Each and every Sunday the first Hall of Fame or Crimestoppers panel of the Dick Tracy comic strip comes courtesy of Jim Doherty. We were surprised to learn Jim’s last official day with the Tracy team was December 31st and want to thank give a big thank you and wish him well in the future. In addition to the weekly Crimestoppers panel, Doherty has served as the police technical adviser for the strip since the start of the Curtis/Staton era in the spring of 2011.
A former officer, Jim has served in law enforcement at local, state and federal levels and is more recently an author of several novels. Jim contributed to the now defunct PLAINCLOTHES website that unexpectedly served as a Dick Tracy audition for Mike Curtis and Joe Staton. During his time with Team Tracy, Sgt. Doherty has been part of winning three Harvey Awards.
On a more personal level, Jim kindly emailed me emailed me shortly after the Dick Tracy Depot began to gain some legs and was more than happy to converse and share some of his Dick Tracy prose. He has penned a pair of historical Dick Tracy articles I was excited to re-post and am still honored to include. His very knowledgeable comments on police procedure and hierarchy on the go-comics forums invariably clarify things for all of us readers. I am informed he is a contributor to the ever-growing Dick Tracy Wikia website, where you can read a far better bio.
While Jim’s time with the Dick Tracy comic has come to an end, there have been enough Crimestoppers submissions to keep his Railroad Police autograph on the Sunday panel for sometime. On behalf of the Dick Tracy Depot, thank you Jim!
One of my favorite things about Dick Tracy research is shining a light on lesser known film, radio and stories. Today I want to shine that spotlight on the Big Little Book, Dick Tracy Encounters Facey. Big Little Books began in 1932 and were published through 1950. After a seventeen year break, Whitman Publishing attempted to revive the series and produced 35 more books between 1967 and 1969. The first book of this new “2000” series was Dick Tracy Encounters Facey, the only Tracy story in the 35 book collection.
Like the BLB’s of earlier decades, the Facey book is small in size so that it can be easily handled by young readers. Selling for 39 cents, it was printed in three runs, each currently valued in the $4/$8/$16 range for Fair/Near Mint/Mint condition. This book is by far the most common Dick Tracy BLB to be found by collectors. Inside is a brand new ten chapter adventure, written by Paul S. Newman and copyrighted by the Chicago Tribune. Accompanying each page of the youth novel is a color Dick Tracy panel. The story itself is accurate to Gould’s 60’s era Tracy cast and has well done and accurate illustrations.
I have a confession that will surprise no one. I am a huge Ralph Byrd fan. Oh I wasn’t originally, but in my endeavors to learn everything there is to learn about Dick Tracy I quickly came upon the Dick Tracy Serials, Movies and Television all starring Ralph Byrd. I watched and collected everything I could find, I edited video, cleaned footage (to the best of my untrained eye) and documented each chapter of the adventure. I saw a lot of Ralph Byrd, and when I think of Tracy on film, I see Mr. Byrd in my mind’s eye.
So I’m excited to see a character honoring both Ralph Byrd and fellow Tracy portraying actor, Morgan Conway in today’s strip. I’ve seen Conway in his two movies as well, and there is nothing wrong with his performance. Chester Gould himself preferred Conway to Byrd, but Ralph is still Dick Tracy in my heart. I’ve been sitting on this biography for a while now, and I feel today is a good day to let it out.
Tracy and comic fans near Conway, Arkansas, this weekend, November 13th through the 15th, is ComiCon-way and will be your last chance to catch both Joe Staton and Mike Curtis together in 2015. You can expect at least one if not both to be in Dick Tracy garb and handing out their Dick Tracy Meets the Film Pirates comic featuring the first Silver and Sprocket Nitrate story! The Depot has gotten our greedy hands on one and it’s awesome!
The ComiCon-way is free admission so there’s no excuse, if your neighborhood you should stop by and tell the boys hello!
Update: Inker and Letterer extraordinaire Shelley Pleger will be at the Eugene Comic Con in Oregon with her husband Terry and they will have additional copies of Dick Tracy Meets the Film Pirates. Thanks for letting us know Terry, Oregon you’re up!