Thursday 30 September 2010

Atop the Fourth Wall takes Pat Lee to task

Gaze upon the peerless technical skill Pat Lee displays in showing such wide ranges of emotion as despair, terror, disbelief, triumph and rage!

Pat Lee is somewhat infamous in Transformers fandom. When a man doesn't pay his employees because he splashed out on a "company" Porsche, you know the guy's a bit of a scoundrel.

Wednesday 29 September 2010

Conan Stats

No, not for an RPG: there are plenty of those.

I was considering, possibly as a section on "Robert E. Howard for Newbies," to have a small list crunching the numbers of certain elements, tropes and archetypes in the Conan stories.

For example, how many times does the phrase "mighty thews" appear in the Conan stories?  The answer may surprise you.  How many times does Conan utter some variation of "Crom"?  How many of the stories end with Conan riding into the sunset with the treasure under his arm? How often does Conan defeat the villain of the tale? Does Conan really face more dark-skinned foes than white, or is that just a big fat lie with absolutely no basis in the stories whatsoever?  How many stories feature another protagonist, and of those, how many are arguably the main character, above Conan himself?  How many times does Conan encounter a giant snake, or ape, or Cthulhoid horror, and how often does he kill them? How many damsels does Conan rescue?  What's Conan's favourite type of sword, clothing, armour, drink, and food?  How many of them does Conan actually have a relationship with in the stories?  What percentage are blond, or lily-white, or buxom?

Everyone throw suggestions for "Conan Facts": be it little things you'd like to know yourself, or something you think more people should remember.

Tuesday 28 September 2010

Conan the Barbarian Review Reviews: Grand Illusion Cinema tackles the Conan films

Time for another Review Review.  Syon, feel free to skip this one.

Conan The Barbarian is a sweeping fantasy epic from the days when they knew how to make a sweeping fantasy epic. The formula was a simple one: hire a bodybuilder, don’t give him any dialogue, and make sure he’s packing an enormous sword; then add is an evil wizard, and a scantily clad female or two and you’ve got the recipe for pretty much every swords and sorcery epic of the 1980′s.

That's what I've been trying to tell everyone! Bodybuilders, big swords, evil wizards, scantily clad females do not make a Conan movie.  They make a Big Dumb Sword-and-Sorcery movie.  From Ator to Zardoz, those elements can be found in all the useless Sword-and-Sorcery movies out there.  How one distinguishes a Conan movie - be it Milius or Howard - from any of the others relies looking beyond those elements shared by them.

Produced by Dino De Laurentis—who was certainly no stranger to spectacle—both Conan films (Barbarian and Destroyer) embodied the larger than life ideals of the Marvel Comics. It is true that Robert E. Howard invented the character of Conan, but neither film really captures his storytelling which was all  manly action and gore-spurting combat. Instead the films attempt to humanize the mighty Cimmerian and make him more than just an iron thewed killing machine. The result is an uneven, yet awesome pair of films in which Conan falls in love, loses his lover, sexes up a werewolf, fails to be seduced by either a simpering princess, or the terrifyingly oiled-up Grace Jones, and then goes head to head with a giant rubber snake.

... Right.  Because it isn't as if we see Conan's more contemplative side in "Beyond the Black River," "The Black Stranger," "Queen of the Black Coast," "The Tower of the Elephant," or "The Phoenix on the Sword" - you know, the very first Conan story.

Now he laid down the golden stylus with which he had been laboriously scrawling on waxed papyrus, rested his chin on his fist, and fixed his smoldering blue eyes enviously on the man who stood before him. This person was occupied in his own affairs at the moment, for he was taking up the laces of his gold-chased armor, and abstractedly whistling – a rather unconventional performance, considering that he was in the presence of a king.

"Prospero," said the man at the table, "these matters of statecraft weary me as all the fighting Ihave done never did..."

"...I did not dream far enough, Prospero. When King Numedides lay dead at my feet and I tore the crown from his gory head and set it on my own, I had reached the ultimate border of my dreams. I had prepared myself to take the crown, not to hold it. In the old free days all I wanted was a sharp sword and a straight path to my enemies. Now no paths are straight and my sword is useless.

