RARA-AVIS: Re: speaking of hardboiled comics . . .

From: JIM DOHERTY ( jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 30 Oct 2007


Re your question below:

"Mention of SIN CITY started it, but Eisner's SPIRIT has also come up. What do you all think about DICK TRACY (I've got CELEBRATED CASES OF on the way right now!)?"

Funny you should mention that. As I've mentioned once or twice here, I write a column on hard-boiled and noir crime fiction called "I Like 'Em Tough" for the on-line magazine MYSTERICAL-E. My most recent two columns were devoted to Tracy. The first one, "75 Years of Continuous Crime-Stopping," can be found here:


It deals with the TRACY comic strip and its importance, not just to the comics medium, but to the entire mystery genre, and particularly to hard-boiled crime fiction.

I'll warn you that it's kinda long, so you might want to print it out and read it at you leisure rather than read it at your screen.

Interestingly, given the recent off-shoot of this discussion of hard-boiled comics regarding whether or not comics translate well into prose, the most recent
"ILET" column, "75 Years of Continuous Crime-Stopping, Part Two," available here:


is about Tracy's appearances over the years in novels and short stories.

This seems like a good time to mention that, for any of you living in the Chicago area, I'll be teaching a course about Dick Tracy as a character in the movies this January at Oakton Community College.

FWIW, I think you might find THE CELEBRATED CASES OF DICK TRACY something of a disappointment. The stories included are pretty good, but the publishers only printed the daily strips. The Sunday strips were excluded, which meant that there were huge gaps in the plot.

You might find more satisfaction with the 1990 collection, THE DICK TRACY CASEBOOK, the 1992 follow-up, DICK TRACY'S FIENDISH FOES, or the recent series of reprints put out by Idea & Design Works, THE COMPLETE CHESTER GOULD'S DICK TRACY, an ambitious project to reprint, at the rate of three or four volumes a year, every single TRACY strip Chester Gould ever did from 1931 to 1977.

Info about the IDW series can be found here:


Dick Tracy is a pivotal character in our particular sub-genre of mystery. Carroll John Daly and Dashiell Hammett may have created the hard-boiled detective, but the visual image we associate with that figure, tall, trim, taciturn, and trench-coated, all under a snap-brim fedora, comes to us courtesy of a visual artist named Chester Gould.


__________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around http://mail.yahoo.com

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 30 Oct 2007 EDT