Max Allan Collins

Pseudonyms include Patrick Culhane, Barbara Allan

Jack of all trades, and master of a ton of ’em. Iowa’s MAX ALLAN COLLINS is a baby-boomer renaissance man in the crime and mystery genre. He’s done comic strips, comic books, trading cards, short stories, novels, film, and even television novelizations. He’s written hard-boiled, noir, cozies, horror, sci-fi and superheroes. He’s been a president of The Private Eye Writers of America, and won or been nominated for numerous Edgars and Shamuses for his large (and constantly expanding) body of work, both for fiction and non-fiction. And he plays in a couple of rock bands. My guess is he hasn’t slept since about 1953 or so…

He’s also created several series characters, most notably comic book P.I. Ms. Tree to historical private eye Nate Heller. He’s co-written, with James L. Traylor, what must stand as the definitive defense/critique of Mickey Spillane. In fact, Max, certainly one of the most vocal defenders of Spillane’s work in the genre, has teamed up on numerous occasions with his idol for a number of projects, including the comic book adventures of Mike Danger, and a series of themed anthologies.

Collins’ first series character was professional thief Nolan, who made his debut in 1973’s Bait Money (published when Max was only twenty-five!). Nolan was probably inspired in a large part by also one-named professional thief Parker created by Richard Stark (aka “Donald Westlake”).

Continuing the Parker influence, Collins followed the Nolan series with one featuring an equally amoral criminal. Arguably the first series dedicated to a professional hitman, Quarry first showed up in The Broker (1976). Even now, years after the last novel in the series was published, with the character appearing in occasional short stories, Collins admits that “I get as much mail on this character as Heller; making Quarry truly a cult fave.”

In 1977, at the same time he was beginning his career as a novelist, Collins landed a plum gig in the comics world, scripting Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy comic strip. By all accounts, Collins revitialized the strip, returning an outdated relic to its gritty, exciting roots, and continued to script the strip for the next sixteen years, finally calling it quits in 1993.

In 1979, Collins teamed up with fellow Iowan, cartoonist Terry Beatty, to create The Comics Page, a weekly syndicated comics page of jokes,activities and, most notably, a solve-it-yourself puzzle/comic, starring private eye Mike Mist. Although the feature only lasted a few years, Mist managed to survive for considerably longer, and Collins’ partnership with Beatty turned out to be a long and fruitful one. Subsequently, the Mist short stories appeared in several issues of Mystery Magazine, a monthly mystery digest, and as an occasional backup feature in the pages of the E-Man comic book.

And then in 1981, Collins and Beatty unleashed Ms. Tree, a female private eye with a hard-on for the gangsters who murdered her husband (on their wedding night, no less!). It’s without a doubt Collins best-known comic creation, and became the longest-running comic book private eye comic book of all time, and, in my opinion, some of the best work Collins has ever done. Collins and Beatty soon brought Mike Mist into the fold, first as a backup feature in Ms. Tree, and later as a sometime-partner.

Collins and Beatty used Ms. Tree as a springboard to launching seeveral other comics projects. including Wild Dog, about an ordinary joe turned crime-fighting vigilante, which ran as a four-part mini-series and at least one special for DC. And in 1987, Collins did a bit of work on another, decidedly more flamboyant, ordinary joe turned crime-fighting vigilante for DC as well: some guy called Batman.

Collins and Beatty also helped revive Johnny Dynamite, Pete Morisi’s old, 1950’s Hammeresque private eye, publishing reprint as a back up feature in Ms. Tree, and later as a mini-series for Dark Horse. In 1995, Collins teamed up with his idol, and by-then good buddy Spillane to create Mike Danger, a typical 1950’s, hardboiled private eye whisked into the future.

In 1998, Collins published Road To Perdition, an excellent graphic novel from Paradox about a mob hitman out for vengeance, with his young son along for the ride.

But all the time Collins was doing all this comic work, he was busy writing novels and short stories. In 1983, the same year Ms. Tree got her own comic book, he published the first books of two new series. Mallory isn’t a private eye, but a young, idealistic writer who ends up involved murder and mayhem rather frequently. Think of it as a more hard-boiled Murder, She Wrote.

