ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Mickey Spillane, the Original Thriller Writer

Updated on November 20, 2017

A writer par excellence of crime novels


Mickey Spillane was a writer who was " Banned" in good schools in the mid-fiftie and sixties. His books were supposed to corrupt the English language of students, but perhaps the ban concerned more about his content. The books of Mickey were popular and the covers of his books displayed lewd pictures that enticed readers. In particularly his creation of the character Mike Hammer, as a macho man and lover who killed without compunction delighted an entire generation.

Mickey wrote books that had a bizarre story and one of his novels ended with a famous line “Juno was a Man!”. Mickey Spillane was the master of fiction laced with crime, gangsters, and lovely Molls. I don’t think there is anybody who could create a better novel laced with crime and sex than Mickey in the last century

The Life of Spillane

Spillane was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1918 where his father worked as a barman. His real name was Frank Morrison Spillane. He was from an ordinary household and there was no hint that he was destined to greatness as a writer. He, however, loved adventure and in 1939 at the age of 21 joined the Army Aviation Corps. His joining was a day after the Japanese had struck Pearl Harbor. This gave him a greater impetus

Mickey loved flying and continued to fly even after the war ended. In 1999 he claimed that he had logged over 11000 hours as a flier. This is believable as Mickey was a daredevil and flying was his passion.

Once the war was over the harsh reality of life overtook him and he had to do odd jobs to make ends meet. Later he claimed that he had worked as an undercover agent for the FBI, but this was never verified. He loved women and married thrice. He married his first wife in 1946 and the couple had 4 children.

.Somebody advised him to try his hand at writing. Probably fate played a hand in this as his books became immensely popular.It's mind-boggling to learn that his books sold over 225 million copies, not a mean achievement for a writer who was supposed to write poor English.

Creation of the character Mike Hammer

English fiction is home to some great characters who were detectives and solved criminal cases. Some of the more famous are Sherlock Holmes ( created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), Hercule Poirot( Agatha Christie) and Father Brown ( GK Chesterton).

In a similar vein, Spillane created a character, Mike Hammer. Now we can safely say that Mike Hammer books were the alter ego of Mickey. All his books are written in the first person. 'I the jury' was the first novel that featured Mike hammer. The novel was a smash hit and it was followed by 15 more books with him in as the central character. The last novel featuring Mike Hammer, The Goliath Bone was published in 2008

Mike Hammer was a real macho character. He could kill without compunction and women were to like everyday salad. Mickey had another famous quote that resounds even now. The quote" It takes a hood to catch a hood" is famous and used to justifyaction against gangsters.

Content of Mickeys Books

Mickey's books had a high content of violence, sex, and crime. This was his staple fare and he developed his characters with this ethos in mind. Most writers of mainstream books never recognized Mickey as a writer of any significance. Maybe they could not stomach his popularity and the stupendous sale of his books. He was more than an average writer and a classic example is that he wrote “ I the Jury"; in just 15 days flat and the book sold over 6 million copies.

Not all writers panned Mickey and many like Ayn Rand felt he was a very good writer.

Spillane believed that American life was dominated by gangsters and crime. Perhaps he was not wrong in this. He also felt that women were just for the pleasure of men. Thus in all his books women are just plain dumb and sleep with a strong macho hero. I wonder if this image is correct, for throughout history we have seen that women love strong and decisive men.

Do you consider Mickey Spillane as the forerunner of the action novel

See results

Place of Mickey in the Pantheon of writers

Spillane died in 2006. His books were reissued from 2001 and his last book appeared in 2008. His other famous books are My Gun is quick, Girl Hunters, Kiss me Deadly, the Killing Man, Ring of Fear and tens of others.
His books were criticized by U.S. Senate's Kefauver Commission as promoting juvenile delinquency. But there is no answer as to why his books were so popular. You can’t sell millions of books by writing trash. In 1980 out of 15 top sellers, 7 were books were by Mickey Spillane. Thus Mickey is not a run of the mill writer. It's about time he was given his due and recognized as the master of the thriller writer. None wrote or created a story better than him.

Despite all the negative writings against Spillane by so-called purists, Mickey Spillane is assured of a place in the novelist’s hall of fame.

1952 photo of Spillane
1952 photo of Spillane

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      Madan 

      3 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      Thank you Catherine, he remains my favorite author still

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 

      3 years ago from Orlando Florida

      I never read the books, but the movies were pretty good.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      Madan 

      3 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      Thank you lollyj Mickey was a class writer and even now he thrills me. Yes J is a big word here

    • lollyj lm profile image

      Laurel Johnson 

      3 years ago from Washington KS

      Spillane's writing style was unique among American writers. I suspect you are right and other authors resented his successful book sales. Interesting hub!!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)