Artist retires, Dick Tracy comic lives on

March 9, 2011 4:38:05 AM PST
Chester Gould created the square-jawed cop Dick Tracy in 1931, and for 32 years Dick Locher put him on paper.

After three decades together, Tracy and the artist are parting ways.

Locher's last Dick Tracy comic strip will appear in Sunday's papers. "He's 80 years old and he's still humming, he's vibrant. He's not dead, he's alive and well," Locher said. "I'm going to retire after 32 years and I think he's in good hands."

Locher, 81, said a new artist and writer will take over, but the character Dick Tracy will remain much the same as he has since Gould created him in 1931. All those memorable characters and storylines are still there thanks to Locher. He has kept Tracy as Tracy-like as possible.

Locher is also an editorial cartoonist and in 1983 he won the Pulitzer Prize for his work. He's the author of a cartoon book called the "Daze Of Whine And Neurosis." But more than anything he has kept Tracy alive with his famous cliffhangers.

"When we do Wednesday's strip, for example, we have to make sure someone reads Thursday so we put a little cliffhanger in the last panel on Wednesday," Locher said.

Those cliffhangers and inventions became reality and Tracy became Locher's longtime friend.

"He gave me a tremendous ride sitting in his squad car next to him ... for thirty two years. As a person I understood him and he understood me. But when you get to that next stoplight up there ... Dick! That's my corner. Let me out," Locher said.

Locher will continue his five editorial cartoons every week.