(Source: Tribune Media Services)
Dick Locher, gifted cartoonist, storyteller and longtime guardian for the Tribune Media Services’ (TMS) Dick Tracy comic strip, will pass on his yellow fedora and trench coat to the new creative team of artist Joe Staton and writer Mike Curtis after 32 years. The new story arc from the Staton/Curtis team will begin appearing in newspapers the
week of March 14, 2011.
Locher assisted Dick Tracy‘s original creator, Chester Gould, from 1957 to 1961. He returned to the strip as artist when Gould’s successor, Rick Fletcher, died in 1983. The feature has been under his stewardship ever since (most recently with assistant Jim Brozman), establishing the square-jawed detective as a symbol for justice and an indelible part of American culture. Locher will continue to act as a consultant on the strip.
Locher, 81, is also a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist—a job Gould recommended him for on the Chicago Tribune’s staff when he began doing editorial cartoons in 1972. Today Locher produces his editorial cartoons for TMS and he will continue to create these for national syndication. In conjunction with Dick Tracy‘s 80th anniversary this year, Locher also is working on plans for the opening of a Dick Tracy museum in Naperville. In April of 2010, the city of Naperville worked with Locher (a 40-year resident) to install a nine-foot, one-ton bronze likeness of Tracy on its famed riverwalk.
“Dick has done a marvelous job of drawing the Dick Tracy character and in creating a contemporary comic-strip hero whose exploits have kept up with the times,” said Mary Elson, managing editor of TMS. “He was close to Gould and has been able to maintain the values Gould instilled in the character while also adding a signature style of his own. Dick has an extraordinary range of talents and is also known for his generosity, wit and all-around graciousness as a human being. TMS has been the most-fortunate beneficiary of it all during its association with both ‘Dicks’.”
“For a long and wondrous 32 years I’ve been in the right-hand seat of Tracy’s squad car,” said Dick Locher. “I can only hope that in this time I’ve entertained my readers and lived up to the lofty expectations of Chester Gould’s glow. It’s been an incredible ride, but this is where I step off.”
The creative responsibilities for the iconic 80-year-old feature will pass to comic art veterans and longtime Dick Tracy admirers Joe Staton and Mike Curtis. Staton and Curtis grew up 25 miles apart reading Dick Tracy in The Jackson Sun (TN), but only met many years later at a comic industry convention. They have more than 60 years combined in the comics industry working on titles that include: Scooby Doo, The Green Lantern, Richie Rich and Casper The Friendly Ghost.
“Being fans of Dick Tracy since the 1950s, we were so excited to have been approached by TMS to work on our comic hero,” said writer Mike Curtis. “As the new custodians for the feature, we don’t take our job lightly in carrying on the legacy of Chester Gould and Dick Locher,” said artist Joe Staton.
TMS, along with the new creative team, is setting a course for Tracy’s next generation of adventures. What will be the future gadget beyond the two-way wrist radio and who will be the next Flattop Jones, Sr.? The world will just have to watch what unfolds in their daily newspaper or online.