Regretfully, the comic book industry deep state has been overly aggressive with demands for diversity, political correctness, and expressing horror at “toxic masculinity.” Comics are now in the persuasion business and calculated to create agendas.
It would seem current comic book editors, writers, etc. has completely bought into the Alinsky-driven leftist agenda. If one is not alert…and carefully discriminate, the irony is huge – these days the far left has become the religious right.
This brings me to my “funny papers”– comic book relationships of decades long ago. Growing up with the comic page, there was “LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE”; “The PHANTOM”; “TERRY & the PIRATES”; “BLONDIE”; “SMILING JACK” (with Jungle Jolly);” Li’l ABNER” (in Dogpatch, USA); and later “POGO”, and “PEANUTS. All were great.
But, still not in the “DICK TRACY” league, according to Wallace’s meter.
Dick Tracy, detective, was aided by Chef Brandon, side-kick Pat Patton, Tess Trueheart (later his wife), and his adopted son, Junior. Sam Catchem would replace Pat Patton in 1948. The strip was totally creative in its rogue’s gallery of characters.
The “Tracy” comic strip was recognized from Police Associations across the country: Associated Police Communication Officers, Inc.; National Police Officers Association; The Honor Legion of the Police Department of the City of New York; Illinois Crime Prevention Officers Association, and multitudes of others.
“Dick Tracy” first appeared in the Detroit Mirror (October 4, 1931) – then one of the Tribune owned papers, then the New York Daily News, then the Chicago Tribune, taking the country by storm. So popular was the comic strip that it appeared on the front page of the New York Daily News for 45 consecutive years; it was seen in 27 foreign newspapers.
The cultural necessity was to fight against a growing criminal class; many historians hark back to Prohibition as causing America’s growing big-time crime rate – increased criminal behavior. The wonderful Richmond News Leader carried the comic strip on weekday afternoons, and the Times Dispatch published it on Sundays. The News Leader won me over forever….with this one gesture.
Chester Gould’s classic criminal characters were a rough crowd of crooks: Little Face – The Mole (digging in the earth has made the Mole’s hands very strong) – B-B Eyes – Pruneface (Anesthetic, YOUR EYE – you set the leg. I’ll take it with my eyes open) – 88 Keys….and one of the worse: Flattop.
Near the end of World War II, we were introduced to Vitamin Flintheart (Ah, my little dove) – reminiscent of the exaggerated actor, John Barrymore. Who could forget The Brow – Gravel Gertie (ah! A man) – ~Shakey~ and his daughter, Breathless Mahoney……plus B.O. Plenty? Then there was Itchy (How fortunate! I think I have just the thing for you. Won’t you come up?)…and millionaire industrialist, Diet Smith (your call is waiting, sir).
Themesong was obnoxious (I’ll stand on my constitutional rights! I want a mouthpiece); Mandolin–playing Sparkle Plenty (daughter of Gertie & B.O.) was not obnoxious. Mumbles continued to be difficult to understand.
Measles was my favorite. His mother was a prison matron, accidently killed in the “pump machinery” by our Gravel Gertie, a current inmate. Along the way Measles would introduce us to a waitress, Paprika, (Always you are playing the radio and dancing. That is no good. Come, get busy). I studied this girl before I knew what her name meant.
Sketch Paree (I am sorry to frighten you, baby); Canhead; Pouch (snap), and George Ozone (You wouldn’t believe I was 84 years old) would round out my adolescent years.
Finally, The Two-Way Wrist Radio developed by Brilliant – more than 50 years before the iPod and iPhone, was the precursor to all miniature and hand-held electronic gadgets….(It contains tiny tubes, battery, microphone, and speaker. Look, by pressing the other button, it receives). Brilliant’s invention financed by Diet Smith was difficult to accept.
After completing my paper route for the Times Dispatch, I would later visit Milton’s Westhampton Inn (much later Smokey’s – at Libbie & Grove). The magnet was it dalliance-ridden, sketchy newsstand. Curious pre-teens consumed the chance to peek at nefarious tabloids as Police Gazette, Variety, Confidential, Billboard, and of course the New York Daily News.
The Daily News was where you could get Dick Tracy’s comic strip a week AHEAD of Richmond’s publications. It’s always gratifying to know how events turned out before you’re supposed to