Sunday, December 29, 2013

Conan the Adventurer (The Animated Series) Episode 01: The Night of Fiery Tears

Hi all - Josh here. I've been thinking about how to incorporate this gem of a 90's animated series into our show's schema for a while. There have been several popular American animated series that fit into the sword and sorcery genre. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe come to mind almost immediately. I loved Masters of the Universe when I was young, but it went off the air in 1985 (and I wore my VHS copies out soon after.) Yes there were lots of great animated series to take the place of this show, but none in the sword and sorcery genre. Then, in 1992, Conan the Adventurer began to air, and I made it a point to wake up extra early every Monday through Friday so that I could watch the Cimmerian's next adventure before I went to school.

A very calm and soothing start to my mornings!
Recently, I found the first few episodes of Conan The Adventurer on YouTube, and thought I'd check them out and see how well they've held up. The general premise of the show is pretty cool, though it varies pretty significantly from the Howard canon. Sure, there are some staples present. There's an evil snake cult, wizards and princesses, warrior maidens, and Crom! In the first episode, titled The Night of Fiery Tears, we get a lot of story background. The series antagonist, Wrath-amon (Not Thoth-amon!), the high priest of the Serpent Cult of Set, has been charged by Set personally to build pyramids out of "star metal". This substance is very rare; it crashes from the darkness between worlds onto the surface of the planet. If these pyramids are built in the proper arrangement, it would allow Set and his army of serpent men to emerge from his dimension into ours, allowing him to achieve complete mastery over the entire world. Snakes EVERYWHERE, man! Obviously, this would be a very bad thing.

A VERY bad thing!
 Just a moment, though. His name is Wrath-Amon? Follower of Set, you say? He even has a magic ring, and without it his magical abilities are gone. Remind you of anyone?

"COOOOBRAAAAA!!!" Wait, wrong cartoon.
Clearly, Wrath-amon's character was based on our old pal Thoth-amon from The Phoenix on the Sword, the first Conan story ever published, and the first one we covered, way back in episode 1!

Anyway, Wrath-amon is looking for star metal. Well, it happens that a group of people in Cimmeria have a hoard of weapons forged from star metal, but they won't give it over to Wrath-amon. Naturally, this does not please Wrath-amon, who casts a spell of living stone on one Cimmerian family. All except one member. Take one guess who it could be.

BY CROM!
You see, when Conan was younger, his father forged a star metal sword for him, and placed it under a boulder so that Conan could retrieve it once he became strong enough. That time has come at last! Conan retrieves the sword and fends off the serpent men - the star metal reveals their true nature and sends them back into Set's dimension. However, he is too late to save his family from getting stoned - I mean, turned to stone!

Looks like the odds are almost even.
Later, Conan stumbles upon a tomb and meets the ghost of Epimetrius the sage. He tells Conan about Set's plan, the star metal pyramids, and Wrath-amon's magic ring. If Conan could destroy the ring, he'd destroy Wrath-amon's magic, foil Set's plan, and return his family to life! Epimetrius gives Conan a magical shield with the mark of a phoenix. This is another excellent reference to The Phoenix on the Sword, however this time Conan can use the magical mark to summon forth a phoenix to aid him.

Or maybe Needle is a magical talking chicken...
The episode ends with Conan being drugged, captured by slavers, and put on a ship bound for the slave pits of Wrath-amon!

All in all, I think this show holds up fairly well. There is a nice, youthful, adventurous quality to Conan that I think kids can relate to. The violence is fairly typical of 90's cartoons - no one really gets hit with a sword or ax or arrow. Instead, Conan's sword transports the serpent men back into Set's dimension without much harm coming to them. There's a lot of lore and world building in this episode. It calls back nicely to the original source material written by Robert E. Howard, while building on the mythos and establishing a new world that the primary audience (kids) can get excited about exploring. Conan looks like a cross between the body builder portrayal of Arnold Schwarzenegger and the dark haired Cimmerian described by Howard, and I think this reflects the core of the animated series fairly well - it's a nice mix of various takes on Conan that adds a little something new.

The first episode of this series, at least, is a forgotten gem. While nostalgia can add a rosy tint to our views of what we liked when we were young, I think this show is a perfect entry point for kids into the exciting worlds of fantasy and sword & sorcery. You can find the DVD collections on Amazon, but there are several episodes available for perusal on YouTube if you're not ready to make the purchase just yet.

