Thursday, February 02, 2017


Well it's here folks, the volume of the ongoing DICK TRACY reprint saga that features the strips that all of those upper crust comic aficionado types hate with a loathing but a doof such as I adore, the ones which furthered the science fiction element of the strip what with the introduction of not only Diet Smith's "Space Coupe" but the extraterrestrial wowzer of an alien, none other'n Moon Maid! Well, not exactly the Coupe itself which was more or less an outgrowth of the two-way wrist radio and atomic camera aspects of the strip dating back to the forties and still within the frame of "classic" TRACY realm believable-ness, but mention Moon Maid to some of these old time TRACY fans and watch 'em act even more aggreviated'n some of those people who voted for Hillary ever could!

Yeah I can see how some of them TRACY old-timers who were with the strip since the beginning woulda considered the whole Moon Maid segment a li'l TOO outta place especially for a strip that featured such illustrious and oh-so-real life villains as Prune Face, Fly Face and of course Oodles. After all, my own dad has often told me that he was a big growin' up fan of ALLEY OOP until the time travel aspects were tossed in making the strip all but readable for him. Well, that and the way OOP was always trying to cash in on some sorta current cultural happening such as love children and disco in a vain attempt to be hip if still rooted in the thirties cartoon tradition.

But for me, this period of TRACY was the one I remember growing up with, with not-so-tubboid me trying to have my dad read 'em to me despite the fact that it was all over my head (I sure loved the animated cartoons with Joe Jitsu and Go Go Gomez that were running on THE BARNEY BEAN SHOW at the time), and memories of Moon Maid, space travel and two-way wrist tee-vees were just as much as part of my late-turdler/kiddiegarden years as the Beatles, Cap'n Crunch and  OZZIE AND HARRIET!

Before Moon Maid ushered in the mid-sixties wildness that preceded the late-sixties law 'n order miasma (or so I'm told...future volumes will tell the tale and I get the feeling that the experts are gonna be wrong again!) there was some pretty hot TRACY action to behold. First off Diet Smith's brand-spanking-new Space Coupe gets hijacked by the leader of a secret society of bad boys called the 52 Gang who use it to send enemies into the vastness of space! After the entire gang is wiped out by a napalm attack (!) in a particularly gruesome sequence (with the Queen of Spades putting up a valiant counterattack machine-gunning those who want to surrender) Junior is kidnapped by the brother and daughter of some guy who was sent to the chair based on the frizzed one's very own police sketch! I particularly liked the part where Junior, wrapped up tighter 'n a snug bug inna rug, tries to make "Thistle Dew" set him free after getting some of her long tresses into his jaws and tugging away!

Afterwards comes the saga of the Pallete Brothers, identical mustachioed twins who operate a heroin smuggling racket outta a hollowed out mountain where they not only keep a chimpanzee (if that's what it is...the thing looks nothing like the more realistic chimps who appeared in last volume's "Brush" story) but work under the guise of restoring old paintings. They get burned to a crispy crunch (corpses visibly contorted in agony) after their helicopter crashes before we head on to the "Dr. Orta" storyline (dealing with heart transplants a year or so before Dr. Barnard) which them aforementioned TRACY fans consider the last "good" 'un before that big swan dive into the mung. Or so they say...and like """""I""""" said we'll find out for ourselves more sooner than later.

But really, how could any good suburban slob Saturday afternoon chores 'n cut the grass kinda guy not have been into this new direction in TRACY??? The Moon Maid character herself is just about as outrageous as the entire strip was for the past twenty years and if you could handle the likes of Flattop Junior being pursued by the ghost of the gal he murdered then why not this??? With all of the talk of space travel and the Sci-Fi that was being pumped at us daily via tee-vee and comics throughout the sixties I'd kinda think that the introduction of an alien like her would have been the next logical step in a strip that spent most of its early run taking some pretty wild chances. And frankly, if you can't find some sorta warm 'n fuzzy satisfaction such as the part when Moon Maid delivers a stranded woman's baby and tries to keep them alive in a snowstorm then maybe you don't have that soul you said you never had anyway!

Hope #22's just around the corner since by this time there are strips and characters that really stick out in my by-then stool-age mind, especially that skinny guy with the cane who really gave me the nighttime creeps! Until then I better struggle with alla those four-year-old nightmares that I'm sure some of these comics are gonna inflict on memeME!!!

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