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Dick Tracy by Mike Curtis and Shelley Pleger for September 07, 2009
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I think it’s really a cry for HELP in the darkness !
Locher doesn’t understamd “what has happened”, what has caused the high level of rejection and redicule of his Tracy work, a “slap in the face” which he experiences everytime he fearfully peeps at “comments” on this or on the DT Yahoo board. Here moved by frustration it has carried beyond protest to near redicule.
For Locher, It’s a feeling of inadequesy expressed through his Ring Master character, Ringo. It all began when he failed to leave his son’s passing on the Tombstone and and introduced it INTO the Tracy comic strip changing the the well known likness of Junior Tracy to that of his son That was as powerful and controversial a change to the status quo as Gould had with his Moon Era.
Yes ! It’s a sensitive matter, readers respect his privacy, but HE Locher, chose to bring it, into the realms of public “comment”
I have no doubt that he must have receieved severe “heat” mail for this, tempered with a touch of understanding for a parent’s loss
But it had HAPPENED !
I’m no psychologist but this did seem to TRIGGER a cycle of further change, “NEW” Junior couldn’t be left as the annoying (perhaps embarrasing?) sore thumb standing alone. Further changes under the cloak of “updating” the strip’s regular characters, and particularly after new Writer/Partner Mike Kilian had conveniently arrived. Appearance changes for Patton and Lizz followed in the early nineties.
In 2006 Kilian passed on and Locher now the writer had Patton retired and Lizz promoted (over Sam). Teevo was introduced. He has proven to be Locher’s version of (Gould’s) Groovy Grove – a “stinker” from Day one !
It’s not to say that circulation was plummeting and corrective change was called for, Max Allan Collins hab left him with a circulation of 300 -350 newspapers. A comfortable number considering the growing shift to comedy style strips
The rapid fall to just 50 newspapers happened in the wake of character (appearance) “changes” and a naive Kilian - “discarding” several time tested story telling techniques AND unique personality traits at HQ.personel (eg “time to crime” took severak weeks and the well known CHASE sequence was totally discarded. Mickey and Dickey were showing they knew BEST ! (?) Lizz once a martial arts expert and the best shot in the squad suddenly lost all those skills, disarmed of her “sex appeal” and became more like a semi prude office stenographer / girl Friday.
“dwyant” ASKED : Locher has seen fit to give Sam a “back seat”, he hasn’t been involved in a case in three years. An old technique, “out of sight, out of mind” - stepping Out of strip? And Teevo with his verbal messaging skills seemed an anachronism, more a female messanger helper type than a Detective capable og packing street “heat”. The strip was also deprived of day to day (as they call it) of “female relief”.
Locher has as Senior Partner (with M.K.) presided over the strips fall from grace, the loss of big circulation New York Daily News and this stunningly in the wake all the sited “IMPROVEMENTS,” they had introduced.
As the US Tennis Championships (now in progrees0 reminds – ” never CHANGE a “winning” GAME – always change a “loosing” one !
Locher (a one-time Gould assistant, who should know better) has been” CHANGING”, breaking and discarding all the “commandments” in the Gould Rule Book and the strip (and DL’s “pocket”) have PAID the PRICE — yet he stubbornly (and recklessly) continues down that path, “I’ll DO it my way” ! Even as he is about to step away. Space does not permit but I could provide a long list of his (their) “CHANGE” infractions, MOST have been poor and counter-productive
His best contributions were his Villain designs between 1990 and 2002. Much beyond that item is regretably flawed.
One could safely opine, its now time to “change”, what by ANY MEASURE – has been a loosing game !