"DICK TRACY"

Real Name: Dick Tracy

Identity/Class: Human 

Occupation: Police detective 

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: James Bond, Ann Palooka, Joe Palooka (see comments);
    possibly Blondie Boopadoop Bumstead, Dagwood Bumstead, Hyram Fieldstone, Lois Fieldstone, Jiggs, Henry Mitchell, Leroy Lockhorn, Loretta Lockhorn, Allison "Skeezix" Wallet, Herb Woodley  

Enemies: None (see comments) 

Known Relatives: None (see comments) 

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Belle Porte, Connecticut (see comments) 

First Appearance: "Dick Tracy" newspaper strip, Detroit Mirror (October 1931);
    (Marvel) Fantastic Four I#276 (March 1985)

Powers/Abilities: Dick is a skilled detective equipped with a variety of high tech gear, most famously a two-way wrist radio.

Height:
Weight:  
Eyes: Unrevealed
Hair: Black

History:
(Dick Tracy newspaper strip) - Dick Tracy was a highly successful police detective, renowned for his unwavering honesty and bravery, grim determination to see the job through, and for bringing down the most dangerous, grotesque and outre gangsters. 

(Fantastic Four I#276) -  In Belle Porte, Connecticut, Dick Tracy attended the house warming party of new residents Sue and Reed Benjamin (secretly Sue and Reed Richards), sitting next to and chatting with Joe and Ann Palooka.

(Captain America I#401) - Tracy visited the Laughing Horse Bar on Manhattan's Lower West Side, where he hung out at the bar with James Bond and James' date, and near Reid Fleming.  

Comments: Created by Chester Gould, snuck into Marvel by John Byrne and Jerry Ordway.

    One of the most famous newspaper strip stars, Dick Tracy was originally conceived as "Plainclothes Tracy." Immensely successful from the start, Tracy made the jump to radio in 1934, comics in 1936, live action film serials in 1937 and feature films from 1945. In recent years his newspaper strip has seen him team up with Fearless Fosdick, the Spirit and the Green Hornet, and encounter Popeye, Little Orphan Annie and Brenda Starr. However, it seems he managed far more crossovers than all the others combined in his two tiny Marvel cameos.

    As with all these kinds of cameos, there are a few standard notes:
    (1) his name isn't actually given, so he might not be called Dick Tracy in 616; however, absent evidence to the contrary, I'm going to ASSume that is his name;
    (2) that said, I'll put his name (and those of the other unnamed cameos) in quotes in the header, because it's not a certainty, but not carry on the quotes throughout the rest of the text, because it starts getting in the way of readability to have too many quotes all through the text; 
    (3) his relatives, affiliations and enemies for 616 don't include the lengthy list that would be derived if I included every character shown in his "main canon" newspaper strip appearances; many of those probably do still hold true in 616, but unless we see them, they don't get listed.

    When we saw him in Belle Porte, he was part of a group identified in general terms as Sue and Reed "Benjamin's" neighbors; as such, we might presume he's a resident of that Connecticut town in 616, which either means his career has gone down a very different path in that reality, or else Belle Porte is a surprising hotbed for misshapen gangsters. However, it is possible he's actually based in New York City, given he was also seen on the Lower East Side in his work clothes, and was only in Belle Porte visiting friends who dragged him along to the housewarming, or has a house there he uses at weekends to get away from the city. If he was visiting a friend, that might be Dagwood Bumstead, who was seen in the same two locations Tracy attended; perhaps in Captain America I#401 it was Dagwood's turn to do the visiting, and Dick had taken out drinking.  

    Since most of Tracy's neighbors have only got a single appearance, bar Dagwood Bumstead who shares the two Tracy has, I've included them as sub-profiles here; unless and until they get a few more appearances, they aren't likely to warrant their own full Appendix entries. FF#276 isn't the only time many of these characters have shared the published page with each other; newspaper strips are replete with them, especially when they share a publisher, and just the Blondie and Dagwood strip alone has seen guest appearances from many other newspaper strip stars owned or distributed by Kings Features, including Dick Tracy, Dennis Mitchell, Garfield and his owner Jon Arbuckle, Flash Gordon, Dilbert, the Lockhorns, Sam and Silo, Hi and Lois, Prince Valiant, Popeye, Mother Goose and Grimm, Jeremy Duncan and Hector Garcia (from Zits), B.C., the Phantom, the Wizard of Id, Hagar the Horrible, Oscar, Gordo and Ed (from Arctic Circle), Rat and Pig (from Pearls Before Swine), Snuffy Smith and Beetle Bailey on special occasions such as their 75th Anniversary in 2005 or Halloween. So the appearance of so many of them together in Belle Porte really isn't all that unusual, and if you like playing a game of comic strip "six degrees of separation" it links a whole bunch of additional characters to the Marvel universe.  