Check out this show! Or the serpent men win! 
I think I'll watch some more of these episodes and talk about them here on the blog every so often. We'd love to hear from you all - what do you think of the animated Conan the Adventurer? Leave a comment or shoot us an email and let us know!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Episode 12: Queen of the Black Coast


"Let teachers and priests and philosophers brood over questions of
reality and illusion. I know this: if life is illusion, then I am no
less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live,
I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content."



Welcome back, ye scurvy dogs! And prepare yourselves for a swashbuckling tale of ancient cities, lost treasures, and lost loves! This week's tale is the nautical adventure, Queen of the Black Coast (episode mp3 here). This episode is packed with good discussion of this classic Robert E. Howard tale, and a plethora of extras.

First, a quality reading of Queen of the Black Coast on Librivox. Or, if you prefer, a full cast recording on the Internet Archive!

You might be interested in running a GURPS game based on Queen of the Black Coast! (Or converting it to Savage Worlds, perhaps?)

Try some original fiction by fantasy author John Fultz! He has a slew of publications at The Black Gate, including When the Glimmer Faire Came to the City of the Lonely Eye and The Persecution of Artifice the Quill. Beyond that, read about the fantasy and pulp inspirations for his Shaper Trilogy here and read his literary criticism regarding Clark Ashton Smith's The Hashish Eater here!


Finally.... Check out Becky Cloonan's digital comics DemeterThe Mire, and Wolves here! These three stories are SERIOUSLY some of the best fantasy in the past year. Which is your favorite? Sound off below in the comments and let us know!

We think you'll love it!
Our next story is The Devil in Iron (read it on Project Gutenberg Australia).

Beginning theme: "Sudden Defeat" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Ending theme: Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer Metal version. Found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HpNafadNuM. Used without permission.

Thanks for listening!

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

Follow us on Twitter!

Subscribe to our feed on FeedBurner! Or, check us out on iTunes!




Sunday, December 15, 2013

Howard's Horrors: The Fearsome Touch of Death!

"As long as midnight cloaks the earth 
                    With shadows grim and stark,
God save us from the Judas kiss, 
                    Of a dead man in the dark"
                                        - Robert E. Howard

Hey all, Luke here! I recently read The Fearsome Touch of Death, so I wanted to jot down a few of my impressions here on the blog. First published in Weird Tales in February 1930, you can now access this story for free on both Feedbooks and Project Gutenberg

If possible, this story is even more straightforward than Sea Curse! With (barely) a three character cast, and text that spans a scant 2-3 pages, this definitely qualifies as a quick-fix of some REH goodness. Our protagonist, Falred, draws the unfortunate lot of waking the dead with the recently-passed, ill-liked Adam Farrel. What proceeds for our man Falred is a great bit "slow boil" -type horror as the night plays out. The ending resonated with me, as it reminded me of multiple yarns I had heard and read as a child. 

In short, this is a familiar story with a recognizable hook at the end, but it's exactly that familiarity and common horror element that I think is the story's greatest merit. 

This seems to be a story with sporadic occurrences in varied Howard collections. Given it's short length, it's clear why it has a presence in multiple fanzines. I came across this story's inclusion in The "New" Howard Reader #2 (1998) while sifting through some searches on the internet. And while the cover is unrelated to The Fearsome Touch..., it certainly has some pizzazz! 


I have to be honest, outside of the knowledge-bomb Mark Finn dropped on us in our last episode, I'm a noob to the fanzine scene. But boy, am I interested after I came across this article on The Cimmerian! Seems like there's a wealth of odd REH collections out there, both pro and amateur alike . I've seen very few of these types of publications pop-up at my local used bookstores, but I'm definitely going to hop on board with some of the more modestly-priced collections if I run across them!

Have you read The Fearsome Touch...? What did you think?

Are you a collector of the older chapbooks or fanzines? If so, how did you get started? Sound off in the comments below, we'd love to hear about this niche within the pulp scene!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Art Party Friday: Dec. 13, 2013

Hello Cromrades! It is I, Jon! I am here to show off some cool Howard inspired art I have found in my wanderings on the internet. If you have any art you wish to share, be you the creator or just an admirer, please do email us at thecromcrast@gmail.com with the image and source and we will try to feature it here on the blog! Also, please visit one or all of the sites for these talented folks. You can always find art for purchase, prints, or even coffee mugs to buy!

