I was about to launch into an ill-conceived tirade about Ziggy shamelessly pandering to America’s still-endemic anti-Italian prejudice with this repulsive caricature; however, I soon realized that this hirsute, mustachioed fellow is probably supposed to be Ziggy’s tormenter, the cruel, sadistic proprietor of the deli he frequents. The thuggish cook has put on a greasy fake wig and ludicrous Super Mario Brothers-style mustache just to show his contempt for the Italian people. (My proposed term for this act of hate is “oliveface.”) Since this racist bastard has been established as a nonsympathetic character, this cartoon is not prejudiced against Italians but is actually cogently commenting on anti-Italian prejudice. My proposed Order of the Sons of Italy-led boycott against Ziggy will have to wait for another day.
Dick Tracy, 1/17/09
So, to summarize: Dick Tracy, who is a prominent law enforcement official, is living right up the street from this explosion-happy professor, knows where he lives, has a wife who has entered into some kind of business arrangement with him, etc. Meanwhile, the CIA is on the trail of the guy, and rather than check with other law enforcement agencies, plans to implement an enormously expensive and completely impractical technical method to find him. In other words, this Dick Tracy storyline is the strip’s most shockingly realistic yet.