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Sensor Sweep: Sax Rohmer, Marvel Comics, LotR Radio –

Sensor Sweep: Sax Rohmer, Marvel Comics, LotR Radio

Monday , 27, May 2024 Leave a comment

Comic Books (Fandom Pulse): Disney might have accidentally dropped some damning news for the mainstream comic industry in the form of a job listing. Comic shops have been struggling at all-time lows for sales heading into the second half of 2024, and now, it appears as if Marvel Comics may be on the chopping block.

Fantasy (Ken Lizzi): Fantasy Book was a relatively short-lived magazine, putting out 23 issues between 1981 and 1987. It was one of the first publications I submitted to as a budding teen writer (I hope I never run across any of the manuscripts I wrote back then) so I picked up a copy. I wonder if I still have an ancient rejection letter from Fantasy Book somewhere? I still have the magazine and decided to give it another read after the interval of (oh so many) decades. Here are my brief notes on each story.

Tolkien (Rip Jagger Dojo): The 1981 BBC radio adaptation of The Lord of the Rings is definitive. The reason is that the story is pretty much comprehensive (like most adaptations poor Tom Bombadil gets the ax). Another reason is the outstanding cast. Michael Horden is ideally cast as Gandalf and leads a strong group which includes Ian Holm as Frodo (of course he later plays Bilbo for Peter Jackson’s movies), Peter Woodthorpe as Gollum, and Bill Nighy as Samwise (the best rendering of the character I’ve encountered).

Fiction (Book Graveyard): Brood of the Witch Queen was first published in 1918. For some reason I thought Sax was a few decades later. Probably because of all the Fu Manchu in the 60s. Until I stopped reading and looked up the publishing date, I thought this was heavily influenced by HP Lovecraft. Jokes on me.

Forthcoming (Rough Edges): DOOM OF THE DARK DELTA is the first novella in the Snakehaven series from bestselling author James Reasoner. Part sword and sorcery, part alternate history, and all action and adventure, it’s a thrilling tale that begins a saga of epic scope. And it all begins here in DOOM OF THE DARK DELTA!

Greyhawk (Grognardia): When TSR released a board wargame set in Gary Gygax’s World of Greyhawk setting in 1991, I took immediate notice of it. This was my chance to get in some much needed wargaming experience. Alas, things didn’t quite go as planned on this score, but I’ll get to that soon enough. For the moment, let’s focus on the matter of the game’s title.

Poetry (Reactor Mag): It’s May, which means that all across the internet, artists of all kinds are participating in MerMay—a contest and celebration of all things mermaid-related, hosted by Whitney Pollett and Lauren Barger. The challenge offers an open-ended prompt for each day of the month, encouraging participants to draw (or paint, or craft, or animate) thirty-one pieces of art, stretching their creative muscles and getting in a lot of excellent practice along the way!

T.V. (Twilight Zone Vortex): Next on Twilight Zone a show that might very aptly be called “The Living End,” and with comparable aptness is called “Living Doll.” It’s written by colleague and cohort Charles Beaumont, and stars Telly Savalas and co-stars Mary LaRoche. Mr. Beaumont supplies us with a little weirdy involving a man and a doll. It comes well recommended. Next time out, “Living Doll.” 

Clark Ashton Smith (M Porcius): Let’s read more stories by Clark Ashton Smith.  Today’s three tales of madness and death all appeared in 1934; one of them debuted in one of the most famous of science fiction magazines, while the other two were first seen in small press publications and they would not be widely available until decades later.

Art (Rip Jagger’s Dojo): That said, with all things Tolkien on my mind, I was moved to finally pick up the relatively recent volume The Tolkien Years of the Brothers Hildebrandt. I was among those fortunate folk who was able to collect up the famous Hildebrandt Tolkien calendars as they appeared in 1976 through 1978.

Soundtracks (Freds HM Fan Blog): I recently took the leap and purchased a copy of the Heavy Metal 1981 Movie LP off ebay.  It fills out my Heavy Metal Movie music collection greatly. The LP came with the 45rpm record as well.  I’ve had the CD copies for years, I used to listen to them in my car.  The Score LP by Elmer Bernstein, I came across in a resale shop last year.

D&D (Grognardia): Was Third Edition Dungeons & Dragons really that bad? I know that it has a poor reputation among fans of old school D&D, which is really to say, TSR D&D, but is that reputation deserved? Was it truly a bad edition of “the world’s most popular tabletop roleplaying game,” to borrow a phrase – or does it simply catch a lot of grief for things not directly related to it as a game?