Profile by Loki.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Dick Tracy has no known connections to:

Dagwood Bumstead has no known connections to:

Blondie Bumstead has no known connections to:

Hyram Fieldstone has no known connections to:

Lois Fieldstone has no known connections to:

Jiggs has no known connections to:

Henry Mitchell has no known connections to:

Leroy Lockhorn has no known connections to:

Loretta Lockhorn has no known connections to:

Skeezix has no known connections to:

Herb Woodley has no known connections to:


"Dagwood Bumstead" and "Blondie Bumstead"

Blondie and Dagwood Bumstead attended the "Benjamin" family's housewarming for their neighbors in Belle Porte, Connecticut.

    Dagwood (see comments) later visited the Laughing Horse Bar on Manhattan's Lower West Side.

Comments: Blondie and Dagwood are the stars of the Kings Features Syndicate newspaper strip of the same name, created by Chic Young back in September 1930. Originally the series was just Blondie, starring the then Blondie Boopadoop, but Dagwood was introduced as her boyfriend and later husband, and came to share the headline with her.

    When Dagwood appears in Captain America I#401, he appears to be younger than he was in FF I#276. You could just put this down to differing artists, or perhaps Dagwood dying his hair to hide the gray, but it's also feasible that it's not Dagwood but his similar looking son, Alexander.

 

--(Blondie) Fantastic Four I#276
--(Dagwood) Fantastic Four I#276  (Captain America I#401

   


"Ann Howe Palooka" and "Joe Palooka"

Boxer Joe Palooka and his wife Ann attended the "Benjamin" family's housewarming for their neighbors in Belle Porte, Connecticut.

Comments: Newspaper strip star Joe Palooka was created by Ham Fisher in 1921, though the character didn't make it into publication until 1930. His girlfriend, later fiancee and finally wife Anne Howe was introduced in the first week of the strip.

--Fantastic Four I#276


"Hyram and Lois Fieldstone"
(plus "Chip," "Dot," "Ditto" and "Trixie")

Living on the second house on the next block over from the newly arrived "Benjamin" family (actually the incognito Richards family) in Belle Porte, Connecticut, Hyram and Lois Fieldstone's twins played with the the newcomer's son, Franklin. When the "Benjamin" family threw a housewarming for their neighbors, Hyram and Lois attended, arriving to find many of their neighbors already present. Lois thanked Sue "Benjamin" for the invitation, since having to look after four kids meant she rarely got out of the house to socialize. Sue introduced the couple to her husband Reed, and he and Hyram chatted about Franklin befriending the Fieldstone children. Hyram then asked if it ever became a bother that the "Benjamins" shared the same three first names as Reed, Sue and Franklin Richards of the Fantastic Four... 

Comments: Based on Hiram and Lois Flagston, a.k.a. Hi and Lois, a newspaper strip created by Mort Walker and Dik Browne which debuted on 18th October 1954. The characters however debuted in Walker's other famous strip, Beetle Bailey, with Lois being Beetle's sister. 

    Despite being the only ones actually named and so apparently confirmed not to share their newspaper strip counterpart's identities, they are also the only characters who have more of their newspaper strip background confirmed to be identical in 616, to wit, their children. In the newspaper series they have four children, the oldest boy Chip, twin siblings Dot and Ditto, and youngest sister Trixie; in FF I#276, Lois confirms she and her husband have four kids, and Hyram mentions "the twins" playing with Franklin.

    It's possible that Hyram had actually figured out the "Benjamin's" secret when he asked about them sharing names with the Richards. Additionally, while the real world reason for the couple having a different, albeit similar, surname to their newspaper strip counterparts is simply to avoid copyright issues, in-universe it might be speculated that they are actually called Flagston, but like the Richards have assumed a pseudonym for privacy purposes. The Fantastic Four and innumerable others have comics based around their exploits within the Marvel universe, so it's no stretch to suggest that other "real" people are the inspiration for famous newspaper strips in the Marvel universe. 

--Fantastic Four I#276


"Jiggs"

Jiggs attended the "Benjamin" family's housewarming for their neighbors in Belle Porte, Connecticut.

