Any of you who have followed this blog know I am a HUGE fan of the work of the late, great Marc Olden.
I became aware of him, because I had stumbled across his BLACK SAMURAI series from the 1970s, and was immediately hooked. Getting all eight of the books in the unfortunately hard to find series.
In a vibrant and violent age of Remo Williams’ that destroyed and Mack Bolan’s that executed, Marc Olden”s Robert Sand stood out as being pulp fiction taken to the next level.
Written by someone who had mastered propulsive action, larger than life plots, and demented villains, what distinguished this series is the quality of the writing, the detail and felt authenticity of the fight scenes, and the richness of the titular character.
For these reasons Marc Olden’s BLACK SAMURAI series stands out as one of my favorite things. He would go on to surpass their formula limitations with his standalone novels POE MUST DIE and BOOK OF SHADOWS, two masterpeices, and serious literature by any definition; but for sheer joy, I love the BLACK SAMURAI series.
Particulary, the original first printing Signet paperbacks, with those stunning painted covers, hold a special place for me. God love the newer printings, but without those 70s style covers the reading experience is slighlty less fun. I really hope those Signet books can be reprinted if not individually then in a 3 volume omnibus edition that uses a cover evocative of those 1970 ones.
A bit similar to what Mario Van Peebles and the late lamented Payback Press did for Chester Himes’ 9 book French Noir series/Pulp-Fiction series, collecting all 9 of Himes books in a beautiful 3 Volume omnibus called… HARLEM CYCLE.
Kudos to Dianne Crafford, (who was kind enough to consent to an interview with me a few years back) for keeping these books in print, albeit in a kindle format and without the covers I love, but by her keeping them in print and you guys buying them, we open the door to seeing the Black Samurai series collected, in a manner that lives up to the visual quality of those Signet Paperbacks.
And if you have never read an issue of BLACK SAMURAI, the time to rectify that is now. Especially with the linked news at the top of this article, that both the BLACK SAMURAI and POE MUST DIE may be coming soon to a screen near you.
That, my friends, is the definition of news you can use! :).