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 Post subject: The SF Dick Tracy Period
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 5:38 pm 
Postal Carrier
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Back in the early 1960s, Chester Gould took his detective to the moon via an engine-less magnetic powered spacecraft called The Space Coupe. Invented by long-time character Diet Smith, this big cylindrical vehical was "school bus" yellow with POLICE stenciled on each side in giant black letters. (I built and still have the model kit which came with tiny figures and a moon landscape base.)

This sequence lasted through the early days of the manned space program. Junior would marry Moon Maid who, along with her people, lived on our moon. Tracy would run security for the moon's governor.

The villians were still colorful and included Ugly Christine and Mr. Bribery. During one story, Bribery's plans to transport stolen cash go wrong and the greenbacks wind up in orbit. "Ten years pay six inches away," Tracy muses. He's unable to prevent the cash from re-entry and burn up.

For reasons that have always escaped me, long-time fans of Dick Tracy hated this years-long sequence. Given the fact that early on Tracy sported then-SF crime fighting tools like two-way wrist radios (evolved to two-way wrist TV's during the "Space Coupe Period") the vocal protests seem out of place. Today, there's a wrist-cell phone advertised with a clip of the Tracy cartoon teleseries!

When the Warren Beaty film came out so did many over-sized hardback and trade paper books reprinting Tracy's newspaper strip adventures. Not a one touched on the Space Coupe Period. Happily this may be changing. IDW Publishing is bringing out a long-term series of books reprinting the strips in chronological order (pretty much like the Peanuts books). If they keep it up, we should be able to buy the Space Coupe 1960s era within a few years.

Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2013 7:48 am 
Postal Carrier
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Part of the problem was Dick Tracy was seen as a period piece properly belonging in a vague timeless era that was between the late 1930s to the early 1950s.

Another part was that it followed the old serial format.

And it was seen more as a (bad) response to Lost In Space and Star Trek.


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