When I overthrew Numedides, then I was the Liberator – now they spit at my shadow. They have put a statue of that swine in the temple of Mitra, and people go and wail before it, hailing it as the holy effigy of a saintly monarch who was done to death by a red-handed barbarian.

When I led her armies to victory as a mercenary, Aquilonia overlooked the fact that I was a foreigner, but now she can not forgive me...."

"No, Prospero, he’s beyond my reach. A great poet is greater than any king. His songs are mightier than my scepter; for he has near ripped the heart from my breast when he chose to sing for me. I shall die and be forgotten, but Rinaldo’s songs will live for ever."

My goodness, that's a totally emotionless, robotic, iron-thewed killing machine right there, isn't it?

I'm consistently baffled by this idea that Milius' Conan "humanized" Robert E. Howard's, as if Howard's character was some sort of boring one-dimensional slayer with no depth or vulnerabilities. Have these people not read the stories, with Conan's sly self-depracating gallows humour, his philosophical outlook, his canny strategic mind, his appreciation of the arts?  Wait, don't answer that.

Not many films have managed to capture the feel of the comics that they are based on as well as the Conan films do. The characters may not be complicated, but they don’t have to be, because they are larger than life. Despite efforts to humanize them, they remain iconic. They may not be played by the greatest actors in the world, but each and every one of those actors is perfect for the role they are asked to play. We don’t want to see Conan deliver a fancy speech, we want to see him chop off Thulsa Doom’s head and roll it down the stairs like a bowling ball! We don’t want Grace Jones in a romantic roll, we want to see her hitting stunt men in the crotch with a pointy stick! All right thinking people want to see that (except for the stuntmen) and I can assure you, with Crom as my witness, that seeing these films at the Grand Illusion is one of those things that is best in life.

Oh really? You mean fancy speeches that make up some of the most fantastic dialogue in any of the Conan stories? For that matter, what is Konahns prayer to Krumm but a fancy speech in itself?

Also gotta love "all right thinking people."  Because the quality of a film, contrary to popular conception, is not subjective, and that there is in fact a "right" and "wrong" way of watching a film.There might be appropriate ways to watch a film and inappropriate ones, but that doesn't mean right or wrong.  Sure, one can try to look at a Joel Schumacher film from a critical perspective, but just because the film won't really stand up to as much scrutiny if viewed as anything other than a popcorn flick doesn't mean that it's wrong to try.

Monday 27 September 2010

Shadow's B-Movie Graveyard on Conan the Barbarian

A fairly comprehensive and impressive review of Conan the Barbarian.

Not that it isn't without its weird moments...

When viewed within context of existing Conan stories by creator Robert E. Howard, the film is somewhat of a patchwork affair, taking various ideas, characters, locations and names from the Hyborean age and melding them into a storyline that simultaneously has little and everything to do with the character. The look and feel of the people and world in the movie are most certainly recognizable as Conan, yet there is an odd emptiness that can be felt on occasion by many fans of the character’s literary origins. Something perhaps lost in translation from written word to silver screen.

"Somewhat" of a patchwork affair?  Ye gods.  Yet again, it's that nebulous "look and feel" being used.  The only phrase that annoys me more is "capture the spirit."  What is this "spirit" which is apparently captured?

Gotta laugh at the "odd emptiness."  As if fan disappointment at the film completely altering the backstory, philosophy and theme of the character was somehow odd.  Something sure was lost in translation: the character of Conan.  Heck, the reviewer seems to stumble upon this himself later:

In the same fashion that the film takes a hodgepodge of Conan lore and molds it into something new, likewise the film Conan is his own person…and being quiet, brooding and aloof is who he is.

Exactly. "Quiet, brooding and aloof" is exactly how I would not describe Howard's Conan.

Conan the Barbarian is a fun film. Certainly it is the best example of the Swords and Sorcery subgenre of fantasy films. Beyond that, it exudes a certain brutal and primitive charm. Not to be over analyzed, it exists purely on a popcorn movie level. Even to this day, it may be too violent for some people, especially kids. For those who like lots of talking in their epics, this film may not be for you. However, for those who like sweeping visuals that really add atmosphere to a story, this may be more to your liking – even if the story in question is a bare bones affair driven by plot more than character. Fans of fantasy films should check it out at least once, though don’t expect the deepness or intricacy of The Lord of the Rings.

