Saturday, October 01, 2011

Leo Howard, Boy Badass

I have underwear older than this kid, Leo Howard ( He's all of 14 or 15 years old, and already he's managed to act as two of my fictional heroes: Snakes Eyes and Conan the Barbarian. What is up with that?

Not only that, but young Leo was probably the best thing in Conan 3D. I found him far more interesting to watch than Jason Momoa.

Now that, my friends, is a badass scene. That's mythic. And some punk kid pulled it off. Too bad the rest of the movie didn't live up to it.
This test of manhood is similar to tests various warrior cultures put their boys through. It most reminds me of the test for membership in the Irish Fianna, which the legends tell us required a young man to have his hair braided and then run a course through the forest. If he was caught, he failed. If a branch cracked under his foot, he failed. If a braid came unraveled, he failed. he had to be able to leap over a branch as high as his forehead, pass under one as low as his knee, and he had to be able to pull a thorn from his heel without slowing down.
In fact, there's quite a lot from this scene which called Irish myth to mind. The great Irish hero, CuChulainn, was only a boy when he took up arms and started defending Ulster against its enemies. And, of course, the Celts of CuChulainn's time took heads in order to prove the number of enemies they'd slain in battle.
I suspect this echo of Irish myth is coincidental, but Robert E. Howard (Conan's creator, and no relation) would've approved. He was a serious Celtophile, and always imagined his Cimmerians as the ancestors of the historical Celts.
Anyway, for better or worse, Leo Howard is caught up in the "Mighty Mouse Machine" -- he's appearing on the Disney Channel's show Kickin' It, about a strip mall karate dojo. I suspect we'll hear more from Leo.

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