Here at Hermes Press, we love finding pop culture treasure, and bring it back from memory to reality again. But when we stumbled across Agent 13, buried in the files of his creator since the late ’80s, we knew we’d hit the esoteric jackpot of coolness.
Agent 13 has it all-deathtraps, secret societies, femme fatales, a friend and lovely assistant, and an enigmatic pulp hero-delivered in a hard-hitting style. He’s now coming back from his whispered cult status, the greatest hero no one knows about, except for a few people:
Steven Spielberg’s development team has known about him since the beginning.
So did Dungeons and Dragons creator Gary Gygax.
Sean Daniel, producer of The Mummy films, Dazed and Confused, and The Wolfman, also knows him well enough to start developing an Agent 13 movie.
Agent 13 is the best-kept secret of the late ’80s, one that mixes the best elements of classic pulp, modern action, and gritty realism to create a kick-ass cocktail of adventure that was served out in graphic novels, prose novels, a role-playing game, and original radio shows. Agent 13 was created by G.I. Joe and Transformers cartoon writer Flint Dille and Enemy of the State and Live Free or Die Hard screenwriter David Marconi. At the time, Dille was both a story writer and editor on the Transformers and G.I. Joe cartoons-the two most iconic 1980s toy lines and cartoon series-and Marconi was starting to erupt as a formidable Hollywood screenwriter.
Dille’s taste for the fantastic and Marconi’s sense of realism makes Agent 13 a unique specimen: the post-modern pulp hero. There’s no “golly gee, shucks” feeling of the past here-Agent 13 fights a grim and ugly war that would make lesser heroes cry-but a view into one man’s personal war against the forces of evil.
“With Agent 13, I was using a philosophy that I wasn’t seeing anywhere else,” Flint Dille says. “It’s like we went to the same well as Raiders of the Lost Ark and came out with a different mineral.”
“Flint’s very good with the big, broad, crazy ideas and I’m very good at taking those ideas and grounding them in research, while figuring out ways to make it all work and be somewhat believable,” Marconi adds. “It was a combination of him and his big, unique ideas, and me saying; ‘Okay, how can we ground this stuff in a reality for the reader?’
“So, he then set off and did a first pass at the material, which I then took, [and] expanded on while infusing it with the research so to give it all a semblance of believability and depth. Grounding it in ancient lore, myths and theories that were out there.”
The Agent 13 experience came in handy for David Marconi when, years later, he wrote the Will Smith and Gene Hackman suspense vehicle Enemy of the State, a conspiracy movie that involves the NSA spying on all of America.
“So I do the research and find a reality that I can believe in, figuring that if I can sell it to myself, then I feel I have a better chance of selling it to the reader.”
After coming out with two graphic novels, three prose novels, a few radio shows, and a role-playing game, Agent 13 caught the eye of Steven Spielberg’s development team. Inspired in part by Raiders, Agent 13 ironically landed both men gigs working for Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment.
But it all comes full circle again, when we at Hermes Press bring back the lost 1988 graphic novel Agent 13: Midnight Avenger so that now you can be introduced to Agent 13’s violent and turbulent world. The story is by Dille and Marconi, and the art by classic cartoonist Dan Spiegel (Crossfire).
And it doesn’t end with the reissue of Midnight Avenger: While the original Agent 13 prose novels by Dille and Marconi have been reissued via the Amazon Kindle, Hermes Press has plans for future installments of Agent 13’s Top Secret, pulp-laden, explosive adventures that take the classic pulp of the ’30s and reinvent them with the panache of the modern adventure story in a wonky manner never seen before. You’ll see some of the old dusted off as lost artifacts of the 1980s transmedia world that created G.I. Joe and Transformers…and some new coolness in future adventures of the vigilant secret agent.
So, consider us the advance guard in bringing this lost cult figure back, with 2012’s re-release of Agent 13: The Midnight Avenger. Believe me, he’s soon going to start popping up everywhere soon, and we’re here to set up the introductions for you.
We here at Hermes Press have brought back classic material before, but never anything quite like this.