75 years ago today, one of our most famous detectives, Dick Tracy, made his debut on the comics page of the Chicago Tribune. The creation of Chester Gould, at one point Dick Tracy was one of the most-read comic strips in the country, inspiring memorable parodies like Bob Clampett’s “Duck Twacy” Daffy Duck cartoon and Fearless Fosdick, who became a recurring character in Al Capp’s “Lil’ Abner” comic strip. Tracy himself starred in a radio show, movie series, and cartoon show.
Dick Tracy holds up remarkably well. Gould’s bizarre villains and great detective stories rank among the most entertaining comic strip stories ever told. A new series of books that present the complete adventures of Dick Tracy–printing every strip in order, from day one, is coming out from IDW Publishing. The first volume is due out in a couple of weeks, and it can be pre-ordered here. I’ve been a fan of Dick Tracy literally as long as I can remember. This series of strip collections is long overdue.
You can still follow the adventures of Dick Tracy every day. Dick Locher is currently writing and drawing the adventures of America’s foremost detective, keeping him current by having him deal with computer crimes, terrorists and pedophile Republican Congressmen (okay, I made that last one up). If you aren’t lucky enough to have a newspaper that still carries his strip, you can read it here. Personally, I have never forgiven Garfield for replacing Dick Tracy in the Gazette back in 1978. I’ve been volunteering my services as a comics page editor ever since, to no avail.
Another long-running comic strip has been paying tribute to Tracy for the past couple of weeks. Dick Tracy was driving through Gasoline Alley, when he stopped to solve a crime. Below you’ll find Gasoline Alley cartoonist Jim Scancarelli’s tribute strip from today.
October fourth is also the birthday of somebody else important–my kid sister. Happy Birthday Diana, I’m working on your cake right now!