Posts Tagged ‘Strip for Murder’

Comic Con 2013 Schedule

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Here is our San Diego Comic Con schedule:

THURSDAY 6:30-7:30. With possible signs of increasing sales in manga and anime, is this a good time to enter the world of freelance translation and localization? Get some questions answered, hear some fun stories, and learn of possible upcoming trends with long-time freelancers and industry insiders William Flanagan (Fairy Tail), Jonathan Tarbox (Fist of the Northstar), Shaenon Garrity (Case Closed), Mari Morimoto (Naruto), Stephen Paul (One Piece), Ed Chavez (marketing director, Vertical), and Nathan Collins (Metal Gear Solid)! Room 26AB

FRIDAY 6:00-7:00 International Association of Media Tie-in Writers: Scribe Awards — Max Allan Collins (Mike Hammer), co-founder of the IAMTW, will announce the winners of this year’s Scribe Awards for excellence in tie-in writing, including honoring this year’s Grandmaster Award “Faust” winner, Ann C. Crispin (Pirates of the Caribbean). Join panelists Kevin J. Anderson (Dune), Nathan Collins (Metal Gear), Peter David (After Earth), Glenn Hauman (Star Trek), Jeff Mariotte (Terminator), and Rebecca Moesta (Star Wars) for a freewheeling look at one of the most popular and yet under-appreciated branches of the writing trade. Followed by a Q&A session. Room 23ABC

SIGNINGS: I will be at the Hermes Press booth on Sunday from 1 to 2:30 P.M. I’ll be signing the beautiful complete collection of the MIKE HAMMER comic strip that I edited and introduced, but you are welcome to stop by with any book of mine. Also, I will be hanging around the Mysterious Galaxy booth that same day from noon till 12:45, and Nate and Barb will be on hand, too. Copies of Nate’s METAL GEAR book will be available, and some Barbara Allan titles will be there for signing as well. We have no formal signing set in the autograph hall.

We will be doing daily updates from the convention, starting Thursday morning (we will be attending preview night on Wednesday).

Movie recommendation: PACIFIC RIM. Imagine a smart TRANSFORMER movie – contradiction in terms? Maybe. It reminded Barb and me of STARSHIP TROOPERS, and that’s a good thing.

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Here’s a review of STRIP FOR MURDER from Mel Odom. Mel usually likes my stuff, but he’s less keen on this than its predecessor (A KILLING IN COMICS). This novel hasn’t had a terribly warm response (tepid on Amazon), which is a head-scratcher to me. I think it’s at least as good as the first Jack Starr, but that may be because I am very interested in the true story behind it (the Al Capp/Ham Fisher feud).

Lots of coverage in Mississippi and Tennessee on the upcoming Cinemax QUARRY shoot – which starts July 22! Check out samplings of that local coverage here and here.

And two more cast members, one from SONS OF ANARCHY and another from THE WIRE.

Here’s a Matt Clemens interview promoting his upcoming Muncie conference appearance.

And, finally, check out this unusual MS. TREE splash page from Terry Beatty and the amusing headline.


Pop Culture Clash

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Starting about ten years after I graduated from college, I began having an experience that has repeated itself many times since: I would read some entertainment publication, perhaps Rolling Stone or Entertainment Weekly, and feel hopelessly out of touch with the popular culture around me. Since I make my living in pop culture, and have been a fan of pop culture since early childhood, this is distressing. I have prided myself, over the years, for being more connected to what was going on in entertainment than the average person of my advanced age (whatever that advanced age happened to be at the time…in this country, all ages past 35 are advanced).

That happened again to me over the weekend, as I sat down to read Entertainment Weekly’s 2013 preview issue. And my recurring problem – shared possibly by other purveyors of popular culture who aren’t in their twenties or early thirties – reasserted itself with a vengeance. I understand that the popular culture is fragmented. We don’t have, and haven’t had for some time, the kind of shared experience we once had – Elvis and the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, or the premiere episode of The Beverly Hillbillies, or opening week of Thunderball.

There are, obviously, some pop culture experiences of today that rival the shared experiences of the Twentieth Century. The Super Bowl and American Idol, for instance, neither of which I’ve ever seen, but have an awareness of because of their all-pervasiveness. Michael Jackson and Madonna were last gasps of the shared pop culture experience (and even they were not on an Elvis/Beatles level), as they were part of the MTV era that flowed out of the greater cable TV explosion that so fragmented our entertainment experience. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, just an undeniable thing. I don’t believe Lady GaGa has a pop cultural resonance on a level with Madonna, just as Madonna doesn’t have a pop cultural resonance on a level with the Beatles. (On the other hand, the Beatles were on a level with Elvis, just as Elvis was with Sinatra before him.)

But for a writer, even one who often deals with historical subjects, to lose touch with the pop culture is death. And at 64, I’ve reached that age the Beatles once sang about in relation to a distant old age, so I know death is also an undeniable thing. Yet somehow it chills to me read an issue of Entertainment Weekly and see so much I know little or nothing about.

What follows are rhetorical questions, and you may post answers if you like, but understand that’s not the nature of these questions.

Who the hell are Niall Horan and One Direction? Must I watch a show called GIRLS on HBO and endure “superawkward sexual encounters”? Why would anyone want a Blu-ray boxed set of the Jackson Five cartoon show? (Not understanding nostalgia may represent a hardening of the arteries in someone as drenched in nostalgia as I am.) Who the hell are Nick Kroll, Hunter Hayues, A$AP Rocky, Conor Maynard, and M83? Who are Campo, Chainz featuring Dolla Boy, and Arcade Fire (the last falls into a category that I would designate as Actually I Have Heard of Them But Have Never Knowingly Heard Their Music). Why are there so many TV stars I am unfamiliar with (Chris Coffer, Monica Potter, Season Kent, Manish Raval, Thomas Golubic)?

