John Carter of Mars Is Coming to the Silver Screen

[redacted]’s impassioned post regarding Almuric got me to thinking about that novel’s primary inspiration and the fact that The Cimmerian has yet to even mention the forthcoming screen adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic novel, A Princess of Mars.

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A JRRT Birthday Post From Grognardia

James Maliszewski

Yesterday, James Maliszewski, proprieter of the Grognardia website, as well as a Friend of the Cimmerian, wrote up a thoughtful birthday post regarding Tollers. Primarily, the entry is concerned with the influence of the appendices for The Lord of the Rings upon James’ early role-playing gaming career. It’s a worthy piece and I advise the RPG-inclined to check it out.

However, while not exactly a quibble, I think it worth mentioning that Tolkien did not in reality “box in” or over-explicate his sub-creation of Middle-earth as much as some surmise. If one excludes The Silmarillion and considers only The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, then JRRT left vast areas of his world unexplored and saw fit to let many metaphysical questions remain unanswered. The only region given a thorough going-over was north-western Middle-earth and even that had large areas about which little was revealed, whether in the tales themselves or in the appendices.

In contrast, Robert E. Howard had Conan personally visit many more far-flung regions (though it appears Aragorn came close to matching the Cimmerian in his own wanderings). In Howard’s (barely) post-Hyborian Age yarn, “Marchers of Valhalla,” he had Hialmar’s Æsir war-band nearly circumnavigate the globe on foot. In addition, while no official ‘appendix,’ REH’s “The Hyborian Age” essay goes a long way towards fulfilling that function. 

Just something that occurred to me.

Sasser Revamps REH: Two-Gun Raconteur Website

Damon Sasser has been hard at work bringing a new look to the venerable REH: Two-Gun Raconteur website. Pretty slick. Damon has said that the Van Ostrand affair motivated him to put REH and his life (as opposed to Howard’s literary works) a bit more front-and-center at TGR, which will hopefully forestall similar debacles in the future. Check it all out here.

The Good Old Witch

Steve [Tompkins]once mentioned to me that it is worth considering why there is an almost complete lack of Mother-figures in Howard’s work. Is that big black hole where the hero’s mother should be indicative of some parental neurosis? Perhaps…but examples of stories lacking any mention of the hero’s mother are legion, and — thinking specifically of the pulp jungle — the last thing readers wanted was some old lady taking screen time away from the hero and damsel in distress. Those Brundage covers would start getting pretty scary.
–Leo Grin, In Defense of Hester Jane Ervin Howard

There is one mother figure that does stand out, as if to be the exception that proves the rule.  And that is the old witch Zelata, from The Hour of the Dragon.
True, her “children” are a wolf and an eagle, but her reception of the fugitive king, offering food and shelter (and death to his enemies) is quite motherly. She also shows him visions of things that have happened, and offers sound advice.  She is described as straight and tall, with clear-cut and aquiline features, not those of a common peasant woman. Howard clearly wanted this character to be impressive, and succeeded at making her so. In a fictional world full of sirens and sex toys, voluptuous babes and evil vixens, Zelata definitely stands out.

Somebody Dies and REH

Craig Clarke, proprieter of the literary blog, Somebody Dies, has been a busy man the last two years. Since the final week of December, 2007, Clarke has posted over two hundred entertaining and insightful reviews of genre novels ranging from westerns to hard-boiled noir to horror.

That was all well and good, but then last May Clarke discovered REH by way of Del Rey’s The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard. Clarke became a born-again, hard-core Howard-head and posted two more REH book reviews in fairly short order. In a mere six months, REH is now lodged in the midst of Clarke’s “Favorite Authors” list, right there amongst Lawrence Block, Ed McBain and Westlake. Clarke has also given Howard due honor by placing REH in his “Favorite Reads of 2009” list.

