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Dick Tracy, the Thirties: Tommy Guns and Hard Times Hardcover – August, 1979

4 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Chelsea House Publishers (August 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0877540713
  • ISBN-13: 978-0877540717
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 9.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,826,737 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
This collection covers the first two years (1931-3) of the famous comic strip DICK TRACY (except for its very first story, reprinted in an earlier collection). It's fascinating to see how the strip evolved. Chester Gould's artwork started out very poor, but we can see it gradually improving. Tracy's character also evolved. He started out as a weenie by today's standards, and the character paradoxically benefited from being reduced to a square-jawed icon. Notice that in the first year he sometimes used disguises; he didn't do this much in later years, since his visual presence is the strip's anchor. Notice also that few of the stories were about bootleggers: the public was already turning against Prohibition.
Yet much of the first-year work in this collection could have been dispensed with. I enjoyed the Hammettesque story of Texie Garcia, a gun moll blackmailing a politician. (Texie: "Think what you could do with a thousand dollars." Tracy: "Yeah? I could roll it up in a wad and cram it right down your slippery throat.") Ditto the Lindbergh-like story of Big Boy Caprice kidnapping Buddy Waldorf Jr., with its knock-down dragout fight at the end. But editor Herb Galewitz himself admits that the stories of Tracy's demotion to a beat cop; con man turned kidnapper Broadway Bates, who resembles Batman's foe the Penguin; bond forger Alec Penn; and dope smuggler-blackmailer Kenneth Grebb are somewhat below par ...
Of course, after a year the strip really came to life, and gained readers and newspapers, when Junior first appeared. This was also the occasion for introducing the thug Steve the Tramp, the first of the strip's great villains. He and counterfeiter Stooge Viller dominate the second year, even escaping prison together.
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