And here I'd have to disagree.  I'd considering Conan the Barbarian easily as "deep" and "intricate" as Jackson's The Lord of the Rings.  Hell, I'd actually say it's deeper in some ways.  Jackson and company - like Milius - did Tolkien's greatest hits, with precious little of the subtlety or carefully balanced nuance of the source material.  What resulted in both cases were films telling the director's interpretation of the source material.  Sometimes they got things right - even Milius had Conan almost acting Conan-like in a few brief instances - other times, they got things wrong.  In both cases, I found the production design, costumes, props and score the best parts of the films by far.  Both are big action movies with a surprising amount of depth, though barely a fraction of the depth of their respective source material.

I will say Jackson definitely adapted The Lord of the Rings, though - Milius certainly didn't adapt Howard's Conan.

But then, I have to wonder about a review that says it's "not to be analyzed" and to be enjoyed "purely on a popcorn movie level"... right after a fairly lengthy analysis of the movie.  Hmm.

Sunday 26 September 2010

Robert E. Howard for Newbies

There are a few Conan and Howard FAQs out there, but I don't think one more would hurt.  I've been working on one about the Conan film for Conan Movie Blog, but it quickly grew into one that encompassed the Conan franchise and Howard himself.  It'll tackle all the silly myths, misconceptions and confusion about the character and his creator.  Sort of a mix between QI, Mythbusters and a general FAQ.

So here's the template of questions I'm working on answering.  If there are any that you fine folks think I should add, let me know!

Saturday 25 September 2010

BOOM! Studio's Hawks of Outremer #4 Preview

A preview of the penultimate issue of Hawks of Outremer is over at the Outhousers.

Now, I was planning on getting my mits on HoO as soon as I could, but I couldn't get up to Glasgow, and nowhere else nearby seemed to be selling the comic.  Luckily, I just recently got to rectify that, and purchased the first three issues.

Friday 24 September 2010

"Dammit, They Stole My Idea!": The Grande Age of Hyboria

I love alternate histories.  The idea of branching universes and realities is fascinating and awesome: from relatively realistic stories like Fatherland, The Man in the High Castle, to those with speculative fiction elements like Watchmen, The Island in the Sea of Time, District 9, and The New Dinosaurs.  I watched Sliders religiously.  It's no wonder the mirror universe episodes of Star Trek are some of my favourites (apart from Deep Space Nine's, because they are rubbish and silly) and those that deal with the ramifications of time travel, like The Next Generation's "Yesterday's Enterprise" and  Enterprise's "Twilight."

So, it followed that I considered alternate universes for the Hyborian Age.  What if Acheron didn't fall?  What if the Cataclysm never happened?  What if the Pictish and Hyrkanian invasions were repelled, and the Hyborian Kingdoms never fell - perhaps advancing to a different epoch of technology?  Say... Napoleonic?

Courtesy of James Maliszewski, I've discovered someone's beaten me to it.  Dammit.

Thursday 23 September 2010

Gateway to the Conan Mythos: Conan the Barbarian!?!

This is an... interesting article. (Bold emphasis mine)

After all that buildup of Robert E. Howard, it might seem odd to recommend an entry point he had nothing to do with. But what sets apart the original Conan The Barbarian movie (a remake is planned for 2011) is that its primary creative forces, director John Milius and screenwriter Oliver Stone, had a genuine affection for and understanding of the character. Milius, an old-school Hollywood conservative, was drawn to the warlike nature of the character and his simple, brutal philosophies, while Stone liked his essentially gloomy, melancholic nature. Stone’s script is full of lines drawn from Howard’s original Conan stories, and Milius infuses every scene with the lively pulp energy of the stories. They play a bit fast and loose with the character’s history, but overall, it’s one of the best realizations of Conan: effective, thrilling, and a perfect way to draw new fans into the mythos.
The film has plenty of other merits, as well; it provides a good overview of the geographies and cultures of Howard’s “Hyborian Age” (a thinly veiled amalgam of the classical era of a number of European and Asian cultures), and has a tremendous soundtrack by the late film composer Basil Poledouris. Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn’t do the world’s best acting job, but he looks perfect, and is surrounded by a great supporting cast. The action scenes are terrific, the dialogue is highly quotable, and it captures the spirit of Howard’s stories surprisingly well. (It also has an amusing DVD commentary track featuring a wry Milius and a goofy Schwarzenegger.)