But the single best-known — and most significant — creation of Collins has to be private eye, Nate Heller. A former Chicago cop in the days of Al Capone, Heller seems to have since wormed his way into every major American crime story of the twentieth century, from the Lindbergh kidnapping to the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre to the murder of Bugsy Siegel to the assassination of JFK. Meticulously researched, always intriguing, often controversial, the Heller books should be recommended reading for anyone in this genre. But the fan who reads them, and doesn’t bother with any of Collins’ other work, in comics or short stories and fiction, is missing out on some of the best current writing in the P.I. genre.

Remember I told you Collins doesn’t appear to sleep? He also set up a lucrative sideline as the writer of film novelizations, including Maverick, The Fugitive, Saving Private Ryan and, of course, Dick Tracy.

“I urge you not to avoid these dreaded ‘novelizations.’ I write these with both hands on the keyboard and both eyes open, and my brain fully engaged, so check ’em out, ” Collins reassures us.

He’s also responsible for a few original novels based on the characters from television’s NYPD Blue, including one in which Detective Simone moonlights as a private eye. Hell, the man even wrote a book to cash in on the Titanic craze, 1999’s The Titanic Murders. And his is mercifully both Celine- and Leo-free.

Collins has crossed over into other genres, most notably with his stories about Chicago private eye, Richard Stone, which combine fantasy elements with the P.I. story. Collins considers the first Stone story, “A Wreath for Marley” his gene-splice of The Maltese Falcon and Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. It’s also served as the basis of his as yet unproduced script, Blue Christmas.

Because evidently writing isn’t enough. Collins has also become something of a filmmaker. He’s written and directed Mommy and Mommy’s Day, two low-budget but well-received thrillers, the documentary Mike Hammer’s Mickey Spillane and Real Time: Siege At Lucas Street Market, based on “Inconvenience Store,” a 1994 short story feauring Ms. Tree, although the script substitutes a non-PI character for our favorite comic book lady dick (the character is played by Brinke Stevens in a very Ms. Tree-like manner, however). Another of the co-stars is Ed Gorman’s wife Carol. Imagine a cross between Dog Day Afternoon and The Blair Witch Project.

2002 brought us the film adaptation of Collins’ graphic novel Road To Perdition, about a hit man and his young son on the run from gangsters in the 1930’s, directed by Sam “American Beauty” Mendes, and starring Tom Hanks and Paul Newman. It was a class act all the way, with some fine nuanced performances, masterful directing and cinematography that would take your breath away. Max even appeared on Bravo-TV’s Page To Screen show, in one of the better episodes I’ve seen, mostly because for once, they actually interviewed the author in a lot more depth than usual (Max liked the film, but thought — correctly — that his ending was better).

Even better, Collins got to write the novelization of the film that was based on the film adapted from his own work, and then parlayed that into agig writing three-issue series of mini-graphic novels and two prose novels, Road to Purgatory (2004) and Road to Paradise (2005) .

Lately, Collins has been cranking out some original novels based on the popular TV series CSI: Crime Scene Investigations, some standalone historicials, and capitalizing on the success of Road To Perdition\ have kept Collins busy over the last few years, and coming up in the next little while are Black Hats, which will be pubbed under Collins’ open-secret pen-name Patrick Culhane. According to Collins, “we’re trying to develop a brand-name for standalone historicals (which could open the door to me doing Heller again under my own name). It’s set in 1920 and is about Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson… and Al Capone.”

He’s also written a trilogy of mysteries set against the history of comic strips and books. This first one, A Killing in Comic Books (2007), is a roman à clef about Siegel and Shuster and Superman, narrated by private detective Jack Starr, a “Heller-esque first-person P.I. narrator, though not as tough.”

Other current projects include a fun cozy-ish mystery series, starting with Antiques Roadkill (2006, that he did with his wife Barbara.

He also co-wrote the screenplay for The Last Quarry (2009), a feature film based on hisfpopular hitman series character Quarry, that’s an expansion of his own short film, “A Matter of Principle,” based (of course) on his short story of the same name. Collins being Collins, he also wrote a novelization of the feature film.

And speaking of films, there’s a boxed set of Collins’ indie films called The Black Box, featuring his two Mommy movies, Real Time Siege at Lucas Street and a new anthology of his shorter films, Shades of Noir (which includes the aforementioned “A Matter of Principal” as well as his heartfelt tribute/documentary Mike Hammer’s Mickey Spillane, and the Brian Keith-starring, Blake Edward written-directed 1954 Hammer pilot film as a bonus feature). He’s also wrapping another indie project, Eliot Ness: An Untouchable Life, a film version of his play about the life of Ness based, in turn, on his one-man show starring his frequent star Michael Cornelison). That’s about it for now….

