Archive for the ‘Message from M.A.C.’ Category

My Birthday Is, Apparently, Super

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020

Before we get to my birthday, here’s a present for you: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle book deals in the US marketplace, running now through 3/31/2020, including Girl Most Likely at $1.99, and the following at 99 cents each: (links go to Amazon)

What Doesn’t Kill Her

Mallory Series:
The Baby Blue Rip-Off
No Cure for Death
Kill Your Darlings
A Shroud for Aquarius
Nice Weekend for a Murder

Disaster Series:
The Titanic Murders
The Hindenburg Murders
The Pearl Harbor Murders
The Lusitania Murders
The London Blitz Murders
War of the Worlds Murder

Midnight Haul

[Note from Nate:] Scarface and the Untouchable: Al Capone, Eliot Ness, and the Battle for Chicago is also on sale at Amazon for $1.99! I don’t know how long this sale lasts. The deal also seems to be available at other eBook retailers. Click here to go to the book page, where I have links to different sellers.

Now here’s a present those of you attending Bouchercon this year you can give me that doesn’t cost you anything. Anthony Ballots for Bouchercon attendees went out over the weekend. Votes for Antiques Ravin’ (Barbara Allan) and Murder My, Love (Spillane and Collins) are appreciated in Best Novel. Votes for Killing Quarry and Girl Most Likely in Best Paperback Original are also appreciated.

* * *

Today is indeed my birthday, and reaching 72 years after some of what I’ve been through with various health issues feels rather momentous, but you people didn’t have to go to the trouble of calling this Super Tuesday. I mean, I’m touched, but that’s a little over the top.

Despite my carping about lack of marketing support from some publishers, and the perils of being perceived as a hack because three books of mine are about to be published essentially simultaneously by three different houses, I am busier than ever, and doing just fine, thank you. In fact I am one lucky son of a bitch.

I have two projects in the works, one of which involves writing three novellas about a new character, with a contract with the publisher already in hand. It’s too early to share much more than that with you, but I will say it’s a private eye series starring a female and is set during World War Two at the home front.

The other project is an ambitious novel co-written with an SCTV star, which exists at this point as a substantial sample of five finished chapters and a complete synopsis. My longtime agent, Dominick Abel, is marketing it. I wish I could say more, but I don’t want to jinx it. When we have a sale, I will share everything. But working with one of my heroes in the world of Second City is a wonderful thing indeed. Talk about Happy Birthday!

For those inclined to read between the lines, I will say this is a genuine, working-in-the-trenches project, not a ghost job – plotting together, rewriting each other, the real deal. We have been working on this for several months and I am anxious to share more, but can’t.

Other things in the works that I can discuss only vaguely includes some real potential for a new Mike Hammer TV series. The possibility for TV or movies derived from Scarface and the Untouchable remains real, too. And there’s real interest in the Antiques novels for TV. Streaming is a hungry eye.

Those three books coming out next week aren’t everything, either. The new Mike Hammer novel, Masquerade for Murder, will be also available from Audible read by the great Stefan Rudnicki with Do No Harm read by that other terrific narrator, Dan John Miller, the voice of Nate Heller. The non-fiction follow-up to Scarface and the Untouchable will be out in August – Eliot Ness and the Mad Butcher by A. Brad Schwartz and me – and Terry Beatty and I have edited and assembled the complete Pete Morisi Johnny Dynamite for Craig Yoe. A second Ms. Tree collection (Volume Two: Skeleton in the Closet, featuring the rest of the DC graphic novellas) is on the way this year, and so is a new Caleb York, Hot Lead, Cold Justice. The new Trash ‘n’ Treasures by Barbara Allan, Antiques Fire Sale, will be out April 28.

Like many of you, I wonder what this year will bring where this coronavirus is concerned. I am a high risk, having had heart trouble, respiratory problems and being fucking old. My grandson was a premie and has respiratory issues, and so does Nate. My beautiful wife is almost high risk age-wise, though she of course looks like a young trophy wife I managed to bamboozle.

