Back in Town

Hello there, I'm back from not being here. Looks like the place is still in one piece and all that. Today on the site we have Frank Young with a look at the joy and madness of 1950s Dick Tracy. I'm happy to see someone getting at the sheer strangeness of the strip.

What made—and makes—Chester Gould’s work so damned compelling? There is much about Dick Tracy that has long been taken at face value, and never deeply explored. Gould’s aggressive, angular art style, and his off-kilter visual juxtapositions, have gotten lip service from the art world, and from a handful of writers on comics whose viewpoints can outwit the trap of nostalgia. Its gallery of stylized caricature-villains is always mentioned, in mass media, with a mixture of awe and condescension.

There is much more going on in Gould’s work—but it requires a devoted scrutiny. It asks its reader to pay close attention, to notice small, seemingly unimportant details and to accept and process arcane information, some of it inexplicable. Its voice is hugely eccentric, didactic and arrogant in its self-righteousness.


On Friday the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum announced the acquisition of Jay Lynch's archives.  This is great news, and I hope will lead to other cartoonists of that era doing the same -- there's not a lot of first person archival material in public collections, so the more the better in terms of really understanding the history of the medium.

Carol Tyler posted a brand new comic strip, which is always good news. It's on Facebook. 

Matthew Thurber uploaded a fine new video over the weekend:

Truly amazing dept: Andy Warhol in conversation with Herge in 1977. I was just looking at the newish Herge book from Rizzoli and there's a nice section on his surprisingly diverse art collection.

Here's an excellent Alex Toth 1950s story.

Sort of comics: Those Sea-Monkey ads in 1960s-70s comics? Here's a NY Times article about a current battle over the property, which sure sounds familiar.

Not comics: Psychedelic beehives!