GREENBRIER — Dick Tracy, the most well-known fictional police officer in the world, has won the coveted Harvey Award. That comic strip, now published by Tribune Media Services, is 80 years old, and The Dick Tracy team of Mike Curtis (writer) and Joe Staton (artist) won the 2013 Harvey Award for "Best Syndicated Strip or Panel." The Harvey awards recognize outstanding work in comics and sequential art and are named in honor of the late Harvey Kurtzman (1924-1993), one of the comic industry’s most innovative talents.
Mike Curtis, a Greenbrier resident, has written the copy for Dick Tracy for the last three years and this was one of his life-long goals. He started doing comics like Richie Rich and Casper the Friendly Ghost in the mid-80s and now works about five months in advance on Dick Tracy. He is also an avid Superman collector for 41 years with more than 17,000 items in his collection.
Curtis was especially pleased with this award because this win made history in a few ways. Only once before was an adventure strip even nominated and this is the oldest strip to ever win. Even better was the fact that nominees are chosen by and voted on by other comic book professionals (those who write, draw, ink, letter, color, design, edit and otherwise create comics). The honors are given out, not by fans, but by peers in their industry.
"Normally humor or satirical strips win," said Curtis. "We decided to change the strip a little bit to go with more timeless aspects. Tracy always wears a yellow trench coat and a hat; but we have introduced modern crimes into the series, like corporate crooks, computer pirates, polluters, skyjackers, terrorists and gang lords. We will still have a 1956 car go by and you might still see a gas pump; but it will be outside a modern convenience store."
Because Curtis and Staton both work from their homes (Staton is in Tennessee), they only get to actually meet about three or four times a year. Curtis is excited about Staton and Sgt. Jim Doherty, their real police consultant, coming to the Conway Public Library Nov. 9 and 10. Not only will the three of them talk about Dick Tracy; but Curtis’ Superman collection will also be displayed.