Nick Carter was created by John R. Coryell

Nick Carter Stories No. 146, June 26, 1915

Nick Carter: The Dime Novel Detective Who Became a Killmaster

Nick Carter was created by John R. Coryell

Introduction

Who is Nick Carter? If you ask different people, you might get different answers. Some might say he is a boy band singer. Some might say he is a gentleman thief. Some might say he is a master detective. Some might say he is a ruthless assassin. The truth is, he is all of these things and more.

Nick Carter is one of the oldest and most prolific fictional detectives in history. He was created by John R. Coryell in 1886 and has appeared in thousands of stories, books, movies, comics, and radio shows. He has also changed dramatically over time, from a clean-cut hero to a violent spy. In this article, we will explore the evolution of Nick Carter and his impact on popular culture.

John R. Coryell

The Birth of Nick Carter

Nick Carter was created by John R. Coryell in 1886 for the New York Weekly, a dime novel magazine published by Street & Smith. Coryell was a cousin of Ormond G. Smith, one of the owners of the company. He was also a writer of scientific articles and juvenile fiction. He was asked by his uncle, Francis S. Smith, to write a detective story in the style of Ned Buntline, another popular dime novelist.

Coryell wrote “The Old Detective’s Pupil; or, The Mysterious Crime of Madison Square”, which introduced Nick Carter as a young and handsome detective who learned his trade from an old mentor named Bob Ferret. The story was a success and spawned hundreds of sequels written by Coryell and other authors, such as Frederic Van Rensselaer Dey and George C. Jenks.

Nick Carter became a household name and a role model for many young readers. He was smart, brave, honest, and resourceful. He could solve any mystery and catch any criminal with his keen observation, deduction, and disguise skills. He also had a loyal sidekick named Chickering (or Chick) Carter, who was his adopted brother and assistant.

Nick Carter’s adventures were set in various locations around the world, from New York to London to Paris to Cairo. He faced all kinds of villains, from murderers to kidnappers to anarchists to spies. He also had some romantic interests, such as Ida Jones, Nellie Gray, and Patsy O’Neil.

Nick Carter’s popularity lasted for decades. By 1949, it was estimated that he had appeared in over 4000 stories in various dime novels and pulp magazines. He also inspired many imitations and adaptations in other media.

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The Transformation of Nick Carter

In the 1960s, Nick Carter underwent a radical transformation. Street & Smith sold the rights to the character to Award Books, a paperback publisher that wanted to cash in on the spy craze sparked by James Bond and The Man from U.N.C.L.E… They hired several writers, such as Michael Avallone, Gayle Lynds, and Valerie Moolman, to write a new series of books featuring Nick Carter as a secret agent working for AXE, a covert organization that fought against global threats.

The new series was called Nick Carter: Killmaster and it was very different from the original stories. Nick Carter was no longer a detective but a spy who used violence and sex as his weapons. He was also no longer an all-American hero but an author who used his own name as his cover identity. He had a metal hand that contained various gadgets and weapons, such as a knife, a gun, and a laser beam. He also had a boss named Hawk who gave him his assignments and a contact named Zora who provided him with information and seduction.

The Killmaster books were more graphic and explicit than the dime novels and pulp magazines. They featured scenes of torture, murder, rape, and sex that shocked some readers and attracted others. They also dealt with topics such as communism, terrorism, drugs, nuclear war, and mind control that reflected the fears and fantasies of the Cold War era.

The Killmaster books were very successful and sold millions of copies worldwide. They were translated into many languages and influenced many other spy novels and movies. They also revived the interest in Nick Carter and his earlier adventures.

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The Legacy of Nick Carter

Nick Carter is one of the most enduring and influential fictional characters in history. He has been around for over 130 years and has appeared in thousands of stories across different genres and media. He has also changed with the times and adapted to the tastes and expectations of different audiences. He has inspired and entertained generations of fans and creators.

Nick Carter is not just a character but a phenomenon. He is a reflection of the culture and society that produced him and consumed him. He is a symbol of the American dream and the American nightmare. He is a hero and an antihero. He is Nick Carter, the dime novel detective who became a killmaster.

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FAQs

  • Q: Who created Nick Carter?
  • A: Nick Carter was created by John R. Coryell in 1886 for the New York Weekly, a dime novel magazine published by Street & Smith. Coryell was a cousin of Ormond G. Smith, one of the owners of the company. He wrote the first story featuring Nick Carter, “The Old Detective’s Pupil; or, The Mysterious Crime of Madison Square”.
  • Q: What is the difference between the original Nick Carter and the Killmaster Nick Carter?
  • A: The original Nick Carter was a detective who solved mysteries and caught criminals with his observation, deduction, and disguise skills. He was a clean-cut hero who followed the law and morality. The Killmaster Nick Carter was a spy who fought against global threats with his violence and sex skills. He was a ruthless assassin who followed his own rules and ethics.
  • Q: How many Nick Carter stories and books are there?
  • A: There are over 4000 stories featuring Nick Carter in various dime novels and pulp magazines, such as Nick Carter Detective Library, Nick Carter Weekly, Detective Story Magazine, and New Magnet Library. There are also over 260 books featuring Nick Carter in the Killmaster series, as well as some spin-offs and adaptations.
  • Q: Where can I find Nick Carter stories and books online or in print?
  • A: You can find some Nick Carter stories online for free on websites such as Project Gutenberg or Internet Archive. You can also find some Nick Carter books online or in print on websites such as Amazon or eBay. However, be aware that some editions may have different titles or formats than the original ones.

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