbook 32 in 2016.

Charles Gramlich is a fiction writer and psychology professor at Xavier University of Louisiana. Most of his fiction falls in the genres of horror, fantasy, and SF, while his nonfiction ranges from articles on science and psychology to biographical essays and pieces on writing. Charles lives in Abita Springs, Louisiana with his wife Lana.

Scott Hannan is a long-time aspiring writer. He has two master's degrees from St. John's College Santa Fe and a BA in Film Production from Columbia College Chicago. He loves all sorts of fiction, cinema, videogames, D&D, campfires, and whiskey. He currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Dave Hardy is an author, critic, and mead-maker. He has written short fiction for many different markets including Frontier Tales, RAGEMachine, and Dark Worlds Magazine. His fantasy novel Crazy Greta was published in 2012 by Musa Publishing, and his frontier-adventure novel, Palmetto Empire was published by Rough Edges Press in June 2014. He lives in Austin, Texas with his wife and daughter.

Ethan Nahté is a journalist, musician, photographer and a TV/Film producer & director who has been working on a documentary about Robert E. Howard for way longer than it should've taken. He figures Crom has conspired against him.

Matt Sullivan is an English Language Arts teacher living in Nova Scotia, Canada. When his day job doesn’t consume all of his time, he likes to compose short fiction and waste away at the gaming table, rolling D20’s and pretending he’s someone he’s not. His work has been published in Fall of Cthulhu, Swords Against Cthulhu, and he is currently contributing to a source book for the Conan RPG by Modiphius Games.


Kenneth Bykerk is a poet who prefers to work in classical and traditional formats. He lives and writes in the ghost town of Howells, Arizona.

Pat Calhoun is writer, poet and scholar of popular culture. For a decade he penned the “Adventures into Weird Words” column for Gary Carter’s legendary magazine Comic Book Marketplace. More recently his weird verse has appeared in Spectral Realms by Hippocampus Press.

Frank Coffman is Professor of English & Journalism at Rock Valley College in Rockford, Illinois. He has published Robert E. Howard: Selected Poems and articles on REH and popular imaginative literature. A published poet, his current interests include writing imaginative genre poetry and the development of "subjective stylometry" to complement tradional stylometric methods.

Ashley Dioses writes formal poetry of horror and fantasy, and hails from Southern California. She has previously been published by Hippocampus Press, Centipede Press, Wildside Press, Martian Migraine Press, Burial Day Books, and several amateur ezines. She will have her debut poetry collection published by Hippocampus Press in 2017. She has also appeared on Ellen Datlow's full recommended list for Year's Best Horror Vol. 7 for her poem “Carathis.”

According to the Lost Book of Skelos (pg. 666 in a vanishing footnote): Jason Hardy. 55. Scholar (i.e. High school teacher), artist and poet. Haunter of Southern Louisiana. Weirdly creative. Longtime fan of dark fanta-- (footnote ends on sinister note).

James McNew is a poet, teacher, and Army veteran living in Prescott Arizona.

K. A. Opperman is a traditionalist poet of horror and dark fantasy from Southern California. He has been/will be published in such venues as The Weird Fiction Review, Spectral Realms, Nameless Magazine, Weirdbook, Gothic Blue Book, The Audient Void, and many others. His book length Weird poetry collection, The Crimson Tome, came out last year from Hippocampus Press.

Skelos has attracted writers and illustrators for the next few additions.

Check it out here: http://skelospress.com/

FOR THE CURIOUS 1: The logo for Skelos was produced by Mr Zarono.

FOR THE CURIOUS 2: Bryan Reagan, aka Mr Zarono, as a special favor, has designed a new illustration featuring the Skelos Press logo and sent ten signed prints to use in the Skelos Kickstarter campaign. To honor the loyalty of the journal's Founding Patrons who have put in a tremendous amount of faith by ordering lifetime subscriptions to a yet to be produced publication, the people behind Skelos decided to have a special drawing at the end of the Kickstarter campaign and give these signed prints randomly to ten of them.

FOR THE CURIOUS 3: This is the longest post PD has done. Next week PD has a treat for lovers of comic books/graphic novels.

Note: photographs and illustrations are from the relevant websites and are the copyright of the respective owners.

Note: PD does not get sponsored by any company and chooses to write about products that catch his eye while on the prowl, without the makers' knowledge. That way he remains impartial.

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