Uh... huh.

Tuesday 21 September 2010

Jason Sanford: Robert E. Howard's Work Is Not Worth Preserving.

I got nothing else to say.

I'm formulating a response, but I urge everyone to jaunt over anyway.

EDIT: For some reason the site isn't accepting my comments.  I've tried cutting it up into little pieces, but that doesn't help.  I'll just post my thoughts here, and link to the article.

Monday 20 September 2010

More Mysterious Deleted Messages

We know how distorted a fact can become, even when passed through the mouths of a generation of fairly well educated people; how much more, then, must truths be twisted into myths at the hands of savages and barbarians through the ages. Sometimes it seems to me that there might be a blind spot in our conception of history and prehistory a whole undiscovered continent of facts, lying beyond our horizon; a vast, forgotten reservoir of knowledge, of which our modern sciences are but seepings, trickles from the greater store. I do not, of course, even put this forward as a supposition, but merely as a thought.
- Robert E. Howard, letter to Clark Ashton Smith, March 1934

I don't know how or why these messages keep getting deleted, but it's starting to concern me.  I'm presuming there's some moderator at Blogger that does this, or perhaps some automated system.  Who knows.  I'll have to look into it.  Let it be known that I do not delete any of my comments, no matter how much I disagree or am offended by them.

Another deleted comment came in my inbox today, this time involving my discussion of rampant Afrocentrism.  So I've been accused of sexism, now it only follows I be accused of racism as well.  I was afraid something like this would happen: fringe theories always bring the crazies, but there's an extra element to Afrocentrism that adds a level of racial discussion to proceedings, i.e. that this is a result of The Man keeping down the brothers by reducing the role of black people in history.  No doubt there are possibly incidents of this happening, but I seriously doubt it's to the extent that an entire nation of black people was "whitewashed."  Such a thing would be impossible to cover up or ignore.

And, of course, one cannot make the argument against, say, Ancient Egypt as being black without being branded a racist by that particular section.  I have little time for such arguments, since there's simply no arguing with them.  Being a white chap, there's no way to convince someone who's convinced that I'm racist that I'm not.  I can talk about my love of the many colourful cultures of Africa till the ngombe come home, but all that is naught to the mind of the crazed.

I can sympathize.  I too have suffered from fixation on the negative aspects of something, such as the less savoury comments in ... And Their Memory Was A Bitter Tree, and the other otherwise glowing introductions to books on or relating to Howard.  However, I also endeavour to point out the good elements in such cases, where present.  Unfortunately, the latest "Message Deleted" case doesn't appear to have that courtesy.

Sunday 19 September 2010

Mathias Thulmann: Witch Hunter and Solomon Kane

I fairly enjoy Warhammer.  There's something about the gloriously over-the-top, terribly British sense of excess in the Grim Dark Future, very much like 2000 A.D.'s legendary Judge Dredd.  Of course, after Warhammer 40,000 became a smash hit, its rustic counterpart - Warhammer Fantasy - came about.  I became more a fan of the unusual races like the indigenous Lizardmen, the grotesque Skaven, and the gothic Vampire Counts, rather than the traditional fantasy races, like the Orcs and Elves and Dwarves. That said, the Empire has its charms, particularly the not-very-subtle caricature of the inquisition, and their requisite counterpart to Matthew Hopkins, the Witch Hunter.

So cometh Mathias Thulmann: Witch Hunter.

The omnibus starts with an introduction by Mr Werner himself where he talks about Mathias Thulmann being his first character created for Black Library, his love of halloween, and the influences of Vincent Price's Anthony Hopkins and Robert E. Howard's Solomon Kane when creating Thulmann.

Oh ho!  (Presumably Lord of the Night, the poster, means Matthew Hopkins of Witchfinder General, as opposed to Anthony Hopkins of such films as Magic and Shadowlands.)

I'm going to have to track this book down now.

Saturday 18 September 2010

Solomon Kane: The Eternal Champion?

