Dick Tracy is a long-running comic strip featuring a popular and familiar character in American pop culture.
Dick is a hard-hitting, fast-shooting, and supremely intelligent police-detective who has matched wits with a variety of colorful villains, many based on real-life gangsters. ('Dick' is also American slang for detective).
Created by Chester Gould (1900-1985), whose inspiration for the character came from C.Augustine Dupin and Sherlock Holmes. The character was named by the Tribune's editor, Captain Joseph Patterson - Gould initially intended to call him 'Plainclothes Tracy'. Gould wrote and drew the character until he retired in 1977, after which Max Allan Collins took over writing, and Rick Fletcher the art. They in turn were replaced by the current team of Michael Kilian (writer) and Dick Locher (artist).
Dick Tracy was an unswervingly honest man in his mid-thirties, whose life was forever changed by a tragedy which struck the same day he proposed to his photographer girlfriend Tess Trueheart. When they returned to Tess' home to inform her family of their engagement, they walked in on the middle of a robbery. Local thugs, led by mob boss Big Boy Caprice, were shaking down Tess' grocer father, Emil. Interrupted, the crooks shoot Emil dead, then Big Boy knocks out Dick and kidnaps Tess. Vowing to save the women he loves and see justice done, Dick swiftly in the police force, and nine days later was appointed to the plainsclothes detective division.
After successfully rescuing Tess, he continued with his new career, using the latest technology and a incorruptible and unswerving sense of justice to bring down a wide range of bizarre criminals. Easily recognisable by his eagle-nose and jutting chin, he became feared and respected by the criminal underworld.
Over the years Tracy has dealt harsh justice to crooks the world over, briefly working as a G-Man (Federal agent), then as a Lieutenant Second Grade in the Naval Reserve during the War, working for Naval Intelligence as a plainclothes detective tracking down spies. In 1946 he befriended industrialist Diet Smith, and his son Brilliant, an inventor - shortly after this they provided him with a two-way wrist radio which will become Dick's most famous trademark. In the 1960's he even travelled to the moon to deal with alien criminals. In 1970 Tracy was temporarily blinded, but carried on his job in spite of this.
Along the way Dick adopted a young thief, who was rechristened Dick Tracy Junior, and after nearly two decades he finally married Tess. The course of true love didn't always run smooth though - prior to their marriage, Tess broke off their engagement, stating Dick's true love was his job, and instead married baseball player Edward Nuremoh. Nuremoh soon revealed he was only after Tess' inheritance though, and Tess divorced him and returned to Dick. They married on Christmas Eve, 1949, and Tess gave birth to their daughter, Bonnie Braids in May of 1951, and their son, Joseph Flintheart Tracy in November 1979. Although Tess considered divorcing Dick in 1994, and even filed papers, the couple eventually worked things out, and in 1999 celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary. In 2006 Dick celebrated seventy-five years of crimefighting, and he is still going strong.
Real Name: Dick Tracy
Occupation: Police detective, formerly commercial diver (pre-detective days), G-Man, Naval Lieutenant for Naval Intelligence, head of security for the Moon Governor (all interludes between regular detective work)
Enemies: 3-D Magee (used killer ants), 88 Keys, Angletop, B-B Eyes, Big Boy Caprice (Tracy's arch enemy, and leader of the Apparatus gang), Big Frost (killer of Brilliant), Black Pearl, The Blank (face destroyed by gunshot), Blowtop, Bony, Breathless Mahoney, Broadway Bates, The Brow (Nazi spy), Chameleon (disguise expert), The Claw, Coffyhead, Cueball, Cutie Diamond, Deafy Sweetfellow, Doc Hump, Faceless Redrum, Flattop Jones (professional assassin with mis-shapen skull), Flattop Jr., Gargles, Gruesome, Haf-and-Haf, Steve Hardin, Headache, Heels Beals, Honeymoon, Itchy Oliver, Johnny Scorn, Larceny Lu, Lips Manlis, Littleface Finney, Matty Square, Maxine Viller, Measles, Miss Egghead, Mrs. Pruneface, Mrs. Volts, Mr. Bribery, Mr. Crime, The Mole, Mousey, Mumbles, Olga, Peanutbutter, Pear-shape, Perfume, Pruneface (Nazi spy), Puckerpuss, Putty Puss (able to change his features), Rughead, Scorpio, Shakey, Shoulders, Sphinx, Splitface, Splitscreen, Spud Spaldoni, Squareface, Tiger Lilly, El Tigress, Tonsils, Torcher, Yogee Yamma
Base of Operations: Unspecified American city
First Appearance: Detroit Mirror Newspaper strip (Chicago Tribune Syndicate, 4th October 1931)