As you can see, Collins likes to keep himself busy. Very busy.

So busy, in fact, that rumours have spread that nobody was interested in publishing the Nate Heller series — a rumour that I may have inadvertently spread. The truth is that, according to Collins, he’s simply too busy right now, with his publisher already having him lined up for several other projects. He also says that Heller is not dead but resting… fitfully. And that’s good news for P.I. fans.

Somewhere along the line, Collins has also managed to pick up a family. He’s married to fellow mystery writer Barb Collins, and they have a son, Nate, who does Collins’ web site (and whose godfather is Mickey Spillane).

In 2016, Cinemax unleashed a TV series based on Quarry, which had already inspired reissues of the novels and–knowing Collins–no doubt a new novel or two. Or six.

But even more scary than Collins’ output is the fact that he’s so consistently, god-damnably good. In September 2006, at the Shamus Awards dinner in Madison, Wisconsin, Collins presented a moving tribute to his childhood hero and subsequent good friend and occasional writing buddy, the late Mickey Spillane, and then was presented himself with the highest honour the PWA bestows: The Eye, for Lifetime Contribution to the Genre, a long-overdue recognition that once and for all officially establishes him as a member of the very upper ranks of P.I. writers.

As though, for this fan, there was ever any doubt.

And still the hits kept on coming.


  • “I put my name on the novelizations. It’s a way to keep myself honest — to keep from putting less into them than I would into my “real” books. And it puts my name and my skills in front of new readers, readers who might not readily pick up a Nate Heller novel… but after reading, say, Air Force One or Saving Private Ryan, they just might.”
    — Max Allan Collins fromThe January Magazine Interview
  • “Then somewhat out of the blue, I got the chance to do the movie tie-in novel of Clint Eastwood’s In the Line of Fire. The book did well. For several decades, movie tie-in novels and TV tie-in novels became a sideline of my writing career. I wrote novels based on some very popular and well-received movies, and had a particularly successful run writing original novels for the CSI TV series.
    I had been encouraged to use a pseudonym on such work, but insisted on using my own byline—it kept me honest and attracted new readers to my work. And I got to do horror (The Mummy), western (Maverick), war (Saving Private Ryan), sword and sorcery (The Scorpion King), science fiction (Waterworld), humor (The Pink Panther), and techno-thriller (Air Force One). While tie-in fiction is often dismissed with the same kind of patronizing put-downs as comic books, I found the work rewarding and instructive. I learned things writing outside of my genre that I otherwise would not.”


    Syndicated comic strip
    Created by Chester Gould
    Written by Max Allan Collins
    Drawn by Rick Fletcher
    Collins wrote the long-running strip from 1977 to 1993, updating and revitalizing it.
    Syndicated comic strip
    Batman created by Bob Kane
    Concept of new syndicated strip developed and first continuity written by Max Allan Collins


    (1979-93, various places)
    Created by Max Allan Collins and Terry Beatty
    Written by Max Allan Collins, Barbara Collins
    Art by Terry Beatty
    Appeared in:

    • (1979-80, part of weekly syndicated comic page)
    • (monthly mystery digest)
    • E-MAN
    • (1983, First Comics)
    • (1983-84, Eclipse Comics)
      Back-up feature
    • MS. TREE
    • (1984-85, Aardvark-Vanaheim)
    • MS. TREE
    • (1985-89, Renegade Press)..
    • MS. TREE 3-D
    • (August 1985, Renegade Press)
    • (1986, Renegade Press)
    • (1993, Alpha Productions)
  • MS. TREE
    Created by Max Allan Collins and Terry Beatty..

    • (1981, Eclipse)
      Origin story in nos. 1-6..
    • (1983-84, Eclipse Comics)
    • MS. TREE
    • (1984-19 Aardvark-Vanaheim
      Issue nos. 10-50.
    • (1990-1993, DC Publications)
      10 issues.
    • THE P.I.’S
    • (1985)
      3-issue mini series, pairing Ms. Tree with Joe Stanton’s Mike Mauser.
    • MS. TREE 3-D
    • (August 1985; with MIKE MIST).
    • (August 1986 )
    • (July 1987; a collection of JOHNNY DYNAMITE reprints introduced by Ms. Tree)
    • (1987 special comic book to benefit lieracy, published by Literacy Volunteers of Chicago, also featuring STREETWOLF and JON SABLE)
    (DC Comics)
    Created by Bob Kane
    Written by Max Allan Collins 1987-88
    Includes the prose story “Love Birds,” which was selected for the 1992 anthology, The Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told Vol. 2
    (DC Comics)
    Created by Max Allan Collins and Terry Beatty
    An ordinary schmo turns vigilante.
    (1994, Dark horse Comics)
    Created by Pete Morisi and William Waugh (Ken Fitch)
    Written by Max Allan Collins, art by Terry Beatty
    4 issue mini-series
    A psychotronic/occult/period piece zombie-filled four issue mini-series pits Johnny against a mob of zombie gangsters risen from the grave.
    (1995-96, Tekno, Big)
    Created by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins
    Written by Max Allan Collins
    Artists: Eduardo Barreto, Steven Leialoha, Jose Delbo, Terry Beatty
    A bold new world, same old crap that Mike has to deal with.
    5 issue comic mini-series
    5 issue comic mini-series
    (2018, Hard Case Crime/Titan Comics)
    Written by Max Allan Collins
    Art by Szymon Kudranski, Edu Menna
    (2018, Hard Case Crime/Titan Comics)
    4-issue mini-series
    Based on characters created by Mickey Spillane
    Written by Max Allan Collins
    Art by Marcelo Salaza and Marcio Freire
    Based on an unproduced Spillane screenplay called The Night I Died, adapted by Max Allan Collins.


  • Dick Tracy Meets Angeltop (1980; story arcs from strip)
  • Dick Tracy #2: Dick Tracy Meets the Punks (1980; story arcs from strip)
  • The Mike Mist Minute Mist-eries (1981)
  • The Files of Ms. Tree (1984)
  • The Cold Dish: The Files of Ms. Tree, Volume 2 (1985)
  • The Mike Mist Casebook: The Files of Ms. Tree, Volume 3 (1986)
  • Dick Tracy: Tracy’s Wartime Memories (1986)
  • Ms. Tree (1988, small paperback collection, reprints issues #16-23)
  • Dick Tracy And The Nightmare Machine (1991; with artist Dick Locher)
  • Scar of The Bat (1995, DC Comics; Batman)
  • Road To Perdition (1998; art by Richard Piers Rayner)…Buy this bookKindle it!
  • Batman: Child of Dreams (2003)
  • On the Road to Perdition: Oasis (2003; art by José Luis Garcia-López and Josef Rubinstein)…Buy this book
  • On the Road to Perdition: Sanctuary (2003; art by Steve Lieber)…Buy this book
  • On the Road to Perdition: Detour (2004; art by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and Steve Lieber)…Buy this book
  • Road to Perdition 2: On the Road (2004; art by José Luis Garcia-López, Josef Rubinstein and Steve Lieber; comprises all three “On the Road” book)…Buy this book
  • Return to Perdition (2011; art by Terry Beatty)…Buy this book
  • Quarry’s War (2018, Hard Case Crime/Titan Comics; Quarry)… Buy the bookKindle it!
  • G-Men And Gangsters (With George Hagenauer, Eclipse Enterprises, 1992)
  • Pocket Pin-Ups (Kitchen Sink Press, 1993)
  • Chicago Mob Wars: Eliot Ness Vs. Al Capone (Kitchen Sink Press, 1993)
  • Painted Ladies (Kitchen Sink Press, 1993)
  • Digest Dolls (Kitchen Sink Press, 1993)