I thought I'd link to a very interesting review of Solomon Kane by Robert E. Howard Forumer Taran, who comments here as onelastsketch.  It's highly enlightening.

Friday 17 September 2010

The Robert E. Howard Reader is coming at last

Over at REH: Two-Gun Raconteur, Damon has alerted Howardom at large to the long-gestating Darrel Schweitzer critical anthology, The Robert E. Howard Reader.

Thursday 16 September 2010

Context is Everything?

I came across this months ago, but I feel I should discuss it all the same.

It's basically about what the blog author, tansyrr, looks for in anthologies.  Of course, it has a few things that... perplex me.

Wednesday 15 September 2010

Phase 1 Complete

Or, whadya think of the new look?

I had a wee look through the templates, fiddled with the colours, and came up with something I liked.  I tried to keep the background colours of the posts so they're like the old style.  Let me know if it's easy enough to read.  I'm also trying to figure out how to do the "click to read more" bit, though I'm having problems.  Any ideas, blogger users?  (EDIT: As you can see below, I've figured it out.)

Tuesday 14 September 2010

Red Sonja gets back to the mail byrnie

So says Eric Trautmann, who's taking over Red Sonja.

Well technically he says "mail tunic," but he's clearly referring to the original iteration of Red Sonja in the early days of Marvel's Conan the Barbarian.

Monday 13 September 2010

50 Science Fiction & Fantasy Authors SFX readers consider greater than REH

 (for 2008.  I can't find anything more recent.)

Well, the good news is Howard's in the top 100.

The bad news is, he isn't in the top 50.  Top 10 would be great.  Top 25 I wouldn't grumble overmuch, seeing tastes and opinion are what they are.  But he didn't even make it into the top 50?

Sunday 12 September 2010

Illustrating the differences between literary and cinematic Conan...

I'm not sure if this was what dianabluda10 intended, but her video does a pretty nice job of it, especially at this part.

Saturday 11 September 2010

Conan the Barbarian: A work of comic genius.

It's all so clear to me now. Conan the Barbarian is a comedy.

Sure, it has measures of profundity and some very serious and tragic elements, but upon my most recent viewing I've come to the conclusion that there is a lot of humour in Conan the Barbarian - and I believe most of it to be intentional.  Sure, you have the alleged "camp" elements and occasional special effects mishaps, but I never really noticed just how much comic material there is in the film.

Rewatching Conan the Barbarian again, I couldn't help but notice little things.  Sometimes it's a reference, sometimes it's a simple gag, and other times it's an attempt to make the world more "real."  I love Cobb's production design (even if it is more early/post Hyborian than the age of Conan, in my opinion) and there are so many elements that leap out at me. Some of these things are utterly hilarious.

Friday 10 September 2010

Day 365...

To Whomever finds this message...
It has been a year to the day since I was trapped in this strange, threatening place.  I cannot easily describe it, for it changes on a whim: some days it's a desert island, then after a night's sleep, it seems to transform into the surface of the moon. No rhyme or reason, no pattern, no predictions.  I could spend a day on the top of a freezing mountain, or weeks in a lightless subterranean cavern.  Most mysterious of all, I always find resources and supplies roughly nearby: whether they were left here by some predecessor, or placed here by whatever nameless presence is keeping me here, I cannot say.

Two hundred and thirty mission logs have been sent in whatever vessel I hope will reach civilization.  Since then, many things have occurred: I've been in contact with authors, journalists, artists and scholars; I've taken the banner of Howardom all across the internet; I've conversed with a little community of like minds.  On occasion, I've found that I can interact with the outside world, yet I suspect my messages are being tampered with, for in none of the responses do my contacts address my situation.  Something doesn't want the world to know I am here - but they will let people know I exist.  Why?

Currently, the place has the form of a jungle.  There is something in the bushes.  Big.  No telling what's lurking out there.  Better check it out...


So it's been a year to the day that The Blog That Time Forgot went online.  It's been great fun, and I'm immensely appreciative of everyone who's commented, read, linked or lurked here.

I think it's about time the place got a little decoration: I'll be overhauling the site over the next week.  It won't be too different, I hope, but it'll be nicer to look at.

Once again, thanks to everyone!

