Urvater des ersten realistischen Kriminalstrips war Chester Gould, dessen DICK TRACY am 4.10.1931 seine erste Sonntagsseite erhielt. Der hakennasige Polizist, der mit technischen Hilfsmitteln wie dem "2-way wrist radio" ausgestattet war, kämpfte gegen eine ganze Galerie von skurrilen Verbrecherfiguren, die sich alle durch besonders makabre Gesichtszüge auszeichneten.
Chester Gould was from Pawnee, Oklahoma, and probably had as much persistence as artistic talent. Publisher Joseph Medill Patterson rejected his cartoon ideas for over 10 years, before on day sending a telegram from New York to Gould in Chicago that read "Your Plainclothes Tracy has Possibilities." When the two men met, Patterson changed the detective's name to Dick Tracy and the rest is history. Although some editors and readers protested Gould's introduction of violence into the comic pages, the strip quickly attained immense popularity. Evil characters with dispositions as ugly as their names became household words, as did more appealing characters like B.O. Plenty, Gravel Gertie and Sparkle Plenty. When Tracy married Tess Truehart on Christmas Eve in 1949, the nation cheered. Even today, Dick Tracy continues to be enormously popular.