Comments: Jiggs was created by George McManus and debuted in January 1913 in McManus' newspaper strip Bringing Up Father. It covered the life of immigrant Irish hod-carrier Jiggs after he won a million dollars in a U.S. sweepstakes.

    There's another homage to him in Marvel in the form of King McManus, Ruling Poobah King of Elsewhere, who showed up in Power Pack I#47. Given precedent in the Marvel universe for seemingly normal people later being revealed to be undercover non-humans, it's entirely possible that this is the same character, hanging around incognito on Earth. 

--Fantastic Four I#276  ((maybe) Power Pack I#47


"Henry Mitchell"

Henry Mitchell attended the "Benjamin" family's housewarming for their neighbors in Belle Porte, Connecticut.

Comments: Henry Mitchell was created by Hank Ketcham for his newspaper strip Dennis the Menace; he's the father of the titular Dennis.

    Marvel has published licensed Dennis the Menace comics; those so inclined might use Henry's appearance in Fantastic Four to argue that those comics are in 616 canon.

--Fantastic Four I#276


"Leroy Lockhorn" and "Loretta Lockhorn"

Leroy and Loretta Lockhorn attended the "Benjamin" family's housewarming for their neighbors in Belle Porte, Connecticut.

Comments: Created by Bill Hoest, The Lockhorns newspaper strip debuted in September 1968, starring the argumentative husband and wife Leroy and Loretta Lockhorn.

 

--Fantastic Four I#276


"Allison 'Skeezix' Wallet"

Allison "Skeezix" Wallet attended the "Benjamin" family's housewarming for their neighbors in Belle Porte, Connecticut.

Comments: Skeezix is one of the stars of Frank King's Gasoline Alley, which began on November 24th 1918. Skeezix wasn't in the early stories, which instead starred Walt Wallet; Skeezix debuted as a baby on 14th February 1921, a foundling left on Walt's doorstep, and was raised by his "Uncle" Walt. Unlike most newspaper strips and many comics, the characters in Gasoline Alley age in real time, so he grew up from an infant to become the adult star of the strip, and has now been superceded by his own offspring. The series is now on to the fifth generation of characters (Skeezix being counted as second generation). Both he and Walt remain regulars in the series now, with Skeezix pushing a hundred and Walt well past his century. At the time of his appearance in Fantastic Four, he would have been in his sixties.

--Fantastic Four I#276


"Herb Woodley"

Herb Woodley attended the "Benjamin" family's housewarming for their neighbors in Belle Porte, Connecticut.

Comments: Created by Chic Young, Herb Woodley is Dagwood Bumstead's neighbor and best friend in the newspaper strip Blondie and Dagwood.

--Fantastic Four I#276


images: (without ads)
Captain America I#401, p15, pan4 (main image, in work clothes)
Fantastic Four I#276, p6, pan3 (off duty, seated with Ann and Joe Palooka)
Dick Tracy: America's Greatest Detective, cover (newspaper version, with wrist radio)
Blondie and Dagwood newspaper strip logo (Blondie and Dagwood)
Fantastic Four I#276, p6, pan3 (Blondie)
Fantastic Four I#276, p6, pan3 (Dagwood)
Captain America I#401, p14, pan3 (Dagwood at the Laughing Horse - or maybe Alexander)
Joe Palooka Comics#116, p44, pan1 (Joe Palooka and Ann Howe)
Fantastic Four I#276, p6, pan3 (Joe and Ann Palooka)
Hi and Lois newspaper strip (Flagstone family)
Fantastic Four I#276, p6, pan3 (Hyram and Lois Fieldstone)
Bringing Up Father newspaper strip (Jiggs)
Fantastic Four I#276, p6, pan3 (Jiggs)
Dennis the Menace newspaper strip (Henry Mitchell)
Fantastic Four I#276, p6, pan3 (Henry Mitchell)
Fantastic Four I#276, p6, pan3 (Leroy and Loretta Lockhorn)
Gasoline Alley newspaper strip (Skeezix)
Fantastic Four I#276, p6, pan3 (Skeezix)
Blondie and Dagwood newspaper strip (Herb Woodley)
Fantastic Four I#276, p6, pan3 (Herb Woodley)


Appearances:
Fantastic Four I#276 (March 1985) - John Byrne (writer, pencils), Jerry Ordway (inks), Michael Carlin (editor)
Captain America I#401 (June 1992) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Rik Levins (pencils), Danny Bulanadi (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)


First Posted: 02/17/2019
Last updated: 02/17/2019

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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