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Complete Chester Gould's Dick Tracy Volume 1 Hardcover – January 3, 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews
Book 1 of 14 in the Complete Dick Tracy Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Dick Tracy's pop-cultural profile has receded since Warren Beatty's flop movie adaptation. Whereas 700 newspapers once carried the strip, it now appears in only about 50. But here the venerable comic-strip detective receives the kind of handsomely mounted representation in chronology that Peanuts, Dennis the Menace, and Gasoline Alley currently enjoy. The inaugural volume in this effort to completely reprint creator Gould's 46-year run contains the first strips published from October 1931 to May 1933. The artwork is initially crude even by the standards of the day, and the plotlines are mundane. Tracy comes up against petty mobsters--the main villain here is Big Boy, an Al Capone takeoff--rather than the evil grotesques that would become the strip's staple. The stories have the unassuming verve and period charm of precode gangster movies, and within six months, Gould's art evolves into a prototype of his signature style. Gordon Flagg
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Product Details

  • Series: Complete Chester Gould's Dick Tracy
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: IDW Publishing; Gph edition (January 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600100368
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600100369
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #471,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is becoming clear that our society has entered a golden era of comic strip reprints. Along with this handsome volume of early Tracy from IDW Publishing, fans can enjoy beautiful, hardcover editions of Gasoline Alley (from Drawn and Quarterly Press) and complete reprints of Krazy Kat, Peanuts, Dennis the Menace, and Popeye (all from Fantagraphics Books); as well as a complete collection of Little Nemo in Slumberland 1904-1914 (Evergreen Press). Some of these titles, like the aforementioned Gasoline Alley (being reprinted as Walter and Skeezix) and Dick Tracy are multi-volume, multi-year projects. In the case of the gorgeous and important Gasoline Alley reprints from Drawn and Quarterly, the complete collection will run over 20 volumes. I have a feeling that we have only seen the beginning of these prestigious, complete hardcover treatments for comic reprints. Many equally deserving strips linger now in incomplete soft cover editions and await this regal reassessment; most notably Little Orphan Annie, Terry and the Pirates, and the Katzenjammer Kids.

But about the Complete Dick Tracy 1931-1933:

What makes these years of Dick Tracy so compelling is that Chester Gould was one of the first comic strip artists to bring both a sense of realism and violence to the comic page - with the emphasis on violence. Men and women where shot dead on the panels of Dick Tracy, portrayed in Gould's brutal black and white at the moment of terminal impact. In one story arc, a mob boss ties Tracy to a chair, removes his shoes and socks, and goes to work on his bare feet with a blowtorch. Yes, this certainly wasn't Polly and her Friends or Harold Teen (and it is noteworthy that Tracy cracked under this torture, adding another layer of realism).
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Format: Hardcover
Comics Buyer's Guide reviewer Tony Isabella gives IDW's TRACY "5 Tonys"

Comics icon Dick Tracy recently celebrated his 75th anniversary and I can't think of a better way to commemorate that success than IDWs The Complete Chester Gould's Dick Tracy, Volume One [$29.99]. Hard-hitting police action, unforgettable villains, tragic losses, the science of crime-fighting, and the camaraderie of the cops who put their lives on the line to protect and serve. The Gould/Tracy legacy inspired so many other great works of detective fiction: Bob Kane and Bill Finger's Batman, Dragnet, Ed McBain's 87th Precinct, all the way to C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation and its spin-offs, and so many others. But, when you travel back past the progeny of creator and creation, and even going back to the earliest years of Tracy, you arrive at cracking good stories that can captive today's reader as much as they did the readers of 1931.

This first volume has all the Tracy daily strips from October 12, 1931 through May 20, 1933. The Sunday strips didn't tie into the daily continuity until May 29, 1932, and this volume reprints those Sundays to that point and in color. The remaining Sunday strips appear in the daily continuity, albeit in black-and-white. But, wait, there's more.

This first volume also includes an introduction by Max Allen Collins, author of Road to Perdition and dozens of exciting novels, of great comics like Ms. Tree and C.S.I., of the Tracy strip from 1977 to 1993, and of sharp suspense films like Mommy and Real Time: Siege at Lucas Market; the first part of an interview with Gould conducted by Collins and Matt Masterson in September, 1980; and, most cool of all, the "Plain Clothes Tracy" strips Gould created to pitch his new hero to newspaper syndicates.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I can't say enough about how enjoyable this book is. I got it because I love historic strips, and, really, I was being something of a completist. My interest in Dick Tracy was mild, but not overwhelming. But now, I cannot stop reading it.

The art is, as I expected, somewhat primitive. But I was not expecting it to be bursting with power and originality. There's not a strip that I've read yet that hasn't given me a start, with some bold use of blacks, or a character in an unexpectedly natural and expressive posture, or a striking background or some intricate line work or cross-hatching. For a cartoonist who is not renowned for his artistic skills, Chester Gould has been very seriously underrated.

And the dialog! This is some of the most hard-boiled dialog I've ever read, and I'm a serious fan of James M. Cain, Dashiell Hammett, and Raymond Chandler. Here's an example, where gun moll Texie Garcia is offering Tracy a bribe to get her out of jail:

Texie: "Oh - you're such a sweet kid - I think I could do wonders for you - That is, if you'd let me - 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."

Wow! Does this hit right between the eyes! And the book is packed with dialog like that!

As if this wasn't enough, the book itself is a sheer joy to look at and to hold; it's the highest quality comic reprint I've ever seen. The paper has a great look and feel, and the printing is so crisp, it looks like the strips were drawn yesterday. IFG has set new standards for comic strip reprints.

If you like hard-boiled, hard-hitting crime fiction, you will be thrilled with this book. I already can't wait for the subsequent volumes.
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