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Release: Immediate

Mystery writer donates papers to the University of Iowa Libraries

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Max Allan Collins, an award-winning author, filmmaker and comic strip writer, has deposited his personal papers with the University of Iowa Libraries.

He is a graduate of the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop and a resident of Muscatine. His projects include more than 48 novels, comic strips such as the internationally syndicated Dick Tracy (1977-1993), comic series, screenplays and two feature-length films.

Collins is known for his traditional hard-boiled mysteries, including the Nate Heller and Eliot Ness historical novels which reflect contemporary situations. He has written novels based on movie scripts and television characters such as "In the Line of Fire," "Maverick," "Waterworld," and a novel based on the "NYPD Blue" television series.

In addition to scripting the Dick Tracy comic strip, Collins co-created the comic book Ms. Tree and has written the Batman comic book and the newspaper strip. His current project is Mike Danger, co-created with best-selling mystery writer Mickey Spillane.

In 1994 Collins wrote, produced and directed "Mommy," a campy suspense film starring Patty McCormack, an Academy Award nominee in the best supporting actress category for her childhood role in the 1950s movie "The Bad Seed." He followed this success with "Mommy II: Mommy's Day." Both films were screened at the UI Libraries. The Libraries also hosted the official premier of Mommy II in February. Collins also participated in the 1996 Annual Friends Dinner for the Libraries where he spoke about the many facets of his career.

The Max Allan Collins Papers will offer students, faculty and other researchers a broad perspective on the mystery fiction genre, independent film production, and the comic book medium as a potent form of storytelling.

"As a lifelong Iowa resident and graduate of the University of Iowa, I consider it an honor and privilege to have my manuscripts and other papers housed at the University Libraries," Collins said. "My first three novels were written during my tenure at the Writers' Workshop where my mentor, Richard Yates, insisted that I strive in the crime novel for the literary quality expected of mainstream fiction. I hope I've lived up to this standard and that my work in various media will make my papers useful for purposes of the study of popular culture in America."

The papers include manuscript copy edited by the publisher, file copies, proofs, unpublished manuscripts, rough drafts, 15 years of Dick Tracy comic strips, manuscripts of nonfiction writings, and scripts for other comic serials such as "Ms. Tree." While the papers are still being processed and catalogued, information regarding these materials may be obtained by calling the special collections department at 319-335-5921.