by Mickey Spillane
Edited by Max Allan Collins & Lynn F. Myers, Jr.
40 fast-moving short-short stories by the creator of Mike Hammer!
For his first novel, Mickey Spillane adapted his unsold comic book character Mike Danger. Changing Danger to Hammer, Spillane wrote the yarn that launched a major career -- I, the Jury! But before he unleashed Mike Hammer on an appreciative world-wide audience, Spillane honed his craft writing terse, short-fiction for comic books, originally intended to fulfill an odd postal requirement. These "throw-away" stories became his literary boot camp, where he honed his story-telling ability.
Here, collected in an expanded edition, are the earliest short stories bylined Mickey Spillane ... all written between 1941 and 1942. Spillane's comic book career was interrupted by military service (he signed up the day after Pearl Harbor was attacked). After the war, when the fighter pilot returned to civilian life, he found Funnies, Inc. (his old studio) was gone, most artists and writers now sub-contracting work directly for the comic book publishers.
Now you have the opportunity to see a major mystery-fiction talent find his voice and develop his powerful storytelling skills, in a most unlikely venue -- with "filler" material in comic books. The 40 stories contained within this expanded edition demonstrate Spillane's future mastery of the tough-talking private detective and brutal criminals, while also displaying his versatility in other genres. In addition to hard-boiled crime, Spillane hammers out tales of ship wrecks, high-flying soldiers, a Lovecraftian mine-shaft, light-fingered con artists, overworked cub reporters, and a hapless exterminator. Some of the stories in the collection may frighten you, and a few will make you laugh out loud. But each one wraps up with the signature Spillane "socko finish."
The combined cost of the rare comic books in which these text pieces first appeared today would be more than that of a new Cadillac; but these short stories provide their own memorable rides. Their value as a training ground for the 20th Century's top crime-fiction writer is priceless when compared to the millions of fans across the world entertained by Mickey Spillane's prose.