Bare Knuckles Recommendations

A column article, Busted Knuckles by: Beau Smith

Testosterone TV Recommendation: Soldiers of Fortune-The Complete TV Series

Price $12.99

Recently I was wandering around Sam's Club. While Beth shopped for real stuff we needed, I was in the DVD section, where I spend most of my time at Sam's Club. I can almost always find some rare gem there, something obscure and usually at a very good price. On this particular day I not only found a gem, I found the gem of gems, Soldiers of Fortune-The Complete TV Series!

This five DVD set was only $12.99! I snatched it up before Chuck Dixon could find it. (When I find a truly manly item such as this, I always feel as if Chuck Dixon is behind me ready to swoop in and take my treasure.)

When I was a kid, I was introduced to Soldiers of Fortune through reruns on one of our local TV stations. The series was originally out in 1955 and was a part of the great rush of 30 minute western/action/adventure TV series that were churned out during that period. TV for men was huge during that time and dear ol' dad could always find something filled with testosterone on the TV during the '50s. Being a bit younger, I got the residual rewards from that through reruns in the '60s.

I only saw a handful of the Soldiers of Fortune reruns before they were banished to TV limbo, but boy did they make an impression on me, not only as a kid, but as a future comic book writer. 30 minutes TV shows like this were perfect examples of how to write 8 page comic book stories and standalone stories. There was a beginning, middle and end as well as some clever twists and red meat dialogue that was never wasted or used as filler.

Many years later when I began writing comics, the influence of TV shows like Soldiers of Fortune really came back to help guide me in my writing. I'm very happy those influences never left.

Soldiers of Fortune starred John Russell as Tim Kelly and Chick Chandler -Great name - as Toubo Smith. (Even better name) You may remember John Russell as the star of the TV western The Lawman and as the bad guy in Clint Eastwood's movie Pale Rider. Chick Chandler was a great movie & TV character actor that you used to see in loads of westerns, action films and TV series. He always had a real talent for playing tough guys with a sense a humor.

Soldiers of Fortune follows Tim Kelly and Toubo Smith, international adventurers, who travel the globe offering their deadly services for hire. Each action-packed show finds the pair embarked on exotic quests around the world of danger. From the diamond mines of Africa to the pampas of South America, and the mysterious sections of the Middle East, wherever they go, danger finds them. Kelly and Smith always handle danger with flair and good humor, even in the toughest of situations.

Soldiers of Fortune was one of the first TV shows to incorporate location shoots from around the world and used more stuntmen than any other 30 minute TV series in the '50s. Famous stunt men such as Boyd Stockman, Red Morgan and Paul Baxley did their best to make Soldiers of Fortune exciting and cutting edge in the action department.

The episodes are smart, clever and rugged. You'll be pleased by the likeable heroes the use of production values and far ranging locations and adventure situations. Just the titles of the stories alone is enough to make you want to watch every episode: "The Gaboon Viper", "Bite Of The Ruby Red", "Hate At Forty Fathoms", "The Hatchet Man", "Run 'Til You Die", "The Monster Of Loch Macgora", "Temple of Terror", "Skull of the Incas", "Sandhogs", "Pipeline to Danger" and dozens more. I cannot recommend this set enough. Roaring great adventure and hours of action for only $12.99.

Here is a YouTube clip of the intro to Soldiers of Fortune. I dare you to watch just one!




Rough Manly Book Recommendation: One Rough Man
Written By Brad Taylor
Dutton Publishing 2011

When I was in high school and college I devoured not only westerns by John Benteen (Fargo) and George Gilman (Edge), but I also was a big fan of men's adventure books like The Destroyer and Mack Bolan. It was natural; back then there weren't too many guys my age that didn't read at least a couple of those bone shattering grinders. As I grew older, tastes change and you want the same kind of red meat just grilled different, One Rough Man by Brad Taylor is just that.

This is Brad Taylor's first novel after 21 years of special forces working in the dark corners of the world, his work résumé is as impressive as his first novel.

Pike Logan is the main character and know this ahead of time, yes, his family has been murdered by bad guys and he has nothing to lose, but it's not the cliché you think.

