Re: RARA-AVIS: Mike Hammer's strength and heroism

From: Marc Seals (
Date: 17 May 2004

----- Original Message ----- From: "Mario Taboada"
> I cannot say how readers in the fifties reacted.

Not that he was a typical reader, but Chandler had some pretty strong views on Spillane, whom he calls one of the "writers of comic books."

In a 1952 letter, Chandler said, "Mickey Spillane is just about on the same level of phoniness [as James Hadley Chase, author of 1939's NO ORCHIDS FOR MISS BLANDISH], and as far as I'm concerned just as unreadable. I did honestly try to read one just to see what made them click, but I couldn't make it. Pulp writing at its worst was never as bad as this stuff. [. . .] This Spillane stuff, so far as I can see, is nothing but a mixture of violence and outright pornography. [. . .] I can't see anything else in it. This sort of thing makes the home boys with their libraries of elegant erotica seem rather nice people."

In a 1958 letter, he said, "Spillane is perhaps an extreme example of the sadistic writer, but I may be wrong. I can't read him"

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