The first piece comes from a listener and artist, Rick Lacy! It's a digital sketch of Conan and I have to say, it's pretty rad! If you are an artist and would like your work featured here, please don't be bashful! Send 'em in and I will post them with high praise!

Conan the Barbarian by Rick Lacy
Be sure to check on Rick's comic Drawing Lance, it's barbarous fun! 




Conan the Barbarian
(part of a 1970's black light poster series)
Art by Barry Windsor Smith
http://barrywindsor-smith.com/
Info on posters: http://blog.illustractiongallery.com/post/69010368703/conan-the-barbarian-1971-marvel-comics-third



Conan in battle against the "ape-demon"
Art by Richard Corben
http://www.corbenstudios.com/

Belit: Queen of the Black Coast by Chris Samnee
http://www.chrissamnee.com/


Red Sonya by Esteban Maroto

Kirby O'Donnell by Timothy Bradstreet
http://timbradstreet.typepad.com/


Queen of the Black Coast by Becky Cloonan
http://estrigious.com/becky/
Buy Ms. Cloonan's award winning, awesome to read, pretty to behold, and all digital comic,The Mire:
http://www.comixology.com/The-Mire/digital-comic/38480


That's all for this week my fellow art aficionados! Please join us here at The Cromcast next week for our latest and greatest episode!







All images are the property of the artists/companies they work with.






Monday, December 2, 2013

Episode 11: Time for a Finnterview! (or, We Can't Believe It!)


This is a big one for us! For this episode we were able to have a chat with Mark Finn, author of "Blood and Thunder: The Life and Art of Robert E. Howard"! Mark recently released the second edition of this volume, which you can easily purchase from the Robert E. Howard Foundation or from Amazon. If you've listened to any of our previous shows, you've heard us previously discuss Mark's literary criticism.

Man, what a well-read, fun, and easy guy to talk with! We had a blast talking to Mark and look forward to the next time he can join us!

Want another Finn fix? Here's Mark's blog!

If you can get your hands on it, maybe check out de Camp's Dark Valley Destiny?

Want to get into the small-press 'zine scene? Check out REHupa!

Interested in some of the other pulp podcasts out there? We mention the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast and The Double Shadow; check 'em out if you haven't already!

Interested in getting yer hands on some of REH's boxing stories? You should buy Fists of Iron! Volume 1 features an essay from Patrice Louinet, but Mark will be providing the foreword for Volume 2.

Want to read about the birth and growth of the Weird Western? Check out Undead in the West II, which features literary criticism from Mark and a slew of others.

Interested in the Violet Crown Radio Players that Mark mentions in the episode? Live in Austin, or visit periodically? Then friend them on Facebook!

And be on the lookout for Mark's upcoming fiction work, The Adventures of Sailor Tom Sharkey, soon to be available from Fight Card Books!

Finally.... A BIG thank you to Beaucoup Pop!!! Without their help, this episode wouldn't have been possible. Big thanks especially to Tressa (the beer and pie are forthcoming)! If you haven't listened to their podcast before, go ahead and check 'em out. Geekery abounds :)

Thanks everyone! Happy listening!!!

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

Follow us on Twitter!

Subscribe to our feed on FeedBurner! Or, check us out on iTunes!

Beginning theme: "Sudden Defeat" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Ending theme: "Anvil of Crom" arranged by YouTube user Xavier Renou and found here. Arrangement of  "Anvil of Crom" by Basil Poledouris, from the Conan the Barbarian: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. Original Score: (c) 1982 Basil Poledouris; Original Album: (c) 2010 Prometheus Records. Used without permission.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Howard's Horrors: Sea Curse!

"Then the days grew shorter, the nights longer and darker, and the cold grey tides came sweeping along the bleak strands, bearing the rain and sleet of the sharp east breezes." - Robert E. Howard

Hey all, Luke here! Just finished another REH story, Sea Curse, before the Thanksgiving Weekend (and before I jump into Queen of the Black Coast). Have you read Sea Curse? If not, check it out for free on Project Gutenberg

Here's Tim Seeley's interpretation of ol' Moll and her fair niece...


