The Way of the Tiger. Fair enough. Mixing Japanese martial arts with Dungeons and Dragons doesn't do it for me - and the ninjutsu and bushido stuff was never part of Mark Smith's original conception of the world of Orb either. But in the '80s it was all black pyjamas and nunchuks. Even Daredevil seemed to be wall-to-wall ninja back then. Way of the Tiger rode that wave, and you can't blame them.
Another '80s fixture was British comic 2000AD. Of course Judge Dredd wasn't my favourite. I preferred Nemesis the Warlock (which felt a bit Moorcockian), Ace Trucking Company (definite shades of Keith Laumer), and the resolutely downbeat Strontium Dog, whose demise (later retconned as "legend") surely inspired Avenger's apparently sticky and sudden end.
More of the spirit of Johnny Alpha was evident in the Falcon gamebooks. Mark Smith and Jamie Thomson wrote these books around the same time as Way of the Tiger, but that series has always overshadowed them. It's a shame. Falcon's time-travel concept allows for a diversity of setting and tone that WotT could never achieve. There's a dry humour as well as a dark bite to Falcon's adventures, and with multiple timelines as the theme sudden death is no longer quite such a metafictional minefield. Put it this way: Falcon could make a respectable movie or TV show, whereas in the case of WotT you could hardly help asking why an Occidental-looking guy kept using Japanese words and was trying to drop-kick that shoggoth with an orc on its back.
Well, no need to pick sides. You can have your kēki and eat it, because Fabled Lands Publishing is bringing back the Falcon series, starting this month with The Renegade Lord. It's 3033 AD, you're an agent of the Temporal Executive, and you have to stop the time traveller who is trying to change history before he, she, or it deletes the present. The wrinkle in the time stream is that the miscreant you're after seems to be one of your own superior officers.
We had this book ready for release at the end of last year, but we didn't know what to do about a cover. Then Jamie happened to get in touch with Peter Andrew Jones, the near-legendary artist responsible for some of the great gamebook covers of the '80s and '90s. Mr Jones kindly offered to remaster the cover for the new edition. So that's a point in favour of Facebook, in case you're still missing your hoverboard.