Saturday, March 10, 2018

Mickey’s Milestone

As I noted in The Rap Sheet, yesterday—March 9—marked the 100th anniversary of author Mickey Spillane’s birth in Brooklyn, New York. (He died in 2006.) In addition to my extensive interview with Max Allan Collins, Spillane’s friend and posthumous collaborator on a trove of novels and short stories (some featuring Manhattan gumshoe Mike Hammer, others not), I had planned to commemorate this occasion with a gallery of Spillane book fronts. However, I ran short of time to post those images on his birthday, so I am doing so today.

Above, you can enjoy two of the most eye-catching covers to come from Spillane’s half-century-long writing career. Those Signet paperback editions of The Last Cop Out (1973) and The Erection Set (1972) both feature photographs of his second wife, actress Sherri Malinou, whom he married in 1965 and divorced in 1983. Other of his paperback releases, though, are equally distinctive. Below, you’ll find covers painted by Robert McGinnis (Killer Mine, Me Hood!, The Consummata), James Avati, Lu Kimmel, James Meese, and several others. There’s also the photo front from Signet’s 1967 issue of The Body Lovers, which has Spillane himself portraying Hammer; two jackets from recent Titan Books editions of Lady, Go Die! and The Will to Kill, their designs credited to; a pair of Caleb York Western mysteries, co-authored with Collins; two covers from the 1990s Mike Danger comic books Spillane and Collins worked on; and a couple of the variant fronts from Hard Case Crime’s forthcoming, four-issue Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer comic series, created by artists Alex Ronald and Mack Chater. (The primary cover for Issue No. 1 of that series is this McGinnis-painted beauty.)

Of course, there are many more Spillane fronts still in print or available in used copies. If you have other favorites you think really ought to be showcased, I invite you to share links to them in the Comments section at the end of this post.

Click on any of these images to open up an enlargement.

POSTSCRIPT: Book cover-art expert Art Scott points out that the paperback edition of Spillane’s The Erection Set, shown atop this post, is a strategically censored version of the earlier hardcover dust jacket. Take a gander at the 1972 original here.

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