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Jeffrey Morgan’s Media Blackout 

This is Joe Jitsu calling Jeffrey Morgan's Media Blackout #133!

SIZZLING REPRINT OF THE WEEK:

Chester GouldThe Complete Chester Gould's Dick Tracy, Volumes I & 2, 1931-1935 (IDW Publishing) :: There's no denying that the world's greatest detective comic strip ever created was Chester Gould's relentless two-fisted marathon of crime-busting mayhem, Dick Tracy. Splattered out in unequal portions of one part heartfelt sensitive romance and three parts hardcore sadistic violence, Gould's 1931 creation was a radically new form of strip which reflected the real-life gangster era. Years before he introduced misshapen criminals like the legendary Flattop and futurist crimebusting tools like the decades-ahead-of-its-time two-way wrist radio, Gould had Tracy tossing lead with petty thugs, crime bosses — even the occasional corrupt City Hall official who would get perforated outside his office.

For his trouble, Tracy was routinely shot up, beat up and brutally tortured in a series of ambushes and death traps that always left him bloodily battered. Even Tracy's extended family wasn't immune to the big payback: His girlfriend Tess and adopted son Junior were kidnapped on more than one occasion — and once the kid was literally soldered into an empty residential hot water tank which was then heated up with a blow torch. Quentin Tarantino would blanch at portraying something like that today, yet graphic scenes like this took place in the comics section of family newspapers all across America in the 1930s.

Now — finally — IDW Publishing has begun printing a series of definitive chronological hardcover reprints of this seminal series, edited by respected crime author Max Allan Collins. The quality of the black and white reproductions is uniformly crisp, and a majority of the strips contained in these first two volumes have rarely been reprinted in other Tracy anthologies, if ever.

You'll be amazed at how fast-paced these exciting action-packed adventures are, thanks in part to Gould's unique overlapping writing style of beginning each new storyline a week before the current one ends. Trust me, these crimestopping textbooks are essential reading for any hard-boiled crime buff.

I'm on my way!

Jeffrey Morgan is a freelance writer. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com

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