Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Bourbon & Barbarians Episode 14: Never Poke a Sleeping (Owl)Bear!

Well met, brave adventurers! We have returned with yet another episode of Bourbon and Barbarians, an actual play recording of The Cromcast wherein we play some old-school D&D! In this episode... The adventurers take some shelter from the storm...
Roslof's art from the orginal B2 module!
Our episode is freely available on archive.org and is licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. "Black Vortex" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Likewise Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email us! (thecromcast at gmail dot com)

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Season 5, Episode 1: Boxing Training with Chris Gruber and Mark Finn!



Welcome back Cromrades! On today's inaugural episode of Season 5, we begin our exploration of Robert E. Howard's fight stories! On board to induct us into the cult of masculinity and the world of boxing pulps are Cromcast stalwart Mark Finn, and making his first appearance on the show, Chris Gruber! Chris serves as an editor of Skelos: The Journal of Weird Fantasy and Dark Fiction, and edited "Boxing Stories" by Bison Books which collects sixteen of Howard's boxing tales. If you're looking for a more comprehensive collection of Howard's boxing stories, you'll want to check out the four-volume Fists of Iron set published by the Robert E. Howard Foundation!


Fists at the Ice House, from Robert E. Howard Days, 2016.

Chris and Mark have been pivotal in bringing Howard's boxing stories into the limelight, and we have an excellent conversation about these stories, their place in Howard's literary canon, and why they should be as widely read and discussed as the Conan, Kull, and Solomon Kane stories.

Have you listened to Waterfront Fists yet? Find it here!

Looking to dig further into fight stories and boxing pulps? Check out The Best Boxing Stories Ever Told!

Want some insight into why fighters fight? Mark recommended On Boxing by Joyce Carol Oates.

One Things
Luke: The Black Mirror Christmas Special!
Josh: Krampus, from 2015, directed by Michael Dougherty.
Mark: Shut Eye, a Hulu Original series.
Chris: Hell on Wheels!
Jon: Luke Cage, a Netflix Original series!

We also recommend Mark's podcast The Gentlemen Nerds! If you check them out, tell them The Cromcast sent you!

Also, listen to Chris Gruber's lecture "Robert E. Howard : boxing and the cult of masculinity" from June 2016 at St. John's College!


Legal Mumbo-Jumbo
Our episode is freely available on archive.org and is licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
Beginning theme: Sudden Defeat by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.

Closing theme: The eponymous track from the Dropkick Murphy's album The Warrior's Code. All music was obtained legally; we hope our discussion of this content makes you want to go out and purchase the work!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Bourbon & Barbarians Episode 13: A Hovel in the Hinterlands!

Well met, brave adventurers! We have returned with yet another episode of Bourbon and Barbarians, an actual play recording of The Cromcast wherein we play some old-school D&D! In this episode... The adventurers depart for the Caves once again. They come across some hereunto unnoticed rubble, and are set upon by a storm as they enter yet another Cave of Chaos!
Our episode is freely available on archive.org and is licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. "Black Vortex" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Likewise Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email us! (thecromcast at gmail dot com)

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Bourbon & Barbarians Episode 12: Gather Your Wits, and Information Besides!



Well met, brave adventurers! We have returned with yet another episode of Bourbon and Barbarians, an actual play recording of The Cromcast wherein we play some old-school D&D! In this episode... The adventurers are back at the Keep; they gather their wits, and a little information besides!






Our episode is freely available on archive.org and is licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. "Black Vortex" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Likewise Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email us! (thecromcast at gmail dot com)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Season 5: The Road of Champions

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-boxer-rich-chegwidden.html

Put 'em up, Cromrades! We're back with a preliminary list of stories for Season 5: The Road of Champions!

EP 1: Boxing training
An introduction to boxing, Howard’s boxing fascination, and the stories he wrote

EP 2: The Pit of the Serpent (1929)
Introducing Sailor Steve Costigan in his first tale!

EP 3: The Bulldog Breed (1930)
The first appearance of Mike the bulldog, Steve’s constant companion

EP 4: Christmas Special! The Two-Fisted Santa Claus!
Technically listed as a Dorgan tale, but a boxing Christmas story is too good to pass up!

