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  1. Permalost is offline
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    pro nonsense self defense

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    Posted On:
    8/26/2011 12:47pm

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    Howard came out with Conan like 20 years before Marvel picked it up.
  2. Snake Plissken is offline
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    Posted On:
    8/26/2011 12:49pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by W. Rabbit View Post
    Stan Lee is suing....says he owns 100% of the rights to "Conan the Barbarian"
    Stan Lee is the "Korea" of the comics world.
  3. Styygens is offline
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    Posted On:
    8/26/2011 2:13pm


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    Quote Originally Posted by W. Rabbit View Post
    Jackson changed soooo many things. But one has to, in an adaptation.

    I am one of the biggest Tolkien fanboys you'll meet and I got over it.

    Personally, I thought what I read of the Conan books were bleeech....crap.

    The movie Conan (original) is by far the most memorable version because of the great writing, and of course the score.

    Just like the Jackson version of LOTR didn't sink because the writing was good, and the CGI sold it.

    Tolkien's writings, of course, form the bedrock of the entire genre. I just personally think of Howard as a cheap knock off. The Stone/Milnius work took something that was dime store and made it epic, with help from St. Basil.

    Oh, Wabbit...

    It would be impossible to argue against Tolkein's importance to the Fantasygenre. The hundreds of imitators on the bookshelf prove that. He is afoundation stone of Fantasy. But Fantasy is a very broad category.

    First, Howard wrote and published his entire professional body of workbefore Tolkien wrote LOTR. Howard is not knocking-off Tolkien in that sense.

    Second, although both Howard and Tolkien are considered Fantasy authors,they wrote in very different sub-genres, and even their preferred literaryformats were different.

    Howard wrote short fiction and poetry for a mass audience and published inPulp magazines. His work was important to defining the sub-genre of Sword &Sorcery, but he was not stuck in this single sub-genre. He also wrote Horror,Mysteries, Boxing and Sports Stories, Historical Fiction, Westerns, and -- anow all-but-vanished genre -- Oriental Tales. As a Pulp writer it was quiteliterally "dime store stuff." But remember, at one time Shakespearewas popular entertainment, not high-falutin' literature! As was common inPulps, the genres were somewhat fluid, so his Historical Fiction sometimes hasfantasy elements, and his Sports Stories sometimes have a tinge of Horror. Thisis why he gravitated towards the genre bending Pulp, Weird Tales.

    Howard's stories are appearing more frequently in literary anthologies. Heis actually very well regarded for his horror stories and was an originalcontributor to the Lovecraftian Cthulhu Mythos (which was really more theresult of an informal literary game rather than the modern concept of theShared Universe). His Horror tale "Pigeons From Hell" appears incollections as an example of Southern Gothic, and Stephen King calls it one thebest examples of Horror in American Short Stories.

    (See Pigeons From Hell here: http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0600721.txt)

    Tolien, on the other hand, wrote Epic Fantasy, or High Fantasy, and mainlypublished novels, or long form prose, with some poetry mixed in. His work is aconscious modernization of Northern European stories such as Beowulf or theVolsunga Saga. He was a scholar of Northern Literature and knew all the myths,legends, sagas, epics, and poems of the Anglo-Saxons, Scandinvians, Icelanders,and Germans.

    Sword & Sorcery is not the same as Epic Fantasy. The sub-genres do notshare the same concerns. Sword & Sorcery focuses on colorful rogues tryingto scrape by in a society that is stacked against them. The conflicts tend tobe highly personal, and often for small stakes. The protagonist sometimesstumbles into larger conflicts, but his purpose is merely to survive the encounter.If a hero commits a redemptive act for the larger world, it is usuallyunintentional and unexpected. The storyteller's focus is on brief encountersand episodes in the charachter's life. Of course, it depends on the writer, butoften the writing is robust and the prose is somewhat purple, belying thesub-genre's origins in Pulp magazines and echoing the need to create dramaticimpact in the short stories they published.

