Saturday, October 19, 2019


I'm currently editing and packaging two new Western series for Wolfpack. I worked on developing these series with two bestselling action writers, Peter Brandvold (Avenging Angels) and Mel Odom (Gunslinger). 

Other books in each series are being written by an incredible lineup of wordslingers, all writing under the shared pseudonym of A. W. Hart, with the individual authors given credit on the title page. 

The first books in each series are available now. More books are set to follow in rapid succession before beginning an alternating monthly release schedule.

These are action-filled tradition Westerns—PG-13 for violence, sex, and language—So, grab your boots and saddles and ride along with us...

Wednesday, October 16, 2019


Thriller Picture Library first appeared in 1951. The 64 page, digest-sized, British comic book began publication on a fortnightly schedule until going weekly in 1955. Like most British comics of the era, Thriller Picture Library sported a color cover with black and white interior art. Originally called Thriller Comics, the zine was later rebranded under its more commonly remembered title, Thriller Picture Library.

Each issue of Thriller Picture Library told a complete new adventure for a rotating lineup of heroic adventurers. At first, the stories were mainly illustrated versions of classic tales such as The Three Musketeers and The Man In The Iron Mask. Successfully finding a substantial audience, the comic began to feature new original stories based on folk heroes such as Rob Roy, Dick Turpin, Robin Hood and others.

During its run its long run, Thriller Picture Library, constantly adjusted its content to mirror changing audience interets. Mysteries, Westerns, sci-fi, and war stories all put in appearances with the pages of Thriller Picture Library. By the time Thriller Picture Library stopped publication with issue #450 in 1963, it was rotating between a list of modern action heroes, secret agents, and pilots.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police had their own Thriller Picture Library hero—Dick Daring of the Mounties. Specifically created for Thriller Picture Library by Reg Bunn, the Scarlet-coated Daring entered the regular rotation of the digest comic's heroes in 1951, starting in Thriller Picture Library's Issue #217. Daring's adventures would continue to run intermittently for over thirty issues through 1961.  Michael Moorcock, who would go on to fame as a fantasy and science fiction author, wrote a number of the Dick Daring comic scripts.

RCMP Sergeant Daring was based out of Creek Town in the Yukon Territory. Along with chasing the usual assortment of Northwestern-style criminals, Dick was a friend of the Indians and often help them fight against their oppressors. 

Interestingly, Daring is is most often pictured on the covers wearing a muskrat fur Cossack-style wedge hat, which were issued to RCMP troopers along with their traditional and better known wide-brimmed campaign hat. 


Proving popular with international audiences, Dick Daring of the Mounties found himself translated into a number of European languages, including French, Spanish, and Italian.

The list of artists on the series reads like an Italian phone book—Sergio Tarquinio, Franco Bignotti, Virgilio Muzzi, Renato Polese, Gallieno Ferri, and Vittorio Cossio. Argentinians Carlos V. Roume and Martin El Salvador also contributed. These artists were instructed to leave the faces of recurring characters blank so Reg Bunn could finish them himself.

In 1961, Daring was replaced in the pages of Thriller Picture Library by Dogfight Dixon. However, because of a production glitch, a leftover issue of Dick Daring of the Mounties was substituted in, giving the intrepid hero what was supposed to be one last hurrah in issue #362.

However, you can't keep a good hero down. When Thriller Picture Library abandoned Daring, his name was changed to Jim Canada when his adventures were picked up by the Italian publishing company Dardo. The new Jim Canada  stories were written by Raffaele Garcea with artwork by Giorgio De Gaspari.

Despite the name change, the character remained a sergeant in the Canadian Royal Mounted Police and continued his quest as a guardian of law and order in the cold and savage Yukon, defending settlers, chasing down dastardly fur thieves and other outlaws, and alternately defending or being chased by indigenous Indians.

The first fifty issues of Jim Canada were basically reprints of Thriller Picture Library's original 64 page Dick Daring tales, but with the covers and interior text altered to conform with the name change. The popularity of this new version of the comic boomed, and issues of Jim Canada quickly expanded to 68 pages, then 166 pages, and finally to 196 pages with Issue #275.

The Dick Daring/Jim Canada adventures continued for over 297 issues—proving the worldwide fascination with the RCMP no matter what the name of its representative hero. 

However, the coming explosion in popularity of American comics from DC and Marvel would virtually destroyed the market for European comic publishers, including Italian giant Dardo. As a result, in 1968, Jim Canada (aka Dick Daring) of the RCMP was last seen riding off into the Canadian sunset.

Monday, October 14, 2019


After reading the seven books in Ian Anderson's paperback original series, The Scarlet Riders, I was hooked on Northwesterns and went down the rabbit hole in my search for more books in the genre.

