So I suppose this has an effect on what I write, not going to apologise for that.
The title of this blog post, Serial Vigilantes
The typical serial vigilante character has served in Vietnam and learnt the skills used in his crusade. This can be seen in the history of the Executioner, the Destroyer, the Penetrator and Able Team, to name a few. Others gained this training in different ways. The Butcher was a high-ranking member of the Mafia who turned against it as an act of redemption for the evil he had committed. Dagger was a war correspondent, and Carl Lyons of Able Team was a police officer. Others, like The Death Merchant, offer no explanation as to how they gained their skills.
Kettredge and Krause (1978) point out that the serial vigilante’s crusade is sparked by an incident, which alters their perception of society. It may be something that happened to loved ones: The Executioner’s father killed his family after discovering that his daughter was prostituting herself to help pay off his debt to Mafia loan sharks; The Satan Sleuth’s wife was killed by Devil worshippers; Robert Briganti became The Assassin when his family was killed after he refused to help the Mafia; Dagger’s fiancée was killed after he exposed a conspiracy.
Others will have the incident happen to them: the Penetrator was bashed and left for dead after tracking down some black marketers; the Destroyer was framed and went through a fake execution.
The incident does not need to physical. Nile Barrabas, leader of The Soldiers of Barrabas, was court marshaled and dishonorably discharged for crimes he did not commit.
Fifty-one books by “Dick Stivers”
To get the full history of this spinoff of The Executioner we have to go back to the Executioner #2: Death Squad. In that novel, Bolan decides to use some of his fellow Vietnam veterans in his war on the Mafia, his Death Squad. In the final assault everyone except Mack, Rosario “Pol” Blancanales and Herman “Gadgets” Schwartz were killed. The idea was to confirm to Mack that this had to be his personal crusade. Also introduced in that book was an LA cop by the name of Carl Lyons who was after the Executioner, but by the end of the book he became Bolan’s ally.
These three characters appeared sporadically throughout the series as Pendleton continued writing. Pol and Gadgets set up a detective firm, Able Investigations, with Pol’s sister Toni.
Then Pendleton sold the Executioner to Gold Eagle. Mack Bolan had been pardoned and given the new identity of John Phoenix, the base Stony Man Farm and a new war on terrorism. Pol, Gadgets and Lyons became Able Team, Mack’s force to fight terrorism on American soil, although the team operated in other countries.
Carl “Ironman” Lyons was the team leader, Gadgets was responsible for the electronic equipment, and Pol, which is short for Politician, was the negotiator for the group. Over the series Able Team was aided by other warriors but these three remained the core.
Behind the Scenes
Initially, the series was written under the byline Don Pendleton and Dick Stivers, highlighting the series’ connection to the Executioner series. The non-existent Stivers was given the biography that he was a volunteer for Vietnam but was too young to see any action. His first taste of battle came during a mugging in Los Angeles. A traveler and adventurer, Stivers travels the world tackling crime. In truth Stivers did not exist and the books were written by several writers using the house name. These writers include:
• Norman Winski, also the author of the novelization of The Sword and the Sorcerer, the Hitman series and several works on astrology. Winski was also a member of the Chicago Beat scene and Charles Bukowski (Barfly) was godfather to his son.
• Ron Renauld, who wrote five A-Team novelizations as Charles Heath and wrote book 7 under his own name. He has also written for the Executioner.
• Nicholas Cain — a former military police officer. Cain wrote the semi-autobiographical Saigon Commandoes series. Under the pen name Jonathon Cain, he wrote the Little Saigon series about a former MP turned LA police officer working in the Vietnamese community. As Sgt. Nik Uhernik, he wrote the War Dogs series; Uhernik also appears as a character in the Saigon Commandoes series.
• Steve Mertz, who, along with Mike Newton, got his start working with Don Pendleton on the Executioner for Pinnacle Books, later ghostwriting a number of Executioner novels for Gold Eagle books and plotting the MIA Hunter series for Jove books.
THE ASSASSIN (ROBERT BRIGANTI)
Three books by Peter McCurtin
Robert Briganti was born in New Orleans in 1935, the descendant of Tommo Briganti who arrived in America from Naples in 1892. At age sixteen Robert joined the Carnival and left New Orleans and become one of the best sharpshooters on the circuit, and he toured America for years, gaining friends and contacts. With the death of his mentor, Briganti joined the Marston Arms company, selling surplus arms throughout South America and gaining an expertise in nearly all weapons. After marrying, Briganti retired from Marston and opened a sporting goods store and had a son Michael in 1963.