Barb and I look at things like the schedule for Crusin’ to play its summer and early fall gigs and wonder if that is endangered by this threat. We look at various public events we’ve agreed to be part of, like Bouchercon, and others we’ve been considering, like Comic Con, and are scratching our heads. We have bought more canned soup in one trip to the supermarket than we have in the last ten years of supermarket trips. I am beginning to wonder if we will be bunkering in at some point and finally getting these damn Blu-rays and DVDs watched – maybe even read some of the stacks and stacks of books I haven’t gotten to.

Bernie Sanders talks about the need for record turnout in the coming election, but if people are frightened to be out in public for fear of the Andromedia Strain, just how big a turnout will that be? If Joe Biden is the Democrat, will the old people who support him be able to stagger to the polls? If people start dying in droves, will the MAGA crowd still buy this thing as a Democrat “hoax”? Will Bernie and Joe and even Donald Trump all still be alive? They’re in the high risk age range, too.

Come on – you’re thinking about this shit, too! Don’t tell me you aren’t. By the way, here’s a tip – don’t watch the movie Contagion.

In the meantime, happy birthday to me and good luck to all of us on Super Tuesday.

And beyond.

* * *

On March 28, Barb and I will be appearing together at the Des Moines Book Festival, where we’ll be giving a “Master Class.” Info about attending is here.

Speaking of Barb and me, our Antiques Fire Sale has received an outstanding review from Publisher’s Weekly.

Girl Can’t Help It gets some nice attention here.

And don’t forget the Bookreads Book Giveaway of Girl Can’t Help It.

M.A.C.

A Do No Harm Excerpt, and Markers

Tuesday, February 25th, 2020

Here is a free excerpt from Do No Harm, the soon-to-be-published Nathan Heller novel.

* * *

As I approach my 72nd birthday (March 3 – plenty of time left for gift-buying), I am struck by the surprising emergence of ageism in my career, the tumultuous times I’m being forced to tolerate, and changing tastes that are understandably somewhat foreign to me. The latter has never proved a problem for me, but time and age have finally caught up with me on that score. I believe it has a lot to do with the fragmentation of the culture, including and maybe particularly the pop culture, where there is too much stuff to keep track of. Too many choices.

Too many choices has an upside – it means new venues are available for storytellers. It may also mean less pay, in some cases, but my focus now is on being able to continue telling stories. Part of why I am less tuned into the popular culture of the day has to do with my increased focus on my own work – in getting everything done that I came here to do. I am a collector who is collecting his own work.

Two events this weekend were markers of sorts for me. I’ll start with the fun one, which was Barb and me accompanying our four-and-a-half year-old grandson, Sam, to his first movie at a theater. Yes, I know theaters are not what they used to be – what is? But for a little boy who has never experienced a film in the big dark chamber with a huge screen and earthshaking sound and other people seated around him, seeing Sonic The Hedgehog was a very big, even frightening deal.

Sam is a smart kid, very well-spoken and funny. He is rather small – he was a premie – which adds to the impact of the sometimes astonishing things he says. As we drove toward the Palms Theater, Barb and I explained that the big building up ahead was where we’d be seeing the movie. The very size of the multiplex widened his eyes.

In the lobby, he watched with interest while other kids and their parents were lining up for popcorn, his grandpa among them. He was insistent that he did not want soda, and was glad to find lemonade an option. He was a very well composed young man.


Sam’s First Movie

When we entered the darkened theater, however, where the previews were blaring, he paused and clutched his grandma’s hand. He was, understandably, overwhelmed. We assured him everything would be all right, and he moved cautiously with us up the rise of the entry and then across the theater, with the mammoth screen looming and the sound booming, to seats on the other side, about half-way back and on the aisle, and sat between us. The kiddie meal (a little tray of popcorn with a slot for a package of M and M’s and a built-in cup holder for the non-soda) was soon in his lap. He looked small in the seat, but his eyes were big, as kid-oriented previews took the screen. Luckily, first up was the trailer for the new Minions movie (Minions are a favorite of his and most kids), which eased all three of us into the process.

