They dropped the package at my door in the dead of Minnesota winter, where the bright and unclouded sun shone down in a sweet lie – just touching the door handle with your bare hands would burn you with winter’s grip. Ten seconds is the longest you can open the door for without protection, or the ice will burrow in to your bones, like a parasite that drinks the heat from you. I couldn’t close the door before the count hit fifteen.
“Every time a package comes, you do this,” I swore at myself. “The comic can’t be that good.” I rubbed my hands together, a few moments reprieve before the parasite stole that too. I tore open the package straight down the middle, the way an animal gets its meat. In a way, that’s all I was. Weeks of waiting had made me hungry.
The cover was nothing special, with a design decades out of date. Solid red, the hue somewhere between blood and roses. A square-jawed hero eyeing a smoking dame – both of them with cigarettes. And the name: “From the Files of… Mike Hammer.” At first glance, it looked more like a romance than a two fisted detective strip. But the collection was complete, and I figured for the price, I’d have a decent afternoon’s read.
I opened to the first story, and by the time I got to page three I was reading as fast as the bullets flying on the page. In the middle of a strip, I couldn’t help but curse. Only one thought ran through my mind: I would kill to write like this.