Tuesday, August 31, 2004

A Book about Michaels

It's really what this should have been called. We've got Mike Mauser teaming up with Ms. (Michael) Tree, and a two pages spread every issue from Mike Grell paying tribute to Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer.

In stead the went with the much cooler:

The P.I.'s: Michael Mauser and Ms. Tree #1-3 $1.25 (Cover on each)

Creative Team: Max Collins, Joe Stanton, with inks by Terry Beatty, colors by Wendy Fiore, and letters by Ken Bruzenak

What's it about? After pissing a fewpeople off, Ms. Tree moves her agency to a temporary home, unfortunately it's directly below the office of one Michael Mauser. The two are visited by a fueding husband and wife team (Ms. Tree by the husband, Mauser by the wife.) who both believe the other is cheating. After relaying their tales to the detectives, both agree to take the job, neither knowing it would lead them to cross paths.

You see, Woody and Simone (the husband and wife) met ten years ago, oddly enough at a comic book shop, and immediately fell in love. They did what every comic book geek does and started a fanzine (or, today, a blog!) and eventually pledge their love for eachother. Once married they have trouble concieving and begin bickering about whether adoption is a better choice. Naturally they both grow distant, which leads them here, hiring detectives to follow the other around because of the belief that they're cheating. Whew, that was rather long winded, and it's not even the first issue.

Both Woody and Simone come up with a plan to retain an old piece of comic artwork in an attempt to win back eachother, but all hell breaks loose and the two are found literally holding the gun. It seems their local retailer, Kosmo Kasmic, has been dealing in forged artwork, and now the Kirby's are suspect number one.

The race is on for the dynamic team of Mauser and Tree to prove their clients innocence and catch the real culprit. The story leads them to the underbelly of the comic collecting community, Conventions! The end has a bit of a twist, that I won't spoil, but I do wanna add that each issues Mickey Spillane tribute is great, giving background on the character he created, Mike Hammer.

Why you should read it: Because entertaining detective comics are hard to come by. Because Mike Grell's tribute pages are fantastic. Because the dialogue and character interaction are witty, and very realistic. Because the art is pretty durned good. Because when Simone asks Woody does he love her, his response is: "More than a complete run of Tales From the Crypt."

There are plenty of reasons to like this book, and I think it's something that everyone can read and enjoy. It was published by First Comics, which has since ceased to be. Which is ashame, they had quite a diverse little library, and I've enjoyed every First book I've ever picked up. There's alot of great stuff in here, especially for "fans" of crime noir. It's not dark and moody, instead taking on a lighter tone, and taking loving jabs at the genre. It's not Elmore Leonard, but it's not trying to be.

Next time your quarter bin diving, look for this series, or any of the old First books, they're well worth the money, and are entertaining as hell.

-L

13 comments:

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