The Stainless Steel Rat was a great series of light hearted sci-fi books from Harry Harrison that I heartily recommend if you've never read them. The Rat is James Bolivar ( Slippery Jim ) DiGriz, the greatest super-thief in a far-flung future, and a guy who can't seem to stop, much against his better judgement, getting himself in heroic situations and saving the galaxy.
Jim is played by James Coburn, making The Rat the fourth comic book character he was the inspiration for, and is a fantastically likeable hero / smartarse, being a criminal simply because he's sharper than everybody else, and because it's fun.
He never really hurts anyone in his escapades ( well, unless they deserve it ) and the stories are perfect, fun fast reads with a twinkle in their eye.
The comic strip from 2000AD is everything a Rat Fan could want, and was also the series that made everybody sit up and take notice of Carlos Ezquerra, who was the perfect artist for it.
If anybody ever wants to make a Stainless Steel Rat movie, all they'd need to do is check out this spot-on adaptation of the first novel.
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