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.

Vids I Dig 072: Comic Tropes: X-Statix: Superhero Celebrity Satire

From Comic Tropes’ YouTube description: In 2001, writer Peter Milligan and artist Mike Allred teamed up with a completely new take on X-Force which would go on to be retitled X-Statix. It was a look at a team of mutants who were also celebrities. This episode looks at how that works and some of the common techniques of Milligan and Allred.

Comic Review: Michael Allred’s Madman, Vol. 1

Published: July 23rd, 2008 (collected and reprinted)
Written by: Mike Allred
Art by: Mike Allred, Laura Allred

Tundra Publishing, Dark Horse Comics, Image Comics (reprint), 294 Pages


I’ve had a few issues of Mike Allred’s Madman in my comic collection since the ’90s. I never had a complete story arc, however, so I never got to give it a real read.

I figured I’d check out the first collected volume, which collects his first two miniseries.

The first story is in black and white with nice grayish blue shading. The second arc is in full, vibrant color. Regardless of the presentation, both stories that were included here were a lot of fun and the art was pulpy and terrific.

Allred has a good sense of humor that works well for the character and this series. In some ways, it reminded me of the experience I had reading Rob Schrab’s Scud: The Disposable Assassin or Doug TenNapel’s Creature Tech.

While Madman is a product of the ’90s comic book industry, it feels timeless. I let my friend’s kid read this as well and she thought it was pretty damn funny even for modern teenager standards.

Madman is energetic, endearing and just a really cool comic. I dug the hell out of it and plan on completing it by collecting all the floppies out there.

But that could take some time and I don’t want to hold off on jumping into volume two, which I will do in the very near future.

Rating: 9/10
Pairs well with: later Madman collections, as well as other work by Mike Allred. Plus, Rob Schrab’s Scud: The Disposable Assassin and Doug TenNapel’s Creature Tech and Bigfoot Bill.