Sparkle Plenty

Sparkle Plenty Tracy first appeared in the series as an extremely beautiful baby born from the genes of two homely looking parents, Gravel Gertie and B.O. Plenty. Immediately the world fell in love with her. Her picture made the cover of practically every newspaper in the country including local magazine Glance. At the tender age of two, Sparkle was already talking and doing chores at her house at Sunny Dell Acres. A soda company decided to take advantage of Sparkle’s fame and named their product after her without permission. B.O. and Gertie resolved that problem and started selling the officially licensed product. Tess Tracy who was now the head of a professional photography studio convinced client Talcum Freely (a baby clothing designer) to have Sparkle be the child for the campaign. Freely had a hard time with Gertie and B.O., especially when he wanted to cut off her long flowing beautiful hair so that the dress would show. Freely of course didn’t take this action but wanted nothing to do with the parents. Freely was found murdered in his mansion and B.O. fled fearing that he would be the prime suspect (the murder was actually committed by Sketch Paree, a rival clothing designer). Gertie and Sparkle were devastated and wanted B.O. back.

Gertie had been teaching Sparkle how to play the mandolin and how to sing, and B.O. entered her in a talent competition on TV, Sparkle was once again a major hit and sweetheart of the limelight. After she met with success, Dick Tracy recommended that his old friend, actor Vitamin Flintheart become Sparkle’s agent (as of 1984, he was still the agent of a grown up and married Sparkle). Sparkle would gain a new little sister in the following year, the abandoned daughter of criminal Odds Zonn, Susie was taken in by the Plentys and renamed Little Wings (for her wing-like hairstyle). Sparkle noticed that Wingy glowed in the dark and thought that she was a real angel, but this was actually just a side effect of her exposure to toxic materials. When Tess Trueheart Tracy gave birth to daughter Bonnie Braids, Sparkle gained a new friend and Bonnie gained a big sister figure.

When the Tracys and the Plentys took a vacation to the lake in the North Woods, Tracy took Bonnie and Sparkle on a motor boat ride when all of a sudden, Tracy was shot and fell over the side of the boat. Sparkle had to take control of the boat but had a hard time steering, being that she was still only a little kid. It turned out that Tracy was shot by a young man named Tonsils who was a pop singer, and Tracy would make a full recovery. During her adolescence, Sparkle gained quite a lot of weight (known as her “fat” period). During this time she was merely a background character. She quickly lost it and was her thin self, but had begun another weird turning point in her life. Sparkle’s cousin Vera Alldid when she was in her teens fell in love with her and got married to her. Nevertheless, Vera grew self-absorbed with his success as a cartoonist and craved money and women. Vera fled to Mexico to file for divorce, which devastated poor Sparkle. Lizz, who was now good friends with Sparkle tried her best to console her and when B.O. told her she couldn’t move back and said he had no daughter, Lizz let Sparkle stay with her.

At that exact time, Dick Tracy’s first major enemy Big Boy Caprice was dying and as his last wish put out a Million dollar open contract on Tracy’s life. After the death of Junior’s wife Moon Maid (Sparkle was one of the mourners at the funeral along with her estranged parents). The Apparatus nationwide crime syndicate (whom Big Boy was a former member of) countered his contract with a second on anyone who killed or attempted to kill Tracy (this was brought on by Tracy taking over the PD’s Organized Crime Unit and declaring open war for what was thought to be their own contract on him, after Moon Maid was accidentally murdered). Big Boy found a man who would be willing to collect on his contract and dodge the Apparatus’s counter contract. That man was Johnny Snow aka The Iceman. Sparkle, still having difficulty bouncing back from her divorce accompanied Lizz and her boyfriend and fellow cop Groovy Grove to a Disco where Sparkle met a disguised Iceman (calling himself Johnny Winter) and both of them fell in love.

