Comic Collection Review: Dick Tracy Ace Detective by Chester Gould


This book is actually a novelization of the classic comic strip series Dick Tracy.  Whitman Books published several comic strip novelizations during the war years (this volume is from 1943) for young readers.

This is the first Dick Tracy book they did, the other being Dick Tracy Meets the Night Crawler published in 1945.  You can still find these books around on E-bay or Amazon in the used book sellers section:

This book takes Dick Tracy out of the city and all the way to Arizona to the lair of a scientist who has developed a new type of fuel.  The story contains all the great plot lines of the era, although his usual rouges gallery is replaced by a group of Nazi spies.  They get the better of Tracy and he pursues them to Mexico before justice can finally be served.

If you are a fan of Dick Tracy and not the horrible movie starring Warren Beatty and (sigh of sorrow) yes, Madonna???  than you will like this book.


Dick Tracy was meant to be a humorous spin on the hard boiled detective drama which was popular in the 30’s when it started.  It was an action packed series that actually had great imagination and talented artwork as well as a jawline that was so sharp it could give you a paper cut.

This is Dick Tracy as he was meant to be read.  There are illustrations from the comic throughout the book highlighting the plot points and taken from the original strips.  I would recommend this book if you really like Dick Tracy, there is also a complete collection of the comic strips available where you can read them all now, but this sort of thing was not available back in the 1940’s.  Back then, this was the comic collections that most people were familiar with.  Unless you cut out the comics and pasted them into books, which was a popular thing to do back then, you did not have comic collections, especially of the action and adventure genres.  These books are similar to the famous Big Little books in design, only they are normal size.

So once again, forget about the bad movies made in Hollywood and seek out the source material when looking at comics.  That is the real lesson of Dick Tracy.  Until next time True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.

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