Max Allan Collins (born March 3, 1948) is an American mystery writer. His work has been published in several formats and his Road to Perdition series was the basis for a film of the same name. He wrote the Dick Tracy newspaper strip for many years and has produced numerous novels featuring the character as well.
Collins has written novels, screenplays, comic books, comic strips, trading cards, short stories, movie novelizations and historical fiction. He wrote the graphic novel Road to Perdition (which was developed into a film in 2002), created the comic book private eye Ms. Tree, and took over writing the Dick Tracy comic strip from creator Chester Gould. Collins briefly wrote the Batman comic book in 1987 and crafted a new origin for the Jason Todd character. Collins and artist Terry Beatty created Wild Dog at DC that same year in a self-titled limited series. The character would later appear as a feature in the Action Comics Weekly anthology. As of 2016, Wild Dog became a recurring character in the Arrow television series and is portrayed by actor Rick Gonzalez.
Another Collins contribution to the Batman franchise was scripting the English-language translation of Batman: Child of Dreams in 2003. He wrote books to expand on the Dark Angel TV series. He has written books and comics based on the TV series franchise CSI. In 2006 he wrote Buried Deep (also released as "Bones Buried Deep"), based on the TV series Bones.
He has written two sequel novels to Road to Perdition: Road to Purgatory and Road to Paradise. He wrote three more graphic novels starring the characters from Road to Perdition. These graphic novels, called collectively On the Road to Perdition, form the basis of the film.
He co-founded the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers with Lee Goldberg. The IAMTW is an organization for writers of tie-ins and novelizations.
Collins is a fan of the mystery writer Mickey Spillane from childhood and later became friends with him. The two collaborated on a comic book series in the 1990s called Mike Danger. Upon Spillane's death in 2006, Collins was entrusted to finish several uncompleted works by Spillane including Dead Street, The Goliath Bone, and The Big Bang.
Movies and music
In addition to his work as a writer, Collins has written and directed four movies: Mommy, Mommy 2: Mommy's Day, Real Time: Siege at Lucas Street Market, and Eliot Ness: An Untouchable Life (based on his Edgar Award–nominated play). All four were produced independently on location in Collins' hometown of Muscatine, Iowa. The first three are available on DVD — separately or in the Black Box set — from Troma Team Video, and the Ness film is distributed by VCI Entertainment.
Collins has written and performed music with his rock band, Crusin'.
Collins is a Democrat, describing his political views thus: "I think of myself as slightly left of center, but my father thought of himself as slightly right of center, when he was slightly right of Genghis Khan. So who knows? I do know that I veer left when the right is getting out of hand, which they frequently do."
Collins and his wife, Barbara, have a son, Nathan.
Quarry's Greatest Hits (contains 'Primary Target' and a short story) (2003)
The Last Quarry (2006)
The First Quarry (2008)
Quarry In The Middle (2009)
Quarry's Ex (2010)
The Wrong Quarry (2014)
Quarry's Choice (2015)
Quarry In The Black (2016)
Quarry's Climax (2017)
Cinemax has created a TV adaptation of Quarry. Written by Michael D. Fuller and Graham Gordy based loosely on the book series, the project centers on a Marine marksman who, upon returning home from Vietnam in 1972, finds himself shunned by those he loves and demonized by the public. The disillusioned vet is quickly recruited into a network of contract killers and corruption spanning the Mississippi River. The show was cancelled in May 2017.
This series features a professional thief, similar to and apparently inspired by Richard Stark's "Parker" character, who operates in the Midwest.
Bait Money (1981)
Blood Money (1981)
Fly Paper (1981)
Hush Money (1981)
Hard Cash (1981)
Scratch Fever (1982)
Mourn the Living (1999) Collins's first written novel, but not printed until 1999)
Two for the Money (omnibus reprint of the first two books Bait Money and Blood Money) (2004)
The Mallory series is about a mystery writer in Iowa who solves crimes.
The Baby Blue Rip-Off (1983)
No Cure for Death (1983)
Kill Your Darlings (1984)
A Shroud for Aquarius (1985)
Nice Weekend for a Murder (1986)
Nathan Heller series
Collins's longest running series and arguably his best known work is his Nathan Heller series. Heller is a Chicago private investigator who gets involved in famous crimes and meets famous people of the 1930s and 1940s, including Orson Welles, Frank Nitti, and Sally Rand. The first novel in this historical fiction series, True Detective, won the 1984 Shamus Award for Best P.I. Hardcover from the Private Eye Writers of America. Collins won his second Shamus in 1992 for the Heller novel Stolen Away, an account of the Lindbergh kidnapping. His 1999 novel Flying Blind sees Heller investigate the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, along the way becoming romantically involved with her. With the release of Chicago Confidential, Collins moved the action into the 1950s. Target Lancer, about an alleged attempt to assassinate John F. Kennedy in Chicago just weeks before the actual assassination in Dallas, was published in November 2012.
^Manning, Matthew K.; Dougall, Alastair, ed. (2014). "1980s". Batman: A Visual History. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 167. ISBN 978-1465424563. Jason Todd's origin had been a virtual carbon copy of Dick Grayson's. However, with the clean slate offered by Crisis on Infinite Earths, writer Max Allan Collins decided to make the characters more different.
^Manning "2000s" in Dougall, p. 266: "Translated into English by a voice familiar with chronicling Bruce Wayne's adventures, writer Max Allan Collins, this epic story followed a Japanese reporter...who traveled to Gotham City."
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