For the comic strip collectors among you, Volume 15 of Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy series has been released in all it’s hardcover glory. The cover features 3D Magee one of several sociopathic villains introduced during this collections time period, April 19, 1953 to Oct 24, 1954. Like the previous volumes, former Dick Tracy writer Max Allan Collins writes a detailed introduction filled with images of old advertisements for the Dick Tracy comic strip.
In the last volume we were introduced to Odds Zonn, the new Mr. Crime and his daughter Susie who he abandons near the Plenty farm, a cliffhanger ending. B.O. Plenty and Gravel Gertie of course take little Susie in, calling her Little Wingy and are concerned to find she glows in the dark. Little Wingy is suffering radioactive poisoning and Diet Smith asks Dr. Von Nucleus to cure her. Her criminal father’s fate comes to a more tragic end with a bullet to the head and Susie is adopted by the Plenty’s, becoming a sister to young Sparkle Plenty.
Sparkle, a recent addition to the strip has been a marketing hit for Gould, with a very popular Sparkle Plenty doll in stores. Chester may have hoped to repeat this performance with Little Wingy, pairing the two little girls together and putting them in peril when 3D Magee and Pony use their lives (and some lethal ants) to blackmail rich Uncle “Canhead” Plenty. 3D and Pony are clearly sociopaths, willing to kill to achieve their goals and the chase to arrest them lasts for the remainder of 1953. Uncle “Canhead” seems to have filled the role of Vitamin Flintheart in the strip during this time period and a new character Chick Smithly seems like an beta test of a Lizz Worthington like female crime fighter.