YMMV: Dick Tracy

YMMVs in the comic strip:

  • Anvilicious: Chester Gould's stories got really bad for this during The '70s, with Tracy frequently going on lengthy speeches about how the law should operate. Mike Kilian had a tendency to do this as well (most infamously with the movie piracy story), though to a much lesser extent than Gould.
    • Dick Locher's strips completely averted this, oddly enough, though presumably as a famed political cartoonist Locher had another outlet for that sort of thing.
  • Broken Base: Moon Maid and the whole Moon Era which she representatived.
  • Creator's Pet: Moon Maid was given a range of powers that many Golden Age superheroes would be envious of, and was frequently applauded for taking the law into her own hands. Fans of the strip were more divided.
    • Although he was created by Chester Gould, Max Allan Collins really likes ham-actor Vitamin Flintheart (and in the introductions to many of the Complete Chester Gould's Dick Tracy Books, he's pretty much out in the open about this). Gould created Flintheart in the mid 1940's, used him up until 1950, then never again for his entire run. Collins brought Vitamin back for his first story in 1978, then used the character in several stories up until his run ended in 1993 (though unlike Moon Maid, there didn't seem to be any fans who particularly objected).
  • Dork Age: Arguably from the start of the "Space Era" in the 1960s until Max Allan Collins took over as writer, and definitely Dick Locher's era as writer.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: The Blank; though he only appeared in one story, he's largely one of the more memorable villains Tracy fought.
    • Toss in Flattop; originally a one-shot character, he proved to be so popular that not only did Gould keep bringing him back, but once he killed him off, introduced his family to continue his legacy.
    • And Mumbles. Popular enough to be brought back from the dead THREE TIMES!
    • And Moon Maid.
    • B.O. Plenty, Gravel Gertie, and their daughter Sparkle. Newer readers might be mystified as to how a family of hillbilly farmers got to be such prominent supporting characters in a Police Crime strip. The answer is that B.O. and Gertie both started out (in separate stories) as minor villains Tracy had to bring in. Then they reformed, met, fell in love, and married, gaining popularity as the Plucky Comic Relief. The birth of their baby daughter Sparkle is widely regarded as the strip's high point in terms of merchandising, coinciding with the start of the Baby Boom.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The Blank's real face.
    • Also the general freakish nature of most of Tracy's rogue gallery.
    • The Brow had a Cold-Blooded Torture device consisting of a small mechanical iron maiden that closed around the victim's leg. Eventually the villain gets caught in it by the head. He has no choice but to tear his bleeding head out of it before it can close on him completely.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Moon Maid since her resurrection under Staton and Curtis, which saw her powers greatly toned down and her actions being viewed in a somewhat more realistic manner by the other characters.
  • So Bad, It's Good: The Moon Period stories can actually be a lot of fun if you enjoy the very pulpiest of pulp science fiction. They're utterly ridiculous and out of place, but they can be fun for exactly those reasons. Gould's artwork during this period is impressive; he very clearly enjoyed getting to draw stuff so radically different from the normal restrictions of the strip's genre. Some fans consider this period to be Vindicated by History, especially compared to the Locher era, and since Moon Maid's return under Curtis and Staton.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: The "Mr. Crime" storyline that ran in 2011-2012 revealed early on that there was a mole inside the police department. This turned out to be Lt. Teevo, the one recurring character that had been introduced by Dick Locher, and at the conclusion of the storyline he ended up being fed to a giant, carnivorous plant.
  • Vindicated by History: As mentioned above, some fans now consider the Moon stories to be this. In addition, Mike Kilian's writing has started to be looked on more favorably by fans in the years since his death, with many feeling that his work actually stacks up well compared to other contemporary adventure strips. He is also given the benefit of the doubt for being in the difficult position of trying to replace Max Allan Collins.

YMMVs in The Movie:

  • Ham and Cheese: Dustin Hoffman only played Mumbles because Warren Beatty dared him to.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Charlie Korsmo, here playing a kid who desperately wants to be a cop, grew up to become a lawyer.
  • Jerk Sue: There's no denying his honesty and courage, but Dick Tracy can be quite arrogant and brutal in his treatment of suspects - particularly when he waives their constitutional rights out of sheer spite.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The general freakish nature of most of Tracy's rogue gallery, where with the exception of the Breathless Mahoney (who designed the Blank costume/persona to wear so that she could go around killing people without anyone suspecting her), the costume designers met the challenge of portraying all of Tracy's villains as the grotesques they were in the comics.
    • The film has a surprisingly high body count for a PG-rated film, with seven men being killed in the first 10 minutes alone. Despite all the death, there is very little blood or gore.
    • Lips Manlis pathetically begging for his life as cement slowly covers him.
    • Big Boy Caprice's lethal temper and chronic fondness for Kicking The Dog.
    • The Blank's inhuman - even reptilian - hiss of a voice.
    • The final gun battle on the street, with Influence and Flattop shown getting shot in disturbing close-ups. ( Flattop's spasmodic death throes, his tommy gun firing wildly as his fingers lock on the trigger in a death grip, is especially graphic.)
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: The five card players shot and killed by Flattop within the first two minutes were all significant characters in the strip. The Brow is widely regarded as one of Chester Gould's greatest villainous creations, who ranks with among others, Flattop himself; Little Face was one of the first "Grotesques" introduced into the strip; Shoulders and Stooge both appeared twice in the strip's canon (a rarity for Dick Tracy villains); and the Rodent was one of the last great grotesques of the 1950s.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Creepy as they may be, you can't deny the sheer quality of the makeup design that won this movie the Academy Award for Best Makeup. They actually look realistic to a degree. Add to that the set design and color scheme throughout, this is one good looking movie!

YMMVs in the Animated Adaptation:

  • Designated Hero: The ONLY thing Dick Tracy does in almost every episode is call in someone to essentially do his job and shows to arrest the criminal, while doing very little actual work.
  • Ethnic Scrappy: Joe Jitsu and Go-Go Gomez are broad ethnic stereotypes. They were the good guys, and such stereotypes were considered acceptable at the time, but modern viewers may find them cringe-worthy.

YMMVs in the video games: