Posts Tagged ‘Quarry’s Ex’

Con Fusion

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Saner heads have prevailed, and I will not be trying to attend two panels simultaneously. I’m getting a little long in the tooth to do my Basil Fawlty impression.

So I will be reluctantly forgo the Vertigo Panel (though editor Will Dennis promises to give RETURN TO PERDITION a boost), and concentrate on the Scribes/Tie-in Panel. Here’s a reminder:

Friday, July 23:

5:00-6:30 Scribe Awards/Media Tie-in Writers Panel— Presenting the fourth annual International Association of Media-Tie-in Writers (IAMTW) “Scribe” awards, honoring such notable franchises as CSI, Criminal Minds, The X-Files, Star Trek, Stargate, Star Wars, and Dr. Who. Nominees on hand include Alina Adams (As the World Turns), Max Allan Collins (G.I. Joe), Keith R. A. DeCandido (Star Trek), Stacia Deutsch (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs), Jeff Mariotte (CSI), Nathan Long (Warhammer), and Dayton Ward (Star Trek). With moderator Collins and awards presenter Lee Goldberg (Monk). Room 4

IMPORTANT NOTE: There is no autograph session scheduled after the panel. And, throughout the con, I have no autograph sessions set either in the autographing area or at a booth. But there is no panel following the Scribe Awards one, and the panelists listed above – including yours truly – will hang around to sign books you’ve brought. Before the panel, you can buy books by the panelists at Mysterious Galaxy’s booth and elsewhere in the dealer’s hall. Right after the panel, in Room 4 itself – or in the hallway, if we get chased out by officious pratts – all of us will be signing any books and other stuff you haul along.

And I’ve had another panel appearance added (you may not find it in the official con listing – I seem to be among “others” on the panel):

Thursday, July 22:

4:00-5:00 From Screen to Comics— An in-depth look at what it takes to turn big screen action into 32 pages. Join talent creators from across the spectrum, including Max Brooks, Nancy Collins, Peter David, Tony Lee David Tischman, Mike Johnson, Max Allan Collins, and Scott Tipton as they look behind the scenes at some of the biggest properties to come to comics, like True Blood, Doctor Who, The A-Team, TRANSFORMERS, and Star Trek! Room 9

The Iowa City Book Festival was great fun. What a privilege to do a panel with Nick Meyer, one of my heroes (and a fellow University of Iowa grad) and the gifted director/writer who mistakenly confused Iowa and heaven, Phil Alden Robinson. Great guys – funny, knowledgeable, and very nice. I felt very much honored to be in their presence.

The screening of THE LAST LULLABY at the Bijou Theater on Sunday afternoon at the U of Iowa student union was well-attended, and the audience seemed to really like the film. We had a spirited question-and-answer session. Among those attending were such friends and fans as Stephen Borer from Minneapolis, Brad Schwartz from Ann Arbor, and Charlie Koenigsacker from Iowa City. I hadn’t seen the film for maybe six months, and viewing a nice 35mm print was a treat. Jeffrey Goodman reports around a dozen foreign sales for LULLABY – not in the USA yet, though you can still get a copy of the limited edition “screener” DVD at www.thelastlullaby.com.

Speaking of our favorite hitman, two really great advance reviews of QUARRY’S EX have turned up on the net.

Bill Crider loves Quarry almost as much as I love Bill Crider.

And Craig Clarke has made up for not caring for YOU CAN’T STOP ME with a rave review at his excellent SOMEBODY DIES site.

And I gave two interviews that have turned up at two other first-rate sites.

Jeff Pierce of RAP SHEET fame (at his KILLER COVERS site) does a nice write-up (intended for MYSTERY SCENE) on classic gals-and-gats paperback covers, with interview stuff from me, Norman Saunders’ son and somebody called Charles Ardai.

And John Kenyon (also an attendee at the LULLABY screening on Sunday) has posted his recent interview with me at his THINGS I’D RATHER BE DOING site.

See you at the con! Check in here daily starting Thursday morning for brief con updates.

M.A.C.

Premature Ex-Aculation

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Though it isn’t out till late September, QUARRY’S EX has already racked up a rave! It’s courtesy of Ron Fortier (a terrific writer in his own right), whose Pulp Fiction review site is always worth checking out.

THE BIG BANG received a pretty positive if patronizing review from the Chicago Sun Times. The reviewer is the kind of guy who enjoys a cheeseburger, then apologizes for it. But it’s a nice high-profile place to get reviewed, in an era where most of the reviewing is done on-line now.

