You Only Blog Twice

November 2nd, 2010 by Max Allan Collins

This week’s Quarry cover is QUARRY’S DEAL. Another great Terry Beatty cover. Ordering info here.

Quarry's DealNate has been in Japan for several days now, and he’s doing a blog (daily, so far). He is posting beautiful pictures and great, often very funny commentary. He is a very talented young man and his father (me) is proud of him. So you get two blog entries this week; this one from me, and this one from Nate.

Because Nate is in Japan, I’m working a few days early on this update, to give him plenty of room to get it put together and posted. So it’s October 30 in Muscatine, Iowa, a beautiful fall day with lots of color in the trees and chill in the breeze. Tonight is the “official” local Halloween night, and I’ve carved the pumpkin (I’m damn good at it – ask Nate) [Nate:It’s true!] and Barb is putting a bunch of scary stuff on the porch…ours is one of the houses the neighbor kids flock to, although some of our goodies are getting long in the tooth (we had to throw away a talking skeleton head after years of noble service).

We’ve been watching horror movies, and Barb – who for decades didn’t like them – is now a fan and catching up. We watched the very funny RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD from the late, great Dan O’Bannon. Our favorite Halloween movie, though, is TRICK ‘R’ TREAT, and if you haven’t seen that wonderfully dark, funny anthology movie, put it on Netflix for next Halloween season. It looks great on Blu-Ray. (So does RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, which features my old pal Linnea Quigley, with whom I almost did a comic book project some years back).

This weekend I am zeroing in on the conclusion of RETURN TO PERDITION, and next week (now, as you read this) I’ll be writing the next DICK TRACY introduction. Nice to have a connection to TRACY again. Next up is THE CONSUMMATA, the DELTA FACTOR sequel by Mickey Spillane that I am completing for Hard Case Crime.

Next year is going to be a big M.A.C. year. Barb and I have ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF (by “Barbara Allan”) coming out in March, and that same month from the same publisher (Kensington), Matt Clemens and I have NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU out. In May the third of the Mike Hammers appears – KISS HER GOODBYE (do not miss this one) – and in August BYE BYE, BABY, the first Nate Heller novel in ten years. Some time next year, QUARRY’S EX will come out, as well. And from DC/Vertigo, RETURN TO PERDITION.

This will no doubt initiate a bunch of “when do you sleep” questions (and putdowns), but the fact is BYE BYE, BABY has been done for well over a year, and three of the titles are collaborations. RETURN TO PERDITION is something I’ve been working on for a year and a half. QUARRY’S EX, of course, was supposed to come out this year and was postponed. What I fear is that some or maybe all of these titles will get lost in the shuffle because there are so many of them. And that drives me crazy, because each of these books is really strong. I get beaten up and sometimes ignored because I am seen as “prolific.”

But I have no intention of slowing down. At 62, I am not fooling around – I have stories to tell. I even have band jobs to play. Next year will mark the 40th anniversary of my first professional sale of a novel – BAIT MONEY to Curtis Books. The following two years will mark the 40th anniversary of me as a published professional (BAIT MONEY came out in December 1972 but was a January 1973 book).

So if any of you connected to writer’s organizations (the MWA has had enough yearly dues out of me to afford to make a statue of me for their lobby, if they had a lobby) or mystery conventions or mystery magazines (attention: Kate Stine) are interested, 2011 is a perfectly good time to start the career tributes and to book me as a guest and to just generally make a fuss. I’m available. I’ll even bring my rock band along.

For a price.

Here’s a fun fan review of my Batman graphic novel SCAR OF THE BAT. Nice to see something from a few years back get noticed now.


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5 Responses to “You Only Blog Twice”

  1. mike doran says:

    Since you brought up Dick Tracy and anniversaries, this thought occurred to me:

    This year, 2010, marked the twentieth anninversary of Warren Beatty’s DICK TRACY movie.
    Give how important 10th-power annis are to the movie business, and remembering how bare-bones the original TRACY DVD was, I half-expected Disney to come up with a feature laden anniversary DVD of TRACY. I know that it was largely regarded as a near-miss by the biz, but I can’t keep track of how many less-successful flicks have gotten big-deal DVD rereleases even on a tenth anniversary.
    Well, I guess it’s not to be, so I’ll try to get those old Tracy serials from VCI – if I can ever get their oedipusrexing new website to work …

    Meanwhile, happy soon-to-be-40th b-day to your muse.
    And please, MAC – try to get to C&S before too much more time passes …

  2. PatrickHerman says:

    Hi Max,

    Congrats on your forty years as a professional writer. It’s unfortunate that you feel people will dismiss your work due to your being so prolific. You write in so many different mediums that one might imagine name recognition would boost your fan base. Such was the case for me over twenty years ago when I discovered your Nate Heller novels at my local library. After doing some research, I realized that you were the same Max Collins writing the Batman comics I was following at that time. My only frustration with someone such as you, who is such a prolific writer, is that I just can’t keep up with you. I need to find the time and the spare cash to get some of your past works. Please keep it up. I enjoy a challenge.

    Getting off the subject….Are you watching HBO’s Boardwalk Empire? If so, is there any chance that you would consider writing a review article for this blog? Al Capone, Lucky Luciano and others are depicted as young men. As someone who has written these characters into a few of your novels, I would be curious to know if you could vouch for the the show’s historical accuracy?

    As always, I wish you the best, Max.


    Patrick Herman

  3. Thanks to both Mike and Patrick for these comments.

    I am watching BOARDWALK EMPIRE, but it has taken until just lately to really interest me. It’s a troubled show, though the last couple episodes were excellent. Buscemi is very good but terribly miscast. There’s lot of fetching female nudity to help things along — bare breasts are basically “HBO helper” — but it’s often illogical and imitative of better gangster sagas gone before.

    Historically, it seems so so. I’m not an expert on Atlantic City in this period, but the Chicago stuff is borderline. The characterization of Capone — the actor is good but way too short, too little — seems off, in fact is inconsistent from show to show…sometimes he’s a regular guy, sometimes he’s a total psycho, with not a hint of the criminal CEO to come. The Luciano bunch seems a little off, too — Rothstein seems all wrong. Sorry to be vague, but without checking reference material, that’s the best I can do.

    The show postures way too much. You come away humming the art direction. But it does seem to be improving. The storyline about the facially wounded ex-sniper was extremely effective.

  4. Brad Schwartz says:

    I always liked SCAR OF THE BAT. It manages to combine two of my favorite subjects…and be more historically accurate then most cultural depictions of Eliot Ness. I mean, most people don’t know that Ness was REALLY the inspiration for Batman, right…?

    Although, kidding aside, I’m sure Batman owes some big debts to Dick Tracy, and we all know who was a big influence on Tracy, so by the transitive property there’s actually some truth there, I guess.

  5. No question, Brad, that BATMAN was DICK TRACY in costumed hero drag, right down to the villains and Junior (Robin). So I guess the character was based on Eliot Ness at that!