10. Robert E. Howard

Most celebrated stories: The many tales of Conan The Barbarian and Solomon Kane

Life story: Need some motivation to get up off your asses and do something, twentysomethings? Just look back at the life of Robert E. Howard, the oft-overlooked young writer who created both the “sword and sorcery” genre and the vast, mythological adventures of fantasy staple Conan The Barbarian before he turned 30-years-old.

No easy feat for a guy who, according to literary lore, combatted depression and mental instability. The Texas lifer is also the subject of Oedipal complex accusations, claims given credence by the fact that he followed the news that his mother had entered a permanent coma in June 1936 by sticking a gun into his mouth in the parking lot.

Think that’s a downer? You haven’t read anything yet....