Ace Mifflin

Created by Ted Slampyak

“Private eyin’s what I do. It’s a dirty job. That’s why I like it.”

Here’s another private eye spawned during the 1980’s comic book/graphic novel boom/renaissance. In the “jazz age” of 1926 Boston, ALEXANDER C. “ACE” MIFFLIN is a private detective who appeared in a series of excellent, well-researched adventures in creator Slampyak’s fondly remembered Jazz Age Chronicles, alternating with stories about a hoity-toity Harvard archaeology professor (and Indiana Jones wannabe) Dr. Clifton Jennings.

Ace is no prize — he’s a rude, vulgar, and frequently drunken lout in need of a shave, and is constantly getting his P.I. ticket revoked. He works out of his dump of an office on Boston’s notoriously seedy Scollay Square — when he’s not sleeping one off — and has rarely shown any evidence of professionalism or respect for authority.

Lord knows what his long-suffering sweetie and secretary, Rita Burns, sees in him.

But boy is he fun to watch for readers….

A great but woefully-neglected series, full of pulpy energy and light-hearted humour, featuring a cheerfully imperfect hero, the series never quite caught on, and it finally petered out in the early 1990s, only to return in 2002, as part of the short-lived subscription-based webcomics anthology Adventure Strips.com, edited by Christopher Mills, co-creator of the online comic Femme Noir and former editor of Noir.  When AdventureStrips crashed and burned, Ace — A persistent little bugger that he is — dusted himself off and soon found a new home — at least for a while — at JazzAgeComics.com, Slampyak’s own site.

Ted Slampyak was born in Philadelphia and is a graduate of Temple University’s Tyler School of Art. Besides creating The Jazz Age Chronicles, and worked until 2010 as the long time artist on the syndicated Little Orphan Annie comic strip. He has also worked on Neil Gaiman’s Mr. Hero from Tekno Comix and contributed to Paradox Press The Big Book of… . The Jazz Age Chronicles was nominated for an Ignatz Award in the category “Outstanding Online Comic,” and was named one of the best webcomics by The Webcomics Examiner.

UNDER OATH

  • “…a very good period private-eye story… an excellent mixture of the realistic and the fantastic… pick up a copy. Grade: A.”
    — Don Thompson
  • “Jazz Age Chronicles is an extremely well-crafted detective series…. Jazz Age Chronicles’ creator, Ted Slampyak, has filled his comic with references to the era. That’s the sort of touch that I appreciate…”
    — Cliff Biggers, Comic Shop News
  • “[Ted Slampyak’s] backgrounds give a strong feeling of credibility to the plot. I really feel like the characters are in a city that exists. The story comes alive because of it….”
    — Gene Colan

COMICS

  • JAZZ AGE CHRONICLES (Volume One)
    (1989-91,EF Graphics)
    3 issues
    Art and Text by Ted Slampyk.

    • “The Case of the Beguiling Baroness (Part One)” (1989; # 1)
    • “The Case of the Beguiling Baroness (Part Two)” (1989; # 2)
    • “The Case of the Beguiling Baroness (Part Three)” (1989; # 3)
  • JAZZ AGE CHRONICLES (Volume 2)
    (1990-91, Caliber Press)
    6 issues
    Art and Text by Ted Slampyk

    • “Vote Early and Often (Part One)” (March 1990; # 1)
    • “Vote Early and Often (Part Two)”( May 1990; #2)
    • “The Flowers of San Pedro (Part One)” (July 1990; # 3)
    • “The Flowers of San Pedro (Part Two)” (1990; # 4)
    • “The Flowers of San Pedro (Part Three)” (1990; #5)
    • “A Stranger in Bryn Mawr” (1991; #6).
  • CALIBER PRESENTS
    (1990, Caliber)
    Anthology
    Art and text: Ted Slampyk

    • “Jazz Age Chronicles” (February 1990, #9; two short stories, intended as test runs, one featuring Mifflin, one featuring Jennings, from 1989)
  • THE DETECTIVES
    (April 1993, Alpha Productions)
    1 issue, colour cover, B&W inside

    • “Ace Mifflin Pin-up” by Ted Slampyak

WEB COMICS

  • THE BIG CASE
    (1993; also 2003, JazzAgeComics.com)
    Written by Marc Gacy
    Art by Ted Slampyak
    An inept wannabe P.I. follows Ace around.
  • THE POWER OF SILAS ROURKE
    (2002-03, JazzAgeComics.com)
    Art and text by Ted Slampyak

COLLECTIONS

  • THE CASE OF THE BEGUILING BARONESS | Buy this book
    (1991, Caliber Press)
    Art and text by Ted Slampyak
    Includes complete story from 1st three issues, plus “Café Noir” (a prose piece), “An Ace Mifflin Mini-Mystery” and “Jazz Age Chronicles” (the two test runs, eventually run in Caliber Presents)
  • THE JAZZ AGE CHRONICLES, Volume One | Buy this book
    (2011, Caliber Press)
    Includes “The Case of the Beguiling Baroness” and “Vote Early & Often”
  • THE JAZZ AGE CHRONICLES, Volume Two | Buy this book
    (2011, Caliber Press)
    Includes “The Flowers of San Pedr,” “A Stranger in Bryn Mawr,” “Ace Mifflin’s Mini-Mystery” and “The Big Case.”

RELATED LINKS

  • JazzAgeComics.com
    Beloved shamus Ace Mifflin had his own site (that, alas, he had to share with that Jennings character), once upon a time. The domain is still active, though, and belongs to Ted.
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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