Ask Dayton 110 – It’s all in the Execution(er)
There is a series of books, almost like pulp, called Mack Bolan: The Executioner. If you were casting it who would you cast and would you do like The Walking Dead and create a new universe based on it or would you follow the book series?
Well, hey, there, G & T Show. Long time, no talk. How the fuck’ve you been? 2015’s off to a bit of a sprint, isn’t it? I mean, here it is, February goddamned 1st already, so somebody grab that calendar by its taint and tell it to slow the hell down, all right?
(Note: “Taint” included for Terry’s sake. I know she’s all about that word.)
For those wondering from where in the name of Poseidon’s ball sack this first “Ask Dayton” question of 2015 came, you can blame Nick. He and I were bullshitting on Facebook the other day, and we were talking about books and somehow the topic veered over to Mack Bolan and other books of its kind. WHAM! Instant “Ask Dayton.” I have no idea if some other, worthier query was bumped from the queue in order to accommodate Nick’s impulse inquiry, and if that’s the case then hopefully we’ll get to that one soon.
So, Mack Bolan.
For those not in the know, Bolan is the creation of writer Don Pendleton for a long-running series of books called The Executioner. In short: Bolan is an ex-military badass who spends the pages of these various novels shooting, stabbing, punching, kicking, and blowing the shit out of assorted bad guys. Terrorists, communists, drug dealers, gun runners, whatever. If you need somebody or something blow’d up real good? Mack Bolan is your man.
The first Executioner novel, War Against the Mafia, was published in 1969 and since then Bolan has appeared in more than 600 such books. Pendleton wrote the first 37 of these, after which a revolving door of ghostwriters have come along to continue the adventures. To this day, there’s a new Executioner book published every month, and there also have been a handful of successful spin-off series featuring characters and groups that Bolan works with to extend his campaign of shooting, stabbing, punching, kicking, and blowing the shit out of assorted bad guys.
I came to know The Executioner in the early to mid 1980s, at which time Bolan and two spin-off series, Able Team and Phoenix Force, were going full-tilt boogie. This was my introduction to genre of pulp fiction known as “Men’s Adventure,” and it’s probably not unreasonable to say that I think I was born a few years too late. If I’d been writing back then, I’d for sure have gravitated toward writing such books, because DAMN they were fun. In those days, there were whole sections of book stores devoted to this stuff, with Bolan titles offered alongside the likes of Remo Williams (aka The Destroyer), Nick Carter (aka The Killmaster), and The Survivalist. These books were like the best of the 80s action movies, but without all the character growth and introspection that so characterized this era of quality cinematic entertainment. Oh, wait….
Hell, I picked up a few older Bolan books the other day at a used bookstore, just because, and yes…I’ve given more than one thought to trying my hand at such a book, because again…FUN.
(We pause here, for station identification in order to bring you another uttering of the word “Taint.”)
There have been rumors for years about adapting the property for film. The latest word is that flavor of the month Bradley Cooper has been tapped for the role of Mack Bolan in a film set to start production “soon.” I could see that working. Though until recently he was largely known from the Hangover movies, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle showed me he had better acting chops than most folks were lead to believe. The A-Team movie remake showed he could do an action-adventure story, and if American Sniper doesn’t convince you the dude can act, I can’t help you. So, yeah, I think he could make a decent Mack Bolan.
As for adhering to the books? That’s a good question. The Executioner novels have a sort of comic book-like quality to them, in that Bolan never really ages even though the world around him changes as new novels continue to be published. The character’s never really been full-scale rebooted; instead, there’s a bit of ongoing James Bond-esque retconning that happens in order to keep Bolan contemporary. For example, his origins as a Vietnam vet have been subtly downplayed as the years keep adding up. It stands to reason that his “origin story” would be updated for a contemporary film, likely making him a veteran of the wars in Iraq and/or Afghanistan, and we go from there. Much of the meat comprising Bolan’s backstory is definitely usable, though in need of updating to varying degrees as appropriate, and the books are chock full of springboards for enough movies to keep us busy until the asteroid hits.
Bring all that shit. Bring that shit hard. Just make a movie that’s entertaining. Is that so much to ask?
Oh, and keep those books coming.
Oh, and “Taint.”
But, wait. There’s more.
He is the co-owner of Busy Little Beaver Productions and is the producer and co-host for G & T Show and Gates of Sto’vo’kor. He’s directed voice actors, and produced and edited audio podcasts and dramas because he doesn’t have the face for video. He plays well with others and is always on the look out for the next project, the next thing, the next next. If he wasn’t working on something with a half dozen other projects waiting in the wings, somebody please check to make sure he’s still breathing.
During the day, he’s a mild-mannered computer repair man who dabbles in web design in his small, rural, Central California community. He lives with his lovingly dysfunctional family and loyal canine companion and spends most of his time in the closet concocting some hair-brained scheme or another. He’s got an unhealthy obsession with Lego video games, Klingons, and Star Trek Online that borders on the neurotic.
Despite all this, he still finds the time to write the words. Find out what he's doing here.
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