Alexander L’Hiboux (The Owl)

Created by Bob Forward

“I am the Owl. And the Owl never sleeps.”

For those of you who like a little pulp baked right into the mix, you ought to get a kick out of Bob Forward’s two explosive books featuring ALEXANDER L’HIBOUX, whose street name is “THE OWL” (“L’hiboux” is French for “owl”).

When we first make his acquaintance in The Owl (1984), Alexander is tormented by the fact he couldn’t prevent his wife’s murder, and suffering from a rare medical disorder that causes permanent insomnia. So  he spends his sleepless nights trudging up and down the mean streets of Los Angeles, looking for trouble.

Just another crazy homeless guy, right?

Except he’s not just another crazy homeless guy–he’s got this whole other sidegig going, where he’s an uneasy mix of The Punisher, Batman, and The Equalizer. He’s a sort of relentless vigilante-for-hire, out to dish up justice for those who can’t get it any other way, and wreaking havoc on anyone else he’s decided must be punished. And once he sets his sights on someone, someone dies.

The Owl has an “office,” although he never goes there, instead receiving coded messages by phone from his assistant, Danielle “Danny” Santerre, because, you know, you can’t be too careful. Apparently a lot of people want The Owl dead.

I know, I know. It almost scans like a character from a 1940s pulp. Or maybe a comic book. Or a Saturday morning cartoon. Whatever it is, it’s hard to take seriously. The books–there were two–were deliberately, deliciously over the top which, depending on your mileage, was either a good or a bad thing. But the heavy-handed, hyper-ventilating rewrite of the beginning of Chandler’s classic “Red Wind” in The Owl: Scarlet Serenade (2014) just has to be read to be believed, and the first person narration adds a special dollop of overblown self-righteousness that could make your eyes water. This is the sound of knuckles dragging.

Perhaps the biggest surprise isn’t that CBS thought it would be a potential smasheroo TV show–the big surprise was that the pilot, starred a pre-Highlander Adrian Paul, aired to little notice, pro or con.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bob Forward likes to blow things up good. Real good. Besides working as a writer, artist, director and producer for novels, comic books and children’s television (Secret of the Sword, She-Ra: Princess of Power, C.O.P.S., The Real Ghostbusters, The Legend of Zelda and Captain Planet and the Planeteers) , he runs a pyrotechnic special effects business on the side. He tends to have noisy dreams.

UNDER OATH

  • “Mike Hammer is a wimp compared to The Owl… The Owl starts off over the top and builds from there. There’s action aplenty. The Owl absorbs more punishment than any two or three or four people in other novels…
    Bill Crider on the books
  • “All in all there are worse pilots than The Owl but this has not aged well at all since it’s single 1991 TV airing.”
    — Forces of Geek (2016)

NOVELS

TELEVISION

  • THE OWL
    (CBS, 1991)
    Premiere: August 3, 1991
    60 minutes
    Based on the novel by Bob Forward
    Screenplay by Bob Forward
    Directed by Tom Holland
    Starring Adrian Paul as THE OWL
    With Patricia Charbonneau as Danny Santerre
    Also starring Brian Thompson, Erika Flores, Jacques Apollo Bolton, David Anthony Marshall, Billy ‘Sly’ Williams, David Selburg, Mark Lowenthal, Alan Scarfe, Thomas Rosales Jr.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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