Sunday, April 4, 2010
Not too comic
A Killing in Comics is a clean, fast, involving mystery from the always reliable Max Allan Collins. This one is set in the world of post-World War II comic book publishing and features thinly-veiled versions of Superman, Batman, their creators, and publisher D.C. Comics (which in the 40's was called National Comics and here is called Americana Comics).
Over the course of the book's murder investigation, there's lots of attention given to the comics publisher screwing over the creative talent, certain creative talent screwing over their anonymous writing and artwork assistants, etc., making it interesting to wonder how much of all this cutthroat activity reflects the reality of the time. My bet is, a good bit.
And, Collins being Collins, as fun as these details are, they never keep the story from moving forward and building steam, and Terry Beatty's many illustrations (clean and uncluttered, just like the prose) are a treat, too. A perfect read for comic book fans, A Killing in Comics will also be good fun for those who just enjoy a good mystery.
If you like this novel, you might also want to seek out the author's Nice Weekend For a Murder, a murder mystery set in the world of mystery publishing, which takes place during an annual mystery writers' retreat. That was a lot of fun, too. A sequel to A Killing in Comics has also since appeared, titled Strip For Murder.
A Killing in Comics is available on Kindle for $9.99.