First published in Weird Tales (1928), this is a morality tale that drips with inevitability. The story is all plot; there's no dilly-dallying on any character. In short, there are actions and their are consequences. And good for that, as the main drive of the plot is to see exactly how Kulrek and Lie-Lip will meet their demise. Given this, Sea Curse bears little resemblance to the other horrific stories I've read by REH. There are no Lovecraftian draperies, nor evidence of heroism, just a horrible deed followed by a horrible curse. REH's prose bounces between colloquial sea-faring speech and almost lyrical punctuations of text setting the tone. For me, it was this unsettling tone that carried the story along.

Aside from the aforementioned comic adaptation by Seeley in Robert E. Howard's Savage Sword (by Dark Horse Comics), I've not found much in the way of commentary / criticism regarding this story. Which is a shame, as I heartily recommend this story... Especially if you are looking for a shorter weird tale to rip through. If you've read this story, what did you think? Sound off in the comments section below!

With that, I'll leave you with the cover art of an edition of The Saga of Faring Town (including Sea Curse) published by the REH Foundation back in 2009. Happy Thanksgiving!!!



Monday, November 25, 2013

Episode 10 - Iron Shadows in the Moon (Or, Nothing Surprises Conan)


Art by Mark Shultz

"They were statues, apparently of iron, black and shining as if
continually polished. They were life-sized, depicting tall, lithely
powerful men, with cruel hawklike faces. They were naked, and every
swell, depression and contour of joint and sinew was represented with
incredible realism. But the most lifelike feature was their proud,
intolerant faces. These features were not cast in the same mold. Each
face possessed its own individual characteristics, though there was a
tribal likeness between them all. There was none of the monotonous
uniformity of decorative art, in the faces at least.

"They seem to be listening--and waiting!" whispered the girl uneasily..." 
Time for adventure! The Cromcast is back, making our way down The Road of Kings! This week's tale is called Iron Shadows in the Moon (AKA Shadows in the Moonlight - Read it on Project Gutenberg Australia). If that alternate title made you expect a romantic comedy featuring Conan the Barbarian, we're sorry to disappoint you. This is a tale of revenge, island adventure, pirates, and more!

Our next story continues the pirate theme - Queen of the Black Coast! (Read it on Project Gutenberg Australia!) We're all very excited for this one! Let us know what you think of it!

Beginning theme: "Sudden Defeat" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Ending theme: Tuba of Crom! Anvil of Crom arranged for six tubas. Found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=au-xtvEANWg. Arrangement of  "Anvil of Crom" by Basil Poledouris, from the Conan the Barbarian: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. Original Score: (c) 1982 Basil Poledouris; Original Album: (c) 2010 Prometheus Records. Used without permission.

Thanks for listening!

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

Follow us on Twitter!

Subscribe to our feed on FeedBurner! Or, check us out on iTunes!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Art Party Friday, Nov. 15th 2013

Hello Cromrades! It is I, Jon! I am here to show off some cool Howard inspired art I have found in my wanderings on the internet. If you have any art you wish to share, be you the creator or just an admirer, please do email us at thecromcrast@gmail.com with the image and source and we will try to feature it here on the blog! Also, please visit one or all of the sites for these talented folks. You can always find art for purchase, prints, or even coffee mugs to buy!



Conan by Bill Sienkiewicz
http://www.billsienkiewiczart.com/



Red Sonja by Jenny Frison
http://www.jennyfrison.com/

Steve Costigan and Mike the Bulldog by Andy Taylor
http://andyetaylor.daportfolio.com/



Bran Mak Morn, King of the Picts by Gary Gianni
http://www.garygianni.com/


Dark Agnes de Chastillon by Francesco Francovilla
http://www.francescofrancavilla.com/


Conan #29 Cover: The Toad by Mike Mignola
http://www.artofmikemignola.com/




Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Episode 0 - Secret Files and Origins of The Cromcast!



It was an age undreamed of...

Certainly no one who listens to our biweekly ramblings regarding Robert E. Howard and Conan the Cimmerian will wonder, "Jon, Josh, and Luke: why did you start The Cromcast?" The answer is evident to each of you - REH was a superlative author, and though he is credited for creating "sword and sorcery", his works spanned many genres. We three were fans of the mythos surrounding Conan, but had never delved into the source material! We are all fans of various podcasts and definitely appreciate the medium. However, while we are fans of the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast, we were never able to find any other podcasts featuring Weird Tales author. This lack of an REH-centric literary podcast was surprising. We took this to mean that we should start one!

And so, one fateful night during the summer of 2013, we got together to discuss logistics and the practicality of filling this niche.

This episode features audio recorded that night. Download it here!

