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Author Topic: New DICK TRACY Tribute Site Includes a Story by Yours Truly  (Read 3121 times)

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JIM DOHERTY

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I may have mentioned here (although it's been in the works for the better part of a year, si if I did mention it, it was months ago), that I was one of the many professionals in the comics, animation, and mystery fields  invited to participate  in a Dick Tracy tribute site called PLAINCLOTHES.  The site launched on June 21, and is currently up and running.
 
It includes feature articles on the history of the strip, media adaptations through the years, etc.
 
There's also, "Fireworks," a never-before-published comic book story written by Max Allan Collins and illustrated by Joe Staton.  Originally slated for publication in a magazine called Disney Adventures back when Beatty's Tracy movie was still hot, it was shelved for some unknown reason, but has been resurrected for this site.
 
The centerpiece of the site is "Major Crimes Squad," a comics story in "daily newspaper" format also illustrated by Staton and written by comic book publisher Mike Curtis.
 
You can find it here:
 
http://www.plainclothescomics.com

By the way, prose fiction featuring the square-jawed cop is also included. 

"The Treasure of Captain Cannonsmoke," by animator Tracy Kazaleh, is set in the world of the UPA (UPA being the studio that did the Mr. Magoo and Gerald McBoing-Boing cartoons)  animated Tracy cartoons of the early '60's, and is marked by a somewhat more humorous take on Tracy's Rogues Gallery, all together on a cruise ship in this story, search ing for pirate treasure.
 
"Murder Is My Hobby," by some guy named Doherty, puts Tracy on the trail of a serial killer.
 
If you've been disappointed at the direction the strip has taken since Collins's departure in 1993, check out this site and see how good Dick Tracy can still be in the right hands.

And please let me know what you think of "Murder Is My Hobby."  Aside from my still-unpublished (but more editors are looking at it, so keep your fingers crossed) novel, it's the longest piece of fiction I've ever written.  About the length of one of Rex Stout's shorter Nero Wolfe entries, the kind he used to collect in those triple-decker volumes like Trouble in Triplicate or Three for the Chair.  In keeping with tradition, Mike Curtis is serializing "MIMH" in five parts.  So far, only Parts 1 and 2 are on-line.

I'm a little too close to the project to comment objectively, though one or two people who've read it think it's one of the best things I've ever done.  Good or bad, it was a real blast writing about the character who was my particular "gateway drug" into the genre we all love.
 
Also, spread the word.  If you've got 'blogs, mention the site.  If you know people who have 'blogs, ask them  to mention it.  If your paper carries Tracy let 'em know about it, and see if they can be cajoled into a short feature article.

The idea is to create a buzz that gets back to Tracy's owners, Tribune Media Services.

Kat

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Re: New DICK TRACY Tribute Site Includes a Story by Yours Truly
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2010, 07:12:22 PM »

Jim, I only had time to read Part 1 and loved it. Tonight I'm going to settle back with a cup of coffee and read the rest.

The site is wonderful! I'll be doing what I can to spread the word.

Congratulations! Kat
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Old Bill

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Re: New DICK TRACY Tribute Site Includes a Story by Yours Truly
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2010, 03:35:25 PM »

Jim,

Nice writing...I admit I was never one of Tracy's fans, but your tribute MIMH could easily relate to any protag.  Chapter 3 had a lot of detail to absorb...you must have done tons of research on this.  I particularly like your reporter witch Wendy Wichel that everyone loves to hate.

One thing at the end of Ch 3 you mention Black History Month...I believe BHM is celebrated in February in the US and Canada, since 1976 unless Wash state did their own thing for a while longer.

Good luck with your novel you are pitching to the editors.

Old Bill

PS...if you have a chance could you check out my post "Sound Familiar???" in the Critique Area.  Thanks.
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JIM DOHERTY

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Re: New DICK TRACY Tribute Site Includes a Story by Yours Truly
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2010, 03:49:16 AM »

Bill and Kat,

Thanks for the kind comments.