EP 5: Champion of the Forecastle (Nov 1930)
We get to meet more of the crew on Steve’s boat, The Sea Girl

EP 6: The TNT Punch (Jan 1931)
Sailor Steve helps to raise bail for another boxer in South Africa

EP 7: Iron Men by Robert E. Howard
Howard writes about tough boxers and their fighting style

EP 8: Iron Men in Cinema
Rocky / Requiem for a Heavyweight

EP 9: Meet Dennis Dorgan in The Destiny Gorilla
Who is Dennis Dorgan? Is he his own man or is he perhaps Steve Costigan?!

EP 10: His Brother’s Keeper by Dashiell Hammet
A half-wit boxer’s eulogy for his brother that betrayed him

EP 11: Boxing Noir in the Cinema
Viewing The Set-Up (1949)

EP 12: Texas Fists (May 1931)
Costigan returns home to Texas!

EP 13: The Breed of Battle (Nov 1931)
Mike the Bulldog is dognapped! Steve must save him!

EP 14: The Apparition in the Prize Ring (1929)
Featuring Ace Jessel!

EP 15: Vikings of the Gloves (1932)
Costigan battles a Swede!

EP 16: Sluggers on the Beach (1934)
The last published Costigan story

EP 17: The Final Round: Boxing Season Retrospective

You can get the majority of these stories in the collection "Waterfront Fists and Others The Collected Fight Stories of Robert E Howard." We'll post links to open source options as we move through the season!

Email us! (thecromcast at gmail dot com), You know you want to follow us on Twitter! Subscribe to our feed on FeedBurner! Or, check us out on iTunes! We're also on Stitcher Radio and Google Play! Finally.... Call us! (859) 429-CROM!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Season 4, Episode 20: The Lost Road Finale

We've finally arrived at the end of The Lost Road! What a long and twisted path we've walked over the past year. This season was spent exploring lost worlds and lost civilizations in pulp fiction and fantasy, and while there are some notable stories missing from the list, this season should serve as a nice cross section of this important genre.

On this episode, we begin with a conversation with our friend, Howard fan and scholar Rusty Burke. Scotch, open bars, one things, and King Arthur feature heavily in this conversation.

Bran Mak Morn w/ Rusty 12:00
Hobbits and Picts 14:18
Picts and Howard: 19:00
The HPL/REH letter about REH discovering picts in New Orleans Library
22:15: The most tragic and emo of the Howard scholars. "Bran knows he's doomed but he fights on anyway."
30:12 - Are the Bran stories suitable for an introduction to Howard's work, or are they considered "advanced" Howard?
35:55 - Arthurian elements in Bran Mak Morn.

Rusty wrote us with some more information about King Arthur, and those literary links he discussed on the show!