If you are interested in having an inside look at the genesis of The Cromcast Project, our development as podcasters during the past few months of producing episodes, or are curious about how ignorant of Robert E. Howard and his characters we truly were before embarking on this quest, have a listen. 

Next time, we'll be back on our quest to battle our way through to the end of the Road of Kings, with Iron Shadows In The Moon (or, Shadows in the Moonlight - read it on Project Gutenberg Australia.)

Plus, we have a major announcement that we can't wait to share with you guys! Stay tuned!

Beginning theme: "Sudden Defeat" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Transition theme: "Double 8Bit Remix - Conan The Barbarian Theme & Prologue". Found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wr9cde0dQEg. Arrangement of  "Anvil of Crom" by Basil Poledouris, from the Conan the Barbarian: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. Original Score: (c) 1982 Basil Poledouris; Original Album: (c) 2010 Prometheus Records. Used without permission.

Thanks for listening!

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

Follow us on Twitter!

Subscribe to our feed on FeedBurner! Or, check us out on iTunes!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Road of Kings (Redux)

When I was a fighting man, the kettle-drums they beat.
The people scattered gold dust before my horse's feet.
But now I am a great king; the people hound my track,
With poison in my wine cup, and daggers at my back.

Hello, friends and fellow REH fans! At long last here is the updated Road of Kings! This post contains links to all of our episodes to date. We're almost up to double digits!

The Phoenix on the Sword (Episode 01)
The Scarlet Citadel (Episode 02)
The Tower of the Elephant (Episode 03)
Black Colossus (Episode 04)
Xuthal of the Dusk (Or, The Slithering Shadow: Episode 05)
The Pool of the Black One (Episode 06)
Rogues in the House (Episode 07)
Gods of the North (Or, The Frost Giant's Daughter: Episode 08)

(Interlude) Episode 09 - Howard's Horrors: The Haunter of the Ring and Pigeons from Hell

We've had a blast producing this show so far, and we still have a lot of work to do! Let us not forget the past as we look to the horizon! What do we see when we cast our gaze toward the future? We have ten more original Conan the Cimmerian stories to talk about! Here is the order in which we'll cover them, along with links to full texts of these stories from Project Gutenberg.

Iron Shadows in the Moon (Or, Shadows in the Moonlight: Full text)
Queen of the Black Coast (Full text)
The Devil in Iron (Full text)
The People of the Black Circle (Full text)
A Witch Shall be Born (Full text)
Jewels of Gwahlur (Full text)
Beyond the Black River (Full text)
Man-Eaters of Zamboula (Or, Shadows in Zamboula: Full text)
The Hour of the Dragon (Or, Conan the Conqueror: Full text)
Red Nails (Full text)

So there it is! Ten more Conan stories to go! We have some other surprises in store along the way, including a very special surprise episode in the next month! It will be an epic journey as we continue on our way down the Road of Kings. Steel yourselves!

-Josh, Jon, and Luke
The CROMCAST

Friday, November 8, 2013

Art Part Friday Nov. 8 2013

Hello Cromrades! It is I, Jon! I am here to show off some cool Howard inspired art I have found in my wanderings on the internet. If you have any art you wish to share, be you the creator or just an admirer, please do email us at thecromcrast@gmail.com with the image and source and we will try to feature it here on the blog! Also, please visit one or all of the sites for these talented folks. You can always find art for purchase, prints, or even coffee mugs to buy!



Conan, in colour: by Dan McDaid
http://danmcdaid.tumblr.com

Solomon Kane by Gekitsu
http://gekitsu.deviantart.com/

Bran Mak Morn by Frank Frazetta
http://frankfrazetta.net/

Kull: The Conqueror by Andy Brase
http://andybrase.deviantart.com/ 

el Borak by Pav
http://pavsketch.blogspot.com/2010/07/el-borak.html

Dark Agnes, Sword Woman by Unknown (if you know please alert me in comments)
by Mark Schultz (Thanks Ripa!)



Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Howard's Horrors: The Black Stone!

Hey all, Luke here! Just finished another REH story last night, The Black Stone.
Here's the Roquefort Raider's interpretation of that strange obelisk...


Pretty ominous, huh? This widely-lauded "Cthulhu mythos" story was first published in Weird Tales in November of '31... Right out of the gate I noticed that REH set a very different tone from both Haunter of the Ring and Pigeons from Hell (the other straight horror stories from REH that I've read)... REH "grounds" this story with a backdrop of mythical books and poetry that surround an unnatural, perhaps mystical, obelisk in the rural landscape of Hungary. 

