Mystery Readers Journal contributor Jim Doherty informs me that he's one of several mystery and comics professionals involved in the new PLAINCLOTHES website, devoted to Dick Tracy, one of the most famous detectives in fiction, and to his creator, Chester Gould. The site launched on June 21, and is currently up and running.
It includes feature articles on the history of the strip, on Tracy media adaptations through the years, and more.
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 the Disney Adventures magazine back when Beatty's Tracy movie was still hot, it was shelved for some unknown reason, but has been resurrected for this site. Al Collins, of course, wrote the Tracy strip from 1977, when Gould retired, 'til 1993. Legendary comics artist Staton has drawn just about every famous comic book hero ever created, from Batman to the Incredible Hulk, from Spider-Man to the Green Lantern, from Wonder Woman to Scooby-Doo.
The centerpiece of the site is "Major Crimes Squad," a comics story in "daily newspaper strip" format also illustrated by Staton and written by Mike Curtis, owner and publisher of the independent comic book company, Shanda Fantasy Arts. "Major Crimes Squad' brings back two famous members of Tracy's Rogues Gallery long thought to have died years earlier, Willie "The Fifth" Millyun and shady underworld lawyer Flyface.
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 animated Tracy cartoons of the early '60's produced for TV syndication by UPA ( the Mr. Magoo and Gerald McBoing-Boing studio). It's marked by a somewhat more humorous take on Tracy's Rogues Gallery, all together on a cruise ship in search of pirate gold.
Jim Doherty's own contribution to the site, in addition to a couple of feature articles, is his novelette "Murder Is My Hobby," which puts Tracy on the trail of a crafty criminal who's travelling the world replicating the crimes of famous serial killers from history.
You can find the site at: www.plainclothescomics.com
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