A few months ago, I supported a Kickstarter campaign for the first issue of Skelos: The Journal of Weird Fiction and Dark Fantasy. The campaign was a massive success, receiving $19,318 from 499 backers after setting a modest goal of only $2,000. Massive success is indeed accurate, but then, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. Skelos is a “horror and fantasy journal featuring short fiction, essays, poetry, reviews, and art by both seasoned pros and talented newcomers,” and that right there is the core reason for its success.
Of course, some of that success might be attributed to the fact that this first issue includes a fantasy story by Robert E. Howard (Conan, Kull, Solomon Kane) that’s never been published before. On top of that, Howard’s story is illustrated by the illustrious Mark Schultz (Xenozoic Tales, Coming of Conan, Prince Valiant). I’ll be honest, this alone is an adrenaline shot straight to the heart for me.
Volume 1 also features a new sword-and-sorcery novelette by Keith Taylor (Bard series, Cormac Mac Art), which is his long-awaited sequel to the classic “Men from the Plain of Lir” originally published in Weird Tales. I’ve never read the story, unfortunately, but I plan to remedy that soon enough. And, as with Howard’s story, this one is also illustrated, this time by Tomás Giorello (Dark Horse King Conan).
So yes, a lot of awesome in just two short paragraphs and reason enough why I supported this campaign.
And I received my copy this morning.
The magazine also includes a number of short stories from talented writers like Charles Gramlich, Dave Hardy, Jason Ray Carney, Ethan Nahte, Scott Hannan, Keith West, and a bunch of others, including a fully illustrated adaptation of Grettir and the Draugr from the Icelandic Sagas by Samuel Dillon.
The editors of Skelos are Mark Finn, author of the World Fantasy Award-nominated Blood and Thunder: The Life and Art of Robert E Howard; 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.
“I’m excited to be part of the editorial staff for this journal. We are finding and publishing material that we love to read, and read about. There’s a long-standing tradition to weird fiction, and we think we can contribute something new and exciting to it.” ~ Mark Finn, Editor
They want to keep publishing stories that feature sword and sorcery, cosmic horror, dark fantasy, sword and planet, and an array of similar subgenres, and they plan for this journal to become the framework for a community of like-minded fans, writers, artists, and scholars that love all these weird and wonderful tales of awesome adventure and horror.
Now I had planned to finish The Hammer and the Blade by Paul Kemp this weekend, but I guess that’s not going to happen now. I wonder why…
See you on the other side.