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Dick Tracy, 5/18/23

A question I have often had reason to contemplate is “Who is [any given legacy comic strip still being produced in the year 2023] for, exactly,” and it’s pretty clear that the answer the current Dick Tracy creative team has landed on in their own case is “longtime fans of Dick Tracy and other classic comics and adjacent memorabilia.” Which is fine, really, but it does meant the strip can get loss in a self-referential haze now and then, producing storylines fully baffling to the uninitiated, like the occasional dreamworld interactions between Dick Tracy and Fearless Fosdick (seen on the right in panel one here). Fosdick was a long-running spoof of Dick Tracy in Al Capp’s Li’l Abner strip, and given how reverential towards the strip history modern Dick Tracy is overall, it’s kind of funny how often Fosdick shows up, because by “long-running spoof” I mean a not particularly friendly parody that Dick Tracy creator Chester Gould apparently hated. (Gould himself was lampooned as “Lester Gooch” in the multilayered narrative in which Fosdick appeared within Li’l Abner.) Anyway, today’s strip is truly incredible because it asks the question “What if Li’l Abner had lasted long enough that Fearless Fosdick could have spoofed the 1990 Dick Tracy movie,” and the answer it comes up with is “it would have a parody version of Madonna named ‘Fuddonna.’”

Hi and Lois, 5/18/23

I don’t know who Hi and Lois is for, really, but I’m excited to see the strip start to work its way through some serious philosophical problems. The Flagston children represent theological concepts of increasing sophistication: Trixie’s belief system is “God is visible in the sky and is my friend,” whereas Dot and Ditto think that God exists to hand out rewards and punishments based on a moral code that they’re capable of understanding, even though they disagree on the particulars. Can’t wait for us to get to Chip’s chapter in this saga; hopefully it’ll be some really esoteric and mystical stuff.