Hard Case Crime/Titan Comics 2018
Story by Mickey Spillane & Max Allan Collins
Written by Max Allan Collins
Illustrated by Marcelo Salaza & Marcio Freire
Lettered by Tom Williams
She was a beautiful blonde and she was in trouble. Usually, that’s all | need to know. When your name is Mike Hammer, certain things are expected of you. But on our way out of the Zero Club, we almost got hit by a speeding car...on the sidewalk. | killed the reckless driver and his gun slinging rider, so maybe it was time for the doll to fill in a few details.
I am enjoying this immensely it is long overdue to be able to stories like this once again grace our lives. Forget politically correct because that’s not Mike Hammer he likes his Dames or Broads a lot and he shoots his gun off near reckless abandon though he does get his man. Mike is a man’s man and right now in this day and age most folks don’t understand that and honestly while too many people look to be offended by something this is the kind of story where you have to remember this is the past and everything was perfectly acceptable at that time so sit back relax and for heaven’s sake ENJOY!
The way that this is structured is very nicely done. From the strength of the dialogue to the subject matter and just how the whole thing flows through the pages with it’s revelations and twists and turns make this a great combination of classic literature and modern comics. The transitions from segment to segment are smooth and well constructed and it never feels like we’re thrust from one moment to the next. Also there is an aspect in this story that I found was exceptionally well handled and that’s the fact that Mike’s a philanderer and Helen has no qualms about using sex to get what she wants. This combination makes the sex easy for this story and well what a Mike Hammer story be without the dame in his bed?
One of the most pleasant surprises in all this is Velda. She’s sassy and is a version of Betty Page to eyes and it’s not just that she’s a licensed Private Investigator and a deadly shot so that she plays the role of Mike’s secretary may seem odd at first as the story continues and we see more of her the more I begin to see the real role she plays here. I don’t think enough folks realise what really went on in this era of mobsters, molls and private dicks. Me I love a good mystery filled with hidden agenda’s, people who aren’t what they seem and plenty of murder and mayhem.
The interiors here are great. I like the manipulation of the linework so that we can see everything from the most subtle designs to the boldest of moments showcasing how the level of attention to detail can increase the enjoyment we get from the story. The utilisation of page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels shows off a solid eye for storytelling. We also see a fair amount of backgrounds being utilised and that helps give us depth perception, expands the moment and gives the story more scope. The colouring here is marvellous and the way a light source is used, focused on and the highlights and shading that we see make everything feel more real.
This is some old school unapologetic storytelling and it’s so very well done. Yes it’s taken right from the master but Max is no slouch either the man can take a premise or outline and flesh it out and make it feel like a brand new entity. Hard Case Crime has another franchise on it’s hands where the past needs to be more a part of the present and future of entertainment.