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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Little Orphan Annie Strips Up For Sale

328 Little Orphan Annie Sunday comic strips from 1967 to 1973 (the majority from '69-'72). Most of these are 1/2 or 1/3 pages, much larger than today's comic strips. All in color and only $20 (that's about 5 cents each plus postage and handling) and every cent goes to the Oklahoma Cartoonists Collection inside the Toy and Action Figure Museum in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma! If interested, email (Image posted is not part of the collection.)

Dick Tracy Gets Bookshelf Treatment

This news release originally came through the Yahoo Fantaseers site, and concerns the work of native Oklahoman and Oklahoma Cartoonists Collection member, Chester Gould. - Mark Allen

In October, Chester Gould’s legendary character, Dick Tracy joins Peanuts, Dennis the Menace and Gasoline Alley, moving from the newspapers to your bookshelf, as IDW Publishing begins a program to collect the classic strips, starting at the beginning, and not stopping until it’s all said and done.

“Both Ted Adams, one of the founding partners of IDW, and I love the various comic strip reprint books that are being done by Fantagraphics and Drawn and Quarterly,” IDW Editor in Chief Chris Ryall said. “Ted made a short list of strips that he thought warranted similar attention. Dick Tracy was at the top of the list, so he approached Classic Media/Tribune Media Services first and they quickly agreed that the strips deserves the lavish attention that we plan to give them.”

For those not familiar with Dick Tracy, and viewing him through the lens of contemporary cops, there is the temptation to think of Tracy as somewhat vanilla, what, given the strong chin and all. This, Ryall stressed, would be a mistake.

“I don't think Dick Tracy could ever be described as ‘vanilla,’” Ryall said. “As Robert Storr says in the companion book to the touring art show, Masters of American Comics, ‘Chester Gould's paragon of avenging normalcy was not your average, tough-guy detective. A unique combination of brawn and brains, he prefigured a whole new breed of scientific sleuths, whose recourse to technical innovations in criminology gave them the edge on grifters and hoods.’

“The strip was pretty grisly throughout its run and Tracy's rogues gallery is legendary, including bad guys like The Brow, Pruneface, Flattop, Breathless Mahoney, 88 Keys, and dozens more. So go peddle yer ‘vanilla’ talk elsewhere, a-fore I plug you one. And yes, Beau Smith has taught me everything I know--why do you ask?”

Sticking to the immediate nature of the original newspaper strips, there’s no origin story here. Gould got things rolling in the middle, and never looked back.

“Tracy is already a police detective when Gould begins to tell his story but this volume is the introduction to many of the major characters in the strip, including Tess Trueheart, Junior, and Chief Brandon,” Ryall said, noting that Consulting Editor and longtime Tracy writer Max Allan Collins will provide an overview and introduction. “Max brings a unique editorial contribution to the series. Not only is he a fan of the Gould strip, he also wrote Dick Tracy for many years. He's one of our favorite writers and was the first person we approached after we got the rights from Classic Media/Tribune Media Services. And the first volume will feature a long interview between Max and Chester Gould.”

Also joining in is IDW stalwart Ashley Wood.

“In addition to handling the design of the book, Ash will be working with our printer to make sure the book meets the standards we expect,” Ryall said. “Fantagraphics and Drawn and Quarterly have set the bar pretty high for this kind of project and we plan to produce books that can sit comfortably on the shelf with their books.

“Overall, the plan is to do 2 to 3 volumes a year. It will take us many years to collect Gould's entire run. The strip was around for more than fifty years. As soon as my kid learns to read, she'll no doubt be passed on the Tracy legacy so she can carry on long after I'm gone.”

Ryall also confirmed that IDW only has the rights to reprint Gould's strip, not the rights to create new stories.