There’s a new website about DICK TRACY up – old pal Jim Doherty is part of it. A TRACY comic-book story, circa 1990, that I did with artist Joe Staton (another old pal) is supposedly posted there, but all I can find so far is the first page. But check into it. That story – “Fireworks” – was done for a Disney comics digest but never got used. The website just went up recently, so to get the full “Fireworks,” you may have to check back now and then.

The ExpertA blast from the past – a recent, positive review of THE EXPERT (1995), my first screenwriting credit. I like that movie, though it’s only fittingly faithful to what I wrote. I always like to say that they apparently had only one copy of the screenplay, misplaced it, then tried to remember it. Anyway, that’s the case with the Jeff Speakman scenes – the James Brolin crazy-warden scenes are right on script. If you’ve never seen this, it’s worth tracking down – a decent B action movie about a prison break-in. With the great Jim Varney! It deserves better on video than it’s received – the only widescreen presentation is the laserdisc, and there’s never been a U.S. DVD release (the UK DVD is full screen pan-and-scan).

On the music front, intense rehearsals lay ahead – we have the Daybreakers Reunion for the Class of 1970 coming up on July 10, and on July 28, we have the Crusin’/XL’s Great River Days Concert. More about these later.

M.A.C.

ANTIQUES Tomorrow, BIG BANG Today!

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Barb and I will be doing at least three more ANTIQUES “Trash ‘n’ Treasures” mysteries for Kensington after the end of our current contract. This is three books beyond the recently completed ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF (which will be out about a year from now), taking us all the way into 2014. I give the lion’s share of credit to Barb, whose unique vision and sense of humor makes these books so special.

Quarry's Ex

THE BIG BANG, which I did not expect to see on sale until mid-May, is available now from Amazon, and I’ve seen it at a Border’s, as well, so I am assuming you can find it whether you buy your books, whether in cyber space, a chain outlet or an indie bookshop. Strong sales on this one are key for me to be able to turn the remaining trio of Spillane/Hammer manuscripts into finished novels. (KISS HER GOODBYE has been delivered and will be out next year.)

Also on the Spillane/Hammer front, this weekend I did final revisions on the next NEW ADVENTURES OF MIKE HAMMER radio “novel,” ENCORE FOR MURDER. The basis is a one-page outline of an unwritten novel by Mickey Spillane. The notes from producer Carl Amari and star Stacy Keach were minimal, and the script is put to bed. We record it in Chicago next month.

I also read the galleys for QUARRY’S EX, doing final tweaks and corrections. This will be published in October by Hard Case Crime. Whether there will be any further Quarry books remains to be seen.

There were several nice mentions of my work on the internet this past week.

Here’s a nice blog review of THE BIG BANG by a longtime Spillane fan.

There are been several nice mentions on the net about my history-of-hardboiled-short-fiction intro to BLOOD, GUTS & WHISKEY, the Thuglit anthology. This one’s that terrific writer, Tom Piccirilli.

Also, there’s a nice ANTIQUES FLEE MARKET review on another blog.

Finally, here’s a nice little write-up about STRIP FOR MURDER, the second of the two Jack and Maggie Starr mysteries. It’s available at a bargain price at Amazon right now — $5.60.

Short update this weekend — have to devote my time to the new Harrow novel, NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU.

Check out my Facebook Fan page! I post almost every day.

M.A.C.

Mickey Spillane’s Birthday

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Today is Mickey Spillane’s birthday, and after a few announcements, I’m featuring a short piece I did about the first film of I, THE JURY by way of tribute. It appeared in Classic Images last year – Classic Images is a great magazine in newspaper tabloid format that is extremely well-edited by Bob King out of the back of my hometown paper, the Muscatine Journal, where I had my first professional writing job.

Barb’s father, William Mull, passed away yesterday. Bill had been suffering from pancreatic cancer (the killer that took Mickey Spillane out, too, coincidentally). But Bill survived over a year with the disease, which enabled his family to spend time with him in person and on the phone, and say goodbyes properly. He was a fine man with a sly sense of humor, a WW 2 combat vet, a great trumpet player, a successful businessman and the father of seven kids, all of whom grew up just fine. To me, his greatest achievement was helping bring Barbara Mull to the planet.

I am working on ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF, which already had been dedicated to Bill by his daughter. Barb did an exceptional job on the rough draft. I think this will be the best Brandy and Mother mystery yet, but don’t let that stop you from picking up the current ANTIQUES BIZARRE.

