Sunday 31 January 2010

Triangulation: Mo-Mo is Coco

(Apparently, a momo is a traditional Tibetan dumpling, which is a delightful coincidence, since I've taken to calling Momoa "Mo-Mo." Thanks, Taran!)

As if I didn't have enough reasons to be annoyed at myself, I only posted one thing at The Cimmerian this week: a rather acerbic look at Jason Momoa's casting as Conan. It's gotten to the point where I actually would kind of like to see Lucy Lawless as Conan! That'd certainly take the sapphic dynamics in "Xuthal of the Dusk" and "Red Nails" to a whole new level. Natala, Thalis and Lady-Conan in a torrid triangle... Well, there's weirder fan fiction out there.

Still, Deuce was kind enough to give my wee blog a link, hopefully sending a couple Cimmerian readers my way. Still, I intend to keep to my promise not to turn TBTTF into one big depository of the things people say about Conan & Howard: that would include concentrating more on The Cimmerian and things that are actually worthy of discussion, instead of addressing the silliness of anonymous internet users.

Hmm, maybe they'll get Lucy for that Dark Agnes film. Nah, that'd be too much to hope for, wouldn't it? I'm afraid to think too much about that particular film, since we all know what happened to Kane and Conan. If they mess with Aggie...

Wednesday 27 January 2010

OK, This is the last one, I promise...

I can't resist. It's like an affliction. Still, you'd have to try pretty damn hard to beat some of the stuff said on this page.

..Or how about the Conan that actually matters? (goes into a 5,000 word essay about the Conan O'Brien/Jay Leno saga that's gripped the internet)

Because, apparently, a popular talk-show host matters more than a cultural icon. As if there's some sort of measuring scale of mattering.

Should be JOhn CEna opeople I try and contact him cause this guy they have on this iMage is just not Conan the Barbarian he's more of a side kick of Conan, Get John Cena to play Conan the barbarian JOHN CENA is the guy that come close to looking like Arnold

I don't know, JOhn CEna didn't exactly wow people in his first starring role (The Marine). In fact, he wasn't even cast for the sequel: when you aren't good enough for the role especially written for you, that's a really bad sign.

Sunday 24 January 2010

Superhero Hype: A Den of Numbskulls and Ignorami

You know what? I just want to keep some of these comments. I can't really be bothered bringing it over there, because any intellectual discourse is just going to be wasted. These are a laugh riot. This is why people don't take comic fans seriously, and why the intelligent, insightful comic fans are drowned out by the blatherings of morons and imbeciles.

Triangulation: Imaro, Critics, Birthdays & Asylums

Man, I really need to pick my battles. With the astonishing news of Jason "Can't ride a horse, won't ride a horse" Momoa cast as Conan, all the idiots are out of the woodwork. "Hey, I think it's great they're casting an exotic guy as a barbarian - I mean, it makes him stand out, right?" "I think he's closer to Conan, who if I recall correctly, was described as lean and panther-like rather than massive and muscular." "KRUM! Why do we need to remake Conan? It was a classic! They'll never do better than Arnold! Bring back Milius and Conan: Crown of Iron!"

Urge... to kill... rising...

Anway, on with the show. First of all was a very quick post on Imaro. I really like Imaro, he's probably my favourite non-Howard barbarian, along with Sigurd from The Ship of Ishtar. The image I chose is one of the few I found of the Ilyassi Ironman on DeviantArt, which can be a decent resource if you're discerning in your search. For the love of Tulkas, do not search for "Gimli & Legolas." Don't. Do it.

Then the moment I'd been dreading and anticipating for a month: Nostalgia Critic reviews Conan the Barbarian. To my eternal gratefulness, Howard gets a damn good shake from it, and I'm immensely impressed that Doug chose The Bloody Crown of Conan to illustrate it: The famous Conan the Adventurer would've been alright, but it's really great to see the definitive Robert E. Howard Conan collection in the spotlight. Top job, Critic.

Howard's 104th birthday at The Cimmerian wouldn't be complete without my sentimental ramblings. I'm a much tougher kid than I am as an adult, which is probably to be expected giving The Anomaly back when I was 16. I'm still pinching myself, that my stuff is on The Cimmerian.

