Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Underrated Artist Rick Fletcher remembered...
"The Celebrated Cases of Dick Tracy" was my first intro to my favorite detective. I have a another entry lined up for the story on this, but at the time Rick Fletcher was the current artist on the Tracy strip. I found his work to be exceptional. I was reading classic Tracy at the same time as Fletcher's version and along with Max Allan Collins, it really sang.
Around the time of Tracy's 50th anniversary, Collins and Fletcher were outdoing themselves and producing work that Gould had to be proud of. Angeltop and the exquisitely designed Torcher kept me coming back day-after-day. Big Boy, who killed Tracy's to-be father-in-law was reintroduced and finally got his just desserts. Elements of the original 'detective' aspect were highlighed and Pat Patton was even almost killed off. If not for the newspaper syndicate, he would've been. Fletcher had been inking and ghosting for Gould for a bit before the strip was officially his. He added to Gould's style and nurtured a perfect look that was very much his own but nodded to the best that had gone before. He was the natural successor to the legacy. He was especially good at guns and hardware and took great pride in his accuracy in depicting them.
Friday, March 11 1983 Fletcher produced his final Tracy work. He checked into the hospital the next day. By the 16th, he was dead.
I was genuinely saddened by his death. The lackluster art produced after his death only made his absence more noticeable.
This is the only piece of art I have by him and although not made out to me, I treasure it.
Rest in Peace, Rick. Thanks for the memories.