Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: mystery writers to comics

From: John Armstrong (
Date: 11 Jun 2008

Thanks Jim - I had forgot about Secret Agent X-9. Somewhere I have a coffeetable edition of the collected strips.

Re: The Micker, in the 90s Mike Danger was again a comic, scripted by Spillane (with other writers; how much Mickey really wrote of it is debatable.)


> John,
> Re you comment below:
> "Then there's Spillane - . . . "
> Interestingly, Spillane might be an example of someone who DID start
> out in comics and then went to prose.
> Whether Spillane started out in prose or in comics, it's certain that
> Mike Hammer started out as a comic book character called MIKE DANGER.
> When, after being mustered out of the Army Air Corps, Spillane was
> unable to put together a deal for a comic book with Mike Danger as the
> cover feature, he reimagined the character as the hero of a novel, and
> wrote I THE JURY. Eventually, Hammer, returning to his roots, became
> the hero of a syndicated strip called FROM THE FILES OF MIKE HAMMER,
> with Spillane contributing some of the scripts.
> Curiously, Al Collins's first comics work (though it didn't sell), was
> creating (with artist Ray Gotto) a proposed syndicated newspaper strip
> called HEAVEN AND HELLER, about a Depression-era Chicago PI named Nate
> Heller. When the strip didn't sell, he reimagined the character as the
> hero of a prose novel and eventually wrote TRUE DETECTIVE. When I
> pointed out this parallel between his career and Spillane's, Collins,
> the consummate Spillane fan, claimed that this had never occurred to him.
> Though HEAVEN AND HELLER didn't sell, syndicate editors were
> sufficiently impressed that, when Chester Gould retired, Al Collins
> was invited to try out for the TRACY gig.
> Other famous mystery writers who've plied their trade in the comics
> medium include Dashiell Hammett, who created the cops-&-robbers
> syndicated strip SECRET AGENT X-9 for Hearst's King Features Syndicate
> as a response to the Tribune/News Syndicate's DICK TRACY; Leslie
> Charteris, one of several writers who continued the X-9 strip after
> Hammett's departure, and who also wrote many of the scripts used for
> THE SAINT newspaper strip; Erle Stanley Gardner, who, apparently,
> personally wrote the scripts for a short-lived PERRY MASON syndicated
> strip; and Robert Leslie Bellem, who wrote comic book scripts
> featuring Dan Turner which appeared alongside the prose stories in the

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