Here’s what Craig Clarke had to say about Robert E. Howard in his review of Crimson Shadows:

As a final note, I would just like to mention that, before being introduced to the work of Robert E. Howard, I was under the impression that fantasy was a tired genre with nothing to offer me. Also, short stories held no appeal. These two perceptions were turned on their ears upon entering Howard’s world. After only one book, The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard, I was an instant enthusiast, and Crimson Shadows has given me all the more reason to remain that way. It confirms my opinion (formed by the Horror Stories) that Robert E. Howard was a Great Writer and one who deserves to be reevaluated by those who feel that men who do their best communicating with swords, guns, and large fists are not to be taken seriously. This collection strongly suggests otherwise.  

I would welcome Clarke into the fold, but considering he’s now a Howard fan, I’ll just say, “Welcome to the pack.”

Imaro: The Naama War Is Finally Here

Imaro versus Bohu

The Cimmerian just heard the word via the Drums of Nyumbani: the long-awaited fourth novel in Charles R. Saunders’ Imaro series is now available from Imaro: The Naama War brings to a close the epic first chapter in the life of CRS’ iconic Sword-and-Sorcery hero, Imaro.

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Weird Yuletide Tales, Past and Present

Yukon versus the Bumble

Those who hunger for Yultide fables with a different spin can find such here in the archives of The Cimmerian.

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Charles R. Saunders Reviews Wind Follower at Black Gate

Legendary Sword-and-Sorcery author, Charles R. Saunders, has posted another guest blog over at the Black Gate site. In this entry, he looks at Carole McDonnell’s Wind Follower. CRS dubs McDonnell’s particular brand of fantasy “Sword-and-Soul.” Check it out.

Doc versus Bumble! The fate of Christmas hangs in the balance…



I discovered this cover for a Doc novel that “should have been” over at James Reasoner’s most excellent site, Rough Edges. From there, it was but one more click to Kez Wilson’s Doc Savage Fantasy Cover Gallery.

It’s been nearly three decades since I read a Doc Savage book, but I’ve still got a soft spot for the Man of Bronze. Lester Dent, a pulpster from the Midwestern hinterlands, was a man of incredible energy and that often came through in his novels, which he cranked out at a jaw-dropping pace.

Looking over some of Wilson’s other fantasy Doc covers, ones like Devil Doctor reminded me that Doc’s stories were basically “weird menace” tales, tales just like REH’s own “Black Wind Blowing” or “Skull-Face“.

Here’s hoping that Mr. Wilson doesn’t stop with these covers. Merry Christmas.

Notary “Bombshell” at Frazetta Hearing No Surprise Here at TC


Frank Frazetta Jr. outside the Marshalls Creek court office Wednesday.

There was plenty of drama at the Marshalls Creek court office Wednesday. Alfonso Frank Frazetta, also known as Frank Jr., stood before District Judge Brian Germano to answer charges pertaining to his break-in at the Frazetta Museum. Germano, after hearing testimony, reduced Frazetta’s bail from a whopping $500,000 dollars to $50,000. Soon after the ruling, Frank Jr. was released on bail.

Some of the testimony the judge heard came from Adeline Bianco, a notary public. According to what Bianco informed Pocono Record reporters after the hearing, Frank Frazetta Sr., the legendary artist, came to her office on November 30, 2009. In a meeting that lasted nearly an hour, Frank Sr. signed a document authorizing Frank Jr. to secure the artist’s paintings by “by any means necessary,” according to Bianco. She notarized the document and returned it to Frank Sr. Apparently, acting upon Frank’s wishes, she also revoked the power-of-attorney which had been held by Frazetta’s other three children: Bill Frazetta, Holly Taylor and Heidi Gravin. The existence of the notarized document was reported here at The Cimmerian right after the news of the break-in hit the national media.

The existence of that notarized letter, which Frank Frazetta apparently mailed to his son, Frank Jr., may be critical in establishing  Frank Jr.’s innocence. If Frank Jr. believed that he was acting according to his father’s wishes, then there was no criminal intent. It appears possible that the existence of the letter was what prompted the other three Frazetta siblings to begin making noises about possible extra-legal reconciliation with their brother.

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