TITLE: The Files of Ms. Tree vol. 1 – I, for an Eye and Death Do Us Part TPB
YEAR: Fall 1985
COMPANY: Renegade Press
Writer: Mad Collins
Art by Terry Beatty
Publisher: Denise Loubert
In 1981, two Muscatine, Iowa residents, writer Max Allan Collins (who took over the “Dick Tracy” comic book strip after creator Chester Gould retired in 1977) and artist Terry Beatty began working on a detective comic series titled “Ms. Tree”
The comic book series would be printed by Eclipse Comics from 1981-1984 (Issues 1-9), by Aardvark-Vanaheim in 1984 with issues 10-15 and with the divorce of Dave Sim and Denise Loubert, while Sim would stay with Aardvark-Vanaheim, Loubert would create Renegade Press.
In 1985, Issues 16-18 would be co-published by Aardvark-Vanaheim/Renegade Press and with issues #19-#50 (1985-1989) and other specials, the issues would be published solely by Renegade Press.
Unfortunately, in 1989, Renegade Press would cease publication of all comics that summer and from 1990-1993, DC Comics would feature the character in her own quarterly (and a total of 10 issues published).
While the first 16 issues have been published in three normal-sized trade paperbacks and one small paperback, in 1984, Renegade Press would print the “I, for an Eye” stories as featured on “Eclipse Magazine” issues #1-6 plus the three-issue “Death Do Us Part” as featured in “Ms. Tree’s Thrilling Detective Stories” and the never before published “Red Light” short story in the first trade paperback “The Files of Ms. Tree vol. 1 – I, For an Eye and Death Do Us Part”.
“Ms. Tree” revolves around former police officer turned detective Michael Friday. A woman who served in the force with former police officer Michael Tree. Michael Tree would eventually hire his beloved Michael Friday and after three years of dating, were planning to get married.
On the day of their Honeymoon, as Michael went to grab a soda from the soda machine for his wife, he was shot and killed.
Now, Ms. Tree who has become the new owner of the detective agency has made her decision to avenge her husband by finding the person who killed him.
One day, Assistant District Attorney Edwards asks to meet with Ms. Tree and as the two meet at the zoo, he is shot and killed.
With two murders, something is going on and there are things that her deceased husband had never told her. One, who is the woman that came to visit his grave site, why was her husband working with the assistant District Attorney and was he working on a dangerous case?
When Ms. Tree goes to collect her deceased husband’s belongings, she discovers an address book with names of people who may be part of a target list and may need a way to find how to protect them?
During her investigation, what will Ms. Tree find out?
In the second storyline, “Death Do Us Part”, after suffering the traumatic death of her husband and finding out who was responsible, Michael has been having nightly nightmares and dealing with insomnia and now has to see a psychiatrist.
Her psychiatrist recommends her to go to Pine Beach Resort for vacation and meets pulp fiction writer, Patrick Rushing. And needless to say, the two hit it off and it helps Ms. Tree sleep well for the first time in a very long time.
But as the two are sleeping together for the night, they hear gunshots and find a young couple murdered in their room and the killer running away. This leads to Ms. Tree to investigate the murders and find out who is responsible. and what she may find out, may have a connection to her last case.
The third story”Red Light” is a short story (not a comic) involving another adventure featuring Ms. Tree and I won’t spoil that for those wanting to read this TPB.
Overall, for anyone who has been curious about Ms. Tree, will find this TPB to be worth owning. It’s too difficult and costly to find the first six issues of “Eclipse Magazine” that purchasing this trade paperback is the way to go. Also, the writing by Max Collins is sensational and the artwork by Terry Beatty is magnificent.
For anyone who enjoys crime/mystery stories and are wanting one of the best comic book series ever created in the ’80s that was not from Marvel or DC will find “The Files of Ms. Tree vol. 1 – I, for an Eye and Death Do Us Part TPB” to be worth owning and reading!