“What do you want?” Chiun asked.
“Your destruction,” said the nurse.

Running strong––and ridiculous––since 1971, the Destroyer series has been providing the world with some of the most absurd spy-ish thriller garbage I’ve had the pleasure of setting eyes on.

Starting out with an over-the-top grisly murder, the book jumps into a whirlwind of a chase; our two heroes, Remo and his elderly Chinese-Korean kung fu master father figure Chiun, are on the case of a serial killer maniac targeting the Hollywood elite. Sucking out their brains to harvest their creativity and ingenuity, this villain really gives the pair a run for their money.

Never heard of the Destroyer series? No biggie. You can jump in the schlock-pot at any point in time and you’ll find yourself enjoying the daze.

Gratuitous violence, soap opera fanaticism, the word “breast” used about 6,000 times––this book’s got it all! It’s almost as if this book––the entire series, rather––has its pulse on some Keanu Reeves Speed drama what with the unending and seemingly completely misplaced action. Keep an eye out for riveting fight scenes, such as the biker bar brawl in which our main hero rips a dude’s nose off and drops it in his beer, then utters the classic line, “Got your nosey wosey”.

C’est magnifique!

SIGHTS

A wonderful purple/black/white color scheme accents the bizarre illustrations lumped together over the style-set series title. Is that a human brain attached to a maypole? A woman riding a motorcycle in stilettos? A guy in a kung fu gi hitting two guys with a snake? Who knows! Enjoy the ride. A lovely advert for True cigarettes sits in the middle of the book, begging you: “C’mon. Come for the filter… you’ll stay for the taste.”

SMELLS

I don’t know if the suited stud who owned this book before me sat sipping his martini and smoking a cigar in a tub of cologne, but good lord does this book reek of damp, spicy vanilla. Far, far back in the binding, one can detect a hint of its natural scent; Summer school, with a dash of muted chlorine.

THE DESTROYER #22 (BRAIN DRAIN), RICHARD SAPIR AND WARREN MURPHY, PINNACLE BOOKS 1976

WHAT’S IN YOUR POCKET?

Paperback pocketbooks are lost treasures of a bygone era. At the height of their popularity, they were used as a way to inexpensively get normal-length and longer format novels out to the masses. Once considered disposable – the term “pulp” comes from the low-quality paper they were printed on, prone to discoloring and literally recycled into pulp if the books didn’t sell, less the cover – they’re now hailed as collector’s items; and rightfully so.