DEATHWISH with throwing stars!

posted in: 2 - Books and Manga | 2

Its was a dog-eared, dime-store novel world where a man was a man, a woman was a victim waiting to happen and the road to revenge was a street washed in blood. Violent and lurid men’s adventure novels go back decades, but in the 80’s, cinema actually caught up to their bloodshed, boobs and body counts, so the context was better than ever! These ‘men of action’ lines also adapted to every major martial arts trend decade by decade, so in the 80’s, yeah… NINJA PULPS!

I’m terribly limited on space (and funds) right now, but damn am I tempted to start scooping up these martial arts-themed trash novels, especially those cashing in on the ninja craze.

Piers Anthony and Roberto Fuentes were responsible for six chop-socky pulp novels starring Jason Striker: Master of the Martial Arts. These were in the ‘old-school vet brings back exotic skills from the war and uses them to wipe out all them hippies, punks and pinkos’ model. Two in the series were ninja-themed.

The most prolific of the ninja-sploitation novelists was ‘Wade Barker’ (Richard Meyers), who wrote 16 titles during the craze, including eight bat-shit crazy brutal tales of Brett Wallace: Ninja Master.

Curt Purcell of the damn nifty Groovy Age of Horror blog described volume #7, The Skin Swindle, as “Death Wish with throwing stars, Bernhard Goetz in a ninja suit.”

They were pure late 70’s/early 80’s action revenge formula: Orient-savvy white guy’s family slaughtered, he becomes the Western world’s only expert in some exotic death art, gets revenge, then goes from town to town fighting bikers, hillbillies, neo-nazis, para-military suvivalists, evil land barons, multi-ethnic street gangs with neon bandanas tied around their pant legs,etc. and so forth.

If I even start buying these, I’m doomed. I’ll have to sell a kidney to feed the habit, ultimately showing up on some cable ‘Hoarders: Exposed’ show looking like a demented freak.

But how do I resist a stinky old copy of Bamboo Bloodbath on eBay? HOW?!?!?!

2 Responses

  1. "Wade Barker"

    Wow. That brings me back. Thanks for the enthusiastic appreciation of “my” work!

    I say “my,” because, although I wrote 12 of the 16 Ninja Masters, Skin Swindle wasn’t mine (all the others you mentioned and pictured were, however).

    I was brought in after the first was ready because the editor felt that the second was unpublishable. He asked me to rewrite it in 6 weeks using the same title and cover art. Did you notice that I used that book to basically negate the first book and recycle all my favorite Zatoichi, Baby Cart, and Shinobi No Mono scenes?

    I wasn’t told who the other author was and I didn’t ask. I was flattered that they ultimately gave me the series and full use of the pseudonym in all its glorious Wadeness.

    Daremo sez hey. Thanks again.