Finally, a fun post on the Asylum. Honestly, the Asylum's mockbuster Conan will probably end up less painful to watch than the "official" "Conan." Kind of like how Transmorphers: Fall of Man was more bearable than Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, seeing as it didn't stomp my childhood into little tiny bits with rutting gags and toilet humour. I still think I'm going to catch that Sherlock Holmes film with the dinosaurs and powered armour.

Don't look at me like that.

Friday 22 January 2010

11 Things you DON'T Need To Know About The New Conan

Empire have posted something that got me rather annoyed. I'm going to need to watch My Neighbour Totoro for three days straight in order to calm down.

What It Would Take To Get Me To Watch Conan: The Wrath of Singh

As it stands, there's nothing convincing me to go and fork over my cash for this monstrosity. I don't even know if I'll catch it on TV. I have enough stress in my life.

So aside from a full rewrite that isn't an affront to Robert E. Howard's memory, what would it take for me to see this film? We have our director, writers, and Conan (and possibly Corin if the rumours of Mickey Rourke are to be believed.) Let's see...

Jason Momoa as Conan the Hawaiian

It's just one disaster after another.

So, to recap:

First, Paradox licensed the film to Millenium Films, the production company which brought the world nothing but mediocrity and the godawful remake of The Wicker Man, with only one or two bright spots like Rambo out of the dozens upon dozens of failures.

Then they hired Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer, the most wretched screenwriting team in film today, who penned quite possibly the single most horrible adaptation of a classic science fiction story I've ever seen. (This alone was the point that I gave up hope.)

Then Millenium started to court Brett Ratner, an absolute hack of a director who hasn't made anything of note save the average Red Dragon. Even with the likes of Ridley Scott citing interest in a Conan film, somehow Ratner was their first choice.

After Ratner fell through (obviously he had more important stuff to do, like Rush Hour 4), Marcus Nispel was the man. Nispel being most infamous for doing practically nothing but remakes of slasher films for the past few years, as well as Pathfinder, which I'll charitably call a Frazetta pastiche.

Then the script and character synopsis was leaked, and we all know what happened then.

Now, we have Jason Momoa portraying Conan. As blows to the stomach go, it's not as bad as knowing the imbeciles behind A Sound of Thunder and Sahara were hired to write the script, or actually reading the leaked screenplay. It's marginally less offensive than the Nispel announcement, and certainly not as bad as when Ratner and Kickinger were associated with the film.

You know what's scary? It's going to get worse from here.

We'll be hearing a Playboy (probably not even that, something like Hustler or Penthouse) playmate, ex-model, or a flavour-of-the-month pop star cast as the love interest. We'll see some strapped-for-cash Shakespearean actor slumming it for the villain, or more likely, some fading '80s star like Dolph Lundgren looking for a last gasp of fame. Professional wrestlers, basketball players, and/or bodybuilders will be cast in every second role. We'll see nu-metal bands doing the soundtrack. We'll see the garbage tie-in novel and cookie-cutter licensed video game, with the usual action figures and paraphernalia clogging the shelves.

It'll be even worse when the film's out.The Milius fanboys will be insufferable as they hail Conan the Barbarian as the definitive Conan film - and for all intents and purposes, they'll probably be right. That's the biggest punch to the gut for me.

Thursday 21 January 2010

Another silly, silly person

Well, looky here.

Unlike the many other confounded imbeciles I've covered in the past, this gent has opened up discussion. As such, I've taken it over to his blog. Nonetheless, I'll get everyone up to speed...

Hoo boy, where to start...

Saturday 16 January 2010

Triangulation: Donations, Newsletters, Smith & Clonans

Sunday saw a short post giving directions for donations to Project Pride in Dan Goudey's name. Not much to say, except it's a lovely tribute.

Monday's pretty cool, as we see that The Cimmerian was noticed and mentioned in the Library of America newsletter. Man, I hope they do a full Howard book soon.

Wednesday is Clark Ashton Smith day, as we at The Cimmerian celebrate Clark Ashton Smith's birthday. The illustrations therein (apart from the Fantasy Masterworks picture) are all by yours truly: the lineart very old stuff from 2005 or thereabouts, and the CG pictures two years later. One of these days I'm going to get my "Empire of the Necromancers" short finished and put it up on youtube. Those poor guys on the Eldritch Dark forums have probably been on tenterhooks.

