I remember a visit to an Idaho Falls bookstore some time in the 1970s. Among the books that caught my eye I recall four: the first two Pern books by Anne McCaffrey, and the second and fourth Venus novels (the only ones they had) by Edgar Rice Burroughs. My mother and I picked out so many books on that visit that we had to put half of them on layaway; so I went home with Dragonflight and Lost on Venus, and then had to wait impatiently for Dragonquest and Escape on Venus the following month. I’d never read Burroughs before (I owned Tarzan of the Apes but had never opened it) but I quickly became a fan, tracking down those Ace paperbacks with the wonderful Frazetta covers. Soon I was writing my own comics (which I presumably still have somewhere) of Barsoom, Amtor, and Pellucidar. (My art was not quite as good as Frazetta’s.)
While I discovered Burroughs through his own books, H. P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard I at first came to indirectly, through comic books – both in adaptations of their actual stories (for Lovecraft I remember “Pickman’s Model” and “The Music of Erich Zann”; for Howard, “The Right Hand of Doom,” “Dig Me No Grave,” and various Conan stories) and Lovecraftian/Howardian touches in original comics like The Phantom Stranger, Swamp Thing, The Unexpected, and Claw the Unconquered. After stories like “The Doom That Came to K’dasha-dheen,” I would inevitably feel a sense of familiarity when I eventually discovered Lovecraft’s Kadath, Dylath-leen, and “The Doom That Came to Sarnath.” Even Arkham Asylum in Batman prepared me to expect the worst from Arkham, Massachusetts. (Similarly, I read Jonah Hex before I saw any Clint Eastwood westerns – so when I finally saw the latter they had an unintended familiarity.)
And my point is? Nay, I have no point! Just aimlessly chatting while getting ready to see the new Harry Potter movie.
I don’t know it you have been following Frank Miller’s rewritings of the origins of Robin story, but there is a scene in the first issue in which corrupt police abduct the young Dick Grayson so that they can beat him up in the woods. Anyway, as they are driving to the woods they follow a sign that directs to “Galt’s Gulch.”