Post-Apocalypse Now: Ryder Stacy’s Doomsday Warrior Series (1984 – 1991)

DW #1

DW #2

DW #5

DW #6

DW #7

DW #9

A combination of The Survivalist, The Executioner, and 2000 AD, the Doomsday Warrior series follows the exploits of Ted Rockson (“Rockhard” would’ve been better) and “his high-tech guerilla army of Freefighters” as they try to wrest America from Russian occupation while battling radioactive “glowers,” cultists, and all manner of post-nuke nasties.

Ryder Stacy is actually Ryder Syvertsen and Jan Stacy, both of whom wrote various men’s action-adventure fiction throughout the 1980s. Doomsday Warrior was the most successful, running to 19 volumes. There were an incredible amount of post-apocalyptic books and book series written during the Reagan era, including popular young adult novels like Gloria Miklowitz’s After the Bomb. The Hunger Games is nothing new, and it’s tame by comparison.

Fictional accounts of Russians taking over the U.S. date back to the Red Scare. Conelrad Adjacent, a treasure trove of Cold War ephemera, posted an early example from 1942, a comic book called Is This Tomorrow: America Under Communism.

The cover design of the Doomsday series—with the defiant fist and forearm doubling as the stem of the mushroom cloud that ended the old ways—is magnificent. The writing is not. From #7, American Defiance:

The whole Russian fort was coming to life and there was only one chance to escape. Gripping the long wooden pole in his hands, Rockson ran toward the sixteen-foot-high barbed wire fence and without breaking stride planted the pole in the dirt. With every ounce of strength he kicked off with his piston legs and climbed up in the air in a perfect arc.

A spotlight suddenly caught Rockson dead on, and a stream of Red slugs headed toward him like a swarm of man-eating locusts. The top of the fence was coming and Rock made it over—barely. The very upper strands of barbed wire ripped across his right calf, slicing open a three-inch-long gash that oozed a stream of blood. Then he was arcing down to the ground, curling as he made contact, rolling over and over into the blackness where the circle of searchlights ended.

This particular bunch of Reds wasn’t going to get the Doomsday Warrior. Not tonight.

The cover images come from two great blogs: The Post-Apocalyptic Book List, an exhaustive list and description of genre titles, and Glorious Trash, a pulp review site heavy on 1980s survivalism and action-adventure, Doomsday Warrior included.

3 Responses to “Post-Apocalypse Now: Ryder Stacy’s <em>Doomsday Warrior</em> Series (1984 – 1991)”

  1. 1 contradextraavenue March 20, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    The Hunger Games is a direct ripoff of Battle Royale anyway. “Never heard of it,” Collins basically said. My ass she didn’t.

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