  • “Red Light” (1984, The Files of Ms. Tree; Ms. Tree)
  • “The Strawberry Teardrop” (1984, The Eyes Have It; Nate Heller)
  • “Public Servant” (1985, Hardboiled)
  • “The Little Woman” (1985, The Files of Ms. Tree, Volume 2; Ms. Tree)
  • “House Call” (1986, Mean Streets; Nate Heller)
  • “Scrap” (1987, The Black Lizard Anthology of Crime Fiction; Nate Heller)
  • “Enter Nolan” (Spring 1987, Hardboiled; Nolan)
  • “The Perfect Crime” (1988, Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe: A Centennial Celebration)
  • “Marble Mildred” (1988, An Eye for Justice; Nate Heller)
  • “Mourn the Living” (Part 1) (Summer/Fall 1987, Hardboiled; Nolan)
  • “Mourn the Living” (Part 2) Winter/Spring 1988, Hardboiled; Nolan)
  • “Mourn the Living” (Part 3) (Spring 1989, Hardboiled; Nolan)
  • “The Sound of One Hand Clapping” (1989, The Further Adventures of Batman; Batman)
  • “A Matter of Principal” (1989, Stalkers; Quarry)
  • “Private Consultation” (1990, Justice for Hire; Nate Heller)
  • “Not a Creature Was Stirring” (1990, Dick Tracy: The Secret Files)
  • “Dying in the Post-War World (1991, Dying in the Post-War World; Nate Heller)
  • “Louise” (1992, Deadly Allies; Ms. Tree)
  • “Cat Got Your Tongue” (1992, Cat Crimes III; with Barbara Collins)
  • “Robber’s Roost” (1995, The Further Adventures of Batman, Volume 2; Batman)
  • “A Good Head on His Shoulders” (1993, Frankenstein: The Monster Wakes)
  • “Catgate” (1993, Danger in D.C.)
  • “Inconvenience Store” (1994, Deadly Allies #2; Ms. Tree)
  • “Reincarnal” (1994, Hot Blood: Deadly After Dark)
  • “Quarry’s Luck” (1994, Blue Motel; also 2005, Greatest Hits; Quarry)
  • “Guest Services” (1994, Murder Is My Business; Quarry)
  • “His Father’s Ghost” (1994, Murder for Father)
  • “Rock’n’Roll Will Never Die” (1994, Shock Rock)
  • “Traces of Red” (1995, Celebrity Vampires)
  • “Mommy” (1995, Fear Itself)
  • “The Night of Their Lives” (1995, Vampire Detectives)
  • “Wolf” (1995, Werewolves)
  • “Firecracker Kill” (1996, Shades of Noir: Book One)
  • “A Wreath For Marley” (1996, Dante’s Disciples; Richard Stone)
  • “Love Nest” (1996, Lethal Ladies; as by Barbara Collins, but actually a collaboration)
  • “A Bird for Becky” (1996, Shades of Noir; Richard Stone)
  • “The Chocolate-Chip Alarm” (1996, Great Writers & Kids Write Mystery Stories; with Nathan Collins)
  • “Kisses of Death” (1996; originally available only as a 90 minute promotional audio tape given away at ABA, read by Max and Barb Collins; 2001, Kisses of Death; Nate Heller)
  • “The Cabinet of William Henry Harrison” (1996, White House Horrors)
  • “Interstate 666” (1997, Hot Blood: Kiss and Kill)
  • “Regeneration” (1998, Hot Blood X)
  • “Eddie Haskell in a Short Skirt” (1998, Lethal Ladies II; with Barbara Collins)
  • “A Kaddish for the Kid” (1998, Private Eyes; Nate Heller)
  • “Flyover Country” (1999, Till Death Do Us Part; with Barbara Collins)
  • “Natural Death, Inc.” (1999, Diagnosis Dead; Nate Heller)
  • “A Cruise to Forget” (1999, Death Cruise; with Barbara Collins)
  • “I Had Bigfoot’s Baby!” (1999, Hellboy: Odd Jobs; with Matthew V. Clemens)
  • “Cat’s Eye Witness” (2000, Crafty Cat Crimes)
  • “Screwball” (2000, The Shamus Game; Nate Heller)
  • “A Woman’s Touch” (2000, Murder Most Confederate; with Matthew V. Clemons)
  • “Sand on the Beach” (2000, Heat: Volume Zero; with Matthew V. Clemens)
  • “Flowers for Bill O’Reilly” (2001, Flesh & Blood)
  • “My Lolita Complex” (2000; Flesh & Blood: Dark Desires; with Matthew V. Clemens)
  • “Shoot-Out on Sunset” (2001, Mystery Street; Nate Heller)
  • “Unreasonable Doubt” (2001, And the Dying Is Easy; Nate Heller)
  • “Pinch-Hitter” (2001, Murderer’s Row; Nate Heller)
  • “Stakeout on Rush Street” (2003, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tales of the Slayer, Volume Two; with Matthew V. Clemens)
  • “Lie Beside Me” (2003; Flesh & Blood: Guilty As Sin; with Matthew V. Clemens)
  • “Graveyard Shift” (2003; Hot Blood XI: Fatal Attractions; with Matthew V. Clemens)
  • “East Side, West Side” (2004, Murder… and All That Jazz; Mickey Ashford; with Matthew V. Clemens)
  • “A Pebble for Papa” (2004, The Mammoth Book of Roaring Twenties Whodunnits; with Matthew V. Clemens)
  • “That Kind of Nag” (2006, Murder at the Racetrack; Nate Heller)
  • “The Blonde Tigress” (June 2008, EQMM; Nate Heller)
  • “There’s a Killer Loose!” (August 2008 EQMM; co-written by Mickey Spillane)
  • “Grave Matter” (2010, Crimes By Moonlight; with Mickey Spillane; Mike Hammer)…Buy this bookKindle it!
  • “So Long, Chief” (February-May 2013, The Strand Magazine; with Mickey Spillane; Mike Hammer).
  • “Fallout” (November 2014-February 2015, The Strand Magazine; with Mickey Spillane; Mike Hammer).
  • “Natural Death” (2015, Fifty Shades of Grey Fedora; Nate Heller)
  • “A Dangerous Cat” (February-May 2016, The Strand Magazine; with Mickey Spillane; Mike Hammer)
  • “The Big Run” (September/October 2018, EQMM; with Mickey Spillane)



