Conan Comes To Commerce: A Dive Into Social Issues

Brianna Patt, Managing Editor

Conan Comes To Commerce offered an academic dive into the work of Robert E. Howard, author and creator of the well-known comic book character Conan The Barbarian. 

This event was organized by Dr. Tracy Henley, department head, psychology, counseling and special education; Dr. Raymond Green, dean, Honors College; and Dr. Hunter Hayes, department head, literature and languages.

Henley stated that he wanted to include people that could contribute more than just a review of Howard’s work.

“I tried to find people that I thought were doing things that were not so much just literary analysis but that would connect with a broader audience that had social implications that had psychological implications,” Henley said. 

A valuable aspect of the event to Henley is the connection between HP Lovecraft, Howard and the social issues discussed in their writing. 

”They were kind of giving you a window into how a lot of people felt about a lot of social issues albeit a somewhat interesting window given that they’re fantasy writers,” Henley said.  

A product of Lovecraft’s world-building is the novel and show Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff. Henley stated that he feels the show has given viewers a way to look at certain issues. 

“The show had certainly been a vehicle for looking at matters of race relations, the treatment of women, and just the progression of a whole lot of issues in the United States from the period prior to the second world war into the fifties.”

The event panel included academics such as Dr. Benjamin Garstard, classics professor, MacEwan University; Jason Carney, professor, Christopher Newport University; and David Frank, assistant professor, psychology and special education, Texas A&M University-Commerce.