Francis X. Gordon aka El Borak! This is a character invented by pulp meister Robert E. Howard (creator of Conan). Ever since grade school I’ve been interested in history with the British Empire and its little wars all over the world, especially exotic India and other places in the middle and far east, just the perfect playground for Howard, who also a great history buff in his time. El Borak ("the swift!") was an American adventurer in the far east who gets involved in murder plots and intrigue between empires laces with plenty of action packed sword fights. But then, Gordon was only one of several Howard characters that I dig which also include Solomon Kane, a Puritan adventurer in the seventeenth century who fights everything from French musketeers to vampires to African juju! Next is King Kull, Howard’s precursor to Conan, who began as a barbarian mercenary who rose to the throne of a decadent empire much as real barbarians did in the Roman Empire.

And then there are the heroes of Edgar Rice Burroughs beginning with Tarzan (do I really need to explain who he is?) then moving on to John Carter of Mars, Carson Napier of Venus, David Innes of Pellucidar (an antedeluvian world at the center of the Earth), and a number of others.

Oh! And then there’s The Shadow and Captain Future and a legion of other pulp heroes…I guess what draws me to these characters is their representation of what it was meant at one time to be an American hero ie one who was sure of his God, his country, and himself. The kind of man who, when faced with a problem, solved it and didn’t waste too much time agonizing over snail darters or global warming. When they saw something that needed getting done, they did it be it winning world wars or building the Panama Canal.

In film, I kind of see actor Kenneth Tobey’s portrayal of Capt. Patrick Hendry in films like "The Thing" or Rex Reason as Dr. Cal Meacham in "This Island Earth" as the embodiment of this can do spirit.

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