by Michael Vance & Jon Suter
"Okay, copper, brace yourself! THIS IS CURTAINS!"
Flattop was dead wrong then and now. Dick Tracy is sixty five years old and still the most famous cop in history as well as one of the world's best known detectives.
That's was no small accomplishment for a man who could only draw Tracy in profile. That man was cartoonist and comics legend, Chester Gould.
The myth about Tracy's profile was born of Gould's limited talent as an artist. That Dick Tracy was one of the most popular comic strips in the world only illustrated what Chester couldn't with his art; Gould was a brilliant and highly creative writer.
He drew Fillum Fables before Dick Tracy began syndication on Sunday, October 4, 1931. Gould's wonderful eye for characterization was quickly recognized in memorable villains like Mumbles, Pruneface, Mole, The Brow, Breathless Mahoney, and Flattop. B.O. Plenty and Gravel Gertie started as outlaws but reformed. When Tracy rocketed to the moon, thousands of young boys fell in love with the Moon Maid.
I was one.
And there were marvelous, prophetic gadgets like Tracy's wristband radio that became a wrist television as the strip evolved.
But the real secret of Gould's success was his storytelling. Dick Tracy was packed with thrills and action, intriguing plot twists and romance. In addition, Dick stood for something that his readers under- stood and wanted, truth and justice.
I still want it.
Tracy has appeared in virtually every medium. Dick appeared in comic books including Famous Feature Stories, Harvey Comics Library, Limited Collector's Editions, Mammoth Comics, Merry Christmas, The Original.., Popular Comics, and several Super Book numbers. There were many giveaway comics.
Dick Tracy comic books were published by David McKay ('37- '38), Dell ('39-'49), Harvey ('50- '61), Blackthorne ('86-'89), Disney, Gladstone, and Cupples and Leon ('33).
The work of Chester Gould is highly recommended.
Some older titles are expensive and hard to locate. Price guides or comics dealers help. Comics conventions, mail order companies and trade journals are best sources. Prices vary; shop around.