Re: RARA-AVIS: The Executioner & the "Men's Action" Sub-Genre

From: Jess Nevins (
Date: 13 Feb 2002


> Second, while the Executioner is the father of the
> "Men's Action" genre, a transitional figure who could
> be called the "grandfather" is Nick Carter. Nick's
> been evertyhting from a Victorian Holmes wanna-be, to
> a Depression-era hardboiled PI, but in his most recent
> incarnation, he was a deliberately imitative James
> Bond clone who starred in nearly 200 espionage novels.
> Some of the writers who've contributed to Nick's saga
> include Michael Avallone (who actually wrote the first
> "Nick Carter - Killmaster" novel RUN SPY RUN, and so,
> in a sense, may be termed Nick's creator, or at least
> re-booter), PWA founder Bob Randisi, Edgar-winner
> Michael Collins, techno-thriller ace David Hagberg,
> and our own Bill Crider whose first published book was
> a collaborative Nick novel.

In fairness, Carter debuted in 1886, only five years after Holmes, and was really modelled on other dime novel detectives, like Old Cap Collier and Old King Brady. He did take on Holmesian attributes, to be sure, but he was always more than just a Holmes imitator, just as Sexton Blake (who also took on Holmesian attributes) was always more than just a Holmes imitator.

Actually, the Blake comparison is apposite, since he, too, underwent similar changes, reflecting contemporary societal attitudes, finally becoming a Bond-like character.

jess The Nick Carter Page

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