Jon Sable
Created by Mike Grell

"Jon Sable--big game hunter on the concrete jungle--I wish I was him."
-- Gene Simmons, KISS

Gee, Dr. Suess never carried a gun...

Mike Grell's JON SABLE was a freelance mercenary/gun-for-hire who lived in New York City. Oh, and writer. He wrote about his time in Vietnam, competing as a pentathlete in the Olympics in 1972, his safari business in east Africa and the subsequent murder of his wife and kids by poachers. After tracking down the killers, and avenging himself, he found himself back in the States, with no money, and no market for his novel. His agent convinced him to try his hand at children's books, and so far, he's had some success at that, under the pen name of B.B. Flemm. And he's even managed to fall in love again. But he still freelances as a mercenary/bodyguard/troubleshooter.

Although, in a distinctly goofy comic book touch, he paints his face when he hits the streets. Still, an awful lot of people think an awful lot of this series.

Like the inside cover blurb goes: "Are you in trouble? Need a security expert? A Bodyguard? Someone smart, tough, and experienced? Call Jon Sable--freelance mercenary and paladin for hire."

He also had a very short-lived TV series (six episodes) in the late 80's. Roving correspondent Jan Long reports: "I'll have to see if I have any TV books around that might describe it accurately. To the best of my recollection, he was indeed involved in some way with children's books, but I don't remember if he wrote them or illustrated them. I'm not sure that I would have considered him a detective, but then my memory is a little hazy on the whole thing. I also have some vague recollection of him painting his face before he went on his nightly forays. For some reason it seems that the face paint was red & black, but I may be confusing this with the cards in "Sword of Justice" or with another show entirely. (I told you I was hazy on this!) I remember some woman being in the show (girlfriend? editor? agent?), and there was also a male supporting role. (I think this was a youngish chubby blind guy named Cheesecake who was a computer expert. However, if this character sounds familiar to you from another show, I'm mixed up again.) Only 6 episodes? Gee, it seemed like it was on longer than that. And I'm mortified to admit that I watched it, although you'd never know it from the above description. For some unexplainable reason, it reminded me of T.H.E. Cat which fascinated me as a child."

As well, it seems that Rene Russo was in it, as Sable's girlfriend, Eden. That's gotta count for something. And for KISS fans, here's a little tidbit passed on from a friend who worked at the production company at the time, who reports that the pilot episode was shot with Gene Simmonsin the lead role. However, when the network saw it, they decided that he was a little, uh, hefty for the role, so it was re-shot with a new actor (Lewis Van Bergen) as Sable. My frield also recalls how "everyone had been psyched to have Gene in the lead and bummed when they had to re-shoot."

I missed this one completely, both comic and TV show, at the time but, in retrospect it seems a lot of people thought the comic book, at least, was hot stuff. And Sable gained enough of a cult following that, in the summer of 2000, Grell wrote and published his first Sable novel, the eponymously-titled Sable, that re-tells the story of those first five or six issues, and apparently drew considerable praise from fans and non-fans alike. More are promised.

In 2005, IDW Publishing ibegan publishing a new Sable comic book mini-series by Mike Grell, and collecting the original series in trade paperbacks.

COMICS

  • JON SABLE, FREELANCE
    (June 1983-February 1988, First Comics)
    56 issues.
    Created by Mike Grell
    .
  • SABLE
    (March 1988-May 1990, First Comics)
    27 issues
    Created by Mike Grell
    Writers: Marv Wolfman, Cherie Wilkerson, Steve Kaye
    Art by
    Bill Jaaska, Bruce Timm
  • "Art in the Blood, Part 1" (May 1989, #15)
  • "Art in the Blood, Part 2: The Color of Memory" (June 1989, #16)
  • "Art in the Blood, Part 3: The Gauntlet" (July 1989, #17)
  • "Neighbors" (February 1990, #24)
  • "Leaving, Pt. 1 - Baby Boom" (March 1990, #25)
  • "Leaving, Pt. 2 - From A Dark Corner" (April 1990, #26)
  • "Leaving, Pt. 3 - Chains of the Past" (May 1990, #27)
  • MIKE GRELL'S SABLE
    (March 1990-December 1990, First Comics)
    Created by Mike Grell
    10 issues, reprinting JON SABLE, FREELANCE #1-10

  • JON SABLE, FREELANCE: BLOODTRAIL
    (2005, IDW)
    6 issue mini-series
    Monthly
    First issue: March 2005
    Written and drawn by
    Mike Grell

COLLECTIONS & GRAPHIC NOVELS

  • THE COMPLETE JON SABLE, FREELANCE, VOL. 1. Buy this book
    (2005)

    First of the ambitious series which aims to reprint the entire First Comics' run.

  • THE COMPLETE JON SABLE, FREELANCE, VOL. 2. Buy this book
    (2005)

  • THE COMPLETE JON SABLE, FREELANCE, VOL. 3. Buy this book
    (2005)

  • THE COMPLETE JON SABLE, FREELANCE, VOL. 4. Buy this book
    (2005)

  • THE COMPLETE JON SABLE, FREELANCE, VOL. 5. Buy this book
    (2005)

  • JON SABLE, FREELANCE: BLOODTRAIL (2006). Buy this book
    Collects all six issues of 2005 comeback mini-series, with Sable taking on bodyguard duties.

TELEVISION

  • SABLE
    (1987)
    Premiered November 7, 1987
    Last episode January 2, 1988
    6 60-minute episodes
    Created by Mike Grell
    Starring Lewis Van Bergen as JON SABLE/NICHOLAS FLEMMING
    and Rene Russo as Eden
    Also starring
    Ken Page, Holy Fulger, Marge Kotlisky

    "I worked at Taft Entertainment Company when they produced the 6 episodes. The pilot episode was shot with Gene Simmons of Kiss fame in the lead role, believe it or not. When the network saw it, they decided that he was a little heavy to be believable in the role, so the pilot was re-shot with Lewis Van Bergen playing Jon Sable...I remember everyone being so psyched to have Gene in the lead and how bummed they were when they had to re-shoot. Anyway, I thought that I would share."
    (name witheld by request)
  • "Toy Gun" (November 7, 1987)
  • "Hunt" (November 14, 1987)
  • "Evangelist" (November 21, 1987)
  • "Serial Killer" (November 28, 1987)
  • "Copycat" (December 5, 1987)
  • "Watchdogs" (December 12, 1987)
  • "Mob" (January 2, 1988)

NOVELS

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks to Sinai Megibow, Mike Clark and the lovely and talented Janice Long for their help on this one.


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