Here’s the current Dick Tracy comic strip team paying tribute last week to Max Allan Collins. The esteemed mystery writer happens to be a former Dick Tracy writer himself, having penned the detective’s two-way wrist mishaps from the time of its creator Chester Gould’s retirement in 1977 (at the end of December, as it happened, so almost exactly 35 years ago) and continued to script the adventures until 1992.
Collins reined in the science-fiction aspects which Gould had been pushing since the 1960s—moon people, rocket cars etc.—and repopulated its rogues gallery of villains marked by their outrageous physical characteristics or outlandish style choices.
When I was in college in the late early 1980s, I was a founding staff member of a daily newspaper on campus. It was common then (and now) for campus papers to run only two syndicated comic strips—Doonesbury and either Peanuts or Garfield. That seemed to cover all the bases for the shortsighted college press. At the Tufts Daily, we ran Collins’ Dick Tracy.