dick tracy slice

Exclusive preview: Artist Rich Tommaso on IDW's new Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive

Contributed by
Jul 9, 2018, 2:54 PM EDT

With his lantern jaw, futuristic wrist TV, yellow fedora, and confident can-do spirit, Dick Tracy just might be the private eye we need for our divisive times.

It seems like it's been a while since we've seen the likes of Chester Gould's tough-as-nails detective in any medium, but IDW Publishing is primed to recharge the charismatic Golden Age gumshoe for a new Dick Tracy mini-series this fall, and SYFY WIRE has an exclusive peek.

dick tracy movie

The hard-boiled American treasure was always most at home as a newspaper comic strip but often ventured into comic books, games, tie-in novels, radio serials, cartoons, Saturday matinee shorts, and even a 1990 Hollywood feature film starring Warren Beatty, Al Pacino, and Madonna.

However, since his inception in 1931, he's never been more alive than in the pages of a gritty, old-fashioned comic book series or colorful Sunday strip.

dick tracy 1

This new four-issue special resurrecting the true-blue hero is written by the Eisner Award-winning Mike Allred (Madman, Silver Surfer) and his big brother, Lee Allred, and paired with innovative art by Rich Tommaso (Spy Seal, Dry Country), then colored by Mike's wife Laura (Madman).

Populated by a familiar gallery of strange crooks and ruthless rogues, Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive will be reimagined for the 21st century, with the All-American detective having just nabbed the biggest criminal of his career, only to get fired for the trouble. After packing his suitcase for “the city by the lake,” Tracy now has Chicago's gangland underworld community targeted for swift justice.

SYFY WIRE spoke with Tommaso on his tonal approach to the artwork, what changes were in order to revamp such a cherished, larger-than-life character, and what readers can expect as the storyline unfolds starting in September. 

Plus, check out the exclusive pre-ink pencil art and old-fashioned variant cover by Tommaso below!


"One of the things I changed right off the bat when going into this project was to up the size that I normally worked at," Tommaso explained. "Dick Tracy is such a dynamic strip bursting with gargantuan-sized cops and robbers, I knew that to draw the comic at my usual size — which is actually very close to print size — about 7 X 11" — would be a bad move and do this Popeye-proportioned comic a disservice.


"Drawing these pages at 11 X17" gives me the space I need to really bring these pop-culture icons to life," he added. "Poring over Gould's original strips and the work of other classic comic artists like Alex Toth and Roy Crane really helps to give this comic a feel as if it may have been drawn back in its heyday period of the '30s and '40s. Which is a time in comics that I have so much love and appreciation for."

dick tracy tomasso