Sam has seen movies at home, but always the animated variety – he has always been rather bored by actual humans (as am I, often). But he got caught up early on in Sonic, which proved to be a pretty good movie. Sam held his grandma’s hand through a few scary parts, but mostly he ate popcorn and M and M’s as he watched intently, sometimes on the literal edge of his seat. He asked surprisingly few questions, and the ones he did ask tended to be, “Are those good guys or bad guys?” In the four-year-old world, there are few grays.

We sat and watched much of the end credits, during which two post-film tags appeared, one revealing the Jim Carrey villain turning out to be the Sonic world’s key bad guy, Dr. Eggman. But more important, the final tag revealed the character Tails, a key character from Sonic-land, apparently, who has come to our world to seek the speedy blue hedgehog. There seems to be some confusion as to whether Tails is a boy or girl, but Sam always refers to Tails in the female sense.

“She has two tails,” he told us, “that transform into propellers.” (Later, in his car seat, he said, “I am wondering what is going to happen to Tails in the next movie.” He said he’d still be wondering tomorrow.)

On our way out of the theater, the credits were still rolling, with endless names as is the case with movies heavy with CGI, and Sam said to me (holding onto my hand now), “Are those the people who made this movie?” I said yes, and that since he likes to make up stories (which he does), someday a movie might be made from one of his stories.

“Then will my name be up there?”

I assured him would be.

And you know what? I think it will.

* * *

Russ Cochran by Frank Frazetta

That rite of passage over, another rite of passage much less pleasant happened last Sunday – I learned my friend Russ Cochran had died.

I’ll let his web site tell you who Russ was, and after that, I’ll tell you who he was to me.

For the past 30 years Russ Cochran has been collecting and publishing comic art.

Russ Cochran was born in West Plains, Missouri. Without television in the 1940s, Russ developed a passion for comic books.

In 1964 Russ earned his Ph.D. in Physics and became the Chairman of the Drake University Physics Department in Des Moines, Iowa.

As time passed, Russ felt the desire to become a collector of the comic books he had always enjoyed in his youth. The hobby brought him to his first comic book convention in 1965. Russ pursued a collector’s connection with Bill Gaines, publisher of EC Comics and MAD Magazine. Bill Gaines and Russ Cochran shared a mutual enthusiasm which led to a great friendship. Their relationship inspired Russ Cochran to republish the entire collection of EC comics.

In 1975 Russ followed his dream by moving back to West Plains, Missouri while devoting all of his energy toward publishing. Today Russ Cochran’s Auction offers select comic art for those collectors who share his appreciation and nostalgia.

That’s a modest, compressed version of who Russ was. A more detailed look at his accomplishments is provided by Bleeding Cool here.

I’ll bet there are people in your life who you’ve known for many years and who have been important over those years, yet you don’t remember exactly how the two of you came to intersect. I am going to guess that I met Russ around 1971 or ‘72, when he was still living in the Des Moines area. Whether he invited me to his place, or whether I had heard there was somebody into comics in Des Moines that I might like to meet, I can’t tell you.

But it speaks volumes that, back in the early ‘70s, just hearing that somebody else in your state – not your town, your state – was into comics made it worthwhile getting in touch with them. We were rare beasts. Comics fandom was still in its relative infancy.

At any rate, Barb dropped me at Russ’s place – all I remember is that it was a lovely, ranch-style affair – and likely drove off to spend a few hours at a shopping center. Meanwhile, Russ welcomed me warmly. Lanky, casual, he had a low, easy, slow pattern of speech, kind of deceptively lazy in a western way. I understood that he was the Chair of Physics at Drake, which was at once surprising – his quiet, folksy manner – and not surprising – his confidence and articulate speech.

