In today’s Sunday strip, Vitamin Flintheart broke the fourth wall, talking directly to Dick Tracy readers to introduce the third act of the summer’s Moon Maid saga. Channelling the opening monologue of Frankenstein (1931)¹, Vitamin foretells many changes for his friends in the coming story warns us to prepare our hearts for some form of calamity. With the current arc’s focus on Sparkle, Junior, Honeymoon and Moon Maid we are worried. Death of a loved one is rare but has happened before.
This last weekend was quite interesting for Dick Tracy comic strip readers. Most of us have been busy digesting the day by day twists and turns of the summer’s Moon Maid saga. Over the weekend we were interested in the last major player in the current story line, Mr. Méliès, a moon-faced individual in classic Gould fashion.
Méliès is of course is an homage to George Méliès, a French illusionist and filmmaker famous for leading many technical and narrative developments in the earliest days of the cinema. Sometimes called the first “Cinemagician”, He developed many special effect tricks and was one of the first to use multiple exposures, time-lapse photography, dissolves and hand-painted color in his work. Two of his most well-known films are A Trip to the Moon (1902) and The Impossible Voyage (1904). Staton and Curtis reference A Trip to the Moon in the Sunday strip and with the Méliès character. Those who have seen the recent movie, Hugo might be familiar with Méliès, who was portrayed by Ben Kingsley. We wonder if the comic Méliès will be taking a bullet to the eye.
On Monday and Tuesday we’ve seen Junior and Honeymoon visiting a collapsed granary to take pictures for a new Dick Tracy book. Dick and the serial killer Mordred took shelter in the granary during storms and flooding in the Dr. Mordred story, the last to be written by Dick Locher. While Mordred ended up killed by rats at the end of the story, it was a soft death and the door is open for the return of another villain…or it might simply be a place for Junior to find his missing wife Sparkle. We’ll find out soon!
Hopefully fans of the Annie comic strip are reading because Oliver Warbucks, The Asp and Punjab are making a crossover appearance this weekend in the Dick Tracy comic strip! Tracy has been investigating Moon Maid sightings and Oliver Warbucks Lazarus Project might be a clue. Even more exciting, we get to see what might be happening in the world of the cancelled Annie with Warbucks, Asp and Punjab preparing for to search out lost Annie. Warbucks even asked for Tracy’s assistance should their expedition fail!
If you’re feeling a little in the dark on the whole Annie angle, the Little Orphan Annie strip made it’s debut August 5, 1924, rougly seven years before Dick Tracy. Annie was written by Harold Gray until this death in 1968 and was the inspiration of the play and movie by the same name. In the strip, the mop headed little orphan girl is adopted by Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks and goes on many exciting adventures with her dog Sandy. Additional foreign characters joined the strip, including The Asp, Punjab and Mr. Am.
After Gray’s death in 1968 the strip was taken over by artists and writers hired by the Tribune Media Services, the same owners of the Dick Tracy brand. Some artist/writer teams fared better than others but sadly the Annie strip slowly declined popularity and was finally cancelled on June 13, 2010. At the time our little Annie was kidnapped in Guatemala, leaving us with a cliffhanger ending that may never be finished. With a new Annie movie possible in the next couple years, perhaps the Tribune will restart the comic strip, hopefully with a pair of writers as skilled as Dick Tracy’s Mike and Joe!
For an excellent in-depth read on the Little Orphan Annie, check out the Comic Journal’s “The Orphan Epic” article.
Moon Maid ZAPPED Sparkle!! Check out the May 28th strip to see MM (real Moon Maid, clone, someone else brain washed?) zap Sparkle Plenty in a bit of a cat fight over Honeymoon and Junior Tracy. Ok, really it was a sucker punch, Sparkle didn’t even see it coming and neither did we!
It was a fun day and after boarder Dick Tracy yahoo group Willy Carlson coined the assault on Junior’s wife a “Sparkle Zap”, Mike Curtis (DT writer) challenged a digital artist to produce a cereal by the same name. Willy took on the challenge and gave us quite the cover! A whole lot of fun and we have to admit interest in that Mysta doll as well! Check out the yahoo boards on DT for a full sized version.
Dick Tracy’s new foe, the Jumbler was the catalyst for a very cool crossover with the daily Jumble. While we’d love to give you the run down here, we can’t beat Off Topic’d’s cool blog post for the full details.