Needless to say, the nameless narrator of the story can't be happy with just reading about such weird landmarks, he is compelled to take a little holiday to investigate this obelisk... And did I mention it happens to be around the time of the summer solstice?

Once darkness falls, the story takes on a dream-like quality. And as the events of that night build to a fever-pitch, the story turns into a blood-curdling nightmare! This tale has by far the most striking and horrific act(s) of violence that I've read by REH, though I would say not gratuitous in the least.

I think this is a tremendous story! While there are arguments to be made about its derivative qualities (see this well-written essay by Price), I am of the mind that this is as much a tale that exhibits "Howardian" themes as those typically associated with Lovecraft.... Without spoiling too much, there is a heavy reliance on civilization and race, which I think is a nice contrast with the theme of doomed familial relations and heritage that are more commonly acknowledged Lovecraftian tropes. 

If you've read this story, what do you think? Sound off in the comments section below!

I give this story a hearty recommendation. It's free on Project Gutenburg or, if you're on the hunt for an audio retelling of the story, check out an older post by SFF Audio. They give some great shout-outs to podcasts that narrated the The Black Stone. Their post also presents some additional art inspired by the story! 

And on that note, I'll leave you with the cover art for Bantam's 1979 edition of the "Wolfshead" collection... Who knows what that being that lurks on the top of the dread black stone?

And from when?!?!?!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Episode 09 - Howard's Horrors: The Haunter of the Ring and Pigeons From Hell (or Zuvembies Just Wanna Have Fun...)

Oh, greetings! I didn't notice you were there! I was just admiring this ring... Do you like it? I found it at auction last week. Isn't it curious? Shaped like a serpent eating its own tail, it is. Eyes with gems that glow, see? Like an unholy fire... You know, they say this ring belonged once to a wizard, long ago, the ill-fated Thoth-Amon himself! It is written in Unaussprechlichen Kulten of the dark and terrible magics Thoth-Amon wrought with this ring. They say that the ring "was found in a nighted tomb a league beneath the earth, forgotten before the first man crawled out of the slimy sea..." If you believe such things... But may as well believe in this passage dealing with voodoo and the creation of zuvembies! And you don't... do you?!
My ring... (Artist Unknown)
Our first Howardian Horror episode is stacked with two tales of terror! You should download it here! First, we tackle The Haunter of the Ring, first published in the June 1934 issue of Weird Tales (read it on WikiSource!) We follow up that discussion with one of our new favorite horror stories, Pigeons From Hell (read it on Project Gutenberg!). This latter story was published posthumously by Weird Tales in 1938. From our perspectives, we've always known Howard as a visionary in the pulps, and progenitor of the sword and sorcery genre. But, the man had a keen eye for horror as well! We hope you enjoyed these stories as much as we did!
Check out Amazon if you're looking for a discount-priced copy of Those Across the River or Twilight... Both are great! 
He heard the call of the zuvembie... Art by Robert Sanker
Happy Halloween!
Beginning theme: "Grave Blow" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Ending theme: "Conan the Barbarian Theme for Piano". Arrangement of  "Anvil of Crom" by Basil Poledouris, from the Conan the Barbarian: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. Original Score: (c) 1982 Basil Poledouris; Original Album: (c) 2010 Prometheus Records. Used without permission.

Thanks for listening!

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

Follow us on Twitter!

Subscribe to our feed on FeedBurner! Or, check us out on iTunes!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Art Party Friday

Hello Cromrades! It is I, Jon! I am here to show off some cool Howard inspired art I have found in my wanderings on the internet. If you have any art you wish to share, be you the creator or just an admirer, please do email us at thecromcrast@gmail.com with the image and source and we will try to feature it here on the blog! Also, please visit one or all of the sites for these talented folks. You can always find art for purchase, prints, or even coffee mugs to buy!



Conan by Caanan White (currently the artist on Uber from Avatar Press)
http://caananwhite.deviantart.com/

Red Sonja #1 variant cover by Stephanie Buscema (granddaughter of John Buscema)
http://www.stephaniebuscema.com/

Conan by James Harren
http://jharren.deviantart.com/


Solomon Kane by Michael Dialynas
http://thewoodenking.deviantart.com/


Crom versus Ymir by Breogan
http://nordheimer.deviantart.com/



Cover to Pigeons from Hell by Nathan Fox
http://www.foxnathan.com/

That's all for this week. Of course Pigeons from Hell is featured last as it will be a big chunk of our next episode:
HOWARD'S HORRORS!