Saturday get some Conan casting news. Seriously, of all the recent Conan contenders, two are former Abercrombie & Finch models, and two are Twilight alumnus. One is both. What kind of crazy world is it that underwear models and teenybopper heartthrobs can be considered for freaking Conan.

Just as well the film's already a disaster, otherwise I might be upset about it. As it is, I really want to see if Nispel can turn Mears into a romantic protagonist. I gotta say, they need to get a good thespian for Tamara, since it'll need a great actor to make Mears believably turn girls to hot butter on a skillet.

Also, an update on the Nostalgia Critic Conan the Barbarian/Conan the Destroyer review: I got in contact with Rob Walker the proprieter, and let's just say there's no need to worry on the Howard front. The only things that will be the target of scrutiny will be the films themselves, and Rob's even written in a special gag for us Howard fans. Awesome stuff, and it only cements my appreciation of them.

Friday 15 January 2010

Perez Hilton, kindly shut up.

Be warned, big rant coming up. I've done too many rants this week, I really should do something cheerful. Maybe that new Transformers game.

Wednesday 13 January 2010

A New DeCampista Appears!

Looks like Gary Romeo and Steve Allsup are in good company, for a fellow by the name "Bladesaint" is extolling the virtues of the Lancers over at the Age of Conan Forums.

My advice is read the Lancer/Ace series if you can find them. It's Howard's most popular series by a huge margin.

It's Howard's most popular series by a wide margin because it was the first major Howard series published in the cheap, easy-to-print and disseminate paperback format. There's nothing in them that isn't already in the Del Reys, unedited, unexpurgated, and untainted with nonsense.

Monday 11 January 2010

Triangulation: Barbarians, Painbrushes, Hobbits, & Avatars

Another semi-busy week.

First off, I join in the Tolkien birthday celebrations, with my next "Barbarians of Middle-earth" article. I have to say, one of my favourite bits in Jackson's The Return of the King was that big tattooed Haradrim Mumak-driver, grunting and yawping like mad. He wasn't like any Haradrim I imagined, but he was fun, one of the few characters that I found engaging, for all the second he appears. I was very sad to see him killed in such ludicrous fashion: I was hoping for a big showdown with Theoden (like in the books) but apparently it was more important for Eomer to kill two Mumaks with one shot. Because as anyone knows, the best way to make the odds look insurmountable is to have the five-story monsters insultingly easy to kill.

I also have to love Jackson's wish to avoid racist stereotypes by, effectively, just switching the targets. Instead of possibly being insensitive to Muslims, let's just be insensitive to Pacific Islanders and Polynesians. Rather than, you know, emphasising the fact that the Haradrim are at best deceived, and at worst enslaved, by Sauron? In the half-hour epilogue bonanza, would it have killed them to have spend a few seconds to show the reconciliation between Gondor and the Haradrim, thus solidifying the idea that these guys were alright when they weren't ruled by the darkest, most insidious force on the planet? Argh. It just bugs me.

On Tuesday, I do a proper tribute to Dan "PainBrush" Goudey. A week later, and I still can't believe it.

Wednesday, and I have to comment on The Hobbit casting call. I really think the script is what lets down the Jackson Lord of the Rings films for me: simplistic dialogue smooshed together awkwardly with Tolkien's prose, mucking about with the story and characters, leaving out great scenes from the book and replacing them with half-baked fan fiction. I really hope TORN is right, and this doesn't reflect the film at large. I still demand Brian Blessed as Balin.

Saturday is Avatar time. I went into the film extremely skeptical. All the talk I heard about it being a masterpiece and a "game-changer" simply ellicited the contrary aspect of my personality ("five stars, eh? We'll see about that!") Still, I was pleasantly surprised. Stephen Lang was distilled, deep-fried, eighteen-months-matured, gold-plated awesome. The effects were remarkably convincing, and I'm the sort of guy who thinks the special effects in Jurassic Park were the apex of CGI (and still do, as a matter of fact). Pandora's world and creatures, while hardly anything I've never seen before, were beautifully realised.

Still, it ain't perfect. The plot is really, really straightforward, with absolutely zero suprises. Sigourney Weaver does a great job, but I hated her character, who came across as obnoxiously abrasive in the beginning, to the point that I didn't really care when she died. Jake Sully was a compete imbecile: what kind of idiot tries to bat away a seemingly magical thing immediately after he was already chastised for it? "Baby" indeed. All I can say is now that James Cameron films dominate the top two grossing blockbusters, he's going to be insufferable.

