Robert E. Howard: Jan. 22, 1906 – June 11, 1936

Weird Tales, May 1934

Today is the anniversary of the birth of Robert E. Howard, one of the greatest pulp authors of all time, best-known for creating Conan the Barbarian, the star of novels, short stories, comic books, a TV series and couple of movies.

I wrote at length last year about Howard’s life and influence on me, and suffice it to say, I wouldn’t be where I am today without the inspiration of his rugged prose. He had nine Conan stories published in Weird Tales, perhaps the most famous of the pulp magazines.

I suggest celebrating the anniversary with a viewing of The Whole Wide World, a wonderful little indie film based on Howard’s life. Or maybe you should read one of Howard’s original stories (perhaps “Queen of the Black Coast”), to get a feel for what the character was really like. (Arnold Schwarzenegger, he wasn’t!)

Jason Momoa as Conan

There’s a new movie, a reboot of the franchise, of course, slated for release on Aug. 19, called Conan the Barbarian, and it stars Jason Momoa, who played Ronan on STARGATE ATLANTIS, in the title role. I think this is a really good choice, as Momoa has a lot of charisma and is good with dialogue. (Those SGA episodes could get very wordy!) On the other hand, early reports indicate the movie will not be hewing very closely to Howard’s original version of the character, so that has me a little wary. Oh, and one last thing: It will be released in 3D. Again, this doesn’t fill me with confidence.
Continue reading

NBC buys Wonder Woman TV pilot

Could this be the real reason that Wonder Woman was redesigned last year to wear the leather jacket and black tights I don’t like? Deadline reports that NBC has picked up David E. Kelley’s Wonder Woman pilot. At this point, this does not mean that an actual series will be on the air this fall, just that NBC has agreed to pay for a pilot and has the option to go to series.

No one (except Kelley, of course) knows what WW will wear yet, but the description of the show argues against her wearing the traditional star-spangled bathing suit, since this is a reimagined version of the character. Her current costume certainly is more realistic, and would be far more forgiving for any real actress to wear and perform stunts in. (Then again, Lynda Carter managed just fine on ABC’s THE NEW ADVENTURES OF WONDER WOMAN from 1975-’79.) Also, there is no mention made of Diana originating on Paradise Island. The synopsis given goes like this:

“A reinvention of the iconic DC comic in which Wonder Woman — aka Diana Prince — is a vigilante crime fighter in L.A. but also a successful corporate executive and a modern woman trying to balance all of the elements of her extraordinary life.”

Continue reading

BEING HUMAN 1.1: There Goes the Neighborhood, Part 1

You call this living? Can a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost all live together without driving each other crazy?

I can’t say my initial impression of BEING HUMAN was favorable; the GREY’S ANATOMY-style navel-gazing opening soliloquy was instantly annoying. But the show improved rapidly from the moment the title card appeared. In the end, I liked this debut a lot more than I had anticipated.

The basic premise of the show is appealing: Vampire Aidan (Sam Witwer) and werewolf Josh (Sam Huntington) share a house with ghost Sally (Meaghan Rath), and they all try to pretend to have normal lives. But of course that’s impossible for…er, people…who are dead, undead and…not exactly living the life.
Continue reading