Tuesday, 13 July 2010

It's a conspiracy! A conspiracy, I tells ya!

Just a few days ago, I was pondering the awesomeness that was Mark Finn doing a panel on Robert E. Howard in the comics, featuring Paul Sammon and Kurt Busiek.  This, in addition to the presence of the upcoming "Conan" film possibly including star appearances and even footage, as well as John Milius being in the vicinity.  It coulda been one for the books!

Sadly, Comic-Con in their infinite wisdom have decided not to bother with the REH in Comics panel.

We wanted to be the first to let you know that the REH panel, unfortunately, has been cancelled by Comic-Con programming. Due to scheduling restrictions that would not allow the existing panel to be transferred to Robert E. Howard Properties or one of its licensees, the decision was made by Comic-Con not to proceed. We would have been supportive of a panel on Robert E. Howard and his important role in the world of comics, as we have been in the past. We hope that next year a more collaborative effort will be made to create the ultimate REH panel.

Words cannot express how excruciatingly lame this bullshot is.  The new Conan film is kicking up a notch.  John Milius is going to be there.  We have tons of Robert E. Howard-related comics on the go.  This would have been a perfect opportunity to engage the attendees, telling them all about Robert E. Howard.

I rarely use this obnoxious internet neologism, but...

Fail, Comic-Con.  Fail.

The last line from Jay suggests a hope for next year being more coordinated.  Next year's a bumper year for Robert E. Howard anniversaries: the 25th anniversary of Howard Days; the 50th anniversary of Glenn Lord's seminal The Howard Collector; the 75th anniversary of Howard's death; and the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of the city of Cross Plains.  Obviously, Howard Days 2011 will be huge, but it'd be just swell if Comic-Con continued the REH celebrations.

All I can hope is that Mark and the gang will still go to Comic-Con, even without the panel.  Someone needs to represent REH there, and who better than the author of Blood and Thunder?  Everyone needs to get over to Comic-Con and kick up a fuss.  Grill the Conan movie people.  There's no reason to be afraid of being aggressively nerdy - this is freaking Comic-Con.  If ever there was a time and a place to voice concerns about a film adaptation's fidelity to the source material, it's at one of the largest gatherings of nerds on the face of the earth.  Press them for information, chip away until they give something more about the production than just "the script is totally faithful to Howard's World" and "everyone on set is reading the stories."

Of course, I can't fly to San Diego, much as I'd love to (if I had the funds, I'd stay for months in the US, travelling cross-country for Howard Days, E3, Botcon, and Comic-Con), but us Howard fans can't just shut up about this.  The people need to know!

EDIT: The Keegans have dropped by with more information on the canceled panel, and since nobody (save the BOOM! studios editor) was actively working on an REH comic, it seems more logical for them to find things problematic.  At the same time, it's a shame they couldn't get, say, Tim Truman to swing by.  Ah well.

Also, thanks to Rusty Burke for clarifying the anniversaries.


  1. Now I won't feel so bad about having to miss Comic-Con, I was getting angsty that I couldn't be there-specifically for that panel.

  2. I'm afraid I have a different, and more paranoid, take on this.

    "Due to scheduling restrictions that would not allow the existing panel to be transferred to Robert E. Howard Properties or one of its licensees, the decision was made by Comic-Con not to proceed."

    Could it be that REH Properties doesn't want anything to rock their ship of fail that is the "Conan" movie, and thus made unreasonable demands on the con in order to get the panel "canceled"?

    "We would have been supportive of a panel on Robert E. Howard and his important role in the world of comics, as we have been in the past"

    But we have a POS movie we reeealy need to pimp to the great unwashed, so the panel had to be quashed.

    "We hope that next year a more collaborative effort will be made to create the ultimate REH panel."

    Yes, after the movie has (please Crom) come and gone like a fart in a wind tunnel.

    Fail, Comic-Con. Fail.?

    No, more like FAIL, REH Properties! FAIL!

    (WTF does REH Properties have to do with, in essence, a fan-run panel?)

  3. I was the same, David. At least now we can concentrate on the movie's nonsense.

    Tex, you've kinda hit my conspiracy fears right on the head. And frankly, you can see it from their point of view: when you're trying to promote a multi-million dollar film, it would be counterproductive to have a panel featuring one of the top REH authorities who isn't 100% behind the picture and won't make no bones about it none dern tootin', to say the least.

    But, again, I'd wager all this is just REH Properties kowtowing to Lionsgate's demands. It was Lionsgate who forced the moratorium on script discussion on the REH Forums, after all. I don't see how Mark would be averse to working with REH properties to get the panel going, since he's worked well with them before.

    The less crazy conspiracy theory is that they just want all the REH/Conan stuff in one place, easily manageable for maximum impact. Unfortunately, it's all going to be centered around the U.S.S. Wrath of Zym.

    Still, nothing stops this from being a fail.

  4. If I may stoop to nitpickery, just a couple of clarifications re: next year's anniversaries:

    "the 25th anniversary of REHupa and Howard Days" -- next year will actually be the 39th anniversary of REHupa, but it will be the 25th anniversary of the first trip by REHupans to Cross Plains, and the first REH Day

    "the 100th anniversary of Cross Plains" -- It will be the centennial of the *incorporation* of the city of Cross Plains. The name "Cross Plains" was adopted when they got a post office around 1877-78, so the settlement had been there for a while before that.


  5. This just in to the W*A*R*P* Pirate Radio Newsroom...

    Jay@Paradox said today on the REH Forums...

    "It is our understanding that Lionsgate will not have a presence with Conan at Comic-Con this year."

    (set phasers on FAIL, Lionsgate)

  6. Hi Al,

    A correction to your post, please -- the panel in question was NEVER going to feature Gary Gianni, Mark Schultz, or the Keegans. None of us were ever asked to be part of it (and besides, neither Gary nor Mark has ever done REH comics anyway).

    According to info posted on the Comic Con site, the panel consisted of an editor from Boom (a company that publishes an unlicensed REH comic), and an editor from Dynamite (a company that doesn't publish any REH comics at all, but probably wouldn't mind if everyone thought that Red Sonja was an REH character).

    Apparently Finn, Busiek, and Sammon were all to be on the panel, but even in that group only Busiek has ever created REH comics.

    Our guess is that the problem here has nothing to do with the Conan movie, and everything to do with the fact that no one who is CURRENTLY producing licensed REH comics was included as part of this panel on REH comics.

  7. Cheers for the corrections and apologies, Rusty, I'll address them forthwith. Again, I'd blame my passionate disgruntlement causing me to shoot for the hip (I really must stop doing that). "Cross Plains" was intended as a placeholder before I figured out what the specific anniversary was, so thanks again.

    In regards to the guests for the panel, I was going by what Mark said, and preemptively assumed you'd be part of the panel. I admit I was a bit confused by the inclusion of Mark S and Gary, since I wasn't aware of them being involved in REH comics. So, thanks for the clarification, Jim/Ruth, and I'm super duper chuffed to see you drop by my little abode!

    Tex, are you insinuating that Empire's information may have been incorrect? I am scandalized, outraged and appalled! Dammit, Lionsgate, get yer act together.

  8. Too many dumb bastards involved.

  9. Indeed, Anon.

    *By the way, the "apologies" in the last comment were on my part, as the semantics of the sentence might've been a bit whacked out.