open tweets to James Maliszewski
Which is another way of saying: some things that seem applicable to concerns about authenticity, roleplaying, old-school sensibilities and Robert E Howard.
The film reviewer at the WashPo likes his Robin Hood more Lincoln Green and less olive drab. The review is otherwise forgettable, but this point in particular reminds me of James M’s objections to the not-so-creative reinterpretation of iconic characters. James says, in brief, “if you’re not going to do a proper Conan story that respects the character, then don’t call it Conan.” And that seems kinda fair enough, although also kinda a problem for Batman stories, say, where reinterpretation has become part of the character. What I’m intrigued by here, though, is the source of authenticity the reviewer feels is offended. See, there is no Robin canon or literature, really. As a character he predates all his literary treatments, which leads me to think he’s more of a Batman than a Conan, but the WashPo author wants his merry men, his Maid Marion. Some smiling. And maybe some singing. As to whether Robin is now a closet teabagger, I can’t comment, I haven’t seen it. But I thought the knee-jerk right-wing audience were all busy watching Iron Man?
Which leads me to the thorny problem of demihuman longevity. Having spent last week paddling about in environmental history it occurs to me that a Really Interesting fantasyland would be one where elves and dwarves might “naturally” have very long lifespans, but in practice they don’t get to realise them because of the massively toxic/dangerous environment – they were all fished out during the last Awesome Magical War so that now only juveniles are left. Except, of course, for a couple of secretly rawkk guys hiding out in deserts and swamps waiting for the right apprentice to show up.
The Wailing Octopus is “A Rick Brant Science-Adventure Story,” …released by Project Gutenberg. Some of the chapter titles are irresistible: “The Fancy Frogmen,” “Wreck of the ‘Maiden Hand,'” “How Sings the Gay Sardine?” (via Maritime Compass, but could just as easily have come from ratmmjess or grognardia)