Nick Danger

Created by The Firesign Theatre "Well, now, the gum's on the other shoe." -- Nick Danger, on a sudden plot shift, in The Case of the Missing Yolks .Even more than the literature, the classic radio eyes of the forties and fifties thrived on first person. And they did it in present tense, as in … Continue reading Nick Danger

Kane Keen, Private Eye

Created by Harvey Kurtzman (script) and Jack Davis (art) A lot of people (and most of the internet) seem to think that KANE KEEN, the eponymous hero of MAD Magazine spoof "Kane Keen, Private Eye," which appeared in the June-July 1953 issue, was a roasting of  the then-popular Martin Kane, Private Eye television show. But they'd be wrong. Because if the seven-page … Continue reading Kane Keen, Private Eye

Nick (The Case of the Murderer Who Killed)

Created by Dick de Bartolo (script) and Jack Davis (art) "Drop your guns! I’ve got you covered! You're all going to... er... that place with... er... bars on the window and guards and..." -- Nick cracks the case (sorta) Can a private detective tip the scales of  justice if there’s no tipping allowed? In "The Case of … Continue reading Nick (The Case of the Murderer Who Killed)

Lance Parkertip

Created by Don Martin (1931-2000) Public notary, private eye? In one of the more surreal take-offs on the shamus game, MAD Magazine cartoonist Don Martin wrote several stories featuring noted notary public LANCE PARKERTIP. As notaries go, Lance was no babe magnet. With his squarer-than-square tweed jackets, flyaway hair and ever-present pipe, nobody was ever going … Continue reading Lance Parkertip

Fester Bestertester

Created by Don Martin (1931-2000) Billed as "MAD Magazine's Maddest Artist," Don Martin's long tenure there (thirty years!) was marked by his his outrageously surreal cartoons, featuring the humungous schnozzes, large hinged feet, sleepy eyes, unfortunate body hair and elastic and seemingly indestructible bodies of his oddly-named characters and the cacophony of bizarre sound effects that … Continue reading Fester Bestertester

It’s Hammer Time!

Send-ups and Put-Downs of Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer "I passed this kid sucking a lollipop. Don Brown dead, and him sucking a lollipop. I rammed it down his throat. I hate injustice." -- from "Don Brown's Body" by Jean Kerr As literary poobah Christopher La Farge pointed out in an article on the Mickey Spillane … Continue reading It’s Hammer Time!

Rod Riley (The Girl Hunt Ballet)

Created by Betty Comden and Adolph Green It's not the same old song-and-dance, my friend... ROD RILEY's something of a parody figure like Guy Noir, and he exists in only one extended dance sequence, but take it from me--he's wonderful. The number, which appears in the 1953 film musical The Band Wagon (probably best known … Continue reading Rod Riley (The Girl Hunt Ballet)

Dick Spanner (Dick Spanner P.I.)

Created by Terry Adlam "The detective who puts the P.I. in stuPId!" Private eyes are GO! Mild-mannered private detective DICK SPANNER was the suitably square-jawed (but tiny-brained) titular robot hero of Dick Spanner, P.I., a tongue-in-cheek British series set in "a parallel universe not far from here," featuring puppets, filmed entirely in stop-motion animation. Occasionally … Continue reading Dick Spanner (Dick Spanner P.I.)

“Silky” Pincus

Created by Leo Rosten Pseudonyms include Leonard Q. Ross (1908-97) Ever wondered when someone would create a nice Jewish P.I.? Well, look no further, bubeleh. SID "SILKY" PINCUS is a genuinely nice guy, an ex-cop and Vietnam vet who runs a Manhattan detective agency called Watson and Holmes, Incorporated (Chutzpah, anyone?), with his partner, Michael … Continue reading “Silky” Pincus

Mike Monster

Created by Dick Briefer (1915-80) "I hate complicated cases. Dey gimme a migraine." We're way out of the woods with this one, folks. One-eyed, fedora-and-trenchcoat wearing MIKE MONSTER, billed as "the most monstrous shamus of all!" was concocted to satisfy the allegedly "red-blooded, ferocious" readers of ZANY (a would-be rival of MAD Magazine back in the … Continue reading Mike Monster