Two-Gun Bob: Into the West

Sometime after midnight, as 2011 had slipped away and the New Year had begun, I did a quick check of email and found a barrage of notes telling me that Glenn Lord had passed away on the last day of the vanished year. A living legend for so long, now a legend — I feel sorry for upcoming Howard fans who’ll never get to meet him. A true honor and a pleasure.

For the recent tribute book Anniversary I did a small essay in flat-out praise of Glenn, and mentioned that during the first Howard Days I attended we ended up talking for a couple of hours in the midst of the revelers. A lot of the talk was catching up on mutual pals in the arena, but we got off on all kinds of subjects, including suicide. The fact that Howard killed himself at age thirty seems to bother a lot of his fans, with some trying to leave that fact out of blurbs. So many writers have committed suicide, I don’t find it that unusual.

Glenn mentioned that a famous western writer also killed himself, but was drawing a blank on the name. I couldn’t figure it out. He said, “Reasoner will know.” We spotted James Reasoner and waved him over. A western writer, Jim. Lots of product. Had a digest magazine named after him in the fifties. . . . “Oh,” Reasoner said, “Walt Coburn.”

Coburn, another in a legion of literary suicides.

And then the talk went on, and on. Among the great conversations I’ve had in my day, and I wish more fans could get such a chance. But I guess they’ll have to be content with the stirrings of legend. . . .

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