He was a big, bearded guy, who might have been a Mountain Man in another life. He showed me around his house and I saw the most amazing, even mind-boggling array of original comic strip, comic book and illustration art that I had ever seen…no, have ever seen. He had paintings by Frank Frazetta, with whom he it was clear he had a friendship, and Flash Gordon originals by Alex Raymond, and Krazy Kat originals by George Herriman, and so much more…all framed, knocking my eyes out from every wall.

Over the years to come, as Russ began his fabled art auctions – which ran for decades with beautifully illustrated catalogues – I began collecting comic artwork. Not on his level, of course, but Russ showed me the way to appreciate this material. I have never been a collector who sticks things away in a drawer. Like Russ, I have framed the art. And I found surrounding myself with the creativity of others somehow fueled me. It still does.

Russ Cochran changed my life…Barb might say not for the better…and the thought that I won’t still hear that smoky, soothing voice of his over the phone saddens me more, perhaps, than it should. I bought from him, traded with him, spent time at comics conventions with him, and in the last few years have thinned my collection through his still ongoing art auctions. My most recent conversations with him were about an original Tarzan page by Jesse Marsh (good for you, if you know who that is) from the Dell comic books of my youth. Russ helped make sure I landed the page that I wanted.

Russ had an eccentric side. He was such a Tarzan fan, he bought a chimp as a pet – not a good idea, everyone will tell you, but it worked for him…and the chimp, apparently. You don’t move from Chairman of the Physics Department to a comic art dealer if you’re not eccentric.

I wrote introductions for a number of the EC hardcover collections he did – Johnny Craig’s work my speciality. For that, he sent me every volume of that incredible reprint series – boxed sets of every comic book and magazine EC ever published.

We argued a few times. He got mad at me once when I wouldn’t make a trade. That happens among collectors. But that unpleasantness lasted about a day, then fizzled away into warmth and good will. He always called me “Al” – in that Missouri way of his that somehow turned Al into three syllables.

Thanks, Russ. You introduced me to a world of collecting that was equal parts misery and delight, and – oddly – I appreciate having experienced both.

* * *

This is the first coverage that Girl Can’t Help It has received on the Net – features a quote from me before I wrote the book, inaccurately describing it! Check out my comment among several others at the bottom.

There’s a nice Killing Quarry mention toward the bottom of this EQMM review column.

M.A.C.

Publish or Perish the Thought…

Tuesday, February 18th, 2020

Recently here, I’ve bemoaned the perils of having three books published almost simultaneously by three different publishers. Some of you might be thinking, “Oh boo hoo hoo – poor him, having all that success.”

That’s an understandable reaction. But this imperfect storm really does present me with a shaky future (as if my impending 72nd birthday didn’t make my future shaky enough). The threat is that one, or even all three, may under-perform.

Aside from this, I have noted some troubling things going on in the publishing of fiction (non-fiction, too, but my emphasis is chiefly fiction of course) that have already had a negative impact on many writers. Till now, I’ve been lucky. For a non-household name in the pop fiction field, I have had a long run. Many writers, touted as the next big thing, have fallen by the wayside while I traversed the road to Perdition with Quarry, Nate Heller, Ms. Tree, the Borne girls, and a good number of others.

Barb and I have always done a certain amount of promo ourselves. Most publishers have traditionally had a PR staff (or at least a staffer) who we could call upon for support. We assembled a list of reviewers over the years (a once proud thirty or so, now dwindled to a dozen, with the passing of so many print venues) that could be shared with PR reps, who would see that copies of the latest novel were sent out. Meanwhile, these promo folks took care of getting advance copies or finished books to the trades and often many newspapers and other publications around the country known to do reviews of mysteries.

Of my current publishers – no names will be mentioned – two still have a PR person assigned to me, and the help is much as before, and much appreciated. In the case of something special – like the 100th birthday of Mickey Spillane – that help gets ramped up. In the case of several other publishers, no PR person is available to me at all.

