Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Insert witty title here...

After reading this little ditty at the Cracked comics website(once there, scroll down to see the Tracy section):, I got a bit depressed realizing that I totally agreed with the author and just could not pop out a decent title.  Sorry about that.  Here's my soapbox rant and then things get back to normal:
The current Tracy strip is a shadow of it's former self and the bulk of it is in the art. Bad writing is bad writing but a comic strip lives or dies by it's artwork.  Not always but sometimes, art can raise a poor storyline to loftier heights.  Comic book collectors who still marvel at Neal Adams early work for DC comics realize this.  I personally can get past a bad story if the art is well executed.  Dick Locher writes and draws the current Tracy strip and although the stories are sub-par I cannot get past the art.  I just have never been a big fan of Locher's artwork, but it does seem more at home in his political cartoons.  
I grew up with Gould's and Rick Fletcher's version and I think they both are spinning in their graves at the current version of the classic detective.  The style is gone.  The heart is gone.  All that is left is a ghost that sort of resembles a once-great icon.  Others may disagree and good for them.  This is America and you have the right to not go along with my views.  I didn't share Gould's politics but man, that guy could put out an interesting comic.  Tracy is no longer an interesting comic.
Sigh.  Okay.  Rant over.  Back to normal.
Today's pic concerns a version of Tracy that has little artwork at all!  These books were put out in 1943 and '45 and were 'Official' versions put out with the blessing of good old Chet Gould.   
They are an odd read, adapting comic storylines into prose novels.  I can't say it worked very well as I kept wishing I had the original version to compare with as I read.  The back the book shows these were the only titles released during this time period by this publisher.  Perhaps others felt as I did when these came out and went back reading the comics section of the newspaper.  Others from Whitman Publishing were Blondie, Son of the Phantom, Tillie the Toiler, Brenda Starr and Little Orphan Annie who shared the limelight with Shirley Temple, Roy Rogers, Ginger Rogers and Betty Grable (!) in mystery stories.
Tracy got these under his belt and went back to the funny pages where he belonged!

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