Friday, October 17, 2008

The Mammoth Book of Best Crime Comics

This book is the most fun I’ve had reading since The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps. I’m not going to do a full review because others have done it far better justice (here, here and here) than I could. However, I will give it a quick plug... Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct stands out with its bizarre but engaging case of a blind painter who paints masterpieces and then kills his subjects... Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer is in a piece called Dark City (1954) that caused such an uproar over the depiction of a bound and gagged woman that the strip was soon cancelled for offending narrow-minded sensibilities. Spillane’s earlier creation, Mike Lancer, also appears in the anthology... Max Allan Collins delivers the charming Ms. Tree on Maternity Leave (1992). This is my first meeting with this tough babe and I’m hoping the movie will reflect this tour de force... My response to Dashiell Hammett’s Secret Agent X-9 (1934) was lukewarm, which surprised me. Even so, I’m glad to have it rounding out my D.H. collection... Johnny Craig’s The Sewer (1951) is a great tale of ultimate poetic justice when a murderer hiding out underground comes face to face with his own grisly handiwork... A new favorite of mine, the whimsical 'Spirit', shows up in Will Eisner’s The Portier Fortune (1946). I’ll be checking out more of Mr. Eisner's work... There are many, many other brilliant creators including Alan Moore, Sanchez Abuli, Alex Raymond, Paul Grist and Ed Robbins. Each storyline is introduced with a brief history and Paul Gravett does a fine job in the introduction Every Shade of Noir... This book should be on your shelf.

5 comments:

Scott Parker said...

I received a big surprise when I went to my local comics store...and they didn't have this book. They didn't even have it via the distributor. Now, I must rely on Santa or Amazon. Hmmm, I do have a birthday approaching...

Anyway, thanks for the review. It confirmed that I'd like this collection. Surprising about Hammett, though. Having just finished "Bodies Piled Up," I'm in the mood for more Hammett.

Charles Gramlich said...

This sounds like something I'd like very much. Gonna check this out.

David Cranmer said...

Scott, The Hammett story is probably personal taste. I do think it's cool that he respected the genre enough to write for it similar to Mickey Spillane. Btw, I forgot to leave a comment over at Texas Pulp Writer and tell you I enjoyed chapters 19 and 20. You have some real great work going on there.

Charles, yes, it has the action adventure that I think you'd find to your liking.

RReynolds said...

Will Eisner was simply the best of the best. You will enjoy a collection of his work. I'm not hip on seeing the movie. Samuel Jackson looks all wrong as The Octopus.

David Cranmer said...

RReynolds. I do want to read an Eisner collection before seeing the movie. As for Jackson we will have to wait and see.