Monday, November 16, 2015

A Couple of Mickey Spillane's Comics Stories at Timely

Mickey Spillane had plenty of text pages at Timely, but not a single credited comics story. He was one of the group of writers working for Funnies, Inc. supplying strips to a number of publishers, Timely and Novelty being the two getting the longest spans of issues from the shop, I believe.

I hadn't seen a Novelty book until I started looking into the Funnies, Inc. output a few weeks ago, and was pleased to find a number of stories credited to the writers as well as artists on the splash pages. The bottom tier here is from Spillane's Cadet story "Espionage! In the Senate Building!" in Target Vol. 3 #7 (Sept/42).

USA 6, Human Torch 7, Target v3 7--'keed'

The other writers whose stories I've begun to find more of include Ray Gill, Kermit Jaediker, Roy Garn, and George Kapitan. The most noted, of course, is future novelist Spillane. So far I've found all of two stories I'd attribute to him at Timely.

He's known to have worked on the short-lived WWII-centric strip Jap-Buster Johnson, and in fact this story is the origin, "Friendship" from U.S.A. Comics 6 (Dec/42). The Spillaneism I've excerpted in all three tiers is "keed" for "kid"; the "yup" seen here is another one he uses. "Aghrr", seen later in the story, in various hyphenizations is used by a number of the Funnies, Inc. writers, although this is the one time I've seen Spillane use it. It's in the next story in #7, but among other things, Johnson's first name has changed from Doug to Everett, so I don't jump at Spillane for that one.

His one Timely superhero story that I've come across so far is "The Case of the Attempted Dreadnaught Disasters" in Human Torch 7 (Spring/42). A Spillaneism seen later in the story is "Ye gods." This is the point at which Carl Burgos had just stopped writing all the Torch stories he was drawing.

I hope eventually this will lead to Mickey Spillane’s stories elsewhere—for Captain Marvel and such.


  1. If you can ID any of the other writers, let me know.

  2. Great work! can't wait for the definitive Patricia Highsmith biblio.

  3. Seeing "Heels for a Heel" in the Mike Hammer comic strip, I'd wonder if it was Spillane who'd used that in a early 40s Batman. Of course, it could be serendipity or even movie (or radio) dialogue.

  4. Mickey Spillane would have to be the only ex-comic book writer who plays a murder victim in an episode of Columbo!

  5. darkmark, I'm still looking at those writers; I think I have all the Timely issues they'd be in, but I'm expanding my search through the Novelty titles. I'm still equivocating over a number of IDs, which is why I went with just the two Spillane stories for this post.

    BK, I hope to get some handle on Highsmith eventually. I see there's a mix-up over whether she wrote Krisko and Jasper at Novelty as per the Who's Who, or Jasper in George Pal's Puppetoons at Fawcett as per her biography; the latter seems more reasonable to me, as she was writing Golden Arrow and such there as well.

    Sangor Shop, just looking through the Funnies, Inc. writers' output reinforces that there was a great need for snappy patter when heroes socked someone, so I wonder if the pithy "Heel, meet heel" was adopted by a number of writers.

    Lee, if the Columbo movies had continued, possibly Stan Lee could have cameoed in a comics-centered story after so many other cameos have made him more familiar--but it does look as if Spillane takes the prize.