Monday, October 21, 2013

It's a zuvembie attack!

Another spine-tingling episode is in the works...


Until then, check out some Gene Colan art from Strange Tales #171! And dig into that old stack of horror comics you have laying around the house!

What are some of your favorites?


Monday, October 14, 2013

Guest Contribution: Gods of the North, or, How to Interpret a Lusty Conan.

What follows are the first impressions REH's Conan by Michael Skvarla, descendant of the Norsemen, and friend of the podcast...

"Gods of the North" was the first Conan / R.E.Howard story I read. I was initially thrown off because Howard refers to Conan as Amra, the story wasn't broken into chapters like other Conan stories, and it wasn't published in Weird Tales. It's therefore perhaps not the best Conan story to start off with, though I did enjoy the writing and subsequently read more of Howard's works.

My first impression after reading the story is that Conan was really "rapey" - the whole premise of the story is that he's slogging miles and miles through the snow to have his way with Atali who, while she is teasing him to chase her, doesn't really want to have him. Wikipedia says it's possibly the earliest Conan story chronologically. If Conan is going have his way with the nymph under his own volition, then that sets up the other, later (chronologically) stories for Conan to develop a sense of morality. He still has lots of women as he gets older, but he seems much less forceful.

However, while Wikipedia states "Gods of the North" is the first story chronologically, a case can be made that it's not. The large black man that tries to kill Conan in the dungeon in "The Scarlet Citadel" refers to him as Amra - in that story it's stated that "the black [man] gave Conan the name Amra, the Lion—by which the Cimmerian had been known to the Kushites in his piratical days", suggesting that “Gods of the North” happens after Conan's pirate days, such as in "The Pool of the Black One." If this is true it discredits the idea of Conan developing morals as he grows older as he demonstrated he can be nice to (or at least not rape on sight) women in "The Pool of the Black One."

It might also be that Atali can enthrall men like the Sirens of Greek mythology can. There is some evidence for this in that the old man at the end of the tale said he tried to follow her years earlier after a battle but couldn't because of his wounds - even near death he was compelled to follow her.Also Atali has been killing men and offering their hearts to her father for years (at least we're led to believe this, given the old man tried to follow her when he was young). Presumably at least one man would have been able to not follow her across the barren wastes if she only lured them based on her beauty alone and didn't compel them to follow. This second interpretation makes Conan much less "rapey" as he can't control his lust and drive to have her. It also speaks to his strength - of the countless men Atali has lured to their deaths Conan is the only one who, even after the exhaustion of battle, can follow her miles and miles in hip-deep snow, have strength to kill her giant brothers, and then catch her.


In fact, only a god can save her.

I personally prefer the second interpretation, that Atali is Siren-like. Not because it absolves Conan from being a rapist, but because it fits the evidence we're given in the story better.

You Gettin' Yer Scare On Yet???









If you haven't started yet, then check out this adaptation of Pigeons from Hell in the old TV series, Thriller! Thanks for the heads-up, Gary!!!







Friday, October 11, 2013

Episode 08 - The Frost Giant's Daughter (or, Gods of The North)

"...To fields of the dead she comes, and shows herself to the dying! Myself when a boy I saw her, when I lay half-slain on the bloody field of Wolraven. I saw her walk among the dead in the snows, her naked body gleaming like ivory and her golden hair unbearably bright in the moonlight. I lay and howled like a dying dog because I could not crawl after her. She lures men from stricken fields into the wastelands to be slain by her brothers, the ice-giants, who lay men's red hearts smoking on Ymir's board..."




Hear now of a time in our hero's life, when he was very young, when rage and passion overtook his heart! Hear now of the meeting between Conan, the Cimmerian, and Atali, the Frost Giant's Daughter! And woe to you if you encounter her, in the frozen wastes of the North! Download the episode here!

The Frost Giant's Daughter has a murky publication history. It was rejected by Weird Tales and submitted to The Fantasy Fan where it was published as Gods of the North. Years later, L. Sprague de Camp released a version of it titled The Frost Giant's Daughter, published in Fantasy Fiction in 1953. This version was extensively rewritten. The version we read is from The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian by Del Rey. 

