A KILLING IN COMICS
by Max Allan Collins
Illos by Terry Beatty
I’ve recently begun to think of writer, Max Allan Collins, as a Literary Master Chef with an overly generous disposition. It’s not enough that he serves up absolutely wonderful, tasty, delicious stories, but he always fills your plate to overflowing every single time. And this latest effort is no exception; A KILLING IN COMICS is filled with lots and lots of good treats.
Set in the post World War II publishing world of
Knowing Collins’ background, I was very intrigued to see what he would do with this setting. Since this is a work of fiction, he shoves his tongue firmly in his cheek and then proceeds to describe a colorful list of characters that any comic buff worth his Superman tee-shirt would identify in a heartbeat. Here are, albeit thinly disguised, the
Oh, and least we forget, there is a murder here and it does have to be solved. Employing the format of an old Ellery Queen and Rex Stout mystery, we are introduced to the entire narrative by one Jack Starr; a World War II veteran, now employed by his stepmother as a Vice-President (make that trouble-shooter) for the highly successful Starr Syndicate, which handles top-notch strips for newspapers around the country. Maggie Starr, his late father’s third wife, was once a famous striptease dancer before marrying the senior Starr and eventually inheriting the business. She’s a beautiful, smart cookie who appreciates Jack’s loyalty. They have a very good, easy going relationship.
When the head of
Comic fans will have the experienced heightened considerably, as I did, when recognizing those thinly disguised iconic figures who launched those amazing four-color magazines. An added bonus is Collins’ artist pal, Beatty, adds a handful of terrific comic illustrations to spice up the read. All in all, this is one of the most enjoyable Max Collins’ books I have ever read and, I for one, am keeping my fingers crossed we haven’t seen the last of Jack Starr and his sexy stepmother, Maggie. These two deserve to be brought back, and soon. And you deserve to do yourself a big favor and pick up A KILLING IN COMICS. You can thank me later.