Thursday 9 September 2010

Fan Works and Mark Finn on El Borak

I might be quite sparse on TBTTF for a while, working on a big project (hint: it involves the alphabet), so for now, here are two cool little pieces of news to ruminate on.

First is the Robert E. Howard Forum's opening up of a new subsection for fan creations:

After many starts and stops, back and forth discussions, death knells and forlorn hopes, Fan Fiction has finally been approved for these forums.

Over the next few days a new forum will be added to the General Discussions family. This forum will be used for all fan material, including fiction, artwork, screenplays and poetry.

This means the existing poetry thread and the many amateur art threads will be relocated to this new home.

At present I am finalizing the rules for posting, but I wanted to give everyone a head's up.

Now let's see some of those creative juices....

You know what that means, chaps & chapettes?  Now we have pretty much official approval to engage in expansions to Howard's legend - in the hands of fans.  There are already a few fan creations dotted about the forums, so it'll be good to see this all in one place.  This just adds more incentive for me to get Born Out Of Shadowed Hills finished...

Another quick link to a question & answer session with Mark Finn with Damon Sasser of Robert E. Howard: Two Gun Raconteur:

Damon: I understand you are writing an original story for the first issue – can you share any details?

Mark: Well, I don’t want to give anything away, because it’s only 8 pages. But this was my charge: show the readers what makes El Borak such a bad-ass. I can tell you it’s about six and a half pages of El Borak doing what he does best: sword-fighting, shooting, riding, and in general taking care of business. In terms of the later Gordon stories, there’s only a handful to make Canon: the range of what El Borak does and can do is more implied than stated in those stories. So, I tried to do another twist on exactly the kinds of things El Borak would do in the course of his adventures. You know, it’s not El Borak making a bid for tribal warlord, or anything like that. I cleaved very closely to the REH stories. But, since it’s a comic book, too, I dropped in something that could be picked up for later, if necessary. I can tell you that this takes place about six months or so after “Hawks of the Hills.”

Now, just watch. When the book comes out, someone, probably someone we both know, will lambast me on the Conan forums: “El Borak would NEVER do those things, or talk like that!” (Laughs)

I'm sure you wouldn't have it any other way, Mark!

Wednesday 8 September 2010

Midnight Madness: Conan the Barbarian

I'm keeping busy with a couple of projects, but I just wanted to share this with everyone.

In between penning Apocalypse Now and establishing his position as chief propagator of Republican revenge fantasies with films like Red Dawn and Clear And Present Danger, writer-director John Milius introduced the world to Arnold Schwarzenegger, and through him, Conan The Barbarian

This sentence is a bit worrying: is it saying that John Milius introduced the world to Conan the Barbarian the film, or Conan the Barbarian the character?

Milius’ 1982 film (reworked from a script by Oliver Stone) plays with the same surprisingly subtle themes as the Robert E. Howard pulp stories that inspired it. In telling the tale of Conan’s vendetta against Thulsa Doom—the dark shaman and cult leader who slaughtered Conan’s people—Milius ruminates on the relation between civilization and violence, with references ranging from Nietzsche to Genghis Khan.

Notice how the article gives the distinct impression that "the tale of Conan’s vendetta against Thulsa Doom—the dark shaman and cult leader who slaughtered Conan’s people" is inspired by Howard, and that among Howard's "surprisingly subtle themes" are "references ranging from Nietzsche to Genghis Khan."

Articles like this come up all the time, sadly.

Tuesday 7 September 2010

Almuric... 2!?!

I'm really enthused to be name-dropped... well, anywhere.  Makes me feel all important-like.  Over at Black Gate, Tom Doolan talks about Almuric, and mentions the introduction to my series.  It occured to me that I haven't done anything on Almuric in months.  Nor have I continued the Gazetteer, Barbarians of Middle-earth, Frazetta & Howard, or The Land That Time Forgot.  Have to do something about that.

However, Tom drops an absolute bombshell late in the article:

Of significant note to fans, a sequel titled Almuric: Lost Gods is being written for release later this year by Mark Ellis, a prolific adventure writer who has contributed numerous additions to the Outlanders and Deathlands series from Gold Eagle.

A sequel to Almuric?

