Friday, March 20, 2020

Mickey Spillane's "Mike Hammer"

According to Warners, author Mickey Spillane's 'misanthrope' 1940's comic strip detective "Mike Hammer", who went on to fame in a series of novels, TV series and motion pictures, continues in development as a new franchise of films.

The character of Hammer was created by Spillane, debuting in the 1947 book "I, the Jury", that was adapted into a feature in 1953 and 1982.

Prior to World War II, Spillane was a writer of comic books for Timely (now Marvel) Publications. After the war,  he used what would be the plot of "I, the Jury" for a comic book character called 'Mike Danger' that eventually became 'Mike Hammer' in hard cover. 

Hammer was a Marine veteran of the 'Battle of Guadalcanal'. As a private investigator he carries a .45 Colt in a shoulder holster under his left arm. His love for his secretary 'Velda' is only outweighed by his willingness to kill a killer. 

While pulp detectives such as 'Sam Spade' and 'Philip Marlowe' are hard-boiled and cynical, Hammer is brutally violent, with a genuine rage against violent crime. In Spillane's "The Big Kill", Hammer describes himself to a bargirl as a 'misanthrope'.

While other heroes would bend and manipulate the law, Hammer often views it as an impediment to justice, the one virtue he holds in absolute esteem. 

Hammer nevertheless has a strong respect for the  police, realizing they have a difficult job, with their hands frequently tied by the law when trying to stop criminals. Because of this, Hammer is a cynical loner, contemptuous of the 'tedious process' of the legal system, choosing instead to enforce the law on his own terms.

Click the images to enlarge and Sneak Peek Darren McGavin ("Night Stalker") as "Mike Hammer"...