Comic Review: Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive

Published: April 24th, 2019
Written by: Lee Allred, Mike Allred
Art by: Rich Tommaso, Mike Allred
Based on: Dick Tracy by Chester Gould

IDW Publishing, 108 Pages


I wanted to add this series to my pull list when it came out last year but I forgot about it around the time of its release. My store didn’t have any on the shelves either and by the time I remembered it, it was already too late. So I got and read the trade paperback instead.

I’ve been a Dick Tracy fan since the 1990 movie. Even though I knew about the character, it was that film that really introduced me to his world. I loved the hell out of that movie and still do, it’s one of the greatest comic book adaptations of all-time. I was captivated by the bright colors, the music but mostly by the unique and gimmicky mobsters.

I had the action figures. I had all the shit they gave out at McDonald’s that was tied to the film in the summer of ’90. I even had Dick Tracy bed sheets and one of the pillowcases became my container for Halloween candy for multiple years. I was a Dick-aholic. Or whatever the hell Dick Tracy fans are officially called.

So I was also excited for this due to the involvement of Mike Allred, whose Madman comics I’m also a fan of.

Ultimately, this was a pretty neat read. I wouldn’t call it great by any means but it hits the right notes mostly.

Well, other than where there are weird things in the story like smartphones. I get that this brought in some modern tech for what I assume is an attempt to be humorous but it honestly took me out of the comic I felt immersed in. I felt as if I was lost in a classic Dick Tracy tale and the writing style and quality worked but once I saw the first smartphone (and there are multiple) it reminded me that I’m reading an IDW comic. Which, as of late, sadly, isn’t a compliment.

Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive started out like a throwback but lost itself and dated itself with its need to be overly whimsical. While that works for Allred’s Madman, it doesn’t work in quite the same way here.

Rating: 6.25/10
Pairs well with: other old school and modern Dick Tracy comics.

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