Friday, November 20, 2009

Chester Gould - CRIMESTOPPER!

Born November 20, 1900, Chester Gould would be 109 years old today.

Chester Gould created, wrote and drew one of the most iconic comic strips of all time, Dick Tracy. The strip inspired 4 movie serials, no less than 5 feature films, a Saturday morning television cartoon, a radio show and a live-action television show. He wrote and drew the strip from 1931-1977 and it continues to run in newspapers to this very day.

A true example of the glorious work one mans vision and one mans talent can have on a work, Dick Tracy was at once realistic mystery with crime-stopping tips given to readers each week and truly cartoony and fantastic in it's characters.

Below is an example of a Christmas time strip full of winter season crime-stopping tips.

Below an example of how violent the strip could get. These types of strips were edited sometimes by local newspapers. This is how you might see it in Chicago, but in Salt Lake City the blood spewing from the suspects face under Tracy's clenched fist would be edited out.

Gould's/Tracy's villains were a real highpoint. Always evil looking, sometimes horribly disfigured, this was Gould's take on the world. Evil is ugly, good is handsome and square-jawed like Tracy.

As he grew older, Gould began to move farther and farther to the right of the political and idealogical spectrum. Oft criticized for staunch right-wing views, he refused to back down. I consider myself to be quite liberal and don't agree with allot of what Gould had to say, but I give him big props and cred because he remained what he was. A man of conviction.

During the 1960's he was often ridiculed by his peers and also by young up and comers. Al Capp never seemed to tire of spoofing Chester and his politics in his own "Li'l Abner" comic through the character of "Fearless Fosdick". Below is a strip by a couple of underground cartoonists epitomizing peoples view of Chester as he became more and more a viewer of the world in black and white.
Chester Gould drew a great comic strip with great characters in a writing and drawing style all uniquely his own. It was his own pen and his own voice. It's always a pleasure to drink in that kind of stuff.

Thanks Chester!

1 comment:

Chris Griffin said...

The artist who illustrated his visit accompanied by R. Crumb, to Chester Gould's studio, was Jay Lynch.

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