I have been told the approach to marketing, on one of my new books, will be “holistic.” This reminds me of George Carlin when he said, “Real chocolatey goodness! Know what that means? No fucking chocolate!” An editor at that same publisher told me flat-out that – beyond sending copies of the trade publications (Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, Kirkus, Library Journal), publicity was my responsibility, a “D.I.Y.” effort.

Much of this comes down to utilizing social media. Now, while I do this weekly update/blog here, and also post it on my two Facebook pages, I have chosen (thus far) not to use Twitter or Instagram or whatever other platform has come along since I began writing this piece. I am, after all, a man in his early seventies who has a land line. I use my cell phone to keep track of my e-mails, do simple Internet searches (“Davenport Iowa movie times”), and…what else, there’s something…oh yes, make and receive phone calls. I text rarely and with great difficulty.

I don’t use any apps. I live in Iowa. Do you really think anyone my age in Iowa knows how to use an app? Just in case you don’t get the reference, I will share (briefly) our experience at the local Democratic Caucus, when the debacle it was to become was only a twinkle in the Iowa Democratic Party’s twitching eye.

The woman running things – a volunteer, bless her heart – spent the early part of the evening reading aloud instructions in the wrong order, and laughing hysterically about how badly she was screwing things up. As things got worse, this nice woman (not being sarcastic), who was a retired school teacher, began to attempt to regain order by counting, very loud, “One..two…three…!” to the rowdy class before her.

So.

Let’s not depend on a soon-to-be-72-year-old author (from Iowa) to use apps, shall we?

Yet a number of my publishers want me to expand my social media footprint. I am supposed to write entertaining, pithy Tweets. I am supposed to provide photos of my food and pets and now and then a book of mine on Instagram. And my son Nathan and I, teeth gritted, are exploring doing some of that.

But am I crazy to think that I should be spending my time and creative energy writing my fiction?

In certain areas of fiction writing, writers are given modest advances and then essentially required (if they want another contract) to spend those advances on promotion – going to each other’s signings (how this works without flying around the country I can’t tell you), attending numerous conventions (which does require flying or in some cases driving around the country), and endlessly interacting with readers (and other writers) on social media. Not only is this time-consuming, it turns professional writers – these writers are pros by definition, since they are receiving advances and sometimes royalties – into amateurs.

Like any real professional writer, I need the bulk of my income to…how shall I put this?…live on.

This began with the romance writers and the very positive practice of writers groups. For decades I taught at a writers conference and interacted with romance writers (had several romance novels dedicated to me, which took some explaining to the novelists’ husbands and my wife) and that included their writers groups. From these groups in my area, and the support and help the writers gave each other, came any number of published novels. Obviously, the same is true all around the country.

But a downside, which in my opinion some publishers take advantage of, is the maintaining of an amateur approach by requiring those writers to sink or swim largely based upon the willingness of those writers to plow their hard-earned advances into promo.

The romance writers have taken a hit lately. Romantic Times, once a powerful newsstand magazine, has recently ceased its annual convention and its web site is shutting down, too. This seems to flow at least in part from a controversy having to do with a romance writer attacking another romance writer’s perceived racial, sexist and other biases. Sides were drawn in the controversy and attacks and apologies began to fly. Whether writers should be criticizing each other in this manner is a topic worth discussion, but I won’t get into that here.

Still, it points out that concerns related to political correctness now hover over publishing in a very real way. I recently had an editor I respect label something of mine as “dated” in its “hardboiled” approach. Now, “dated” in that context is code for two things: first, the content may not be in step with politically correct attitudes; and second, I am an old white male. It’s also worth noting that you don’t hear an editor use the term “hardboiled” in any fashion but a negative one. I never use the term myself. When an editor likes that sort of thing, it’s “noir.” You know what “hardboiled” is? It’s a dated term, in the right and proper sense of the word “dated.”