In 1972, Briganti was approached by mobster Joe Coraldi to get him weapons for his current gang war and Briganti refused him. So the mobsters ordered that Briganti be killed; the attack killed Briganti’s wife and son but left Briganti alive. After getting out of hospital, Briganti began his war against the Mafia, starting with Coraldi. Next, The Assassin took out a Mafia summit held in New Orleans and finally wiped out the Boston Mafia family after they tried to kill him. Briganti sends tapes recounting his exploits to the authorities and these tapes form the basis for his three books.
Behind the Scenes
Peter McCurtin was an editor for Belmont Towers books before becoming an author.
McCurtin, under his own name, was the author of several western series such as Carmody and Sundance as well as the Soldier of Fortune/Death Dealer series; under various pen names he contributed to theSexecutioner and Marksman series. McCurtin also novelized the movie The Exterminator as well as several exposés on organized crime, such as Mafioso, The Syndicate and Omerta.
BLACK SAMURAI (ROBERT SAND)
Eight books by Marc Olden
Robert Sand was an African-American soldier serving in Vietnam and while on leave in Japan came to the rescue of an old man being harassed by a group of racist soldiers.
During the skirmish Sand was shot in the belly. The old man took Sand home and tended to his wounds and revealed that he was a Samurai Master and in gratitude for his help wanted to train Sand in the ways of the samurai. Seven years later, Sand had become the best pupil of the master, when a group of mercenaries attack the master’s dojo, killing everyone except Sand.
The Black Samurai tracked down the men who killed his master and brother samurai, discovering a group of disgruntled soldiers intent on taking revenge on America for turning its back on them.
During his quest, Sand is contacted by a former United States president named Clarke. In many respects, Clarke bears a number of similarities to former President Lyn-don Baines Johnson, including the fact that they both come from Texas.
Clarke offers to finance Sand’s quest and gives him information on situations that suit Sand’s unique talents, ranging from stopping a nuclear attack on New York, destroying a conspiracy, and fighting cults, slavery rings, right-wing takeovers of America and terrorist attacks.
Behind the Scenes
Marc Olden was born in Baltimore, Maryland, before his family moved to New York in the 1940s. He attended Queen’s College and graduated with a degree in Creative Writing and Journalism. Initially working as a Broadway and entertainment publicist, he retired from that field to become a full-time writer.
One of his earliest nonfiction works, Cocaine, brought Olden into contact with a number of law enforcement personnel, which he used as the basis for his first series, Narc, about an undercover narcotics officer.
Olden was a lifelong student of the martial arts and the Orient and several of his thriller novels, such asKasieng, Giri and Oni, explore the theme of Eastern culture.
Olden passed away in 2003.
Twelve books by Philip Kirk
Butler (no first name is ever given) is a former CIA agent, fired for being too critical of the Agency. He discovered that rather than being part of the solution to the world’s problems, the CIA was part of the problem, being part of the military industrial complex and the secret society dedicated to taking over the world known as Hydra. Hydra is The Butcher responsible for the assassination and removal of world leaders, including the assassination of President Kennedy.
Butler is not alone in his battle against Hydra as he is quickly recruited by the Bancroft Institute. The institute is known around the world as a leader in scientific research but its true mission is protecting the world against hydra
Butler is the Bancroft Institute’s top agent, called on to tackle the hardest jobs, such as stopping assassination attempts, stealing military secrets, preventing the release of deadly viruses, stopping rogue satellites and ending other threats to world security and freedom.
One of the more unusual aspects with Butler is his relationships with women. Like many other secret agents and serial vigilantes, he has a number of sexual encounters with women but while the sex is fantastic, the women all seem to turn on him and accuse him of forcing them. In one instance Butler was forced to perform at gunpoint and the woman, a fellow agent of the Bancroft Institute, still accused him of rape.
Behind the Scenes
Leonard Levinson born in 1935 served the US Army from 1954 to 1957. Under a number of pseudonyms and house names, he has contributed to a number of series, including Bronson, Kung Fu (Mace), The Sharpshooter and The Sexecutioner.
Thats it for now, I will post some more soon. Till next time peace.