There was one dilemma not related to plot: who would I be backing, the robots or the "dinosaurs"? Since the giant mechanised suits weren't technically "robots," it was easy to back the dinosaurs. Damn, I'd love to see a proper Dinotopia done like this.

One thing bugs me though: the Na'vi use feathers on their arrows, yet I didn't see a single feathered lifeform on Pandora. The birds all had slick membranous wings. So where were the Na'vi getting their feathers?

Baz Bamigboye Doesn't Like Being Told He's Wrong

Baz Bamigboye is a prat.

When Robert E. Howard penned stories in the 1930s about his comic book hero Solomon Kane, he would write of nubile lovelies in need of rescue by the 'vengeful Puritan' (as Kane was known).

The phrase "nubile lovelies" is misleading, giving the impression that the 'vengeful Puritan" was going to engage in some very non-Puritan activities. It's also a complete crock.

Surprise Quiz: how many Solomon Kane stories feature "nubile lovelies in need of rescue"? Answer: two I can think of, "The Blue Flame of Vengeance" and "The Moon of Skulls," and calling little Marilyn "nubile" is really pushing it. Two stories. Out of nine complete stories, four fragments, and three poems. Two. So no, he kind of wouldn't "write of nubile lovelies in need of rescue" when it comes to the Kane stories.

Many feminists have complained that Howard demeaned women, and in his Kane tales that's probably true

No, it probably isn't. There are only a handful of women in the Kane tales to begin with, but they are hardly the worst in Howard's fiction, let alone pulp fiction at large. Marilyn is a virginal, tortured girl who's had to put up with untold horror, and who Kane considers to be incredibly brave and resilient: hardly "demeaning." Nakari, while depraved, sapphic and predatory, is also the Queen of Negari, and is the absolute ruler of the kingdom. She's large and in charge: also hardly "demeaning." The girl from "Blue Flame" I can't remember, but I seriously doubt she'd be particularly egregious.

Of all the Howard series to consider "demeaning to women," the Kane series is the last one that I'd suppose. Shoddy journalism.

(although he also wrote the Conan the Barbarian books, and there's nothing subservient about Red Sonja)

But, of course, no amount of mud could diminish our heroine's beauty.

I think that last line's from the 1930s as well...

Cute. If I could get Baz into a room with Red Sonya for five minutes...

Now, here's the interesting part: I posted a comment repeating the above sentiments shortly after it was printed. Yet now, lo and behold, my comment has mysteriously vanished, and Mr Bamingboye's article is no longer accepting comments!

This is entirely appropriate to Mr Bamigboye's character: he is notorious for having a massive ego, and I've read more than a few of his hissy fits recounted in Private Eye. I don't think I'll bother going over to his blog, since I doubt he'd be receptive to me calling him out on his half-baked "journalism."

Sunday 10 January 2010

May Crom disregard you, Amsterdamaged!

Amsterdamaged is a friend of S.H.I.E.L.D.W.A.L.L: like the agents, he is ready and willing to defend and promote REH in some of the most wretched hives of scum and villainy in the internet.

This particular gem is from the IMDB. Because the moderators clean out the forums periodically, much discussion is lost. Usually this is for the better, but occasionally some really good stuff is consigned to the aether.

As such, I wanted to keep this from such a fate, because it's pretty damn awesome. It is said that the best thing a Cimmerian can do to please Crom, is to ensure he never calls himself to the grim god's attention. With that in mind, may Crom disregard you for your tireless efforts, Amsterdamaged!

Thursday 7 January 2010


This here. It's from 2007, but Crom damn it I can't leave it alone. Someone has to take this ridiculous post to task for posterity.

Let's destroy this, shall we?

Sunday 3 January 2010

Triangulation: Trifectas, DeCampistas, Reviews, Kush & Almuric

I'm really down about Painbrush's passing, so this'll likely be brief. I really wish the new year got off to a better start. This was going to be the year I finally met Painbrush at Howard Days, and it tears me up knowing I won't. Damn it.

On Monday, I'm a bit late to the table regarding a trifecta of Weird Tales poetry books: I thought I was being a good little reporter with an awesome scoop, but it turns out I was late to the table. Oh well, any excuse for that awesome picture.

