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John Carter Vs. Conan the Barbarian
Comparing the Pulp Fiction of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E. Howard
© 2021 James LaFond
FEB/14/21
The major comment that people make to me about the comparison of Carter and Conan is that Conan is a lone wolf operator and that Carter is a team player. This must come from TV, movies and comics, as they do not reflect the Conan character at all.
Starting with style, Howard is atmospheric and Burroughs is romantic, Howard trafficking in horror and Burroughs in hope. That may be why Howard is still relevant and almost no one reads Burroughs, because Howard was realistic and Burroughs pie-in-the-sky.
Howard did write one novel aping Burroughs, and did basically a Conan as John Carter in the character of Essau Cairn. I will leave that for another discussion.
Basically, the misconception that Conan is a lone wolf is based on the fact that though both authors trafficked in outsider characters, Burroughs boys always marry the princess and get an in to the power structure through marriage, being defined by their women. This appeals to the traditional. Conservative, American male. Conan, on the other hand, as well as all Howard characters, are never defined by their relationships with women and a father-in-law, but by their relationships with their enemies. The single exception is Essau Cairn, hero of the novel Almuric, which Howard did not try and finish because he felt like he was writing too much like Burroughs, who he much admired.
There is a lot of similarity in the heroes of the two writers:
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