Current Reading: Mike Shayne comics collection

The Complete Mike Shayne, Private Eye, Guandanaland Comic, 2018

On his blog Rough Edges, James Reasoner said in a May 9, 2009 post:

“When I was a kid, I bought a lot of comic books published by Dell. Where I lived, they seemed to have the best distribution of all the comics publishers, because they were all over the place. … Dell had great stuff for an eight- or nine-year-old.

What I didn’t know then — and probably wouldn’t have been interested in if I had — was that Dell also published three issues of a comic book based on the exploits of redheaded Miami shamus Mike Shayne. I found out about these years later but have never tried to get my hands on them.”

Then, on November 9 of 2018, he posted this on his blog Rough Edges:

“A number of years ago, I posted (see above) about the Mike Shayne comic book series published by Dell in 1961 and ’62. Dell was publishing the Mike Shayne novels in paperback, very successfully, and I suppose someone there decided a comic book version of the character might work, too. That didn’t really pan out, since there were only three issues. I’d heard about them for years but never came across any copies. However, they’ve recently been reprinted in a nice trade paperback edition by some outfit called Gwandanaland Comics, so I picked up a copy and finally read them after all these years.

Each issue is based on one of the novels by Davis Dresser writing as Brett Halliday: THE PRIVATE PRACTICE OF MICHAEL SHAYNE, BODIES ARE WHERE YOU FIND THEM, and HEADS—YOU LOSE (originally published as BLOOD ON THE BLACK MARKET). By the way, nowhere in this reprint or the original comics is there any mention of Dresser or Halliday, and the copyright is by Dell Publishing Company. Any kid coming across these back in the Sixties who wasn’t familiar with the books would have thought Shayne had been created for the comics.

Each of the source novels has a pretty complicated plot, as was common in the Shayne series, and the comic book versions actually do a pretty solid, faithful job of adapting them. They’re toned down a little, but not much. You’ve still got murder, blackmail, adultery, and more murder. I can imagine a kid reading these and getting lost in all the twists and turns of the plots.”

Thanks for all that, James!

My take:
Well, I got a copy of the reprints, and I completely agree with James. If you’re a Mike Shayne fan, this is for you, otherwise, skip it. I’d read all three of the novels, so I had a pretty good idea what was happening, and they are still a little confusing. Still, good stuff.

So how about you?
What have you been reading?

About Richard Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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6 Responses to Current Reading: Mike Shayne comics collection

  1. Jerry House says:

    I’ve only read a few of the Mike Shayne books and none of the comics, Rick. You’ve reminded me that is something I ought to correct. Thanks.

    This week I slowed down my book reading, having finished only two novels and two anthologies. THE EMPTY SILENCE was another Mike Faraday P.I. adventure by Basil Copper. This one was a bit more prurient than others I’ve read. Hired to find a missing wife, Mike stumbles across a pornography ring, suburban secrets, and murder. The “sexy stuff” was handled in a low-key British manner but was still more graphic than I expected from Copper. As with the other Mike Faraday adventures this one was a fast, uncomplicated read. Murray Leinster’s TWO-GUN SHOWDOWN was a slight revision of his first western novel, THE GAMBLIN’ KID, a by-the-books pulp oater. Leinster made it flow nicely and it was an entertaining tie waster.

    THE SIX FINGERS OF TIME was a paperback edited anonymously by Samuel H. Post and contained six novelettes from IF science fiction magazine, circa 1959-61…five decent stories and one clunker, with tales by R. A. Lafferty and Edward Wellen rising above the rest. OUT OF THIS WORLD was a series of ten British SF anthologies edited by Amabel William-Ellis and, for the first eight volumes, Mably Owen; Michael Pearson co-edited the final two books. The second in the series — OUT OF THIS WORLD 2 — contained eight stories from the 1950s, mainly from NEW WORLDS SCIENCE FICTION. and all worthwhile. Aldiss, Vance, del Rey, and James White provide the best stories but all are pretty darned good.

    I’ve spent a quite a bit of time catching up on short stories, mainly on the internet. With so many pulps and digest available I’m like a kid in a candy store, dipping into old issues of ASTOUNDING, GALAXY, WEIRD TALES, and F&SF. Lotsa fun.

    On deck are the latest Flavia de Luce mystery from Alan Bradley, a science fiction thriller from F. Paul Wilson, and an early suspense novel from Megan Abbott. I’m also hoping Ken Bruen’s latest Jack Taylor will come in from the library this week.

    Though not as bad as other parts of the country, It’s been pretty darned cold here. How cold, you ask? It’s been chili-making cold.

    I hope all is well in your neck of the woods.

  2. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Not a Shayne reader.

    Just finished William Brittain’s Crippen & Landru collection, THE MAN WHO READ MYSTERIES, mentioned last time. Josh Pachter edited and provided the personal introduction, and did a nice job. I’d recommend it, but as you know I read all the C & L collections, so that is not a surprise. Fun book.

    I read Susie Steiner’s second Sgt. Manon Bradshaw book, PERSONS UNKNOWN. It’s similar to the first one in that chapters are narrated by half a dozen different people (clearly marked), but otherwise quite different. Manon is five months pregnant now (from a sperm bank) and pushed to the side to the cold case unit rather than leading the investigation of a murder. But she would not have been allowed in anyway, as the victim is her sister’s ex, and there are other circumstances I won’t mention that also push her out of the case. I like her books quite a bit.

    I’ve started the latest Posadas County (New Mexico) book by Steven F. Havill, LIES COME EASY, a series I’ve followed since book one. Also reading Ethan Canin’s short story collection, EMPEROR OF THE AIR, and Barry Hannah’s. AIRSHIPS.

  3. Like you, I ordered The Complete Mike Shayne, Private Eye after reading James Reasoner’s FFB review. But, unlike you, I haven’t read it yet. I did get caught up reading Library books. And, I’ve been watching movies on these bitterly cold nights.

  4. Patti Abbott says:

    As you may remember, I found out last April that my father is not my biological father. So when Dani Shapiro wrote a book about finding out the same thing (also through Ancestry.com), I put everything down to read it. It is called INHERITANCE and I have just started it. Because of Phil’s illness I have not really had time to absorb this news. But I need to give it more attention. Or so my therapist tells me.

    • I heard about that book, Patti, but decided I have no interest in it, but then I’ve not been tempted to do the Ancestry thing. Maybe ignorance is bliss. I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with that on top of managing Phil’s illness.

  5. tracybham says:

    Had not heard of this, so thanks for pointing it out. I am definitely going to get this. I have read two of the books, so that would work well.

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