  • Tomorrow I Die (1985; collection of Mickey Spillane short fiction)
  • Mike Hammer: The Comic Strip (Two Volumes; Ken Pierce, Inc.).
  • Dick Tracy: The Secret Files (1990, with Martin Greenberg)
    Anthology of original stories.
  • The Dick Tracy Casebook (1990, with Dick Locher)
    Anthology of comic strip stories.
  • Dick Tracy’s Fiendish Foes (1991, with Dick Locher)
    Anthology of comic strip stories.
  • Murder Is My Business (1994; edited by Mickey Spillane and Collins)
  • Vengeance Is Hers (1997; edited by Mickey Spillane and Collins)
  • Private Eyes (1998; edited by Mickey Spillane and Collins
  • Flesh and Blood: Erotic Tales of Crime and Passion (2001, with Jeff Gelb) Buy this book
  • Murder — His and Hers (2001, with Barbara Collins)
  • Flesh & Blood: Dark Desires (2002, with Jeff Gelb) Buy this book
  • Flesh & Blood: Guilty As Sin (2003, with Jeff Gelb) Buy this book
  • My Lolita Complex & Other Tales of Sex and Violence (2006; with Matthew V. Clemens) Buy this book
    Collection of reprints loaded with sex, violence and other good stuff, includes one P.I. tale.