    Epic Fantasy, on the other hand, is focused on the grand sweep of humanevents. The conflicts are broader and align the characters with larger forces(often good and evil, sometimes Order and Chaos, or simply different politicalfactions) in a battle to dominate the world. The fate of kingdoms rests on theshoulders of the characters, and they know it. The characters often representthe establishment in some way -- often they are of noble birth, or theyrepresent the noble sentiments of their community. The story teller's focus ison the historic sweep of his world. Because of the sub-genre's origins intraditional legends and myths, the stories tend to closely follow the Hero'sJourney and other mythic patterns. Again, it depends on the author, but thewriting tends to be more formal and elegant, evoking the grandeur of thesetting.

    As the sub-genres have developed and been influenced by each other and otherFantasy sub-genres, there has been some dilution of these characteristics. Youcould have a modern Epic Fantasy set in outer space, with a character set thatincludes a lovable rogue or two, stilted, purple dialogue; you'd get Star Wars.Likewise, there are pulp-type characters who get swept up in grand events innovel length stories: Harry Dresden and Repairman Jack come to mind.

    Personally, I prefer the characters and immediacy of Sword & Sorcery andpulp fiction in general to the long, drawn out style of Epic Fantasy. I totallyunderstand your reaction to the Conan stories as "bleech." Frankly, Ifeel that way about Tolkien. It has nothing to do with the quality of theirwork, and everything to do with personal preference. I have read Tolien andunderstand his importance to Fantasy and influence on all Science Fiction andFantasy since.

    I don't really see Howard and Tolkien in competition with each other. Ithink of them as cornerstones in different parts of the foundation of modernFantasy.

    Yes, Peter Jackson made some changes to LOTR. But what he did not do wastake one of the LOTR characters, introduce a new cast of supporting charactersin place of the Fellowship, and tell a completely new story about the"hero" in a setting that seems to be Middle earth only because itshares some of the same place names. That's what CtB3D did.

    Now, to be fair, the Milius CtB did much the same thing. That story steals acouple of scenes from Howard, but not the plot. But where Milius succeeded isthat his movie was about Will, Power, Civilization, The Noble Savage, andManhood. These were very much Howard themes. Milius' take is a littledifferent, but there are some similarities of treatment -- some might argue thesimilarity is a certain adolescent, arrested development treatment of thethemes. The themes are explored through some decent writing, a well-craftedmovie, and an awesome score. So even Howard purists tend to regard CtB withaffection because, despite its deviation, it feels like a Conan movie.

    By contrast, the new movie has all of the adolescent, arrested developmentof the original, but it never dares to ponder any deeper. Conan simply"is." There is no consideration of his iron will, let alone thetwisted reflection of it in the villain. The villain's quest for power is takenfor granted; whereas the original's Thulsa Doom seemed jaded and world-wearyafter achieving his quest for power. the contrast of Conan's noble savageagainst the backdrop of civilization is barely there in the new movie becausehis interaction is so one-dimensional: he slays, and slays, and slays. And whenhe gets bored, he reives. Or screws. Watch Arnold's encounter with civilizationin the original. he is intrigued by civilization, even pleased by it. But herecognizes it as a veneer for a different kind of savagery.

    TL;DR?

    It's not fair to compare Howard and Tolkien. The Conan source material isdeeper than "Slay with sword; bed wench." The original movie stoodfor something, the new movie is vapid.


  4. Conde Koma is offline
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    Posted On:
    8/26/2011 2:21pm

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    DAMN, stygs.

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  5. Styygens is offline
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    Posted On:
    8/26/2011 2:22pm


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    Quote Originally Posted by Permalost View Post
    Howard came out with Conan like 20 years before Marvel picked it up.
    Longer, I think. Howard died in 1936. The Marvel Comics run started in 1970.

    The copyright legal issue on Howard's work gets complicated because it was so long ago, and it's gone international. For example, Australia apparently considers Howard's work to be in the public domain.

    I haven't fully read this yet, but for the IP Wonks and Legal Minds of Bullshido, here's an article on the confused mess regarding REH's Intellectual Property and who has rights to what:

    http://www.robert-e-howard.org/Anoth...rerevised.html
  6. Styygens is offline
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    Posted On:
    8/26/2011 2:23pm


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    Quote Originally Posted by Conde Koma View Post
    DAMN, stygs.

