Monday, August 04, 2014

A New Spy Paperback Series!

Over the night of Saturday-Sunday, July 26-27, 2014, I had a dream which tickled me after waking.  In my status as “creator” of the dream’s content, I think I had a darn good idea!

In my dream …
I was shopping through a thrift store and came to some wire shelves that bore a bunch of old books.  Something about one of them caught my eye.  It looked a lot like one of the Ace paperback series of Man from U.N.C.L.E. adventures, so I grabbed it off the rack.

It certainly LOOKED like an Ace U.N.C.L.E. paperback -- it was flexed and worn, and faded.  And it had a picture of Robert Vaughn, circa 1966, on the cover.  And it was a spy book -- but not about U.N.C.L.E.!

I don’t remember the title of the book, or anything else, except that the tagline at the top of the book was, “You know him as Napoleon Solo.  But that was just one of his names …”

And, looking on the shelf, there about five or six more paperbacks, all of the same series!  My dream ended with me grabbing up all of these, and looking forward to reading some cheesy 1960s spy adventures.

Think about it.  It’s a brilliant idea -- to market YOUR OWN series of spy novels to unwary teen readers, and to tie them into an existing popular series by claiming that these tales featured the same hero, just under another name!

I assume that you’d need permission from both MGM-Arena AND Vaughn to do such a thing in real life, but the Dream Master doesn’t care about permissions.  And my waking self can only marvel at this clever way to manufacture a tie-in series.

Why, you could have many different series with a rugged, suave spy -- each apparently a different character.  But you, the publisher, could say that all of these heroes were THE SAME GUY.  And, they were all also Napoleon Solo of U.N.C.L.E. -- only he was working under different names, in these adventures!

Of course this also implies that Napoleon Solo may have been a false persona, a made-up role played by this same guy.  The mind boggles!

Here are a few recreations of the books in my dreams.  Only the concept of Vaughn, the wording about “only one of his names,” and the idea of a series, are remembered elements of my dream.  I made up the names of the books and the author’s name.  The front cover layout -- the placement of photo, book title, and blurb -- are faithful to Dream Master’s presentation.

So, tell me -- do you agree that the Dream Master had a diabolically clever idea?


paul howley said... idea, but licensing would be near-impossible.

Darci said...

I do think the Dream Master had a good idea, Mark. I also have always felt that Napoleon Solo was obviously a pseudonym.

Mark Alfred said...

Being a child of the 1960s, Darci, I read your comment and for some silly reason thought of Bill Dana saying, "My name ... Jose Jimenez."

All original content
© by Mark Alfred