In the 1950’s Harvey Comics reprinted the Chester Gould comic strip in comic book form. The Tracy comics also utilized a filler called MINIT MYSTERIES. In them, Tracy or another fictional detective would solve a crime on one page, while the reader tried to guess who was guilty first.
On Sunday November 19, we present our first DICK TRACY MINIT MYSTERY, as the reader is given the same clues as Tracy and has one week to solve the crime. And each Minit Mystery features the work of a guest artist.
CHARLES ETTINGER is out first Minit Mystery Guest Artist. He has ghosted work at DC, Marvel and Dark Horse, and is currently working on a Superhero parody comic called THE TOWN OF SKYWARD.
Our first Minit Mystery takes place in DICK TRACY from Sunday November 19 through Sunday November 26. The next Minit Mystery will take place in Spring 2018.
…we at the Depot are excited about this fun idea. To give you a taste of the the original Minute Mysteries, here’s a sample from Dick Tracy #25, March 1950.
I don’t have much to say yet, but after today’s strip, June 11, 2015 I’d thought you might like to see a portion of a Sunday from 50 years ago. Ray T. and Willy 007’s insights in the comments section of the above GoComics link do my job for me. Now I’ll wait to see how this all plays out!
With the Billion Dollars Limited train carrying the gold reserves of an entire small country scheduled to pass through Dick Tracy’s city I thought it only fitting to link the below Billion Dollars Limited Superman cartoon that Team Tracy is honoring. While I don’t know for certain, I have no doubt this story came out of Mike Curtis’s love of all things Superman.
This cartoon was the third of seventeen animated Technicolor short films featuring DC Comics Superman. This particular story centers around a train carrying one billion dollars in gold to the US mint, which is sabotages by robbers before Superman intervenes. The plot is beginning to sound vaguely familiar! This nine minute cartoon was released by Paramount Pictures in 1942 and can be watched below.
With Halloween right around the corner it’s time to get Gruesome! Mike Curtis has teased us with Dick Tracy’s fall enemy, the fearsome 1947 film foe Gruesome. Like Cueball before him, Gruesome’s comic strip introduction is occurring six and a half decades after his 1947 film debut and we excited to see him added to the comic strip canon.
So who is Gruesome? RKO Pictures created 4 Dick Tracy movies between 1945 and 1947, Dick Tracy Detective, Dick Tracy vs. Cueball, Dick Tracy’s Dilemma and finally Dick Tracy meets Gruesome. This last film was the most star-studded, with horror genre star Boris Karloff (of Frankenstein fame) playing the role of Gruesome against Ralph Byrd’s Dick Tracy. Karloff was so well-known in 1947 that his villain role was promoted more than that of the hero.
In this Dick Tracy classic which you can watch below, the stern-faced Gruesome is a cold-hearted ex-con who stumbles upon a poison gas designed to freeze individuals in place. Gruesome is initially exposed to the gas and thought dead, leading to a classic Karloff moment when Gruesome awakens like a zombie in the city morgue, much to the surprise of Pat Patton. Gruesome and an accomplice use the gas in a daring daylight bank robbery, which goes off perfectly except for witness Tess Trueheart who hid in a sealed phone booth.
Tracy and Pat Patton investigate the heist and gas, relating it to the disappearance of a scientist named Dr. A. Tomic. These names are very Gouldian, with A. Tomic’s associate Dr. I.M. Learned either helping or hindering the investigation. The movie toys with several horror themes during their detective work, an example being Pat Patton’s nervous search of a taxidermist shop. Yet, the movie pokes fun at itself and the horror genre with Tracy commenting that this Gruesome fellow feels like a character out of a Boris Karloff film.
While Tracy and Patton’s investigation closes in on the bank robbers, Gruesome plays his role with cold malevolence as he silences those who might lead Tracy to him. Of course Tracy eventually does still track Gruesome down and they face off in a well done battle complete with a conveyor belt feeding a red-hot furnace. I’ll not reveal if Karloff’s villain ends up in flames like so many of his other monstrous roles. For now, we’ve only gotten our first peek at Curtis’s Gruesome and it will be interesting to see what traits of the character will remain, if any at all!
Helping out Mike Curtis
My friend, Dick Tracy writer Mike Curtis is having health problems. As many know, hospital tests and treatment costs are sky high and Mike is asking for help. Please visit Mike’s GoFundMe Page. to find out more and contribute if you can. Thank you!