Science Fiction (Modern Age Journal): The science fiction and fantasy author Ray Bradbury holds an unusual place in American letters. Ignored or undervalued by a sizable portion of the critical elite during his lifetime, he nevertheless became one of the most popular and anthologized authors of the twentieth century on the strength of such thought-provoking short stories as “A Sound of Thunder,” “There Will Come Soft Rains,” and “The Veldt” and the novels The Martian ChroniclesDandelion WineSomething Wicked This Way Comes, and especially Fahrenheit 451.

Comic Books (Comic Book Movie): Titan Comics and Heroic Signatures’ new Conan the Barbarian series launched last summer, with Robert E. Howard’s legendary creation put front and centre in a new tale of bravery and heroism. The Savage Sword of Conan has since joined it and, today, we can exclusively share a first look at new covers for both comics along with details on the creative teams and heaps of epic story details.

Games (Lotus Eaters): The Helldivers Revolt.

Review (Dudes Books): The Long Moonlight is a novella by razorfist set in the fictional medieval fantasy city of Menuvia featuring Xerdes a thief who after a failed intrusion at the mansion of a crime boss find himself enlisted in a serie of heists with a new accomplice : an outsider swordwoman from the north. All the while Coggins, inspector of the city guard try to understand what is going on between the warring factions of Menuvia underworld and the corrupt elements of his side.

Fantasy (Emperor Ponders): And who is to blame for all these protagonists with magical powers? I guess some can be traced back to superheroes, but I believe it’s basically D&D, which gamified magic, something that had never been done before. Before Gygax et al. (PBUT,) in literature, magic was essentially plot-driven. You need someone to fly? Find a mage to cast that spell; once done, the wizard will go back to his tower, marsh, or whatever.

Publishing (Monsters & Manuals): Yes, you read that correctly. And, yes, it means the OSR is much, much bigger than you think: Yoon-Suin, in the year it was published, sold far more copies than 96% of books put out by actual publishing companies in 2020. It really did. And you will be able to think of books recently put out after successful kickstarters that have sold, or will sell, far, far more copies than that, too.

Warhammer (Lord Samper’s Library): As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I tend to steer clear of the Mechanicum stories but was keen to check out ‘The Nine’ once I saw Hill’s name on the cover. As it turned out, I should have probably re-read ‘Mechanicum’, at the very least, before reading ‘The Nine’. Not that there’s anything wrong with ‘The Nine’, far from it. There’s enough going on in the background to keep things interesting.

History (Swords, Skulls, and Strongholds): Tony Robinson and the team present a radical picture of the British Iron Age, by concentrating on its charismatic hill forts. This period was virtually ignored by antiquarians, who assumed the structures related to the Roman conquest of Britain. Nevertheless, many of the tracks, boundaries, ditches, and hill defences are still visible or in use today.

Language (Swords Lore): To piggyback off last week’s post discussing my personal history with learning Gaelic, I decided to share a comprehensive list of resources that I found instrumental in learning and acquiring Scottish Gaelic. Thankfully, the opportunities and resources for learning Gaelic outside of Scotland and Atlantic Canada are slowly growing and lists like this one likely will warrant constant updates over the years.

Arthuriana (Sargon of Akkad): My contribution to King Arthur Day. Sir Gawain is the best and most loyal of all the knights, prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice!

Art (Broken Bull Horn):   “Pulp art historian David Saunders’ latest volume is the consummate reference book on the life and work of illustrator Walter Baumhofer, and features over 300 illustrations, many of which are photographed from the original art, including working drawings, reference photos, a checklist of all published works. The book is 224 pages, 9”x12”, full-color, hardbound with dust jacket, and limited to only 1000 copies.”

Fiction (Marzaat): The Sea-Wolf, Jack London, 1961.  This 1903 novel is very enjoyable — for about the first half.  Brutal, brilliant, relentlessly Darwinian Wolf Larsen, captain of the Ghost, is one of fiction’s great characters. His utter, reasoned, selfishness, malicious ruthlessness, and passion for life’s struggle are charismatic.

History (Men of the West): There is another description of colonial war of which we have had experience, and which from the extreme peculiarity of the country and people deserves special notice. I speak of New Zealand. Roughly speaking the two main islands of New Zealand exactly correspond to Italy in our own hemisphere; and if you suppose the sea to close round the northern frontier of the Alps and to cut the peninsula in two by washing a channel through it somewhere about Rome, you will find the actual shape of New Zealand very closely reproduced.

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