Snow was using Sparkle to have an excuse to spy on Tracy’s home, Sparkle was at the time Tracy’s cleaning maid while Tess and Honey were in California under Vitamin’s protection. Snow came calling on Sparkle one night while she was at Tracy’s, and chloroformed her and tied her up in a closet. Sparkle managed to wake up and get out of the loosely tied ropes. She turned on the light and saw Johnny and Tracy pointing guns at each other about to shoot it out. Sparkle tried to get Johnny to stop but he jumped out the window behind him, Tracy shot him, but accidentally mortally wounded him. As Snow was rushed to the hospital, Sparkle insisted on riding in the ambulance with him. After giving up what he knew about the Hotel Murder and the crooked cop who hired him to kill him, Johnny begged to see Sparkle. With his last dying breath, Johnny begged Sparkle to forgive him. Sparkle knew that he loved her for the fact that he could have shot her or used her as a hostage but didn’t. After Johnny was buried, Sparkle asked B.O. if she could come home, B.O. swallowed his pride and tearfully welcomed his beloved daughter back.

A little while after that, Sparkle was nearly killed by a man named Pushy Pointer. For a while, Sparkle was in a coma and Junior was at her side the whole time. Sparkle managed to pull through and pushy was arrested while in his own hospital bed. Later that year, Junior and Sparkle were married, with all their friends and family present including Bonnie who flew in from Washington state and a grown up Wingy. Also in attendance were three of Tracy’s reformed enemies; Influence, the Mole and Pearshape. Unknown to anyone though Angeltop Jones, daughter of Flattop planted a bomb in the church basement that was due to go off during the ceremony. Her boyfriend, the Brow’s Son freed Lizz whom Angeltop had kidnapped a few weeks prior so that she could warn everyone. She arrived just as Junior and Sparkle cut the wedding cake. The church was evacuated and the bomb was defused with Angeltop subsequently in custody.

Sparkle quickly adjusted to married life and adopted Honey Moon as her own daughter. When friends of Junior’s moved in next door (the Wheelers) Sparkle was concerned about their oldest son having a criminal record (small time and the kid changed) and had misgivings about Honey and her new friends starting their own crimestoppers club (just like what Junior started when he was Honey’s age). Sparkle had her own line of designer jeans and was the spokesgirl, with Vitamin Flintheart once again as her agent. Sparkle was dissatisfied with the nature of the commercial after the final cut (making her look one-dimensional). The fact that Sparkle was given a pair of counterfeit jeans on the street after she and Vitamin rammed the truck of one of the counterfeiting ring’s top men, Sparkle was instrumental in helping to close in on the organization.

In 1988 Sparkle gave birth to a little girl who looked just like Sparkle did when she was a born and the child was named Sparkle Plenty Jr.  She was called Jewel for short.  Jewel and Sparkle appeared occasionally in the strip, but not in any major way for a number of years but have experienced a rebirth in 2011.  When the criminal Measles came crashing down the door at Sunny Dell Acres looking for revenge on Gertie, Sparkle helped her mother fight the fiend off until Dick Tracy arrived.

Gravel Gertie, Sparkle and Jewel later formed a musical act, “The Sounds O’ Plenty”, and are the main performers on the Montana Joe radio show.  During this time, a Lunarian woman looking like and believing she was Mysta “Moon Maid” Tracy (Junior’s first wife) was cloned/brought back to life (currently unclear).  This new Mysta began stalking Sparkle at the radio show, believing she had stolen her husband and daughter Honeymoon.  Mysta zapped Sparkle with her powers, rendering Sparkle unconscious and when she awoke she had amnesia.

SparkleZap2

Sparkle crawled in to the back of George Wheaton’s pickup truck and when she was discovered at the Wheaton farm George and his daughter Nellie took the girl under their wing until she could remember who she was.  Sparkle latched on to the name Gertie and took that as her name.  Finally Junior and Honeymoon by chance found Sparkle on the farm and called the whole family together and Sparkle’s memory joyously returned.

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