Pike was the best of the best in the government's most secret, not-by-the-books taskforce, and he's just a little off kilter. It's not an eye for eye with Pike, it's all organs or nothing. Know this as well, he is NOT your stereotype tough guy, he's better, smarter and has more internal twists than a bag of pretzels. Pike is what terrorists have nightmares about and he is hunting two of the most evil men on the planet. The planet isn't big enough for them to hide.

One Rough Man is smartly written and paced. The action is solid and there's enough dark humor to satisfy my demented side. If you miss Jack Bauer, then Pike Logan will fill your violent void.



Bone Crushing Comic Book Recommendation:Shadowland: Thunderbolts

Written by Jeff Parker
Art by Kev Walker & Declan Shalvey
Trade Paperback
Collects Thunderbolts #148 through #151
Marvel Comics

Rarely these days does a comic book have just enough story without overloading, just enough action without being a dog chasing its own tail and just the right amount of character layers without smelling like an onion.

Shadowlands: Thunderbolts gives you all the right amounts of everything and nothing you don't need. The story has intrigue, the characters have smart words that pour from their mouths and the action is the perfect wave that every comic book surfer wants to catch. Villains have always been the most interesting characters in fiction, they are what makes a great hero, in this trade paperback those lines are not only crossed, but so mashed up they look like a face hit by a Mike Tyson left hook in his prime.

The roll call for this book alone is worth the cover price: Juggernaut, Crossbones, Man-Thing, Ghost, Moonstone, Fixer and Mach V. Toss in heroes Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man and you almost end up owing Marvel Comics an extra dollar or two. I was very happy with this purchase, I think you will be as well.



Busted Knuckles Manly Cover of the Week: Man's Magazine

Wouldn't you love to know what happened to all the original art from all of those Men's magazine covers from the 1950's? I would, or maybe I wouldn't. I've heard horror stories that a lot of them were tossed out, burnt up and used to prop open windows. I'd much rather think of them in someone's collection or even better, in a museum. As a kid, I was always mesmerized when I would see the covers of these magazines. I was never allowed to have any then, but I sure did lust after them. The cover always promised lurid action and adventure and the paintings of the covers were so life-like and there were so many of them! I thought you'd enjoy this cover for the sheer toughness of a true job of danger.




Busted Knuckles Babe of the Week: Marysol Castro
News and Weather Anchor

As I've mentioned many times before when talking about The Busted Knuckles Babe of the Week, some of the prettiest women in the world are on TV and aren't actresses or models, Marysol Castro is one of them. She's smart, funny, athletic and a real beauty. Her only flaw is that she's a New York Yankees fan. I'll have to give her a pass on that because she's from The Bronx in New York. She's also a big fan of Twitter and you can find her there @marysolcastro rooting for her Yankees. If she was a Cleveland Indians fan, she'd be perfect.




The Roundup

As most of you regular Knuckleheads know, I am a notebook geek. I fill loads of them up with my story notes, daily journals and appointments, I document everything and always have. Recently I became the owner of a beautiful Circa notebook from Levenger, the makers of tools for serious readers.

Circa is an amazing and unique notebook system that has changed the way I organize my work and personal life. In this age of high tech, it's nice to still put pen to paper and have it all make perfect sense. The selection of venues that you can organize your notes and thoughts is first class with no peers. Manly and stylish Circa Discs hold your notebook in place and make it easy for you to transfer your pages to fit whatever needs you may have when writing down your personal world events. I have 11 Kyoto discs with a Lakota full grain leather cover and use the Levenger annotation ruled pages. As you can see by the photos, I even have mine monogrammed with my proper initials SSS. (Stephen Scott Smith)

Levenger is loaded with some of the most innovative items for readers and writers. I highly suggest you check out their website and order their catalog and see for yourself. Levenger co-founder Steve Leveen is a great guy as well as a fan of graphic novels. Tell him I sent you. It'll either put you in good or get you tossed out. My name has that effect on some folks.

Until next time, keep reading and writing.

Beau Smith
The Flying Fist Ranch

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