Movies & TV / Columns

Comics 411: Is Dick Tracy Still Relevant?

May 23, 2018 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Dick Tracy

I’m Steve Gustafson and thanks for stopping by. Don’t forget to check out 411mania’s Comic Book Review Roundtable, every Thursday! Read up on the best reviews and let us know what you’re reading as well. Click to read the latest Comic Book Review Roundtable! Justice League: No Justice #1, Swing #1, and more!

Now, on with the show!

Last week we discussed Best Supervillain Group! Here’s what some of you had to say:

Gold Any Ranger: “The best villain team doesn’t come from the comics, but from Saturday Mornings. The Legion of Doom. And I don’t mean Hawk and Animal. Luthor, Riddler, Brainiac, Bizarro, Scarecrow, Sinestro, Grodd, Captain Cold, Solomon Grundy, Black Manta, Toyman, Cheetah and Giganta, all hanging out in a mobile fortress, hidden in a swamp.”

Bop: “My fave would be the Wrecking Crew, but they are always jobbing big time.

The Masters Of Evil who beat the shit out of Jarvis and made Captain America watch was also a fave.

Ig’nea’s squad from L.E.G.I.O.N. 89 was also a fave.”

Diet Feather with NutraSprite: “Cobra

Who else has a weather dominator?”

prowriter: “The Four from Planetary.”

Donald R. Maust: “I have to go with Flash’s Rogues, if only for Pied Piper’s response to Darkseid.”

Reginald Fisterbottom: “As a young chap, the comic book that captured my imagination and lead to a life-long joy of sequential art was The New Teen Titans by the legendary duo of Marv Wolfman and George Pérez. In the parade of memorable foes created by W&P to challenge the mettle of our heroes such as Trigon, Brother Blood and the Terminator (I refuse to refer to the character as “Deathstroke”… James Cameron can affix his lips to my posterior… Slade Wilson was the first, BEST Terminator) my favorite was the Fearsome Five.

Eternal Justice League of America whipping boy Dr. Light organized four never-before-seen reprobates (Psimon, Mammoth, Shimmer and Gizmo) in an effort to gain revenge upon JLA. Light’s objective was to murder the newly re-formed team of former sidekicks to deal a devastating emotional blow to the League. It culminated in an epic battle within Titans’ Tower! Needless to say, The contingent of nefarious ne’er-do-wells’ hatred shifted focus to the Titans permanently.

I particularly enjoyed Dr. Light and Psimon continually trying to ousting each other as leader.

NOSTALGIA!”

armchair theologian: “Decepticons.”

SaintOrleans: “…these team lineups haven’t been accurate in twenty years. Luthor’s Injustice Gang was three reboots ago.

Plus, no mention of the Masters conversion to Thunderbolts? Or the Injustice Society of the World?”

El Atomico: “I clicked hoping to see the Serpent society (thank you!) but was pleasantly surprised to see Flash’s Rogues here. They were so gloriously cheesy and fun, they’d be saying puns like Mirror Master going “After much reflection…”, and such.
Wasn’t there an evil Zodiac team? I remember Leo had a Wolverine-type gimmick, with claws, while Aquarius used pressurized water or something.
another great column, Gusto, thank you!”

To read ALL the comments from the column, CLICK HERE! As always, thanks for the input!

This week we discuss…

Dick Tracy and Golden Age Characters!

Dick Tracy. Some of you might remember his adventures fondly while growing up. Others will remember his 1990 movie starring Warren Beatty. And more than a few of you will scratch your head and say, “Who?”

Dick Tracy has been around since 1931. A hard-nosed, smart police detective created by Chester Gould, his exploits still have a home in newspapers today.

Now word comes out that Dick Tracy is being rebooted for a new 2019 original graphic novel from comic strip alum Richard Pietrzyk and Hermes Press. The book will be set in the 1940s and Pietrzyk’s story is based in part on conversations he had with Gould during the late cartoonist’s later years.

“One of the things about the graphic novel – what I want to bring into the story of the graphic novel is a few of the ideas and stories that I brainstormed with Chester,” Pietrzyk said. “In a sense, he’s going to have a finger in this book. Every time I showed up at his house we’d go over characters, and I showed him some 40 characters over the years. Some of those characters will appear in this graphic novel, and some of those story ideas will be used as well. I kicked around a lot of things with him that I hope to use in the novel. I’m very excited and ready to get started!”

Reboots, remakes, re-imaginings, restarts, and recycled ideas are nothing new and everyone is trying to get a piece of the nostalgia money.

The vast majority of projects that come out that feature Golden Age or characters really attached to a certain time tend to cater to a very niche demographic and the quality isn’t always the best.

Then you have things like Project Superpowers from Dynamite Entertainment and see the potential these characters have. The series resurrected a number of Golden Age superheroes that were originally published by companies like Fox Comics, Crestwood Publications, and Nedor Comics, and many of whom are in the public domain.

We also get rumors that tout the return of a hugely popular character from back in the day but never come to fruition. Doc Savage has been the subject of different types of comebacks for years. Shane Black is set to direct the Doc Savage project and is pulling in Dwayne Johnson to do it with. Will it get made? We’ll see.

I used Dick Tracy to springboard into nostalgia and Golden Age characters because he’s a good example. Is he still relevant or can he be replaced by any number of more recent, similar characters? Can he ever be “cool” to kids today?

What’s your thought on Golden Age characters and their place in modern times?

That’s all the time I have. Check out our Comic Book Reviews tomorrow and see you next week!