Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dick Tracy Gets New Lease On Life at 80 Years Old

Maybe you already know about this, as the announcement was made several weeks ago, but there's big news about the long running comic strip Dick Tracy.  Given the trend of recent months, with a trio of long running strips; Cathy, Little Orphan Annie and Brenda Starr, Reporter; coming to an end, you probably think I'm about to write that Tracy is set to join them.  (And the panel from a recent strip that I chose  might reinforce that misconception.) It is true that Dick Locher, who began drawing the strip in 1983 and has been writing it since 2005, is stepping down.  However, unlike Brenda Starr, which was shut down when the creative team called it quits, syndicate Tribune Media Services apparently feels that Tracy is profitable enough to warrant continuing.  Thus, beginning on March 14, a new creative team will begin chronicling the adventures of America's most famous gangbuster, just in time for the strips 80th anniversary this coming October.
I can't say much about the new writer, as I'm unfamiliar with Mike Curtis.  Apparently, however, he's been writing comic books for some three decades now.  Though these have been, for the most part, kid's comics such as Casper, Richie Rich, and Scooby-Doo, which explains my complete lack of knowledge of him and his  work.
On the other hand, I can say with a certain degree of confidence that the strip will at least look good.  The new artist is comic book veteran Joe Staton, best known for his lengthy run on Green Lantern, and his own creation E-Man.  Staton has said that Tracy has always been his dream job and that Tracy creator Chester Gould was a major influence on the development of his distinctive, cartoony style.
I haven't really followed Dick Tracy on a regular basis since about the time Locher began drawing it.  That's not because of Locher, though I admit that I far prefer Locher's predecessor, the late Rick Fletcher.  In those days before the Wild, Wild, Web changed everything, I found myself living in a town where I didn't have daily access to a paper that carried the strip.  Now, of course, most of the "newspaper" strips I read are ones that my local newspaper doesn't even carry.  In the case of Dick Tracy, recently I've only encountered it when Josh Fruhlinger turns his snarky attention to it over at The Comics Curmudgeon, as he, in fact, does today.   I do plan to be reading starting in two weeks when Curtis and Staton's run begins. 
'Til then, here's a preview image of the new team's work that's shown up around the web:
You can't really get a sense of Curtis' writing from these two panels, but, as  I predicted, the characters haven't looked that good since Rick Fletcher drew them.

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