We are so delighted to be joined by the writer, Max Allan Collins. Max has written in many different media including novels, comics, movies and graphic novels. Some of the novels that he has worked on include Nathan Heller, Quarry and Mike Hammer. Max is the creator of Road to Perdition. With his new novella, Fancy Anders Goes to War releasing from NeoText on October 5th, we got to sit down and chat with him.
Hi Max, thanks for joining us today. We are so thrilled to have you here with us. It’s so great to chat with you.
Thanks for asking. Glad to share my thoughts about Fancy Anders Goes to War.
As some of our readers may not be familiar with your work, could you please tell us a bit about yourself?
I’ve been writing mystery and crime fiction since high school, and my first books were published while I was still in college. I was always a comics fan and not long after my novels began appearing, I also started working in comics. My most famous work is a graphic novel I wrote, Road to Perdition, which became a Tom Hanks film.
In terms of comics who are your favourite creators, and do you have a favourite series?
I grew up on comic strips, including Dick Tracy, which I eventually came to script. Batman is in the same category – I wrote the monthly comic book for a year and did several graphic novels. In comics I admire Will Eisner and EC great Johnny Craig – just introduced a collection of his work for Fantagraphics. I love all the classic noir mystery writers – Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain and Mickey Spillane. But I also love Agatha Christie, who was the greatest mystery writer of all time.
NeoText will be releasing the novella Fancy Anders Goes to War; can you tell us about the origins of Fancy Anders Goes to War?
The idea of the character came first – a young woman whose father was a successful private detective and whose mother was a socialite, in World War II-era Los Angeles. Women came into the workforce in a major way in those years and that was an attractive aspect to explore. I wasn’t sure whether prose or comics were right for her, but when NeoText gave me the opportunity to do a novella series for them, I thought Fancy would be perfect.
How did Fay Dalton join Fancy Anders Goes to War?
Fay had done the covers of two comic books of mine – issues of Quarry’s War and Mike Hammer: The Night I Died for Titan. I loved what she did and requested her for the cover of the first Fancy Anders novella. We’d already been discussing illustrating the novella in some fashion and once we saw Fay’s work, she was the obvious choice.
How would you describe Fancy Anders Goes to War?
It’s not as noir as some of my work, though Fancy is herself tough and tough-minded, and there are elements of violence. But it’s also a fun time machine ride back into an America where we were all pulling together and not so politically fractured.
What made Fay the right artist for Fancy Anders Goes to War?
Fay has a feel for the great pin-up artists and illustrators of the 1940s and 1950s. A number of those artists were women who were themselves glamorous and used themselves as models. Fay is a wonderful throwback to that era – strong, confident, and feminine in the best sense.
How long have you been working on Fancy Anders Goes to War?
It came together fairly quickly, from idea to getting a deal for three novellas from NeoText. I spent the Covid lockdown writing them.
How did the collaboration with NeoText come about?
I knew the publisher/editor, John Schoenfelder, from traditional publishing. When he came up with a different take on publishing, with NeoText, he was good enough to call me and see if we could come up with a project together. Fancy Anders flowed from that, as well as a full-length novel, The Many Lives of Jimmy Leighton, co-written by legendary SCTV star, Dave Thomas.
What has it been like working with Fay and NeoText?
Lovely. Fay and I kicked around ideas about illustrations, and stayed open to each other in that regard. NeoText is one of the most supportive publishers I’ve been lucky enough to work with.
What are you currently reading?
Dark City by Eddie Muller, the definitive book on film noir.
Any message for the ComicBuzz readers?
Fancy Anders is a nice midway point between prose and graphic novels – Fay Dalton provides a full-page, usually color illustration at the start of each of ten chapters. It’s a nicely retro touch that I think you’ll enjoy.
We would like to say a big thank you to Max for taking the time to chat with us. Fancy Anders Goes to War is on October 5th from NeoText.