Sunday, September 17, 2017

Pappy’s Sunday Supplement #13: Dick Tracy gets Mumps

In the late 1940s Dell Comics, licensed to publish reprints of various newspaper comics, went to original material. For Dick Tracy Monthly, it happened with issue #19 (1949), which I am showing today.

It was a short run; the lifespan of Dell’s original Dick Tracy stories lasted five issues. With issue #25 (1950), Harvey Comics took up the license. I have never heard whether switching their comic book licensee was a decision made by Dell, or by the Chicago Tribune, which had the rights to Tracy, or even Chester Gould, who created Dick Tracy and with his assistants drew the daily and Sunday comic strip until his retirement. Gould’s name isn’t anywhere to be found in this issue, whereas he got a biography on the inside front cover of the first Harvey issue (which also began a reprint of the famous Flattop saga).

I don’t believe Gould had much to do with this story. There may have been assistants from his studio who worked on it, but frankly, the story seems more an imitation than genuine Gould. 

The five issues of original material from Dell stayed with the main Dick Tracy themes, Tracy and his pal Sam chase down murderers, get into death traps, then find their way out, and ultimately the villain comes to a bad end. And not in a courtroom. They didn’t feature other characters like Junior or Tess, but the back of the book was devoted to the Plenty family, B.O., Gravel Gertie and their daughter, Sparkle Plenty.

P.S. The villain of the piece, Mumps, doesn’t look to me like a guy with mumps, but more like U.S. right-wing radio commentator, Rush Limbaugh. Just saying.

1 comment:

Gene Phillips said...

Thanks for printing this. It's more of a curiosity than anything, but it's the sort of thing the Net is good for finding, as no one would ever be likely to collect this stuff into a DICK TRACY book.