Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Dick Tracy Meets Harold Teen (sort of)

Coming off their successful crossover story with the Spirit (see: Dick Tray's Spirit), Mike Curtis and Joe Staton shift gears with something quite different. And as always, the fun is in the small details.

This sequence ran April 7-9, 2017. Note the change in credits. Shelley Pleger stepped in for Joe Staton, who needed time for some other projects. Pleger's a part of the Dick Tracy creative team, inking Staton's penciled art and doing the lettering.

She's also a talented artist in her own right and provided the art for Mike Curtis "Shanda the Panda."

As with most of the references written into Dick Tracy, these sequences further the story without getting in the way. If you don't recognize any of these characters, no worries. This three-day sequence simply establishes the upcoming cosplay convention (where a crime will happen) as a major event everyone will be attending.

But for some comics readers, it's the reappearance of some very old friends. "The Love Life of Harold Teen" was a comic strip written and drawn by Carl Ed. It ran from 1919 to 1959, and featured the exploits of a typical teenager -- Harold Teen.

There was a regular cast of supporting characters, of course. The action usually centered around the Sugar Bowl, a soda shop run by Pop Jenks. Gedunk sundaes were often advertised in depictions of the shop.

Harold's sidekick was Shadow Smart. He was often shown wearing earmuffs. Note how Pleger updated the character by changing them to earbud headphones.

Harold Teen and Shadow were jazz-crazy in the 1920s, and were just as wild about swing in the 1940s, at the height of the strip's popularity. So  Pleger's change is in keeping with the character.

Harold references his long-time girlfriend, Lillums Lovewell, though she's not shown in this sequence.

It's a great homage to a once-popular comic strip that's all but forgotten. And now Harold Teen's world joins the Tracyverse.

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