    Screenplay by Max Allan Collins
  • MOMMY Buy this video Buy this DVD
    (1994, VCI)
    Written and directed by Max Allan Collins
    Starring Patty McCormack
    Cameo by Mickey Spillane
    Max claims both this film, and its sequel, even qualify as “inverted private eye stories of sorts.”
  • MOMMY’S DAY Buy this video Buy this DVD
    Written and directed by Max Allan Collins
    Starring Patty McCormack
    Cameo by Mickey Spillane
    (1998 documentary)
    Written and directed by Max Allan Collins
    This documentary, written and directed by Spillane champion and pal Max Allan Collins made its debut at Noir in Festival in Courmayeur, Italy in 1998 and is currectly available on DVD as part of his Black Box: Shades of Noir collection.
    Based on the short story, “Inconvenience Store,” by Max Allan Collins
    Written and directed by Max Allan Collins
    Starring Brinke Stevens, Carol Gorman
    Straight to DVD independent film based on “Inconvenience Store”, a 1994 short story feauring Ms. Tree, although the script substitutes a non-PI character for our favorite comic book lady dick (the character is played by Brinke Stevens in a very Ms. Tree-like manner, however). Another of the co-stars is Ed Gorman’s wife Carol. Judging from correspondance I’ve had with Max, the film certainly sounds like a winner. Imagine a cross between Dog Day Afternoon and The Blair Witch Project. Imagine a botched hold-up captured on security cameras, TV news clips, etc.
  • ROAD TO PERDITION Buy the DVD Buy the video
    (2002, DreamWorks)
    Based on the graphic novel by Max Allan Collins and Richard Piers Rayner
    Screenplay by David Self
    Directed by Sam Mendes
    Producer: Richard Zanuck and Dean Zanuck
    Executive producer: Steven Spielberg
    Original music by Thomas Newman
    Starring Tom Hanks as Michael Sullivan (O’Sullivan in the graphic novel)
    with Anthony LaPaglia as Al Capone
    and Stanley Tucci as Frank Nitti
    Also starring Paul Newman, Jude Law, Jennifer Jason Leigh.
    (2003, Another Level Inc.)
    17 minutes
    Based on the 1989 short story by Max Allan Collins
    Screenplay by Max Allan Collins
    Directed by Jeffrey Goodman
    Produced by John Buckley Gordon
    Starring William Makozak as QUARRY
    Also starring Randall Bosley, Jenna Bari, Nathan Osgood, Amanda Rogers
    A short but very effective film based on a short story that had incredible legs, inspiring not only this film, but a longer, feature length film and a novel.
    Written, directed and produced by Max Allan Collins
    Starring Michael Cornelison as ELIOT NESS
    Another indie project, a film version of Collins’ one-man play of the same name about the life of Ness, starring his actor pal.
    aka “The Last Quarry”
    (2009, Chaillot Films/Timbergrove Entertainment)
    Screenplay by Peter Biegen and Max Allan Collins
    Based on his 1989 short story “A Matter of Principal” and the short film of the same name.
    Directed by Jeffrey Goodman
    Produced by David Koplan
    Starring Tom Sizemore as PRICE (Quarry in the novels)
    Also starring Sasha Alexander, Bill Smitrovich, Sprague Grayden, Ray McKinnon, Omid Abtahi, Randall Batinkoff, Jerry Hardin
    Good stuff. There’s a real earthy, unsettlingly, almost dangerously quiet vibe to it. but the lack of big fuss dramatics actually makes this seem even harder and tougher. I miss the internal wise-ass voice of Collins’ Quarry, but Sizemore brings an Arctic-cold pragmatism to the role, showing that Mickey Rourke’s might not be the only trainwreck of a career about to make a U-turn. A classic B-film, in all the best ways.


    (2016, Cinemax)
    Eight episodes
    Based on the character created by Max Allan Collins
    Developed for television by Graham Gordy and Michael D. Fuller
    Writers: Graham Gordy, Michael D. Fuller, Jennifer Schuur
    Director: Greg Yaitanesaka
    Starring Logan Marshall-Green as QUARRY
    and Peter Mullan as “The Broker”


    A one-man show about Eliot Ness.
    (2018, Clearwater, Florida)
    January 18-February 3, 2018
    Murray Theatre, Clearwater, Florida
    Based on notes left by late Mickey Spillane
    Written by Max Allan Collins
    Directed by Richard Rice
    Starring Gary Sandy as MIKE HAMMER
    Based on notes found in the files of the late Mickey Spillane, Collins originally wrote this as an audio drama, and was released in 2011, starring Stacy Keach and a full cast. When it became a stage play it starred Gary (WKRP) Sandy as Hammer. A planned sequel, The Little Death, scheduled for September 2018, also starring Sandy as Hammer, was subsequently cancelled due to a scheduling conflict. Not sure if it was ever produced.


    Long-overdue collection of Max Allan Collins’ filmwork and selected other goodies, includes both feature-length Mommy flicks, his hold-up-gone-wrong flick Real Time: Siege at Lucas Street Market and several shorter films, including A Matter of Principal, featuring Quarry, the documentary Mike Hammer’s Mickey Spillane, plus the original 1954 Mike Hammer television pilot written and directed by Blake Edwards and starring Brian Keith! Also includes interviews with Leonard Maltin, Mickey Spillane, Stacey Keach, Brinke Stevens, Patty McCormack, Del Close, Brian Keith and Lee Meredith as well as commentary throughout from Collins, possibly the hardest-working man in the crime racket.


Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks to Bluefox808 for the nudge, and a tip of the fedora to Eric Harper.

Leave a Reply