Thursday, July 23, 2009

Men Of Violence

As a regular reader of this blog, you've become well aware of my fondness for those cheapjack men's adventure novels of the (mainly) 1970s. As they were never exactly considered high art or even literature in some circles, very little has been published about the people who wrote and published the adventures of the Executioner, the Death Merchant, the Penetrator, and so forth. But even less has been written about them.

Justin Marriott attempts to rectify that in the first of what I hope will be a series of fanzines titled MEN OF VIOLENCE. In old-school fanzine tradition, it's somewhat crude-looking, short (20 pages), strife with grammatical errors, which actually seems a perfectly natural approach for the material Justin is covering.

Using the incredibly badass cover of Bruno Rossi's Sharpshooter novel BLOOD BATH to illustrate his own mag, Justin takes brief looks at three of the most successful paperback series of the era: Don Pendleton's Executioner, Stuart Jason's Butcher, and Paul Edwards' John Eagle: Expeditor.

Also profiled are Dean Ballenger's three Gannon novels for Manor Books, which I haven't read, but desperately want to, after reading how lurid and violent they are. Finally, you may know best-selling author Nelson DeMille from his novels like THE GENERAL'S DAUGHTER (which was made into a movie starring John Travolta) and GOLD COAST, but he started out writing extremely trashy cop novels about interchangeably hotheaded and racist detectives named Ryker, Keller (which I have, but haven't read yet), and possibly Joe Blaze. Justin does a good, if superficial, job in less than three pages deciphering DeMille's convoluted history as a paperback writer.

I believe the subject of these novels is worthy of an entire book, complete with reproductions of the often jawdropping cover art. I hope Justin will be the one to eventually accomplish that task.


Andrew Byers said...


Thanks for passing that along, it looks like a great fanzine, though expensive to get shipped to the US. Have you ever read/reviewed any of the Paperback Fanatic fanzines? I think I'll probably pick up the latest issue of PF along with Men of Violence.

Marty McKee said...

I have read a couple of PFs that Justin was kind enough to send to me awhile back, though I never did review them. They are of equal quality to MEN OF VIOLENCE, but cover a broader range of paperbacks. Most of them were British paperbacks, with which I'm not familiar. I agree, for the price, I'm not sure I would buy, but I recommend you buy one and give it a try. Depending on what's in the next issue (if there is one), I would probably buy the next MEN OF VIOLENCE.

Andrew Byers said...

Cool, thanks, I think I will go ahead and order PF 10 along with Men of Violence. I am really glad that someone is making a stab to start chronicling (in print) the men's adventure genre. It's woefully neglected.

Gonzalo B said...

This book on the subject looks interesting. It's supposed to come out soon:

Andrew Byers said...

That does look like a great book, thanks! It's expensive, like most academic texts, but it looks very cool. They have a number of other really good looking ones there as well, including several on Edgar Rice Burroughs.