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Tag Archive: Max Allan Collins


Charlie Chan, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, Ellery Queen, Nero Wolfe, Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade, Perry Mason, and Sherlock Holmes.  All are classic fictional detectives that, except for Holmes, emerged in the 1920s and 1930s, pulling in countless readers across the world and together forming the roots of today’s mystery and crime genres.  You can add another detective to that list, too, the straight-arrow justice seeker Dick Tracy, although his readers would get a new dose of him every day, thanks to creator Chester Gould’s daily newspaper strips.  Over the decades Dick Tracy was featured in monthly comic book series in the 1930s to the 1960s, and again in the 1980s.  After failed efforts to bring Dick Tracy to comic books, first in a series by Mike Oeming and Brian Michael Bendis, and most recently in a series from Archie Comics featuring creators Alex Segura, Michael Moreci, and Thomas Pitilli–both cancelled for licensing snafus–finally we’re about to see Dick Tracy back in the comic books.  IDW Publishing, which just released the 24th volume of Gould’s original strips in anthology format, is launching a new four-issue limited series this Fall.

Since he first appeared in print October 14, 1931, newspaper readers have been following Tracy’s crimefighting adventures.  Chester Gould created the character and continued writing and drawing him and his foes in comic strip form until his retirement in 1977.  The strip was taken over by Max Allan Collins and Rick Fletcher and later Dick Locher and Jim Brozman, who wrote the strip until 2011, when comic book legend Joe Staton became artist with writer Mike Curtis–they would take the Harvey Award for the classic series for best syndicated comic strip three years running.

“I am thrilled to try my hand at drawing this legendary, pulpy, hardboiled crime classic,” said newly tapped Dick Tracy artist Rich Tommaso in an IDW press release.  “Along with Roy Crane, Milton Caniff, Noel Sickles, Jack Cole, and Alex Toth, Chester Gould is a cartoonist that I am perpetually inspired by when I’m working on my own crime stories.  So this is a project that I feel is well within my wheelhouse.  The Dick Tracy cast of characters makes this comic so much fun to draw on a daily basis.  I only hope we can all bring something great to the comic ourselves while, simultaneously keeping true to its origins.  Not an easy feat to be sure, but I feel it’s damn worth a try.”  Tommaso has previewed some of his penciled panels on his Twitter account (shown above and below), revealing a story set in the 1930s or 1940s.  Michael Allred will write and ink the series, called “Dead or Alive,” co-written with brother Lee Allred, with coloring by Laura Allred, Mike’s wife and frequent creative partner.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

One hundred years ago today, March 9, 1918, mystery writer Mickey Spillane was born.  To celebrate his centenary crime novelist Max Allan Collins finalized two of Spillane’s unpublished works, and they will be published later this month for the first time together in one volume as The Last Stand.  Spillane was a mentor and friend of Collins, a crime novelist in his own right, most recently known for his Quarry novels, adapted into a Cinemax TV series.  Collins put the final touches on both a “lost” 1950s classic Spillane crime story novella with an appropriately two-fisted title, A Bullet for Satisfaction, and Spillane’s final unpublished novel from 2006, The Last Stand, a contemporary adventure tale set on a Native American reservation.  Collins includes a detailed introduction to the new volume recounting Spillane’s influence on the post-World War II paperback surge, on crime novels, and on films and books being made to this day derived from his legendary investigator Mike Hammer, including James Bond, John Shaft, Dirty Harry Callahan, Billy Jack, Jack Bauer, and Jack Reacher.

Two tough men:  One like you’d expect in a Spillane crime novel, a cop who is too tough for his own good and gets thrown off the force, fighting his way back.  The other, a seasoned pilot, someone out of a Louis L’Amour novel who lands in the middle of an Indiana Jones story, complete with the search for ancient artifacts and the guts to fight the toughest guy in town.

A Bullet for Satisfaction, from Spillane’s earlier years, is exactly what you want from a crime mystery, a dreary town with corrupt politicians, mob thugs, a few damsels in distress, and plenty of knives and guns and punches.  Ed McBain, James M. Cain, Erle Stanley Gardner, Donald E. Westlake–if you’ve read any of these authors, you’ll want to delve into Spillane’s works, and Satisfaction is a good start.

The Last Stand couldn’t be more different than Satisfaction.  It begins with an airplane crash and a pilot of vintage planes named Joe Gillian, marooned in the desert with a few candy bars and some cans of beer.  A set-in-his-ways ex-military pilot, he finds himself rescued in the desert and soon becomes blood-brother with Sequoia Pete, who takes him to his reservation.  As a treasure hunt ensues with global implications, a local thug jealous of Joe marks him for death.  Joe doesn’t seem to be in a big hurry to get out of town as the FBI drop in, seemingly to keep the peace, but a lot more is going on out in this tiny desert village.  The Last Stand is heavy on banter between Pete and Joe–the relationship is very close to the sheriff and the Native American deputy in Hell or High Water, but “White-Eyes” Joe is not remotely as bigoted and unlikeable as Jeff Bridge’s sheriff in that movie.

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