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Sword Buyers Digest - February 2015
February 01, 2015

I know it's a bit late but since the last issue was in December - happy New Year everybody!

It's not just new year that we're celebrating with this issue however. February happens to be the 10th anniversary of sword buyers guide!

Over the course of the month we will be doing lots of different things to celebrate, so we won't make too big a deal of it in this months digest. But we will certainly kick things off here, so with that in mind..

Let's get into it!


1. From the Desk of Paul Southren

2. Collectors Corner with Dan Dacombe

3. Bad Sword of the Month

4. Video of the Month

5. Best Forum Posts

6. Project X Japanese

From The Desk of Paul Southren

As I mentioned at the start of this newsletter, February is the 10th anniversary of sword buyers! Hard to believe that 10 years ago this site started with a single page..

It sure has come a long way since then. But there is still a lot more that can (and will) be done as it continues to grow and evolve..

As I mentioned in an article on our sister site, 2005 was a pivotal year for the sword industry, and SBG was there on the ground floor of some pretty monumental changes.

While it hasn't always been easy, it has always been a lot of fun. This year will be especially eventful I think, we have a lot of surprises in store for everybody..!

So to celebrate let's kick off with a special..!

The sale is only valid for orders placed from the 1st of February to midnight the 3rd - but it is across the board, 10% off EVERYTHING (1% for every year!) - simply enter the coupon code: 10years (one word, no spaces, lowercase) or just click the pic above to automatically add the code to your cart.

Like I said, it is only for 3 days, so why not celebrate with us and grab a discounted sword!

Click here to enter the store and see what is on offer

Collectors Corner with Dan Dacombe

Collector's Corner has returned as a regular part of the SBG Digest. Complaints about this development can be made to whichever spiritual figure you hold in esteem, but they won’t help one bit.

Movie Review: “John Carter”

I know it might seem kinda strange to review a sci-fi movie during a “sword movie review,” but bear with me here ladies and gents…   I’m a big fan of the classics. Not necessarily all the Greco-Roman classics, although those do have their attraction.

More than the average person, I’m a big fan of the classics of sci-fi and fantasy fiction.

If you could take a look inside my Kindle you’d see some pretty recognizable names – Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, Robert E. Howard, E. E. Doc Smith – and many more of the greats.

Lots of these books were written during the “Golden Age” of Sci-Fi, during the 30’s and 40’s. But what a lot of people don’t know is that even before the Golden Age of Sci-Fi there were a series of stories started in the early 20th century by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Burroughs is mostly known for his “Tarzan” stories, which have been redone on television and film multiple times.

But I believe his greatest legacy lies in his work in Sci-Fi, because those works changed fiction forever.

I am speaking of the stories of John Carter – the Greatest Swordsman on Two Worlds.

John Carter – Virginia Calvaryman, treasure hunter, and manly man extraordinaire gets caught up in an interplanetary battle of epic proportions – the original interplanetary of epic proportions, actually. “A Princess of Mars,” was originally published in 1912 and released as a feature film 100 years later. Both book and film detail John Carter’s first adventures on the dying planet of Mars as he gets involved in a local war, gets adopted by a race of aliens, rescues a princess, and saves the planet while keeping on hand simply astonishing amounts of pluck and vigor. If you’re thinking this sounds a lot like the plot of James Cameron’s “Avatar,” you’d be exactly right.   There’s a very good reason why John Carter kicks such colossal amounts of alien ass, and that’s because Mars is a smaller planet than Earth. There’s less gravity, and creatures on Mars have evolved with less muscle mass and overall strength than humans have – so John Carter shows up and suddenly discovers he has super strength.

And due to the lower gravity, he can jump very high, potentially even able to – for example – leap tall buildings in a single bound… sound like anyone we know?

The books are archetypal, and a very fun read. Carter’s first-person perspective is littered with his Deep South, Civil War Era wisdom, and his can-do attitude is just a joy to read. So when I heard they were making a film of the book, I was ecstatic. John Carter is an adaptation of the first book in the series, and came out in 2012. I went on opening night, dragging a friend who had no idea what he was in for.

Taylor Kitsch plays the titular character, and while he does a decent job he does bring much more angst to the role than is in the book (the original John Carter wastes no time on angst, regrets, or hesitation in the face of danger. He picks the closest enemy and engages them in gentlemanly combat, then repeats until all his enemies are either dead or departing the area in rapid fashion).

