Creativity Magazine

I, The Illustrator: Happy Birthday, Mickey Spillane

By Mrstrongest @mrstrongarm

It’s been awhile since I did a birthday tribute. I decided to do one for Mickey Spillane, best remembered for his hardboiled detective novels featuring private eye Mike Hammer.
I managed to post the illustration to my Facebook page on his birthday, but am late posting it here.

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Birthday tribute caricature of author Mickey Spillane famous for his hardboiled detective novels featuring private eye Mike Hammer with rebus of book titles I The Jury and Kiss Me Deadly

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Tough guys. Seductive women. Sex, violence, murder, mayhem. The sort of thing that knocks a young idiot’s socks off, especially if the idiot (yours truly) grew up reading Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and Agatha Christie.

You (the sensible, mature reader) are no doubt saying: Phooey! Sounds like a lot of tired old cliches. True enough, but Spillane sensationalized the tough private eye genre, and made it seem fresh. The books are dated now. Not surprising, since his first came out in 1947. Here’s a detail image:

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detail image Birthday tribute caricature of author Mickey Spillane famous for his hardboiled detective novels featuring private eye Mike Hammer with rebus of book titles I The Jury and Kiss Me Deadly

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A rebus is a puzzle where pictures are used to represent the sound of words or syllables. Typically, a rebus also includes letters and symbols. You put them together to “sound out” the answer.

The Spillane illustration contains rebuses which represent the titles of two of his books. Can you decipher them? Answers below.

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detail image Birthday tribute caricature of author Mickey Spillane famous for his hardboiled detective novels featuring private eye Mike Hammer with rebus of book titles I The Jury and Kiss Me Deadly

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How good is the caricature? Here are some photos of Spillane, who certainly looked the part of a tough guy. Interesting bit of trivia: Spillane played his own character, detective Mike Hammer, in the movie version of his novel, The Girl Hunters (1963). It co-starred Shirley Eaton who played the “gold paint girl” in the James Bond movie, Goldfinger.

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photos of author Mickey Spillane famous for his hardboiled detective novels featuring private eye Mike Hammer with rebus of book titles I The Jury and Kiss Me Deadly

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Rebus answers: I, The Jury, his first and most famous novel (1947), and Kiss Me, Deadly (1952). Here’s the final again:

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Birthday tribute caricature of author Mickey Spillane famous for his hardboiled detective novels featuring private eye Mike Hammer with rebus of book titles I The Jury and Kiss Me Deadly

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  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

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Do you read thrillers and detective fiction? Who’s your favorite author?

Do you like puzzles and word games? What’s your favorite kind?

Do you sing the Goldfinger theme song when you’re in the shower??

Hope you’ll leave a comment.

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