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Glossary and Character Taxonomy  Breakdown by Country of Origin   Bibliography   Table of Contents    The Best of the Encyclopedia

Tracy, Dick. Dick Tracy was created by Chester Gould and appeared in the comic strip “Dick Tracy” (1931-present) and in radio shows from 1934 to 1946 and in eight films and film serials between 1937 and 1947.

Dick Tracy is an ordinary citizen who is held at gunpoint during a bank robbery in which his girlfriend, Tess Trueheart, is kidnaped and in which Tess’ father is murdered. Disgusted, Tracy joins the Chicago police force and tracks down the bank robbers, beginning his long and successful career. Two-fisted, tough, and surprisingly clever, Tracy wages a never-ending battle against corruption and crime in Chicago, fighting a Rogues Gallery of exotic criminals (Trigger Doom, Flattop, B.B. Eyes, Mumbles, Mrs. Pruneface, the Mole, Laffy, the Blank, Wormy, Oodles, Flyface, Rhodent) and making use of his wrist radio (later a wrist television).

* I'm including "Dick Tracy" in the Best of the Encyclopedia list because Tracy is the archetypal comic book cop and because the strip has traditionally been fun to read. "Dick Tracy" caught on fast with the public, who in 1931 were under the delusion that the United States was suffering from an unprecedented crime wave. (The crime wave happened in the 1920s, but the crime rate was declining during the first years "Dick Tracy" was around) and were searching for a tough cop to give criminals what-for. Chester Gould wasn't a great comic strip artists, but he could write tough cop stories better than anyone, and moreover had a dab hand at creating one of the most memorable Rogues Galleries in existence. It's regrettable that Dick Tracy is a cop and therefore an instrument of the oppressive carceral state, but "Dick Tracy" was and still is an entertaining comic strip despite the guilt one might feel in enjoying it. 

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