Say what you will about the Chicago White Sox, but the team does have an elegant logo. It’s made up of bold colors and stylish calligraphy, not the chicken scratch seen in this strip. That lame likeness in panel one? It reminds me of the logos my friends and I drew in grade school; not art school, mind you, but grade school. It’s sloppy, just like this year’s White Sox. Maybe the team should be forced to wear bunk logos for the rest of the year as punishment for getting overtaken (and subsequently swept) by the Minnesota Twins. I attended tonight’s game and can report that the White Sox are not living up to the promise of their snazzy duds.
Archive for the ‘Dick Tracy’ Category
As a serialized strip, Dick Tracy is obliged to repeat the same scenes over and over again until even the most casual readers have caught up. Unfortunately, this static narrative seems to scramble everyone’s sense of time and place, causing otherwise articulate characters to mangle their tenses. Take the villain in this strip, for example. If she had been speaking of the past, she would have said, “I wanted to kill you first, but The Blank here jumped in ahead of me.” If she had been speaking of the present, she would have said, “I want to kill you first, but The Blank here jumps in ahead of me.” As it’s written, though, she uses both past and present tense in the same sentence. William Faulkner once wrote, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” Somehow, I don’t think this strip is what he had in mind.
Try as I might, I can’t help but be baffled by the villain in this strip. Check out the first panel, where he leaps from the banister to the hanging airplane. Examine his head, jutting aggressively. Now look at his left shoulder, arched despite his left arm being raised. Human bodies don’t do this. They don’t contort into physically impossible positions, even if they’re acting on madcap criminal impulses. Then again, maybe I shouldn’t be searching for logic in the physical makeup of this baddie. After all, previous installments of Dick Tracy have shown him to be faceless. If that’s the case, then why can’t he twist his body every which way as he flies through the air?
When I moved into my house earlier this year, I noticed that the previous owners had left “some political stuff” in the front yard; specifically, they left a sign promoting a sitting state senator who was facing a primary opponent. Having no knowledge of the man, I uprooted his sign and placed it in a spare bedroom, where it sat for months. It had collected a fair amount of mud outside, which promptly dried to dirt, and eventually morphed into dinge. The sign was pretty unsightly, but I still managed to avoid throwing it away. Then, a few weeks ago, I was in a cleaning mood and decided to dump it in the recycling bin. For what it’s worth, the guy won.
Fancy coloring aside, what excites me about today’s Dick Tracy is the “Crimestoppers Textbook.” My fiance is originally from the southwest suburbs of Chicago and she once took me to see the Riverwalk in downtown Naperville, not far from where she grew up. I enjoyed the peaceful, verdant path, but didn’t think I’d have occasion to go back. But now that a nine-foot Dick Tracy statue has been erected there, I’ll definitely be making a return trip. And even though it seems curious to place a statue of a hard-boiled city detective on a nature path in a tony suburb, the drive will be so short that I won’t bother getting worked up about the contradictions.
That’s quite an image in the third panel of today’s Dick Tracy. It seems as if the woman at the base of the stairs is being cornered by an aggressive mob of moneybags eager to do her harm. The fact that some of these bags are shrouded in darkness makes the scene even more ominous. Maybe I’m responding this way because the bags are abnormally large – approximately the size of a squat Dick Tracy thug – but I’m also taken with the notion of a person being bullied by a room full of money. It seems like an apt metaphor for our current (and apparently unrelenting) culture of corporate bailouts.
This seems like an overly harsh assessment of a simpleminded jackpot winner, even coming from the new casino-themed Dick Tracy villain. I don’t think it’s fair to call someone stupid just because they’re not “bank literate.” Sure, it behooves all of us to understand the basics of balancing a checkbook, paying bills on time and using credit responsibly. But when it comes to complex financial transactions, most of us are in the dark. Not only is the average Joe not “bank literate,” but it seems as if large banks and even the U.S. Treasury are not “bank literate.” If they were, then Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Washington Mutual and Wachovia wouldn’t have been allowed to drive our economy into a sinkhole.