Dick Tracy

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Name: Dick Tracy
Creator: Chester Gould
Date(s): 1931
Medium: comic strips
Country of Origin: United States
External Links: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Tracy
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Dick Tracy is a comic strip featuring a police detective that has been adapted to comics, books, movies, television series, cartoons, and radio series.


The reason for the decline of this particular fandom is obvious: newspaper comics were once widespread popular entertainment, but because they didn’t really change with the times and were prevented from changing by newspapers’ concern with appealing for the broadest possible family audience (if you appeal to everyone, you end up appealing to nobody), they became less and less relevant…a trend that accelerated to lightspeed when newspapers began to die out with the internet. You could swap out once-popular properties like Prince Valiant or Little Orphan Annie for Dick Tracy, but Dick Tracy is a great example because it was undoubtedly, unquestionably, a really big deal for a very long time.

Dick Tracy, for decades, was one of those immediately identifiable and endlessly merchandized pop culture figures, on the level of Charlie Brown, the Muppets, or Superman. He had an animated series in the 1960s, two live action shows, serials, and even a movie with Warren Beatty that was one of the major pop culture events of 1990. There are some characters people have heard of, but nobody cares about. Dick Tracy was one of those people cared about, because his influence can be found in all kinds of works: Batman, for example, is very different without Dick Tracy’s gallery of grotesque foes. Spider-Man is just Dick Tracy with more wisecracking.

Though obviously Dick Tracy’s star would dim no matter what, just like every other newspaper strip character, I am sorry to say that he didn’t so much die as he was killed. This article here gives a good overview, but basically, it all boils down to the fact the film rights are contested, so attempts to make Dick Tracy comics and even a live action show were shot down.


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