Bill, re your specific comments below: 

Nice writing...I admit I was never one of Tracy's fans, but your tribute MIMH could easily relate to any protag.  Chapter 3 had a lot of detail to absorb...you must have done tons of research on this.  I particularly like your reporter witch Wendy Wichel that everyone loves to hate.

I'm particularly pleased that you like the story given that Tracy doesn't float your boat.

However, in the interests of full disclosure, Wendy Wichel is a character from the strip, and I present her pretty much the way she is depicted in the strip.  In fact, most everything in the story, Tracy's subordinates in the Major Crimes Unit, his colleagues in other departments (with the exception of Sheriff's Investigator "Reed Jackson," who is modeled on real-life Cook County Homicide Lieutenant Jack Reed), are all characters who have appeared in the strip.  And the event that the story grows out of, Tracy's temporary assignment as the reform police chief of a hoodlum-infested suburb, was a storyline that ran in the 1930's.

I'm actually leaning pretty hard on the strip's lore, and doing my best to make my version of Tracy non-generic.  In fact, part of the fun of writing this story has been using so many of the Tracy-inspired tropes, such as Dickensian names for the characters (e.g. an innocent murder victim named "Innocencia Mitkiv," a serial killer named "Reyals"), and feeling free to make liberal use of coincidence and flat-out melodrama, as Chester Gould did in the strip's heyday. 

However, I get your point.  I would suggest, however, that if Tracy seems generic, it's because he has become such as archetype.

I'd like to try to persuade you to give Tracy another try.  On another part of the site, I have a feature article called "80 Years of Continuous Crime-Stopping and Counting," in which I discuss the history of the strip and its importance, not only to the comics medium, but to our genre.  Maybe reading it will picque your interest and beguile you into giving the strip (at its best, not as it currently appears; we probably wouldn't be doing this if we liked the direction the strip is taking now).  You can find the article here:

http://www.plainclothescomics.com/F1-80yrs.htm

It's basically a slight rewrite of a column I wrote for the Mysterical-E website a few years ago.

If you are persuaded to take a second look, a company named IDW is reprinting the entire run of Tracy, from 1931 to 1977.  The most recent release is Volume 10, which takes the strip up through 1947.

One thing at the end of Ch 3 you mention Black History Month...I believe BHM is celebrated in February in the US and Canada, since 1976 unless Wash state did their own thing for a while longer.

I must have gotten confused because M.L. King's birthday is in January.  I'll make sure that's corrected.

Parts 3 and 4 are now posted on the site, so keep reading!  Remember, the URL for "Murder Is My Hobby" is:

http://www.plainclothescomics.com/mimh.htm

Thanks for the support.

JIM DOHERTY

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Re: New DICK TRACY Tribute Site Includes a Story by Yours Truly
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2010, 11:39:06 AM »

All five chapters of "Murder Is My Hobby" are now posted on the site, and the response to the site in general has been so positive that it's going to be continued through December.  The original plan was let it drop from the 'Net in October.

And, Bill, the error about Black History Month has been corrected.

JIM DOHERTY

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Re: New DICK TRACY Tribute Site Includes a Story by Yours Truly
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2011, 10:44:43 PM »

The PLAINCLOTHES site is no more, but before its demise, it paid off.

Mike Curtis, who was the webmaster, and the writer for the "newspaper strip" styled Dick Tracy comic story, "Major Crime Squad," has been hired by Tribune Media Services, to be the new script writer for the official Dick Tracy comic strip, and Joe Staton, the illutrator of MCS, has been hired as the strip's new artist.

As for me, I might possibly get do some writing in the future (perhaps an original graphic novel).  Whether or not I get to write any more stories about Tracy, I will be serving as the strip's police technical advisor, and I'll be writing the "Crimestoppers Textbook" panels for the Sunday strips.

Old Bill

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Re: New DICK TRACY Tribute Site Includes a Story by Yours Truly
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2011, 12:31:44 PM »

Nice going, Jim, for getting the PTA position on the strip and Crimestoppers, too.  You've got a lot on your plate this new year.

Good luck.

Old Bill
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