In late January, Dick Tracy and Sam Ketchem visited Westview (home of Funky Winkerbean) to oversee an auction of impounded goods. According to Tom Baitiuk's blog, the idea for the crossover story came from Joe Staton, the current artist for Dick Tracy. Baitiuk also published the full sequence for both strips with their parallel stories. Below are a few samples. (click on images to enlarge)
|Dick Tracy - note the Starman Jones cover in the center panel.|
|Funky Winkerbean. John Howard and Crazy Harry meet Dick Tracy.|
|Dick Tracy - Dick and Sam meet Funky Winkerbean.|
|Funky Winkerbean - John Howard provides a synopsis.|
But to fully appreciate what's going on, there's a lot of back story that needs to be filled in.
In Funky Winkerbean there's a fictional Golden Age comic book series that's been the subject of a few story lines. John Howard, owner of the Komix Korner and comics collector Crazy Harry Klinghorn have referenced Starman Jones. There was reference to a Starman Jones movie being in development when English teacher/writer Les Moore went to Hollywood to write a screenplay for his book. A recent story line followed Holly Winkerbean as she tried to build a complete collection of Starman Jones for her son serving in the Middle East -- a story line that was concluded with this crossover.
Tom Baitiuk asked a few of his colleagues to create Starman Jones comic book covers -- including Joe Staton. And that's probably why Staton suggested extending the collaboration further.
Meanwhile, in Dick Tracy, the villain known as the Jumbler tried to steal a forgotten cache of Golden Age comics. That particular story line also marked a crossover with the Jumbler puzzle! (see: Dick Tracy and the Jumble Crossover). Starman Jones comics can be seen in the pile.
The multiple levels of this crossover are what made this enjoyable for me. And seeing such imaginative creativity at work is also a pleasure. Of course, this means that the world of Funky Winkerbean -- and by extension that of Baitik's other strip Crankshaft, are now part of the Dick Tracy Universe, along with those of Little Orphan Annie, Gasoline Alley, and Terry and the Pirates (among others)!