Dick Tracy Wiki
Dick Tracy: The Official Biography
Author Jay Maeder
Publication date 1990
Published by Penguin Books
ISBN 9780452265448
Publication Order
Preceded by
Followed by

Dick Tracy: The Official Biography, The Life and Times of America's No. 1 Crimestopper is a book written by Jay Maeder and published by Penguin Books in 1990.


The book is a work of reference material that examines Chester Gould's time on the strip, and it makes only passing reference to the post-Gould years. Particular focus is paid to the early years of the strip, the notable villains, well-known storylines and Dick Tracy's supporting cast. The book contains many reproductions from the strip, including full-color sections, but does not include any complete storylines.


Maeder's book has been the target of disdain among some fans of the strip. The book has been criticized for what some readers see as an unfair editorial bias, specifically against the Moon Period and the sci-fi elements that entered the strip during the later years of Gould's tenure. However, the Moon Era had caused a great deal of antipathy among a significant constituency of the strip's fans, and an argument can be made that Maeder was giving voice to a commonly-held position.

Moreover, Maeder did not claim to be concealing his personal opinions in the name of journalistic objectivity. His personal views on a variety of subjects regarding Dick Tracy are spread throughout the book.

Maeder was also critical of Rick Fletcher's artistic style, making the controversial claim that Fletcher never drew Tracy "quite correctly". This was less of a reflection of popular opinion than his comments about the Moon Era.


  • Jay Maeder would later go on to become the regular writer of the comic strip Little Orphan Annie from 2000 until the strip's cancellation in 2010. Some characters from that strip would later appear in Dick Tracy.
  • Maeder passed away in July 2014 at the age of 67. He had had a good relationship with writer Mike Curtis.