Existential Questions: Mike Hammer or Simon Templar?

Yeah, it is.

Yeah, it is.

Now that the U.S. and the U.K. are officially out of the freedom, courage, and victory business, it’s time for some post-mortems. Like who was the better archetypal, go-to-hell hero?

We’re not looking for civil servants like James Bond or Jack Ryan. Screw’em. We’re looking for buccaneers like, well, Simon Templar and Mike Hammer. They killed people who were bad. They weren’t sad about it. They didn’t go all Spy Who Comes in from the Cold and Three Days of the Condor on you. They just killed bad guys with little or no resort to law enforcement or the other powers that be.

They also had nice cars.

Templar had a fictitious car but a nice one.

It went like blue bloody blazes.

It went like blue bloody blazes.

Hammer had a real car. Something called a Corvette.

It went like nobody's business, like most Americans.

It went like nobody’s business, like most Americans.

So there was Templar.

Rex Harrison

And then there was Hammer.


Pretty even so far, eh? Except for all the other ways they were the same. They didn’t give a damn about the law. They shot people and killed them one way or another right and left.

Hammer was always on the move. Templar had a headquarters he called a mews, meaning he’d bought an entire block of apartment buildings he could move through. He was higher class than Mike Hammer.

Which is what it ultimately comes down to, doesn’t it? Templar was written by Charteris who taught me more about vocabulary than anyone since Edgar Allan Poe and in the process taught me what bad writing is. Mike Hammer was written by Mickey Spillane and in the process taught me simple words are always the best words.

In remembrance of Mickey Spillane.

Simon Templar expired. Mike Hammer died.

Love Charteris and The Saint too. Just not as much.


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