    I wrote it in Word and cut and paste. It seems some of my breaks didn't take. Sorry about that, guys.
  7. Permalost is offline
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    pro nonsense self defense

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    Posted On:
    8/26/2011 2:44pm

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    It's not fair to compare Howard and Tolkien. The Conan source material isdeeper than "Slay with sword; bed wench." The original movie stoodfor something, the new movie is vapid.
    Did you watch the clip of Howard describing Conan? Also, I think it's quite a blow to claim that a film doesn't have the development and nuance and underlying message of Schwarzenneger's Conan the Barbarian. That's a little like saying that its dialogue isn't as good as Surf Nazis Must Die.

    note: I love the original Conan movies and haven't seen the new one.
  8. Styygens is offline
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    Posted On:
    8/26/2011 4:09pm


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    Quote Originally Posted by Permalost View Post
    Did you watch the clip of Howard describing Conan? Also, I think it's quite a blow to claim that a film doesn't have the development and nuance and underlying message of Schwarzenneger's Conan the Barbarian. That's a little like saying that its dialogue isn't as good as Surf Nazis Must Die.

    note: I love the original Conan movies and haven't seen the new one.
    Yes, I did see the clip. After all, I posted it. I also have a DVD copy of the movie it's from, The Whole Wide World. And the takeaway is less the description, but the way Howard so fully identifies himself with the character of Conan. By the end, Vincent D'Onofrio is practically playing Conan.

    Conan is Howard's idealized self. He wanted to be seen as a strong man, a fighter, who was irresistable to women. But Howard would've bristled if anyone suggested he was dull-witted. Howard's Conan is as dangerous with his mind as he is with his sword. No, he's not solving Calculus problems, but Conan consistently out-manuevers his opponents, recognizes plots aginst him, and even plays politics. Conan sometimes makes bad choices, but he always manages to solve the problem -- although his usual method is direct.

    Howard was pretty blunt.

    As for the original movie,it too is pretty blunt about its ideas -- but at least it has some. You can quibble with how ham-fisted the ideas are presented, but they are there. And the stories are also about Howard's ideas and world view (bleak, dismal, melancholy), not just about slaying all-comers.
  9. It is Fake is offline
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    Posted On:
    8/26/2011 4:27pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by Permalost View Post
    Howard came out with Conan like 20 years before Marvel picked it up.
    Yep and that's why I laugh at all of the people yelling OMG SOURCE MATERIAL.

    As for the original movie,it too is pretty blunt about its ideas -- but at least it has some. You can quibble with how ham-fisted the ideas are presented, but they are there. And the stories are also about Howard's ideas and world view (bleak, dismal, melancholy), not just about slaying all-comers.
    +1

    Good movies can have poor dialogue. Just watch some of the 90'smovies that still, there are only a few, have staying power. Die Hard is great, but that dialogue is ****.
  10. Permalost is offline
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    Posted On:
    8/26/2011 5:23pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by Styygens View Post
    the takeaway is less the description, but the way Howard so fully identifies himself with the character of Conan. By the end, Vincent D'Onofrio is practically playing Conan.
    hmm, maybe I should try and track down a copy.

    Conan is Howard's idealized self. He wanted to be seen as a strong man, a fighter, who was irresistable to women. But Howard would've bristled if anyone suggested he was dull-witted. Howard's Conan is as dangerous with his mind as he is with his sword. No, he's not solving Calculus problems, but Conan consistently out-manuevers his opponents, recognizes plots aginst him, and even plays politics. Conan sometimes makes bad choices, but he always manages to solve the problem -- although his usual method is direct.
    I suppose its not too surprising that an idealized man from the first half of the 1900s would be altered in a 2011 rendition for the general public.
    You can quibble with how ham-fisted the ideas are presented


    the stories are also about Howard's ideas and world view (bleak, dismal, melancholy), not just about slaying all-comers.
    That the bleak worldview came across at all in a sword and sorcery movie from the 80s is kind of impressive (considering the Beastmaster style that was popular).
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