Robert E. Howard’s Dennis Dorgan. Plus Savage Journal Entry 50.

Dennis Dorgan, the character whose exploits are collected in The Incredible Adventures of Dennis Dorgan, is definitely not Popeye the Sailor Man, despite his creation shortly after the release of E.C. Segar’s classic character in 1929. Dennis makes this perfectly clear by his stated dislike of canned spinach. Though both men are sailors, speak in distinctive jargon, and frequently engage in fisticuffs, Dorgan is in fact derived from another sailor: Sailor Steve Costigan, Howard’s other pugilistic seaman. As noted in the introduction to the anthology, Howard rewrote some of his Costigan stories, changing the name of the character, the name of the character’s dog, and the name of the ship upon which he served. Setting the stories primarily in the East allowed Howard to pitch these to the Oriental tales markets, rather than just the boxing magazines.

The first thing to keep in mind when reading a Dennis Dorgan story is that these are primarily comedies. If you’ve read the Breckinridge Elkins stories, the pacing, plots, and even to some extent the carefully mangled English grammar will be familiar. In fact, there might even be an unofficial crossover, as a Bill Elkins appears prominently in the story The Destiny Gorilla. Perhaps he is a son or grandson of Breckinridge himself. Hard to say, though he does fit the Elkins family profile.

The plots are driven largely by Dorgan’s limited intelligence, gullibility, and willingness to oblige — especially where ladies are concerned. The fights, though lavish in their description of mayhem, are so over the top that the effect is comedic rather than pulse-pounding. Cartoonish, in fact. These are fun, lightweight stories, best enjoyed with an adult beverage.

You may enjoy my books with or without an alcoholic accompaniment. Give the Semi-Autos and Sorcery series a try. I think you’ll enjoy the books.

And now I might want to crack open an adult beverage to say farewell to Magnus Stoneslayer. Here is the final entry in his journal. Fare thee well, Magnus.



I’ve always been accustomed to dealing with victory, dear diary, but my enjoyment of the fruits of success has always proven transitory. It seems I must now grow used to triumph as a permanent state.

That’s not the only sort of permanence I must adjust to. Sitting at my side in the Zantian Imperial throne room is Yaslina, a quiet, happy smile adorning her face. Thronging the audience chamber are the officers who so recently acclaimed me Imperator. Husband. Monarch. Neither loyal wife nor loyal subjects appear inclined to alter my status any time soon.Stability, permanence, Odd words to use describing a wandering barbarian warrior. It may just be that while ‘barbarian’ and ‘warrior’ remain appropriate, ‘wandering’ no longer applies.

Yaslina leaned across the arms of our twin thrones to whisper in my ear, confirming my suspicion that I am no longer itinerant, dear diary; It appears I’m to be a father.

Magnus Stoneslayer


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