Also, I have already done a series of revisions on QUARRY’S EX – Charles Ardai is the most lightning fast editor on the planet – and that book has been put to bed and is off to the typesetter.

You Can't Stop MeAntiques Bizarre

We got a great review from Bill Crider for YOU CAN’T STOP ME. If you don’t follow Bill’s great blog, start doing so now. He obviously has incredible taste.

Craig Clarke, another great blogger, had wonderful things to say about ANTIQUES BIZARRE.

The Court Reporter website recently posted a very controversial list of the top 100 crime novels of all time. I mention this because (oddly, it seems to me) I am represented on that list for…ready for this?…my novelization of AMERICAN GANGSTER. Now I’m proud of that book, and it made the NY Times bestseller list, and won the Scribe from the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers. But of everything I’ve ever written (say, TRUE DETECTIVE or ROAD TO PERDITION or THE FIRST QUARRY)…why that? But I’ll take it, since my policy is that any such list is utter bullshit…unless I’m on it.

And now, in honor of Mickey’s birthday….

I, THE JURY – NOIR IN 3-D
by Max Allan Collins

I, The Jury 3DMickey Spillane was not a fan of the films British producer Victor Saville fashioned in the 1950s from the mystery writer’s bestsellers, I, the Jury, The Long Wait, Kiss Me Deadly and My Gun Is Quick. So incensed by what he considered a mishandling of his famous private eye, Mike Hammer, Spillane wrote and co-produced THE GIRL HUNTERS (1963) in which he starred as Hammer himself.

Time has been kind to several of the Saville films, notably KISS ME DEADLY (1955), starring Ralph Meeker, directed by Robert Aldrich and written by A.I. Bezzerides. The film had a strong anti-Spillane subtext but was nonetheless a brilliant evocation of Mike Hammer’s violent, sexually charged world. Late in life, Spillane came to appreciate KISS ME DEADLY, which is now considered a noir classic; but he never warmed to the others. With MY GUN IS QUICK (1957), wherein Robert Bray portrayed Hammer, Spillane had a point: it was a slipshod quickie. THE LONG WAIT (1954) (with Anthony Quinn as a non-Hammer protagonist and an array of beauties including Peggie Castle) does have its admirers, with a particularly strong climax involving starkly expressionistic lighting.

Though he counted Biff Elliot a friend, Spillane disliked I, THE JURY (1953). He thought Elliot was too small, though his chief complaints were with the script and such details as Mike Hammer’s trademark .45 automatic being traded in for a revolver, and he howled about Hammer getting knocked out with a coathanger. He found director/screenwriter Harry Essex obnoxious and disrespectful, and was irritated that his handpicked Mike Hammer – close friend, ex-cop Jack Stang (for whom the hero of the posthumous novel Dead Street is named, and who appears briefly in I, THE JURY in a poolroom scene) – was turned down for the part.

In 1999, Mickey and I were invited to London where the National Film Theater was showing my documentary, “Mike Hammer’s Mickey Spillane,” as part of a retrospective of Spillane films. Mickey did not bother to attend any of the screenings except my documentary. But I was eager to attend a rare 3-D screening of I, THE JURY.

I’d always liked the film, and had argued its merits (and those of KISS ME DEADLY) to Mickey over the years. Of all the Saville films, I, THE JURY seemed to catch best the look and flavor of the novels; it was fun and tough and sexy, and the dialogue had crackle. What had disappointed moviegoers at the time remains disappointing: the most overtly sexual aspects of the plot (a dance studio may or may not be a brothel, several characters may or may not be homosexual) became incoherent due to censorship issues, and the famous striptease finale reduced lovely Peggie Castle’s disrobing to taking off her shoes!

But Elliot himself was a terrific Mike Hammer – an emotional hothead who could be as tough as he was tender. That he was a little smaller than readers might have imagined Hammer only makes him seem less a bully. He fights hard and loves hard, and may not be as smart as most movie private eyes, which gives him a nice everyman quality. It’s a shame Elliot, with a screen presence similar to James Caan’s, was not better launched by the film.

The revelation of the screening, however, was the 3-D cinematography – seen “flat” on TV, the film doesn’t seem to be much of a 3-D movie, with only a few instances of objects and people coming out of the screen. But the 3-D screening revealed the brilliant John Alton’s mastery at creating depth, bringing the viewer inside the images. As one of a small handful of 3-D crime films, I, THE JURY is an unacknowledged 3-D gem.