Regarding the Arthurian themes in the Bran cycle:
The King Arthur legends are, of course, varied, because over the course of 1000+ years they've been told by so many different narrators. But taking the tale in its best-known form today, and in very broad outline, Arthur was the son of an illicit union between King Uther and Ygraine, the wife of another king, Gorlois. He was raised in secrecy, and when Uther died, Arthur became king by virtue of drawing a sword from a stone. Arthur reigned over Britain with his Knights of the Round Table, at a court called Camelot. In a number of battles, they defended Celtic Britain from the Saxon invaders. After many adventures and intrigues, Arthur was fatally wounded in battle by Mordred, the son of his sister. He was taken to the Isle of Avalon, where he waits to return to England when he is needed.
A full discussion of the relevance of Arthurian themes to Bran would take more time than I have. But here are two compelling ones (at least to me):
In some versions of the legend, Arthur's slayer, Mordred, is the son of Arthur's sister - and of Arthur himself, who slept with his sister (or perhaps half-sister) unwittingly. In Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, the chief basis for most modern versions, she is Morgause, one of three daughters of Ygraine and Gorlois - thus Arthur's half-sister, the daughter of his mother. Intriguingly, for the Bran connection, Morgause has a sister named Morgan, in most versions of the legends Morgan le Fay (the Fairy), and in some versions Morgause and Morgan either are conflated or switch places: thus we have a supernatural woman (fairy, witch, enchantress), sleeping with Arthur, the union producing the child, Mordred, who will ultimately be the agent of Arthur's demise. This seems to me rather analogous to the mating of Bran with the "witch-woman of Dagon-moor."
Of course, Howard never told us what offspring might have been produced by that union, if any, so I'm speculating. But from the story "The Dark Man" we know what became of Bran: After uniting the Picts and driving the Romans south of "their Wall," "Bran Mak Morn fell in battle; the nation fell apart." While he yet lived, though, "A wizard made this statue" (the titular image of the story), "and when he died in the last great battle, his spirit entered into it." And "Bran Mak Morn, great king of Pictdom, shall come again to his people some day in the days to come." Like Arthur, then, Bran Mak Morn is not dead, but merely sleeps, waiting to come to his people in their hour of need.
(As an aside, there is an interesting parallelism I just noted between "Worms of the Earth" and "The Dark Man." In the former story, the witch-woman mocks Bran when he recoils from what he has done (in calling on the Worms): "But you are stained with the taint - you have called them forth and they will remember! And in their own time they will come to you again." In "The Dark Man," after Turlogh has fought by the side of the Picts against the Danes, Brogar tells him, "The tie of blood is between us, Gael, and mayhap we shall come to you again in your need, as Bran Mak Morn, great king of Pictdom, shall come again to his people some day in the days to come.")
While original sources such as Malory's Le Morte d"Arthur and Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of England would have been available in Howard's time (while other of the older sources would have been available primarily to scholars), it strikes me as more likely that he would have been an avid reader of either or both of what remain (to my tastes) the best introductions to the Arthurian legends.
The Boy's King Arthur was a retelling of Malory, edited by poet Sidney Lanier (who is mentioned in Howard's letters, though not in connection with this book). It was illustrated by the great N.C. Wyeth.
Another of the great illustrators, Howard Pyle, wrote and illustrated The Story of King Arthur and His Knights. His was not a straight retelling, but incorporated elements of other stories, as well as Pyle's own invention, into the tale, and the illustrations form an important part of the story.
For those interested in the historical background (or lack thereof) of Arthur, and the growth and uses of his legends, the best book on the subject that I have read is John Morris's The Age of Arthur. At over 600 pages, it is not for the faint of heart, but I found it fascinating.
Another book I found useful is Leslie Alcock's Arthur's Britain.

Thanks, Rusty, for joining us for another interesting conversation! We look forward to the next one!

 One Things
Luke - David Hartwell, editor, anthologist, Foundations of Fear - An Exploration of Horror
Josh - They Must Be Destroyed on Sight Podcast
Jon - TD Griffith - Outlaw Tales of Nebraska
Rusty - Ireland, a novel by Frank Delaney

After the musical interlude provided by The Sword, Empty Temples from their album "Low Country", we get into a summary and reflection of the season. Which stories were your favorites? Let us know!

You should visit the Red Sun Magazine website and pick up Issue #2! You might run across some familiar names!

Sailor Steve Costigan, by Clayton Hinkle
Next season: The Road of Champions! Join us for an exploration of boxing stories from the pulps and famous cinematic bouts! It's going to be a great time, and we're looking forward to discussing these stories with you! A story list will be available very shortly!

Questions? Comments? Curses?
Email us! (thecromcast at gmail dot com), You know you want to follow us on Twitter! Subscribe to our feed on FeedBurner! Or, check us out on iTunes! We're also on Stitcher Radio and Google Play! Finally.... Call us! (859)429-CROM!

Legal Mumbo-Jumbo
Our episode is freely available on archive.org and is licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
Beginning theme: Sudden Defeat by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.

Closing theme: "Gonna Fly Now" from the Rocky soundtrack, composed by Bill Conti with lyrics by Carol Connors and Ayn Robbins. All music was obtained legally; we hope our discussion of this content makes you want to go out and purchase the work!