Wednesday, May 14, 2014

BOOK REVIEW! THE COMPLETE DICK TRACY VOLUME 16: 1954-56 by Chester Gould (IDW 2014)

Now that we're heading into the mid-fifties, I guess we got at least another good ten years of action-drenched episodes of  DICK TRACYs to look forward to. Well, maybe even more because frankly I recall enjoying Chez Gould's creation right up to the end of his 1977 run even if I only had the Sunday strips to go by at the time (local paper scared silly by the claims that TRACY was responsible for everything from the Kennedy assassination to inner city bloodshed happening a few thousand miles away). But for many the Moon episodes were way beyond the pale even for a strip that was pushing the boundaries of "believability" for quite some time, and  quite often the early-seventies Law 'n Order message tended to overcome the grotesque crime stories that a suburban slob such as I certainly went for. And yeah I know that Gould was a proud purveyor of the Silent Majority way o' living'n all, but he shoulda at least known enough to pump out that good ol' GRISLY stuff that I sure needed back when I was being inundated with that peace 'n love shuck 'n jive that certainly did a number on more'n a few knuckleheads out there!

At least in the mid-fifties a good portion of our entertainment dollar was still runnin' on good wholesome All-Amerigan blood and murder, and of course we get more'n our share of it in volume 16 of this crucial series reprinting all of those great DICK TRACY strips that helped more'n a few suburban slob kids make their way through growing up on depression-era wages and ultra rigid upbringings. The Rughead saga continues in its own middling way before giving way to the grand return of the infamous Mumbles who we all thought had drowned way back '47 way, he now a rhumba singer taking care of these wild kids for an octogenarian millionaire health nut.

After Mumbles is efficiently dispatched to the netherworld comes yet another classic Tracy villain in the 467 pound form of Oodles, whom you may remember from the old DICK TRACY cartoons where he was often paired with The Brow with the legendary Joe Jitsu hot on the pursuit. The introduction of "Lizz" into the storyline soon pops up right around the time we're introduced to teenage hoodlum Joe Period (I'd hate to know what kind of razzing his sister might have gotten, like if she ever missed her last name!*) and ultimately one of the best TRACY storylines of the fifties, the Flattop Jr. episode. But that's gonna hafta wait until volume 17 before it reaches its shocking, and supernatural, conclusion!

Yet another fine slice of classic mid-Amerigan fun and jamz that should satisfy any pimplefarm who usedta spread out on the living room floor and read the funnies as part of his daily doodies. And frankly, if you are one fellow who upped snoot at such "base" chicanery as DICK TRACY as well as all of those other comics, tee-vee shows and records that made me the stellar bastion of suburban slime that I am well, frankly I don't wanna have anything to do with you or your cultured ilk! Get lost, willya? ............pleeze?????

*a variation on a gag that closed out last weekend's post true---hey, I can't space 'em all out so's they come off sounding fresh!

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