Thursday, October 6, 2016

Season 4, Episode 18: The Dark Man

Welcome back, friends and Cromrades! This week, we gather to discuss dark business indeed. Rage boils within Turlogh O'Brien! Is he on a quest for rescue? Or is it vengeance?  No one but the mysterious statue of The Dark Man knows for sure... The Dark Man by Robert E. Howard was published in the December 1931 issue Weird Tales, but you can read the story online here. Certainly, this story was influential on the greater legacy of Robert E. Howard, as the tale lends its title to the name of the Journal of Robert E. Howard Studies established by Rusty Burke!

Cover Art by C.C. Senf
One Things
Jon - Hell or High Water, Starring Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine, and Ben Foster
Luke - Atlanta starring Donald Glover
Josh - Trick or Treat Radio

The Venn diagram provided by Examining the Odd that we discuss toward the end of the episode:

And, Charles Rutledge's insightful comparison of the original text of The Dark Man with the comic adaptation from Savage Tales #4 from 1974.

Next time we get down in the dirt with the Worms of the Earth and bring the Bran Mak Morn cycle to a close!

Questions? Comments? Curses?
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Legal Mumbo-Jumbo
Our episode is freely available on and is licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.
Beginning theme: Sudden Defeat by Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.

Closing theme: Raise Your Horns by Amon Amarth from the album Jomsviking. All music was obtained legally; we hope our discussion of this content makes you want to go out and purchase the work!


  1. Good episode guys.

    I'm fairly certain Dalcassian axe is something almost exclusive to Howard. He no doubt means the Irish battle axes, possibly adopted from Vikings, which were instrumental in the Irish-Viking wars at the turn of the first millennium.

    Ishmael probably comes from the Book of Genesis. That name has come to mean exiles and outcasts. His sons supposedly traveled far and wide and were to be fierce, even hostile, people.

  2. Perhaps not very scientific, but I put The Cromcast in the region on a Venn diagram where the circles Fun, Insightful and Hairy overlap.

    Another gorgeous episode, guys!

  3. Fun episode! I lately read "Dark Man" to my nephew as bedtime story :)
    I'm not big fan of viking metal but Bathory's "Hammerheart" is a must. First and best album in the genre.
    Primordial from Ireland is worth checking also. Powerful but melodic songs with just right dose of pathos would made them Turlogh's favourite band.
    Their gig from Dublin 2009 is on youtube:

  4. Good discussion, guys. Couple of minor points, to add a bit to what ripa wrote, above. "Ishmael" does indeed come from the Biblical figure, the first-born son of Abraham. I won't go into the whole story, you can find it in Genesis 16, et seq. But of interest in our context is this (using the New Revised Standard Version):
    (16:11) And the angel of the Lord said to her,
    “Now you have conceived and shall bear a son;
    you shall call him Ishmael,
    for the Lord has given heed to your affliction.
    (16:12)He shall be a wild ass of a man,
    with his hand against everyone,
    and everyone’s hand against him;
    and he shall live at odds with all his kin.”

    For the "Dalcassian ax," I don't think Howard meant it to mean a particular style of ax, but an ax made by and/or wielded by a Dalcassian. One of Howard's chief sources for his Irish history was P.W. Joyce's A Short History of Gaelic Ireland, From the Earliest Times to 1608, published in 1924. (An earlier version, published in 1893, omits "Gaelic" from the title but is substantially the same in most respects.) On page 218 can be found, in describing the battle at Clontarf: "The thousand Danes in coats of mail were marked out for special attack; and they were cut all to pieces; for their armour was no protection against the terrible battle-axes of the Dalcassians."

    Lastly, regarding Turlogh's parting words to Jerome, it has always been my reading that "Not so long as the race lasts" does not refer to Picts, nor Irish, nor Norse, nor any other particular group, but to the human race as a whole. It's his "Barbarism is the natural state of mankind" belief.

  5. P.S. If the lovely Jon is indeed a nerdy ZZ Top fan can he give me some friendly pointers on where to start on their - I assume - wealthy oeuvre? I'm trying to expand my rock knowledge to aid my guitar playing and ZZ is on my list of artists to tackle. A bottle of Wild Turkey 101* is up for grabs. *only available to residents of the UK

  6. Good discussion, guys. Couple of minor points, to add a bit to what ripa wrote, above. "Ishmael" does indeed come from the Biblical figure.
    gclub online