Imagine if you will a theme park set in the 1930’s Chicago, with all the warehouses, streets, cars and trappings of the gang land we’ve come to expect from the era. You race through the streets in your vehicle, using your tommy gun to battle villainous gangsters like Flattop and Itchy who are working for Big Boy Caprice. Bullets fly an errant burst sends the lids of nearby trash cans flying through the air. This was the vision of Disney’s Dick Tracy Theme Park, the park that never was.
Congratulations to Mike Curtis and Joe Staton, who have been nominated for a 2013 Harvey Award, which is a leading comic award (a successor to the Kirby Awards) and will be presented at the Baltimore Comic-Con. The awards recognize outstanding work in comics and sequential art and are named in honor of the late Harvey Kurtzman (1924-1993), one of the comic industry’s most innovative talents.
Mike and Joe have been nominated in the “Best Syndicated Strip or Panel” category. Nominations are chosen by and voted on by other comic book professionals (i.e. those who write, draw, ink, letter, color, design, edit and otherwise create), meaning the honors are given out, not by fans, but by peers in industry.
The full list of nominees for “Best Syndicated Strip or Panel” are,
- Cul De Sac, Richard Thompson, Universal Press Syndicate
- Dick Tracy, Joe Staton and Mike Curtis, Tribune Media Services
- Get Fuzzy, Darby Conley, United Feature Syndicate
- Mutts, Patrick McDonnell, King Features
- Pearls Before Swine, Stephen Pastis, United Feature Syndicate
Balloting will continue until Monday, August 19th and we are the Depot are of course rooting for Mike and Joe but there is some stiff competition. Mutts has won seven times in the last 14 years and Cul De Sac won last year. Winners will be revealed on September, 7, 2013 at the Baltimore Comic-Con.
Good Luck Mike & Joe!
Hey all, if you have the time, take a stroll on over to Sam Tweedle’s Confessions of a Pop Culture Addict where Sam interviews Dick Tracy writer Mike Curtis. It’s a great interview with some very detailed answers by Mike with a great deal of focus placed on the current return of Moon Maid plot line. The interview teases us with upcoming stories including a possible appearance by Gordon Tracy (a brother and key player in the first Dick Tracy serial). As collectors of all things Tracy on the Depot, we are super excited about these developments!
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.
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.