CNN is reporting that mystery writer Mickey Spillane has died at 88. Spillane started out as a comic writer (The Sub-Mariner), but left (for a while) when his hard hitting shoot-em-up sex novel I, the Jury was released in 1946. This kicked off a series of Mike Hammer novels including such favorites as Girl Hunters, Vengeance is Mine, and The Big Kill.
Mike Hammer showed up several times in television and movie form, including CBS’s successful series staring Stacey Keach. Interestingly Mickey Spillane, Darrin McGavin (Kolchack: The Nightstalker), and Armand Assante all played Hammer in other failed television attempts.
Spillane returned to comics in 1953 with his daily comic strip From the Files of…Mike Hammer. In the mid-1990s a treatment for a Hammer inspired comic was used as the basis for Mickey Spillane’s Mike Danger. In the short lived series (10 issues from Big, 11 issues from Tekno) Danger awakes in the future after spending decades in suspended animation. Part sci-fi, part pulp fiction, these stories were not written by Spillane, but were inspired by his earlier work.
I personally got to meet Mickey Spillane several times and even worked with him on a video fund-raiser in the mid 90s. He was a very nice person, and had nothing but positive things to say to anyone who came up to speak with him even though it was well past midnight.