Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Men's Action Series

You can blame this on Vince Keenan if you want to. He's the one who brought up The Liquidator. So the other day I started scanning some covers from the old men's action series books. I don't have my copies in any particular order. I don't even have the series together, so what I scanned is just a random sampling. The results are here, and you can watch a slideshow if you're so inclined. You've got your Stryker, your Striker, your Ryker, and even a vengeful merman. One of these days, if I get inspired again, I'll scan some more. And believe me, there are many more. Whatever happened to the guys who bought these things by the truckload?

Update: I've added about 20 more.


  1. Great show, Bill. I especially loved the title "Kill the Hack." Is that a title tuckerization? I also wonder how many of those you secretly wrote.

  2. I didn't write any of them, unfortunately. I should put my Nick Carter book in there, though, for sure.

  3. And now it's done.

  4. Todd Mason5:52 PM

    It occurs to me that the truck drivers who were buying these and western paperbacks in good quantity for their downtime might've flipped over to books on tape and, latterly, to Sirius and XM (which they could enjoy while working). So, (pointlessly) blame Zims and Stern for that residual market shrinking...dunno if the rest of the market simply aged out or fell out of the many BRAIN novels can anyone read? The nuances, the comedy-of-manners fripperies...the tecnnothrillers might well've picked up much of the former Worldwide Library audience.

  5. I think you're right about those tecno-thrillers. There's still a big reading audience for those.

  6. Todd Mason6:02 PM

    Glad to see that Barry "Mike Barry" Malzberg's "the Lone Wolf" looks a bit like Robert Quarry as Count Yorga. I've managed to never see any of these before, I think.

    (To go more trivial, the new ESQUIRE manages to feature photos of and words from Maria Bello, Annabeth Gish, and Kristin Bell and still might have us believe that Scarlett J is the World's Most Beautiful...she also gets a slightly disguised photo and a bit of i/v. Hope WA doesn't hit on her too often.)

  7. So that's Scarlett in those photos? Pretty nice, for sure.

  8. ...but no Maria Bello...(even given that the Bello photos are hardly the most flattering she's had taken).

  9. That's a damn bloodbath of a slide show, Bill. I'm happy to take the blame.

    I have to confess I didn't know about the Nelson De Mille or the Piers Anthony books. A few more recognizable names other than yours behind some of these titles, I'll bet.

    Two questions: 1. How many of these have you actually read?

    2. Attar the Merman?

  10. I know few if any of the names behind those books, but the Attar the Merman books (there were 2) were written by Joe Haldeman.

  11. Anonymous5:28 AM

    For a fresh appreciation of Malzberg, read his Lone Wolf series (what was it, 12 books?) as one long novel. It,s a great send-up of the men's action genre and a magnificent accomplishment.

    I'm also fond of Simon Quinn's (Martin Cruz Smith) Inquisitor series. A hit man for the Vatican who must do penance every time he completes an cool is that?

    -- Jerry House

  12. Jeff Meyerson7:12 AM

    "The Big Brain" was really a series? I guess I missed that one. Ditto for "Attar the Merman".
    But I do remember "Pepperoni Hero".

    Thankfully for the rest of us, Bill has no shame.

    What happened to the guys who bought them? They have this blog...

    Yeah, The Inquisitor was definitely worth reading. But he wasn't "officially" a hitman for the Vatican, though he did kill a few people.

  13. Grrreat slideshow, Bill! (Even though some of the books surely aren't great...)

    Nelson De Mille's Stryker books were reprinted in the early nineties as by Jack Cannon. I think one of the books in his other series was rewritten as having Stryker. The Soldato books by Al Conroy have very cool scans, I hadn't seen them earlier. (The Finnish covers are quite drab.)

    Some of the pseudonyms are revealed in Pat Hawk's catalogues. At least Sam Picard and Bruno Rossi are there, Rossi being a house name, if I recall right.