These are, as I perceive them, realities in the world of fiction writing and publishing these days. I point them out not to try to change them – we’re past that, I’m afraid – but to explain to those of you who are kind enough to like my work why I have spent so much time worrying about having three books out at the same time.

How I am doing my best to promote my work in this climate?

For some time, I have accepted very, very few “friend” requests on Facebook. This was back when I checked my “feed” frequently. But a good two years ago, I curtailed that because I was disgusted by the amount of political blather. I also couldn’t keep my mouth shut (hard as that might be to imagine) and wound up damaging longstanding, real friendships. So lately I’ve been accepting “friend” requests if I can tell that the individuals making those requests have a real interest in things I care about…non-political things. Accepting these friends is a part of trying to expand my footprint.

A few days ago Barb and I sent out two big boxes of books to, first, winners in our last book giveaway here; and, second, to reviewers, with a letter explaining that having three novels out at the same time was not my idea. Some of these reviewers I’ve never sent to before. To get Girl Can’t Help It into the hands of potentially friendly reviewers, I spent a day searching Google to locate every positive review (including mixed ones) for Girl Most Likely and offered those reviewers/bloggers a copy.

Beyond this, Nate and I will be exploring using Instagram. Maybe Twitter too, but that puts my stomach and my head in a competition over which hurts the most.

And I want to say, to any publishers or editors who might be reading this, that I understand they are struggling to stay afloat, too. These are tough times in publishing, and have been for a while.

But here’s the thing: I came to this planet to write, not to Tweet.

* * *

I know what you’re all looking for – another book with Max Allan Collins content to buy!

Well, you’re in luck, because this is a good one – the new Mystery Writers of America anthology, Deadly Anniversaries. My story, “Amazing Grace,” is based on a real incident from my childhood, which Barb suggested I use when an assignment in this thematic anthology came my way.

I think “Amazing Grace” might be my best short story. I am pleased to say that Publisher’s Weekly singled it out in their rave review, giving me lead position in a book filled with work by Grand Master mystery writers:

“Anniversaries of all kinds are the source of mayhem for the 19 stories in this entertaining all-original anthology from MWA grand masters Muller and Pronzini. Wedding anniversaries feature prominently, as in Max Allan Collins’s diverting ‘Amazing Grace, ’in which a 50th anniversary cake becomes the catalyst for murder.”

* * *

Barb and I are listening to Dan John Miller’s reading of Girl Can’t Help It in the car (he’s not in the car with us – we’re using CD’s). We’re about half-way through. He is doing his usual masterful job, making the book come alive, and making me look (sound) good.

Dan has also performed Do No Harm, meaning he’s narrated every Heller to date. We are really looking forward to that. He is fantastic.

* * *

Finally, my pal Paul Bishop (I’m tempted to say “pard”) includes the forthcoming Caleb York novel, Hot Lead, Cold Justice, on the premiere episode of his podcast (with Richard Prosch), Six-Gun Justice. These guys do a great job.

M.A.C.

Book Giveaway, an Award Nomination, and Three Fond Farewells

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

I have ten finished copies each of the new Nate Heller, Do No Harm, and the second Krista Larson, Girl Can’t Help It, available first-come-first-served, in return for Amazon and or other reviews, including blogs.

[Note from Nate: The giveaway is over. Thank you for your participation! Keep an eye out for more to come.]

I am counting on your support because, as I mentioned last week, I am in the unhappy situation of having three books published by three publishers simultaneously. This may sound like an embarrassment of riches, but really it limits buyers and reviewers for all three titles.

If you have a blog or review site of some kind, you can request a book without being part of the giveaway. Just state that you are a reviewer.

I can’t emphasize enough how much reviews at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million and elsewhere – including blogs – impact sales. So if you have purchased either of these books, please consider reviewing them. Reviews at booksellers like Amazon do not have to be lengthy. The number of stars you give a book is as important as the review itself.

