Wagner October Reprise


It has been quite a month for fans of Karl Edward Wagner. For days following the dawn of October 13, there were memorial pieces posted all over the Internet, testifying to KEW’s continuing, vibrant legacy. We here at The Cimmerian did our part.

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Samhain at The Cimmerian, 2009


As a colder-than-normal October wanes into November, the Light Half of the year gives way to the Dark Half of the year (as they would say in old Ireland), with a hunter’s moon on the rise.

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The Hidden Script Within the Conan “Casting Breakdown”

It has been pointed out to me that when I recently commented upon/railed against the “casting breakdown” for the upcoming Conan movie from Lionsgate, I spent a lot of time looking at the various innovative and exciting characters therein, but spent little time teasing out the fairly detailed synopsis which can be read between the lines. So, with all disclaimers, I present below what I gleaned from the myriad hints in the “casting breakdown” as far as the plot of the film (such as it is) is concerned. (Continue reading this post)

Brütal Legend

I’m not that big a fan of heavy metal, Jack Black or video games, but for those who are, this might be of interest. Though they namecheck Frazetta,, but not Howard, in the wiki write-up, Howard’s influence is seen in some of the promo material. Another review here.

Possible Conan TV Production From Carlton in the UK


Over on the Official Robert E. Howard Forum, this was just posted by a member with the handle of “TortolaBVI”:

28 years ago, British television company Carlton Television, which was (and is) part of the massive ITV network, paid an extremely large sum to be one of the first terrestrial channels to be able to broadcast the motion picture Conan The Barbarian. An additional clause in the deal stated that Carlton television would have complete right to adapt for the television medium original works by Robert E Howard under the proviso that said work was in the public domain. Bearing in mind that this deal was made in 1981, The rightsholders to Conan really were not concerned with a date that was a quarter of a century away. Carlton Television did not have the rights to create original material. Everyone got that? They could create original material provided it did not make up more than 10% of any adaptation of an original Robert E Howard public domain story.

Which is where we are at, at the moment. The production has finance firmly in place to the tune of £7m, has a new director onboard (Mr Graham Harper has left due to scheduling commitments but was outstanding in helping find his replacement) the script has undergone revision to tighten the narrative, and a number of locations have been scouted.

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(Mis)casting Call For a Barbarian (y’all better sit down for this one)



WARNING: The review below has been written in full “snark” mode. It is about four thousand words long. You might want to grab a drink (a strong one) or a sandwich (or both)…


In the past few weeks, there have been persistent rumors of Jared Padelecki, the co-star of the series, Supernatural, being cast as a “young Conan.” This provoked dismay amongst many Conan fans. Personally, I had a “wait and see” attitude about it.

More troubling news was posted on the Official Robert E. Howard Forum recently, thanks to Pete Roncoli. A “casting breakdown,” to be used for casting actors to appear in the projected new Conan movie (set to begin shooting in Bulgaria in February 2010), has been leaked to the Internet. This guideline does more than reveal what a casting director is to look for.  Putting together the clues within it provides a fairly detailed synopsis of the script. Many fans have already done so, and they are on the war-path like blood-mad Picts. Below you’ll find my commentary, accompanied by excerpts from the guideline as posted on Moviehole.net: (Continue reading this post)

Sword-and-Sorcery in Alter Ego #92


Courtesy of Bill Thom’s Coming Attractions website…

ALTER EGO #92 presents Sword-and-Sorcery in the Comics, Part 3! – Coming in March 2010! (Continue reading this post)

REH’s “Pigeons From Hell” Onstage at Greystone Mansion


The Nom de Guerre Theatre Guild is proud to announce that the 2009 Wicked Literature Halloween Theatre Festival will debut at Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills. Wicked Lit will be produced as a joint venture between Nom de Guerre and Theatre 40 in association with the City of Beverly Hills Recreation and Parks Division.

The plays featured for 2009 include:

The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe ~ Adapted and Directed by Paul Millet
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving ~ Adapted by Jonathan Josephson & Directed by Paul Millet
Pigeons from Hell by Robert E. Howard ~ Adapted and Directed by Jeff G. Rack (Continue reading this post)

“The Ultimate of Desperate Circumstances”: The Battle off Samar

The Battle off Samar, thus unexpectedly joined at 0648 (on October 25,1944), was the most remarkable of the Pacific war, since the tactics had to be improvised.

–Samuel Eliot Morison, from The Two-Ocean War 


It was difficult deciding what battle to commemorate today. I finally settled on the Battle off Samar for several reasons. One reason is that it was just one helluva scrap. Another being that Samar, and the Battle of Leyte Gulf which encompassed it, is largely neglected and/or forgotten, even by many who consider themselves “World War Two buffs,” this despite the fact that the events centered upon the Gulf of Leyte ended up breaking the Imperial Japanese Navy. The awe-inspiring bravery of the men at Samar warrants remembrance on this sixty-fifth anniversary of the battle. (Continue reading this post)

Of Twenty-Fifths… and Giving the Dauntless Their Due



Enter the OE, bookmarking his place in “The Black Stranger”:

Rather proclaim it, Doc Pod, online and off,
That he which hath no ideas for this Mailing,
Let him gafiate; his name from the roster stricken,
And dues refunded put into his man-purse;
We would not zine in that fan’s company
That spares not his weekend to zine with us.
This day is call’d the feast of [Tim] Marion,
He that outlives this day, and comes safe to #201,
Will stand a tip-toe when this Mailing is nam’d,
And rouse him at the thought of August of ‘06
He that shall zine this day, and live to look like Burl Ives,
Will quarterly one night neglect the remote,
And say ‘Twas not always but a single section.’
Then will he fetch his stacks and show his zines,
And say ‘These printing problems I had in Mailing #200.’
All shall be Mylared; or sold off on eBay,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What pages he filled that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as usual suspects —
Indy the OE, Rippke and Trout-in-the-Dark,
Richter and Gramlich, Romeo and Sea-Burke
Be in their flowing cups beerily remembered.
This story shall the good fan teach his son;
And deadlines shall ne’er force FedEx,
From this Mailing to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered —
We few, we serconn’d few, we apa of brothers;
For he today that sheds his ink with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so minacked,
This day shall excuse his reprint;
And gentlefans at innercircle now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap while any speaks
That zined with us for Mailing #200.

The above was penned by Steve Tompkins on July 25th, 2006, exhorting his REHupan brethren in Bard of Avonic fashion to make the heroic effort that culminated in REHupa Mailing #200.

It seems hard for me to believe that Tompk posted that tribute to King Harry’s pre-game speech as given on the morn of the Battle of Agincourt (as envisioned by Shakespeare) without being aware that he was doing so on the twenty-fifth of July. Steve Tompkins was nothing if not mindful of the passing of time and of the importance of observing anniversaries. He was certainly capable of seeing unlikely, but fitting, connections. (Continue reading this post)