I understand the reason for the change, though; it makes for boring films when the main characters just shrug their shoulders and then proceed to matter-of-factly make every correct decision throughout the story.

That’s why Aragorn in the LOTR films got changed, that’s why John Carter got changed – we want to see the hero’s journey to becoming a hero, not just watch him already be an unstoppable badass.

Kitsch’s Carter arrives on Mars (aka “Barsoom” to the locals) and is immediately embroiled in an interspecies war that threatens to decimate what little population remains on the dying world. During his travels Carter encounters many strange and wonderful beings, including Green Aliens…

…. dog aliens….

… giant furry aliens… … and ridiculously hot aliens.

John Carter meets every challenge with all the grace and diplomacy you would expect a 19th century Virginia cavalryman to possess, which mostly means he picks up a couple of swords and just wrecks everyone who gets in his way.

It’s a classic fairy tale. The hero rescues the princess and a good time is had by all. There’s even (spoiler alert) an interspecies romance between the lovely princess of Mars and the incomparable John Carter himself, with no one along the way asking if the two species even have compatible, er, equipment. It was a great movie. I loved it. And you’re probably wondering, “If it’s so great and it came out two years ago, why haven’t I heard of it?   Unfortunately, the movie was marketed very poorly. Audiences were unaware of the story’s importance and critics – in a misunderstanding so ironic it beggers the imagination – accused it of being a ripoff of Avatar. Which is a massive shame, because without this series the sci-fi genre would look much different today. Teleportation, the problem of speaking an alien language, swordfighting in out space, lower gravity granting super strength, so many of the classic sci-fi tropes simply wouldn’t freaking EXIST without this story. It’s a tremendously important milestone in fictional history, and the movie does a pretty good job of bringing it to the screen.   I’m way over my word count, so I’ll stop here. But I urge you all to check the movie out and see for yourself. And when you have some time, if you’re in the mood, download or buy the book. You might be surprised by the “family resemblance” to many stories in the here and now.

Rent or Buy John Carter online at here

Bad Sword of the Month

Ok, enough with the zombie swords. It is bad enough they all have to be some sickly radioactive green (not sure who decided zombies hate that color, but then again I don't know any people who really like it either!) - but now you can finally buy a fake blood stained sword to save you the trouble of injuring yourself when the handle or blade breaks mid cut.. Seriously, who buys these things? Certainly not someone who actually hopes to take down a real live (er, dead) zombie..

Check this video by the guys at zombie goes boom to see how useless this kind of sword really would be..

Video of the Month

We have all done it at some stage or another. But maybe not on national television..

Not quite as dramatic as the infamous QVC video, but hard not to chuckle..

Why do I have the feeling that the price might drop on this set too..

Best Forum Posts

The new forum is up and running, still some work needed before I am 100% happy with it, but good enough to be able to bring you a selection of great posts to check out..

Ulfberht Sword: 1,000 years ahead of its time?
A great thread about Viking swords in general and the surprisingly advanced technology that went into making them. Includes some excellent links to Viking videos on youtube too.

Bizarre Super Hyped Sword Katas
Love them or hate them, the super hyped sword Kata's of XMA (Xtreme Martial Arts) are certainly amusing to watch..

Let it Ring!
Some cool videos in a thread started by RicWilly with swords that produce a wonderful ringing sword when they cut. Like music to my ears..

Why do you like swords?
Forum members discuss what drew them to swords and what keeps us coming back. Maybe you can see yourself in some of these answers. I certainly did..

Project X Japanese

It's been over two years since the last project X Japanese sword was made. And in the interim we have had many requests..

So finally I'm pleased to say that with our 10th year anniversary issue we are finally taking another round of pre-orders!

There are two swords this time around, the first one is the return of the classic model one, the so called "kenshi" katana. And The second one is a new model, all decked out in black we have called the "kurobuke", featuring a Musashi styled tsuba and bo-hi for extra speed and audible feedback when swung through the air.

Below is a sneak preview of the new model.

Both models will be available to pre-order within the next few days, so if you are one of the people who has been asking "when will there be some more Project X Japanese swords" or if you are interested in being kept up to date with this line, click here and sign up to the notification list and you will get another email from me REAL soon..

Project X at the SBG Sword Store

Well, that's it for this issue - but stay tuned to our facebook page, blog and forum - the celebrations are just getting started!

Talk to you all again soon - until then as always, happy swordening folks!

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