Supporting our friend Mike

Mike Curtis and Chowderhead

When I first started the Depot I was illegitimate. Documenting old stories, making lists of characters and using panel art, secure in my opinion I was lost on page 100 of most search algorithms. So my stomach dropped like a brick when I received a “To whom it may concern…” email from the TMS licensing department. To my amazement, it wasn’t a bad email. Instead I was told the current Dick Tracy creators had came across my little website. Praising me for enthusiasm, TMS granted permission to continue with some very minor legalize at the bottom of the page. I was (and still am) thrilled and I know I have Mike Curtis to thank for it.

How do I know? Three days after that heart-dropping email I received another email, this time from Mr. Curtis. “Hi, Joe and Hilarie are on their way home from the convention and took pix at the DT statue with Jim Brozman and Dick Locher. I asked him to send you the pictures when they return. Take care, – Mike” Yes, yes, yes I’m sure I replied.

Since that day six years ago, Mike has consistently kept me abreast with Dick Tracy news, dropping crossover teasers, convention notes and so much more. And I’m not the only one. Following various Dick Tracy groups, I see Mike interacting with all of them. Always friendly, always sharing. Take the Dick Tracy free comics for example. Not everyone can make a convention. Mike takes the time to personally make their day, sending comics to any who ask. As someone who’s done wedding invitations, that can take a lot of time!

Call to Action

Currently, my friend, our friend, Mike Curtis is having a serious health problem. He has been diagnosed with a brain aneurysm. The doctors don’t know everything yet, but what is known is that tests (and now more invasive tests) are expensive. Mike could use some help with those costs, he has said as much. Comic writers, Joe Staton unfortunately informed us, are not covered by Detective Tracy’s health plan.

A GoFundMe Page has been set up to help Mike out. If you can make a donation, or even if you are just wanting to support in spirit, I ask you to visit the page and see how things are going. Every little bit we do can help relieve some of the stress.

Thanks for reading,
Jeremy @ the Depot

2018 Dick Tracy / Green Hornet Crossover!

Mike Curtis and Joe Staton have graciously leaked promotional artwork for the 2018 Dick Tracy crossover and we couldn’t be more ecstatic to announce that Tracy will be meeting The Green Hornet!  

Born as an adventuresome radio drama in 1936, masked crime fighter, The Green Hornet has a rise to fame very similar to Tracy himself.  From “birth” the Hornet franchise branched out from radio to comic books, serials, movies and television.   While the various incarnations of the Green Hornet change in details, in most versions the Green Hornet is the alter ego of Britt Reid, wealthy young publisher of the Daily Sentinel newspaper by day. But by night, clad in a long green overcoat, gloves, green fedora hat and green mask, Reid fights crime as the a mysterious vigilante and is often accompanied by his masked partner and confidant, Kato, who drives their technologically advanced car, the “Black Beauty”.  

Unlike previous “team-up” crossovers (see Annie and The Spirit), the artwork is quick to point out that this is not a team up!  What that means could be open to a lot of fun interpretation.  Will Tracy and the Hornet be at odds?  Or is Mike simply saying that the crossover will be fairly short?   Regardless of the answer, we will say, Curtis and Staton handle these crossovers masterfully, no matter the length.  They seem to effortlessly merge these different comic entities into the Tracy universe with engrossing writing and skillful artwork that stays true to both comics.  We can’t wait for April!

Dick Locher Passes

I have some sad news to pass on today, I’m afraid. Long time Dick Tracy artist, writer and comic strip shepherd Dick Locher passed away due to complications from Parkinson’s disease at the age of 88. Starting as an inker for Chester Gould in 1957, Mr. Locher was a talented editorial cartoonist for the Tribune who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1983 for his work on Ronald Reagan. That same year he came back to draw Dick Tracy after the death of artist Rick Fletcher. Dick Locher’s dedicated work on Tracy expanded to include story writing and he kept the strip in crime fighting shape for nearly three decades before his retirement in 2011.

His obituary can be read here on the Chicago Tribune.

