Sunday, December 02, 2012


The new issue of REH: Two-Gun Raconteur has hit the streets (I got my lovely copies in the mail this week). REH: TGR No. 16 is chock full of the high quality Howard fiction, essays & artwork you can expect from the hard-working Damon Sasser.

  • Full Color Cormac Mac Art Cover by Terry Pavlet
  • Inside Front and Back Covers: Scenes from “The Footfalls Within” by Bob Covington
  • Back Cover: The Sonora Kid by Richard Pace
  • “The Diablos Trail” by Robert E. Howard, illustrated by Jim Ordolis
  • “Miss High-Hat” by Robert E. Howard, illustrated by David Burton
  • “All the Crowd” verse by Robert E. Howard, illustrated by David Houston
  • “When the Dam Breaks: Violence and Wild Water” by David Hardy, illustrated by Nathan Furman
  • “Introducing…in this Corner…Kid Socko” by Brian Leno, illustrated by Clayton Hinkle
  • “One Gent too Many on Bear Creek” by Patrice Louinet, illustrated by Joe Wehrle
  • “Rogues in the House: A Conan Portfolio” by Michael L. Peters
  • “Robert E. Howard and the Lone Scouts: The Birth of The Junto” by Rob Roehm, illustrated by Bill Cavalier
  • “Ace Jessel and the Ghost of Tom Molineaux” by Jeffrey Shanks, illustrated by Nathan Furman
  • “Victory Revisited” verse by Barbara Barrett
  • Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology: A Review” by Morgan Holmes
  • Plus additional artwork and features.
Some highlights from No. 16, are Howard's own works, "The Diablos Trail," a Pike Bearfield tall-tale Western. Patrice Louinet continues the tall-tale theme with a look at the text behind A Gent from Bear Creek, the only Howard novel published in his lifetime. I take a look at one of Howard's dramatic Westerns, "Wild Water," a tale of revenge & madness in Depression-era Texas.

Brian Leno reports on James K. McGuiness and his Kid Socko stories' influence on REH's boxing comedies. Jeff Shanks examines another aspect of Howard's fiction & boxing history analyzing Ace Jessel & Tom Molineaux.

Rob Roehm brings his remarkable research talents to bear on the Lone Scouts and Howard's circle of friends known as the Junto.

There's also a Howard short-short, "Miss High Hat," a saucy tale of spanking & sorority gals.

There is also poetry by Barbara Barrett and Morgan Holmes' review of Griots, a Sword & Soul anthology, as well as lavish illustrations by David Burton, Terry Pavlet, Michael Peters, Dave Houston, Bill Cavalier and many others. The print run is 200 numbered issues, so order your copy today.

-Dave Hardy

Saturday, December 01, 2012


Dir. By Vladimir Motyl

In the late ‘60s Vladimir Posner (father of Phil Donohue’s buddy), the boss at Mosfilm Studios wanted to make a western. He gave the job to a pair of screenwriters, Valentin Yezhov and Rustem Ibragimbekov. What Posner got back was not exactly a Western, but the very first Eastern.

Yezhov and Ibragimbekov transposed the Western cliches into a distinctly Soviet setting. Instead of a cowboy, the protagonist is a Red Army soldier, instead of the War Between the States, the era is the Russian Revolution, instead of Indians or bandidos, the antagonists are basmichi, Turkmen rebels. The result is a classic adventure tale told in a distinct and refreshing style.

Sukhov (Anatoli Kusnetsov) is a Red Army soldier on his way home. In the middle of the desert he finds a man buried up to his neck. This is Sayid (played by Spartak Mishulin), who, once rescued, promptly departs vowing revenge on the outlaws that killed his pa.

No sooner does Sukhov get underway than his is diverted again. This time he must guard a group of women rescued from the harem of Abdullah (played by Kakhi Kavsadze), a basmichi chief. Sukhov’s only help comes from Petrushka, a young private and Vershchagin, a former Tsarist customs officer.

Motyl takes a light approach to White Sun of the Desert. The film is part comedy, part action movie, with as much of the feel of a Russian folk tale as of a Hollywood shoot-‘em-up. White Sun was an instant hit in the USSR (thanks to an enthusiastic review by First Secretary Brezhnev) and is the prototype of the many “Easterns” that followed. This is perhaps one of the most accessible of that genre for Western audiences. I recommend it for someone looking for a departure from the usual Hollywood fare.
-Dave Hardy