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Reminded again today, smoke appearing in 4 of the six Sunday panels. Not a complaint, just an observation !
Yet It’s been long, yes, a very long - time, since our favorite Detective was seen to “light up”, take a PUFF and have a short dalliance with nicotine !True, it came at us ‘semi-disguised’ by a surprising cross-over, and a wide Popeye style grin, but it was real SMOKE seen to come from that sailor-type pipe.!And having noticed some time ago, those few disparaging, disapproving remarks whenever chain-smoker Sam’s cigarette smoke wafts so naturally (and artistically) out – by Joe Staton pen, I thought someone may have ‘come-down’ hard, on this (?) . . .but given the circumstances, seems he got a pass . . . ?
Decided to do a check ! It’s been 70 comic strip years (plus a few days) - - since Dick had been depicted “lighting one up” and the smoke so very apparent. It had last occurred in the Laffy Smith story line (10-26-‘43).In the years between, his only "flash of the ’Sam’ badge" (if I may call it that) - would be for a purposes of acting in a Police Training Film (as a Villain), in Feby. of 1972 - he put one between his lips but it was not lighted, and there was no smoke..
Many readers may not realize it, but the Space Coupe and Moon Maid were not the only things Max Collins changed in Gould’s new Dick Tracy forward history. No “drum beat” for these, they were quietly, near imperceptibly set in motion in his very FIRST Sunday page of Jan. 1, 1978. The Head Office scene was quietly, cleaned up - in Chantix Style ? The visitor that day - Vitamin Flintheart, beguiling, remained smoking normally throughout the episode via his cigarette holder, but (politically correct) and strangely absent, were Patton’s cigar and Sam’s cigarette ?. It would in subtle fashion SET a tone of “political orthodoxy” for decades to come, until - -* Locher’s retirement , coming some 33 years later * – -* in March, 2011 !
It was a time when Mike, Joe and Team – saw it fit, to bring Patton back as Chief, restore Lizz’s correct name. her more natural ‘feminine’ appearance and position, then restructured a Junior with his original face, and finally - - restored the ‘characteristics’ (call them good, call them bad) but as - Chester Gould ‘created’ them !
Most will likely agree, that’s the way the characters ought to be ! (?)
We know Tracy and the Popeye pipe is a “one off” and that’s the way it should be !
Jul 27, 2017