Comic strips can provide a moment's entertainment. But skilled creators can make this simple art form multi-layered to appeal both to the casual reader, and those who look for more in their entertainment. (click on image to enlarge)
particular sequence provided more than a few seconds of reading. Mike
Curtis and Joe Staton worked something very clever into this one. You
may recall that recently Tracy ran into Vera Alldid, former cartoonist,
and referenced a discontinued comic strip. In a later sequence, Tracy called the Flash, bringing in yet another defunct classic comic. So when
Sam Ketchum states his favorite strip was "Derby Dugan," I thought it
was yet another reference to a Golden Age newspaper strip.
That's not too exceptional. There were
many comics that came and went since the format was introduced in the
1900's. Just take a look at the archives of Barnacle Press, for example - most of
the titles are cyphers to me.
I was curious, though, so
I researched Derby Dugan, and discovered the Easter Egg written into
the strip. It turns out that Derby Dugan is the subject of a trilogy of
novels by Tom De Haven. De Haven's narrative arc is set in the world of
newspaper comics (and real life personalities) in the early part of the
century (Funny Papers: A Novel
), the 1930's (Derby Dugan's Depression Funnies: A Novel
), and the 1960's (Dugan Under Ground: A Novel ). The books feature different heroes all involved (in some fashion) with the fictional comic strip "Derby Dugan."
simply line in Dick Tracy, that helped me discover a new author (and
series) I'm anxious to read. Not bad for a three panel daily!