Dick Tracy, 2/16/06
I recently made the drunken boast that I would start reading a slew of new comics, and today I’ve finally made good on that promise. I expected that it would take me a few days or weeks to get into the swing of things, but even on this first flush I am stunned by Popeye and Dick Tracy, to wit: Popeye and Dick Tracy still exist? Holy crap. I would not be more surprised if I found out that some kind of bastardized Krazy Kat was being churned out by George Herriman’s great-nephew and appearing in a few suburban dailies.
Both of these strips jumped out at me because they seem to be going out of their way to say “Look! We were written just last week, certainly not during the Harding administration! Really!” Dick Tracy, for instance, features an quite lovely picture of one of those new-fangled eco-friendly wind turbines, in flames and tumbling to the ground. Is this strip now focused on the battle for freedom against American’s addiction to oil? The presence of the “evil Oily” would certainly seem to point in that direction. Perhaps we’ll see the Halliburton board of directors armed with Tommy Guns in a future installment.
Popeye, on the other hand, seems to have fallen into a trap I noted earlier: making jokes about technology that nobody involved in the strip actually has a grasp on. Does Olive Oil’s mangled sentence in panel one mean that she’s putting her picture on a Web dating site? Olive Oil? Web dating site? That’s a very disturbing thought to try to get my head around, so disturbing that I’m going to stop … right now. Still, I like the wordless third panel: Olive stalking off hunched over, knuckles dragging gorilla-style, fuming furiously, while a clueless, black-eyed Wimpy can only wordlessly wonder “?” (Twice!)