Brothers In Blood is a three book series featuring two law enforcement brothers operating on either side of the U.S. Canadian border. This set up is familiar to anyone who has seen the relatively obscure Western TV series Bordertown, or in many ways to the fondly remembered Due South.

I had a feeling series author of record, David St. James, was a pseudonym. I did some digging wanting to find out if one author or several wrote the books. What I found was a pleasant surprise. While interviewing revered mystery and Western writer Ed Gorman for his Western Fiction blog, my friend Steve Myall outed Gorman as the man behind the David St. James pseudonym. Gorman was a bit surprised by Steve having uncover his connection to Brothers In Blood, but he shared the series ended after three books when it failed to find a significant audience.

This is a shame, because Gorman's work is always worth reading and Brothers In Blood is a fun concept. I enjoyed the series, but also understand the vagaries of publishing. The series, however, is worth tracking down for both genre fans and Gorman completists...

First in the new western series of two brothers fighting the same battle for justice on opposite sides of the border. Frank Adams is a U.S. Marshal, and his younger brother, David, is a Canadian Mountie. During the whiskey-running, cattle-rustling days of the 1800's, they put their lives on the line to uphold justice. When their father is murdered, U.S. Marshal Frank Adams and his Canadian Mountie brother David set out to catch the killers, only to be drawn into a dangerous trap.

David and Frank Adamsa Canadian Mountie and a U.S. Marshall, respectivelyteam up to uncover a killer in the town of Sunset, Canada, when four Mounties are killed in a matter of months.

Frank and David Adams investigate the suspicious death of Canadian Mountie Karl Swenson, an old friend who appears to have committed suicide by setting himself on fire. 

Sunday, October 13, 2019


Earlier this year I had the honor and obligation of curating an amazing collection of men's adventure paperback original series books. I wrote a blog post detailing the story, and now my friend and pop culture maven extraordinaire, Jules Burt, has created a video tribute capturing the story...Below is Jules' comments introducing the video...

FIND OF 2019
In this video I recall the story of one of the most exciting and fantastic vintage paperback finds of 2019—The Carter Collection.

Through The Men's Adventure Paperback group on Facebook, this collection made it's way into the hands of collector and author Paul Bishop. Paul distributed the collection to collectors around the world, as well as to charitable organisations.

It's an amazing story and one I'm very grateful to share with you here.


Unmatched courage—Bringing justice to the new lands of the lawless Canadian West was a tough assignment, so the Mounties prepared themselves for a rough battle. New to the frontier the brave and idealistic riders of the Scarlet Serge were destined for a long tour of death—until they were joined by a bold Indian fighter named Cavannagh. Together, they would create the grand legend of the Scarlet Riders...

Perusing a used bookstore recently in the heart of Kansas, four titles in the seven book paperback original series, The Scarlet Riders, somehow leapt out of the Western section and snagged my interest. I was looking for something different and these seemed intriguing—Mounties chasing outlaws across the vast Northwest Territories and ferocious wastelands of the Yukon.

The Mounties are reputed to always get their man, and in this case, they definitely got me. I read the first book in the series later the same day and was hooked. This was good stuff. What I had expected to be a Canadian version of the adult Westerns such as Longarm and Rough Justice, was so much more—this was simply an excellent high adventure take on the traditional Western.

I was familiar with the term Northwesterns as applied to this genre—quasi Westerns taking place in the snow north of the border into Canada—but beyond a couple if Jack London tales it was uncharted territory for me.

At its heart, a Northwestern is a traditional Western transplanted from the prairie to the frozen tundra of the Canadian frontier or the big empty of Alaska. The trappings of a Northwestern (snow, sled dogs, scarlet tunics, etc.) may be somewhat different, but the tropes are virtually identical to those of the Western genre.

In the case of Northwesterns, The Hudson Bay Company fulfills the role played in Westerns by evil cattle barons or railroad tyrants. This became so entrenched in the Northwestern genre that the actual Hudson Bay Company became despised. 

In 1921, the HBC successful sued the Famous Players-Lasky Corporation as the responsible party for the villainous portrayal of the Hudson Bay Company in the remake of the film The Call of the North—in which the Hudson Bay Company is shown executing convicts by forcing them into the wilderness without equipment or supplies.

Interestingly, in Northwesterns, French Canadians—often considered inferior,  ignorant, and villainous by other Canadians—take on the role played by Hispanics in traditional Westerns. French Canadian women fared little better—being portrayed as the equivalent of the stereotypical exotic and tempestuous female Hispanic spitfire. 