On the penultimate day of the year, the DeCampista Awards make their debut. I think Mark's idea is brilliant: I'm sure some will be going "but why even give them an award? You'll just encourage them!" To which I would counter: there is no way anyone would take this as a badge of pride. Except maybe Gary.

So as not to go out on a sour note, I saved the best for the last day of 2009: a review of the year. There are probably a few things I missed, but this is all the stuff I felt most relevant.

Also that day, a quick post about Charles R. Saunders' Kush essay, making a return to public after thirty-odd years. I've been meaning to ask Charles about that essay he did about Kush for Savage Sword.

The Saturday post, and the first of the new year and decade, is devoted to Almuric. I have big plans for this series over the year: chapter analysis, comparison to other stories by Howard and others, as well as a few extra surprises.

The Barbarians of Middle-Earth: The Haradrim

"But we have our tales too, and news out of the South, you know. In the old days hobbits used to go on their travels now and again. Not that many ever came back, and not that all they said was believed: news from Bree, and not sure as Shiretalk, as the sayings go. But I've heard tales of the big folk down away in the Sunlands. Swertings we call 'em in our tales; and they ride on oliphaunts, 'tis said, when theey fight. They put houses and towers on the oliphauntses backs and all, andd the oliphaunts throw rocks and trees at one another. So when you said "Men out of the South, all in reed and gold," I said "were there any oliphaunts?" For if there was, I was going to take a look, risk or no. But now I don't support I'll ever see an oliphaunt. Maybe there ain't no such a beast."
 - Samwise Gamgee, The Lord of the Rings, Book IV, Chapter III, “The Black Gate is Closed”
 This week, in celebration of Toller’s eleventy-eighth birthday, I’ll look at some of his Men of Darkness, the Haradrim: exploring their appearance, history, culture, historical and Howardian analogues, and their motivations for aligning with Sauron. Far from the faceless, generic “bad guys” a surface analysis would suggest, the Haradrim are very human, and the monster they became in the Third Age was created not just by Sauron, but by the protagonists’ own ancestors. A stark rebuttal of the black-and-white morality some critics level on Tolkien’s peoples, the Haradrim have a long and complicated history.

Farewell Dan, Painbrush

The Robert E. Howard forum was shocked to learn of the untimely death of Dan, there known by the username Painbrush, from his girl Sheila.

I really can't think of what to say, or rather, how to properly encapsulate. This is going to be one of those stream-of-consciousness posts.

Dan was one of my favourite first memories of the community: when I introduced myself five years ago, I remember him welcoming me to the fold. I thanked him, and slyly mentioned how jealous I was that he picked such a great handle. I really was a little bit jealous: Painbrush is a great username.

Dan and I never butted heads over anything, but I remember he was involved in some legendary donnybrooks, be it over Howard's writing, his reputation, his worldbuilding, or even something daft. The man was one hell of a Robert E. Howard fan, and took no prisoners in that approach. Though Dan's unique typing fashion and fantastic comedy style made him a great figure of fun on the forum, he showed remarkable insights. For all his "caveman on a computer" persona, there was a fiercely intelligent brain in that noggin: his post on "The Frost-Giant's Daughter" was full of it.

I'm truly glad to have known Dan, even if only over the internet. His jokes always got a laugh out of me, his more serious thoughts were deceptively intelligent and well-thought out regardless of whether I agreed or not, and the forum will be a less colourful place without him.

I'm so sorry, Sheila. Rest assured, the Robert E. Howard forum are with you. As Howard would say, we will all drink to his shade.

Saturday 2 January 2010

Dark Worlds Unguessed By Man: Robert E. Howard's Almuric

I’m not entirely sure why I’ve been holding off on writing about Almuric: perhaps it’s difficult for me to write about perhaps the single most important Howard work in my personal journey. Almuric was the first Howard story I read, one of a glut of adventure stories I devoured when I was still in the single digits, and so it’s obviously quite special to me. It’s one of a few books that I’m fairly comfortable in saying shaped my future reading tastes in genre fiction. As part of my New Year’s Resolution, I plan on writing about Almuric throughout 2010, chapter by chapter, discussing the themes, characters, plot, writing, and extended history of this unusual and controversial story. I’ll also be looking at the various editions of the story: Grant, Leonaur, and the recent Paizo, among others, in order to judge which is the best edition of the novel.