And this doesn’t apply just to me, obviously, but to any author whose book you enjoy, particularly authors you follow regularly.

Keep in mind, too, that the latest book in a mystery series – like Heller – seldom gets much publisher promo. Thomas & Mercer gave The Girl Most Likely a big push, just as they did Supreme Justice. But after a series has been launched, books depend on authors for D.I.Y. promotion.

I don’t have copies of the new Mike Hammer, Masquerade for Murder, yet; but hope to have enough on hand to do a giveaway for that one, as well, in the next few weeks.

* * *

I’m pleased and honored to say Killing Quarry has been nominated for a Barry Award for Best Paperback. You can see the complete nomination lists here. The Barry Awards are presented by the editors of Deadly Pleasures, and is named after fan/reviewer, the late Barry Gardner.

It’s been very gratifying to see Killing Quarry so warmly received – the reviews have been flattering, to say the least.

By the way, for those keeping track: I have completed the first Nolan in 33 years – Skim Deep – and it will go out to Hard Case Crime by Wednesday at the latest. All that remains is one last read and the minor tweaking that will entail…unless I screwed something up, in which case all bets are off.

* * *

I will be 72 in March, and one of the bad things about surviving this long is having to see friends and heroes go on ahead of you. Three passings this week were especially hard to take.

Mary Higgins Clark, in addition to being a hugely successful author and the creator of a whole style of thriller focusing on female protagonists, was a kind, sweet, generous human being. Barb and I were on a cruise with her – one of those mystery cruises with a whodunit game part of the activities – and she and her daughter Carol made wonderful company. Mary was warm and displayed a lovely sense of humor. Carol, who was also a delight, has gone on to her own great success as a suspense novelist.

Orson Bean died at 91, hit by a car (two cars actually) jaywalking to get to a play. The absurdity of that – and that theater was a part of it – shows fate in a fitting but cruel mood. Bean was a whimsical, wry stand-up comic early on, a comic actor of charm and skill on stage and (large and small) screen, and a particularly popular, adept and (of course) funny game show participant. He also has a small but key role in Anatomy of a Murder. Bean had a searching mind as several of his books display – Me and the Orgone, Too Much Is Not Enough, and M@il for Mikey (not a typo).

He was also the star of an obscure but wonderful shot-on-video version of the time-travel play The Star Wagon by Maxwell Anderson, with a pre-Graduate Dustin Hoffman as his sidekick. It was shot in 1967 for PBS and is available at Amazon on DVD.

In January a man few of you have heard of passed away in Muscatine. Howard Rowe was a chiropractor, my chiro for many years. He and I disagreed on much – he was conservative, very religious, and a home-schooler, none of which I am, and yet we never argued. He supported my work, and was an enthusiastic fan of the movies we made here in Muscatine. His life was a reminder of how to be individualistic with strong opinions and yet still be a pleasure to be around. When I picture him, he’s smiling. Always. Most of you never met him, and some who did meet him considered him an oddball. He was, I suppose. But a glorious one.

* * *

Rue Morgue, the major newsstand magazine on horror films, interviewed me online not long ago, and did a very good, gracious job of it. Now a Rue Morgue review of the Mommy/Mommy2 Blu-ray has appeared and it, too, is positive.

The Flick Attack website has given Mommy’s Day (as part of the above-mentioned Blu-ray) a very nice write-up. Check it out.

Earlier Flick Attack talked about Mommy, in a mostly favorable manner, here.

With the release of Girl Can’t Help It imminent, seeing a favorable review of Girl Most Likely by Ron Fortier feels like a good omen.

So does this solid Girl Most Likely review.

Ask Not with Nate Heller is still on sale as an e-book for $2.99 right here.

Finally, my old friend Rick Marschall writes about the creators he worked with as an editor in the newspaper comics field, and I’m pleased to say his role in landing me the Dick Tracy job is something he’s proud of.

M.A.C.