Chester Gould's The Girl Friends (1931)
Click heading to hear Helen Kane sing.
In the years before he created Dick Tracy
, Chester Gould (1900-1985) drew several other strips, the movie parody Fillum Fables
(1924), the interview feature Why It's a Windy City
and the Siamese cats of Radio Cats
(1924). Although he had been earning $100 a week at the Evening American
, he dropped Fillum Fables
("I wanted to get away from that because it was not my original idea") and moved over to the Chicago Daily News
(taking a salary drop to $50 a week) in order to develop his own properties. While drawing ad art and editorial cartoons at the Daily News
he was offered the opportunity to do another strip, The Girl Friends
(1931), as he explained:
Chester Gould! ©2008 Ed Piskor and Jay Lynch
Well, while I was drawing rugs and canned corn and stuff for the regular daily ads, I was told to come into the office of the editor of the News. I didn't know if I was going to get fired or what. He said, "I understand you have some experience with the American." I said, "Yes!" "Well, we need a girl strip in the Daily News," and he asked if I could draw a girl strip. I said, "I sure can!" So he said, "Well, let me see a couple, and we might start using them right here in the News." That was the way I got into The Girl Friends."
a visual memoir of a real-life experience that happened in 1968, was originally drawn for a planned book of autobiographical comic strips titled Ink & Anguish
. Jay Lynch
wrote the scripts and roughed layouts for half the book, and Ed Piskor drew the finished pages. Although Ink & Anguish
was eventually abandoned, the strips have recently been running in Mineshaft
. Piskor illustrates for American Splendor, Philadelphia City Paper and other publications. Just published is his new book Wizzywig about hacker Kevin Phenicle. Click here for a cornucopia of comics and illustrations by Ed Piskor.
Jay created the characters of Nard 'n Pat decades ago for his Bijou Funnies, drew many installments of the syndicated alternative weekly strip Phoebe and the Pigeon People, devised humor products for Topps Chewing Gum and contributed to Mad. His new children's book, Otto's Orange Day (illustrated by Frank Cammuso), was just published by Toon Books.
Want to visit the Chester Gould Dick Tracy Museum
in Woodstock, Illinois? Better hurry! It closes June 1 due to financial problems. Meanwhile, those deluxe IDW hardcover reprints of Dick Tracy
which began in 2006 keep rolling out with the fifth volume due in August. The first volume features the Plainclothes Tracy
strips which got Gould the job.
Gould eventually began to identify with his character. He and his wife once checked into a hotel as "Mr. and Mrs. Dick Tracy." And I recall seeing many decades ago a newspaper photo showing Gould in his bizarre backyard cemetery with rows of gravestones indicating where each of Dick Tracy villains were buried. Did he actually put drawings of the villains in little coffins and bury the drawings? I don't remember.
Gould could draw Dick Tracy blindfolded!
In the chaotic Cabbie
(1987) the brilliant Barcelona artist Marti Riera unleashed a cast of depraved characters in a remarkable recreation of Chester Gould's art style.
Labels: chester gould, dick tracy, ed piskor, jay lynch, marti riera