The reason I am posing these questions rhetorically is that if they were actual questions, the obvious answer to all of them is: I’m out of touch. But fragmentation is a mitigating factor, as is bad pop culture that a reasonable human shouldn’t be expected to endure. You make decisions, as you trudge through life, about certain things you aren’t going to put up with. For me, Rap/Hip Hop falls into that category, as does country western music. Both pander to our worst instincts, though I am aware that intelligent defenses can be made of various artists and specific works within those fields. Country western music gave us Patsy Cline, so it can’t be all bad. Rap is a travesty, and I refuse to call it “music” since at his core is a lack of melody. I know doggerel when I hear it – I am an English major, after all.

Not that there isn’t plenty in this issue of Entertainment Weekly that I’m familiar with – probably a good share of which would be unfamiliar to a lot of people my age. But this is that moment, which has repeated so many times in my life, where I feel the popular culture is rolling over me, flattening me like a steamroller in an old cartoon.

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This weekend we saw two films, one of which (ZERO DARK THIRTY) will likely be among my favorites this year, and another (GANGSTER SQUAD) which will likely be among my least favorites. Despite the political squabbling (by parties with varying agendas) in the media over the use of torture, ZERO DARK THIRTY is a gritty, involving docu-drama reminiscent at times of the great BBC series SPOOKS (aka MI-5). The real-time Bin Laden raid is stellar filmmaking. By the way, if you lit a match under my foot, I would gladly give you the atomic bomb secrets. So maybe with some weak-willed persons, torture does work.

GANGSTER SQUAD is a handsomely mounted but incredibly dumb supposed look at Mickey Cohen’s reign as a mob boss in post-war LA. I have never seen a more inaccurate “true crime” film, which is essentially a sloppy, riciulously violent re-do of THE UNTOUCHABLES, with Sean Penn’s smirky, sneering one-note performance managing to be even less true to Mickey Cohen’s character than the moronic screenplay. I hate movies like this, because not only do they suck, but they usually flop and make it tough for good period crime movies (say, based on a Nate Heller novel) to happen. Though over the top and obvious, the art direction makes sumptuous eye candy, and Josh Brolin is very good as a Mike Hammer-ish cop. He would make an excellent Hammer. On the other hand, sleepy-eyed, whiny Ryan Gosling remains the opposite of charismatic, a walking void who sucks the life out of any scene he enters.

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I spent the week doing my draft of a 12,000-word novella called “Antiques Slay Ride,” a Christmas-themed e-book being done as a promotion for the Trash ‘n’ Treasures series. It will appear, not surprisingly, toward the end of this year.

Congrats to Dan John Miller, who was selected as one of AudioFile Magazine’s “Voices of the Year” for his performance of FLYING BLIND. If you’re a Heller fan who listens to audios, I highly recommend Dan’s readings of all of the novels (yes, he’s done them all, and the short story collections, too). He really is Nate Heller.

Some nice Net reviews have rolled in of late, including this one on CHICAGO LIGHTNING.

And here’s a swell TARGET LANCER review.

Short but sweet, this review of SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT comes from the UK’s Crimetime site.

Speaking of the soon-to-be-published SEDUCTION, here’s some Goodreads reviews of the novel.

Here’s a review of the previous Jack and Maggie Starr mystery, STRIP FOR MURDER, with a fun discussion of Fearless Fosdick.

Finally, check out this perceptive review of BYE BYE, BABY, and you may want to read my comment posted below it.


San Diego Dispatches

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011
2011 Audie Award

That’s me in this week’s pic fondling my Audie award, taken in my basement book room. Very proud of this one (for THE NEW ADVENTURES OF MIKE HAMMER: THE LITTLE DEATH). The crystal award is actually a very beautiful object. Thanks to producer Carl Amari (TWILIGHT ZONE radio series) for the great opportunity.

This will be a short update, but I will be posting on a daily basis from the San Diego Comic-con – expect the first missive to appear Thursday morning July 21 and every day thereafter through July 25. Look for pictures of celebrities who are, I hope, bigger deals than the one depicted with this posting.

Not long ago I went in to Chicago to meet with sports radio legend Mike North – a great guy, as smart as he is funny (which is pretty damn smart) – to continue exploring a movie project on his life, which is sort of Horatio Alger Chicago-style, from hot dog vendor to radio superstar. Sun-Times columnist Bill Zwecker covered it in his column, but you’ll have to scroll down past the GLEE stuff.

One of the fun things about the Internet is the occasional quirky, personal review of a book that turns up, very much not in the vein of traditional criticism. Check out this fun look at STRIP FOR MURDER from a reviewer who objects to my anti-anti-Communism – he prefers Joe McCarthy to Ed Murrow! Lots of discussion of Al Capp and Ham Fisher here.

And I liked this review of THE LAST QUARRY a lot – another quirky, personal but smart review.

We’ll close out with three more reviews of the Criterion Collection Blu-ray/DVD of KISS ME DEADLY, all of which mention my documentary MIKE HAMMER’S MICKEY SPILLANE.

Also, there’s a Criterion 50% off sale at Barnes & Noble, both the web site and the stores, and it’s a cheap way to pick up the greatest Mike Hammer movie of all time.


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.

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