Monday 6 September 2010

Nomination for the 2010 F-ING MEN award (© Tex): Patrice Louinet, Jim Keegan and Leo Grin

There's a pantheon of Howard scholars who have contributed so much to the legacy of Howard studies, I imagine there are statues of them in some imaginary pantheon.  Patrice Louinet has once again proven why he should be counted among them, as he provides high definition scans (some courtesy of the Keegans and Leo Grin, so they deserve an equal share of the award) of all known photographs of REH on the Robert E. Howard Forums!

Sunday 5 September 2010

Well, this certainly explains his Conan pastiches.

Suddenly I have the overwhelming urge to write a new crossover: Conan vs the Street Sharks...

I haven't read any of Steve Perry's pastiches.  Nearly everyone I've talked to has told me to avoid, avoid, avoid - even those who like the pastiches. They appear to be for Conan completists only.  Still, this was a long time ago, so I assumed that Perry's dalliance with Conan was a relic of the past.  Until I came across this.

I'm unsure if this is the same Steve Perry who brought us such masterpieces as Conan the Fearless, Conan the Defiant, Conan the Indomitable, Conan the Freelance and Conan the Formidable, but if it is, then it's truly illuminating.

Saturday 4 September 2010

Conan Fan Film: Conan and the Tower of Tara Teth

jdraks announced over at the Robert E. Howard Forums that his brand new short Conan film was finished.


It's Conan and the Tower of Tara Teth.

Friday 3 September 2010

Another Shield in the Wall

There's a bit of electricity in the air.  I think something's coming: a teaser, a poster, an announcement.  News about the Conan film has been trickling, but very little of substance.  And as more news about Conan comes up, so more discussion about its relation to Howard and Conan the Barbarian will come up.

So we come to Arnold Sucked As Conan.

In an introductory post, DC outlines his plans for the blog. He notes that he isn't sticking purely to Arnold's conception of the character, but the film in general.  Something I'm most interested in is his plan to address some of the more ludicrous elements: in addition to the divergences from Howard, DC will discuss the silliness of the Wheel of Pain, and how it would not, in fact, be a particularly good way to build a Nietzchean Superman.  Crom knows there are many silly bits of this ilk in the film - the preposterous weapons of Rexor and Thorgrim and the woefully inaccurate sword-forging, for instance.

The first proper post discusses one of the most famous moments in the film - as well as one of the least Howardian.

And... well, he did suck as Howard's Conan.  I foresee many angry posts by Milius/Arnold/Stone fanboys attempting to argue otherwise, but ultimately, DC has the facts - not to mention the Robert E. Howard Shieldwall - on his side.  The only way one could argue that Arnold Did Not Suck As Conan is to say that he played the role Milius wrote for him - but that's not the scope of the blog, and besides the point.  The point is to illustrate why Arnold Sucked As Robert E. Howard's Conan, which is the point of contention between Howardists and Conan the Barbarian fans - in those occasions when we're dealing with two opposing points of view. There are certainly many people who are both Howard fans and CtB fans.  As I labour to point out, I am a fan of Conan the Barbarian.  I'm also a fan of the film and novel Starship Troopers.  Being a fan of both doesn't mean I'm not going to take a side.

Thursday 2 September 2010

Need More Hits? Just Add Bosoms!

It turns out that a post I made two weeks ago over at Conan Movie Blog has been popular.  Crazy popular: as of this posting, over fifteen thousand individual views since it was originally posted! And I think I have the bosoms to thank.  Sites as diverse as Beyond Hollywood, Cinema Blend, Screen Junkies, JoBlo, Furious Fanboys, Worst Previews, Fused Film, even one of my favourite places, Topless Robot, are linking to the two week old post.  I'd complain that they're awfully late to the party, but really, why complain given the hits we're getting?

Wednesday 1 September 2010

Mysterious Anonymous Posters, Vanishing Comments, and What Is A Feminist?

Something odd happened just the now: I got an email alert saying an anonymous poster left a comment at my discussion of Alison Flood's review of a Tanith Lee book, and the discussion of Howard therein.  Yet when I went over there, it had mysteriously vanished.  I can only assume Blogger fouled up, because I know I sure didn't delete it.  In any case, I felt the comment needed to be addressed, because the honour of Howardom was at stake.   

Someone was wrong.  On the Internet.