Interested in some of the mythology behind this story? Check out this link with some of the info Jonathan mentions in the episode... Then just get lost in a myriad of great Norse stories.

Interested in some great audio recordings of this story? Check out the these episodes from Podcastle, Athena Audio Theater Company, and Protecting Project Pulp.

Next time, we're getting scary! October is Cromtober here at The Cromcast! Howard not only invented the sword and sorcery genre, but made some great contributions to the horror genre as well! Read your Howard Horror for the end of October! Next time, we'll be taking a short break from The Cimmerian and discussing The Haunter of the Ring (read it here), as well as Pigeons from Hell (read it here). 

Beginning theme: "Sudden Defeat" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Ending theme: "Double 8Bit Remix - Conan The Barbarian Theme & Prologue". Found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wr9cde0dQEg. Arrangement of  "Anvil of Crom" by Basil Poledouris, from the Conan the Barbarian: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. Original Score: (c) 1982 Basil Poledouris; Original Album: (c) 2010 Prometheus Records. Used without permission.

Thanks for listening!

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

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Subscribe to our feed on FeedBurner! Or, check us out on iTunes!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Episode 07 - Rogues in the House (Or, Conan finds the missing link and helps us learn about evolution!)


Journey back with us to an age undreamed of, when the Red Priest Nabonidus and the aristocratic Murillo waged a back and forth power struggle for control of a city, the name of which is lost in the murky eddies of time. Hither came Conan during his youth, and the shocking events of that fateful night caused dramatic and violent changes within the local political landscape...


Rogues in the House (Weird Tales, January 1934) is the seventh published Conan the Cimmerian story by author Robert E. Howard. This week, we are joined by our pal Steve as we cuss, discuss, and dissect this fan-favorite Conan story. Download the episode to hear our take on it! And let us know what you think of the story!

We begin this week with a discussion of Voyager I - all out there alone in the dark places between the stars. Pertinent links here and here!

In two weeks, join us for another exciting adventure as our hero Conan journeys to the northern tundra, battles some Vikings, and meets The Frost Giant's Daughter! (Read it on Wikisource!)

Beginning theme: "Sudden Defeat" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Ending theme: "Anvil of Crom - Conan the Barbarian Meets Metal" arranged by YouTube user 331Erock. Found at http://youtu.be/gg-dJQhnCPc. Arrangement of  "Anvil of Crom" by Basil Poledouris, from the Conan the Barbarian: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. Original Score: (c) 1982 Basil Poledouris; Original Album: (c) 2010 Prometheus Records. Used without permission.

Thanks for listening!

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

Follow us on Twitter!

Subscribe to our feed on FeedBurner! Or, check us out on iTunes!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Episode 06 - The Pool of the Black One (Or, When Figurine Collecting Goes Too Far...)




It's story time! They say that there is an island far to the west, an island written of in the Book of Skelos, where foul horrors lurk, but priceless treasures lie forgotten, waiting for an adventurer willing to risk it all... Hither came Conan, freebooter and rogue. Let us tell you of the days of high adventure!



This week we're discussing the sixth story in the Robert E. Howard Conan canon, The Pool of the Black one (download MP3 here). The above art, by Mark Schultz, provides an indication of what you can expect! Another excellent entry in the series, we believe, with a dash of the Lovecraftian "unknown". What did you think of the story? Let us know in the comments!

Some links worth mentioning...

1. The interview between Charles Hoffman and Marc Cerasini available at "The Cimmerian" is found here.

2. The "Cosmic Filth" essay we (in part) discuss originally appeared in the third issue of "The Dark Man: The Journal of Robert E. Howard Studies," April 1993. It can be found here.

In two weeks, we return with the next story, Rogues in the House! (Read it on Wikisource!)

Beginning theme: "Sudden Defeat" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Ending theme: "Anvil of Crom - Piano Cover" arranged by YouTube user Yann Torn. Found at http://youtu.be/JaCQd5F_qDg. Arrangement of  "Anvil of Crom" by Basil Poledouris, from the Conan the Barbarian: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. Original Score: (c) 1982 Basil Poledouris; Original Album: (c) 2010 Prometheus Records. Used without permission.

Thanks for listening!

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

Follow us on Twitter!

Subscribe to our feed on FeedBurner! Or, check us out on iTunes!