Saturday 21 November 2009

Triangulation: Heretics, Prions, & Barbarians

Good golly, three posts this week!

The first was a quick news item for Wednesday: Heroes of Dark Fantasy is Back! Can't wait for Dale to get back into the thick of it.

On Friday, a news report combined with a review of the recent Prion Conan the Barbarian collection. I own too many copies of Howard's Conan: the Del Reys, the Wildsides, the Gollancz volumes, the big black book, and the Prion edition, as well as one or two Lancers/Aces. The Prion collection is a favourite for the great intro, the nice type, and the illustrations: even the bad ones are memorable. That Thak is totally one of my favourites, as well as Conan viewing the Black Ones' awesome collection of 6' Marvel Legends action figures.

Third, and the usual Saturday post, was the first of my Barbarians of Middle-earth series, focusing on the Dunedain. What's strange is the first half of the article isn't about them at all, going into detail about the Edain and Numenoreans, but I felt it necessary to fully convey the alterations the Dunedain went through over the centuries, much like the Atlanteans.

Look, Ma, I drawed trolls!

I also provide a quick sketch of a scene I don't believe has actually been illustrated: the capture of Arador by the Hill-Trolls of the Ettenmoors. There are so many awesome Tolkien moments that haven't been illustrated: everyone sticks to the usual characters and events. Where's my Echthelion headbutting Gothmog into oblivion? Where's Helm Hammerhand ripping apart Dunlendings with his bare hands like a Viking Hulk? Where's Bullroarer Took captured in the moment of inventing golf in the most metal way possible, by pitching a goblin's head right off his shoulders, with a cudgel, into a burrow?

Well, I'm tired of waiting. Somebody's going to have to do these illustrations of brilliant moments. Might as well be me!


  1. Al, you seriously drew that? That's damned brilliant. Great work.

    And great work on the post too, a lot of food for thought. I also share your belief (and Steve Tompkins') that Tolkien and Howard shared more in common than most people think.

    I do think a fundamental difference between The Cimmerians and The Dunedain is that the latter were altruistic, ultimately fighting to preserve a civilized way of life, even if they themselves chose to live on its fringes. In contrast, Conan and his barbaric ilk were self-centered, adventuring in pursuit of wealth and living for living's sake.

  2. Yeah Al-great post at the Cimmerian.

    I wanna see your take on those unsung moments too.

  3. Cheers guys! I have plans to include a homebrew illustration for all the BoM-e posts, especially ones that aren't usually done. I'm not sure who'll be the next guest, probably an "evil" barbarian people like the Easterlings or Southrons for contrast with the good Dunedain.

    I agree that the altruism is a very important and fundamental difference between the two. I think the Cimmerians were probably a bit more hospitable towards foreigners than the Picts (though that's really not saying much!) but it's still a big distinction.

    Reading "Shortest Distance" and others, I do think Steve felt Tollers and Two-Gun Bob had plenty of commonalities. They're not exactly the same (obviously) but they're certainly not the polar opposites a lot of people seem to think.