Mickey SpillaneCNN is reporting that writer Mickey Spillane has died at age 88 after a long illness. Spillane’s hardboiled pulp novels, including I, The Jury sold millions of copies and influenced a generation of writers, and his tough-guy private eye Mike Hammer starred in both film and television.

Early in his career, Spillane dabbled in comics writing, writing text pages for Timely Comics. It is even rumored that Mike Hammer was originally created as a comics character, a rumor that Max Allan Collins brought to life in the 90s with a Mike Danger comic.

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  1. I got to meet Mickey at a hotel here in Savannah (he had a house on Hilton Head) while they were ironically having a comic book convention. He knew nothing of it, but got a big kick out of it when I mentioned his past days. He was a helluva guy and a swell mug.

  2. Sorry to hear about his death —
    but to say that Mike Hammer was rumored to be created as a comic, is odd- Spillane admits it, and it was published in the 50s (although years after he produced it).
    Spillane was an associate editor at Funnies, Inc from 1939-1941 where he wrote features for Timely-Marvel and Novelty (both Funnies, Inc clients), including writing both the Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner. After the war, he returned to Funnies, Inc for 1945-1946; who had already lost Marvel as a client – he attempted to package Mike Danger around 1948, when he was unable to get distribution for his line of comics, he re-wrote it – and became famous. His last comics work, was the Mike Hammer newspaper strip.

  3. I can’t even begin to tell you how saddened I am by Mickey’s passing. Somehow, I had convinced myself that he was immortal – or would at least outlive me. His work – raw, vital, and sometimes crude – had a tremendous and powerful impact on me as a person and as a writer, and I liked him personally very much.

    We only met face to face once, but spent the better part of an afternoon together, and shared a meal. We talked movies. He was a huge film buff. I gave him my VHS copy of THE GIRL HUNTERS, a movie in which he had starred as Mike Hammer and yet didn’t own a copy of. At the time, the movie had never been officially released on video, and my copy was a bootleg, which seemed to amuse him. We also talked about his work in comics at Funnies, Inc. and his WW II experiences as a pilot.

    I spoke to him many times on the telephone and he was never anything less than charming, intelligent and energetic, full of great anecdotes.

    He created an entire school of hardboiled fiction in the Fifties and Sixties that gave me not only his books, but those of Donald Hamilton, Max Allan Collins, Stephen Marlowe, Wayne Dundee, Richard S. Prather and so many others that became favorites and taught me how to tell tough tales. His passion to tell stories and entertain was inspiring.

    By far, the high point of my professional career to date was editing MICKEY SPILLANE’S MIKE DANGER for Tekno Comix for two years in the 90’s. I’ll always treasure the signed hardcover of BLACK ALLEY he gave me as thanks for my work on the comic.

    Rest in Peace, Frank Morrison Spillane. And when you get to Heaven, give ’em hell….

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