These femme fatales were often intent on luring the upright Mountie out of his scarlet tunic and boots in order to have their wicked way with them, thus distracting the Mountie from his duty. Mounties, however, are known to be very big on doing their duty and seldom succumb.

An article on Northwesterns in Wikipedia states, The nature of fictional Mounties can vary depending on the nationality of the author. Mounties as written by British authors are often younger members of upper class British families serving the British Empire in the colonies. American-authored Mounties are often little different from US Marshalls and project the values of Westerns in that they place their individual sense of justice and conscience above their duty to the law. 

Canadian-authored Mounties represent, and are self-abnegating champions of, the Canadian establishment and its laws. Further, their authority does not come from either their social class or physical abilities; such a Mountie upholds the law by moral rather than physical force. A common story outline for Northerns involving Mounties is a pursuit, confrontation and capture: the Mountie's pursuit of a fugitive takes place across the Canadian wilderness and may be resolved non-violently.

Returning to The Scarlet Riders books, many series published during the same period were either written by an author using a pseudonym, or written by a group of authors under a house name owned by the publishing company on a work for hire basis (a one time payment with no royalties). However, some quick checking revealed The Scarlet Riders series author, Ian Anderson, not only to be a real person, but also a real Mountie.

Born in Australia in 1930, Ian Anderson decided by age six that he wanted to be a red-coated Canadian Mountie when he grew up. Besides loving the wilderness and sports, Ian was an avid reader driving him to add a becoming a writer to his youthful aspirations.

Growing up during the height of the Northwestern movie craze, Ian saw and was influenced them all—Call of the Wild, O’Malley of the Mounted, King of the Royal Mounted, Red Blood of Courage, North of the Yukon, and Cecil B DeMille’s North West Mounted Police.

Ian began his quest of becoming a Canadian scarlet rider by first serving with the South Australian Mounted Police, where he learned to ride a horse, fight bush fires, and do battle with sword and bayonet.

In 1948, age 18, he journeyed to Canada. A year later, he achieved his goal of joining the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, donning the world-famous red serge jacket and broad-brimmed Stetson for the first time.

In 1965, he left the RCMP to serve as a sub-inspector in the Royal Papua-New Guinea Constabulary, including a stint at the Bomana Police College in Port Moresby.

Eventually, Ian and his wife Mary returned to Australia.  Settling into life in Melbourne, he began to write The Scarlet Riders series, which was first published in Canada before being picked up by Zebra Books for American publication.

The worst kind of scandal: a brave young cavalry Lieutenant and another officer’s wife.  After resigning his commission in the U.S. Seventh Cavalry in disgrace, John Tarlton Cavannagh rides north, where he joins the new North-West Mounted Police. But he must prove himself.  “You’ll nae be wearin’ the Queen’s scarlet yet, Mister Cavannagh,” Sgt. MacGregor growled.  “That’s a privilege ye have tae earn!”

Uncharted territory—A power hungry schemer in the U.S. Hired an army of blood thirsty outlaws to massacre the Mounties at Fort Walsh. That was his first step in a cunning conspiracy to grab the huge Northwest Territory from Canada. It was a perfect plan that took everything into account—except a sharp-shooting man named Cavannagh.

Fresh from slaughtering Custer and his men at Little Big Horn the Sioux cross into Canada. But Cavannagh is hard on their trail seeking the renegade chief who has launched a vicious mission of vengeance. With death on all sides, Cavannagh boldly rides into the Sioux camp. Only he can stop a raging war that would end just one way, a Mountie massacre!

All along the Canadian border, Iron Fist Taggert and his crew were slaughtering people and seizing their homesteads. Hugh O'Reilly, a new Scarlet Rider recruit, refused to let them rob hardworking people of their lands--and swore to stop them or go down fighting to preserve the Scarlet Riders' legends.

Trail To Vengeance—A daring Montana bank robbery had left two law abiding citizens lying dead in the dust and the owlhoots responsible galloping north to Canada and safety. But Deputy U.s. Marshal William James Edson wasn't about to let a trio of outlaws get away with murder just by slipping over into another country. Edson believed in justice pure and simple. And he'd ride through the flaming gates of Hell itself to make sure the murdering Jaspers stretched hemp for their crime—even if he had to ride in alone!

Trail To Glory—Nobody felt justice's pull more than Corporal Colin MacGregor of the Northwest Mounted Police. Joining forces with the determined U.S. Marshal, the Mountie took off in pursuit of the dangerous desperados across the vast Canadian wilderness. But six thousand renegade Sioux stood in the way of lawmen and outlaws alike. And faced with the blood-hungry Redskins, desperate killers, and the savage, fast approaching Canadian winter, it looked like nothing short of death would be MacGregor's price for preserving the glory of The Scarlet Riders.