Dick Tracy to meet the Spirit

tracyandspiritThe Baltimore Comic-Con has come and gone, leaving us excitedly looking ahead to the next Dick Tracy crossover!  With all four members in attendance (handing this out!), the Dick Tracy creative team unveiled the awesome poster to the left, teasing an incredible future meeting with The Spirit!  Coordinating and getting permissions for these crossovers is no doubt a exhaustive effort and credit to Mike for making these things happen!

“So”, some of you might be asking, “I know the name, but who is the Spirit?”  The Spirit was created by Will Eisner at the behest of newspapers looking to get in on the emerging comic book market in 1940.  Eisner’s new crime fighter was a 7-8 page comic insert inside of newspapers called “The Spirit Section”.  The artwork and writing for these comics was top notch but due to specialized printing requirements and costs, the Spirit was only carried by a select group of newspapers.

thespiritsectionThe Spirit himself was a young detective by name of Danny Colt who was presumed killed in the first pages of the premiere story but awakens from suspended animation (for reasons) in the Wildwood Cemetery where he establishes a base and begins fighting crime while wearing a small domino mask and fedora hat.

Originating but not tied to his home city, the Spirit’s adventures took him around the globe where he met all manner of upper and lower class citizens, bringing his own form of justice to all of them.  The story style and tone frequently changed as Eisner’s interests led him to explore different genres but certain themes remained constant: the love between him and Ellen, the annual “Christmas Spirit” stories and his arch-nemesis, the Octopus, a criminal master of disguise.  According to Eisner,

“When I created The Spirit, I never had any intention of creating a superhero. I never felt The Spirit would dominate the feature. He served as a sort of an identity for the strip. The stories were what I was interested in.”

The Spirit slid away into the night around 1952 although comic reprints are common.  In any case, I’ll stop regurgitating Spirit information you can probably find on Wikipedia.  The exciting part is the Spirit and Dick Tracy will be meeting this coming January!  It will be very interesting to see what foe (foes?) the pair will match wits with and how deep the crossover goes.  Will we get a Fearless Fosdick style mini-story or a full on Little Orphan Annie length crossover?  I’d wager somewhere in between, but we’ll find out together!

When Chins Collide!

ChinsCollide

Teaser poster by Shane Fisher, courtesy of Mike Curtis. (Facebook)

He’s been copied honored by Vera Alldid as Dick Tracy parody J Straightedge Trustworthy.  He’s been mentioned in passing once twice probably at least three times by struggling comic strip writer Vera Alldid.  To many, or Mr. Alldid at least, he’s great in ways that Dick Tracy could only wish.  Now, straight from the crossover loving mind of the man himself (Mr. Curtis), the one and only Fearless Fosdick is on his way this summer!

Alldid better have his autograph book.  We can’t wait to see how this plays out.

Wait, what’s a Fosdick?  Time to drop a little Fearless knowledge.

Al Capp, well-known creator of Li’L Abner and all around hilarious satirist created the famous Dick Tracy parody, Fearless Fosdick roughly 74 years ago as Li’l Abner’s favorite comic crime fighter and “ideel” role model.  Fosdick first appeared in 1942 and was promptly shot. Fosdick could not be bothered by “mere scratches” however, and reported back to his corrupt Chief and over the next decade went on to battle an absurd succession of Dick Tracy-esque enemies like Rattop, Bombface, the Chippendale Chair and Sidney the Crooked Parrot.

FearlessFosdickIn addition to battling villains, Fosdick maintained a rich love life with a perpetual 17 year engagement to his very own Tess Trueheart, here named Prudence Pimpleton.  Unlike Tracy, Fosdick would never marry. Fosdick’s crime-fighting style was incredibly violent, excessive and dedicated to the extreme. Drawn wearing suit and cap with a razor-sharp jawbone, Fosdick was according to his creator, “pure, underpaid, purposeful” and of notorious bad aim.  “When Fosdick is after a law-breaker, there is no escape for the miscreant,” Capp wrote in 1956.  “There is, however, a fighting chance to escape for hundreds of innocent bystanders who happen to be in the neighborhood – but only a fighting chance.  Fosdick’s duty, as he sees it, is not so much to maintain safety as to destroy crime.”  A prime example of this is “The Case of the Poisoned Beans”, wherein Fearless Fosdick proceeds to slaughter dozens of citizens to protect them from consuming tainted beans.  You can read 20 full pages of the Poisoned Bean case here.

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