“Dick Tracy” writer and artist draw influence from WWE and Jerry “The King” Lawler

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March 09, 2012

Jerry Lawler in Dick TracyWWE, and sports-entertainment as a whole, has always found its way into influencing other mediums, comic books in particular. For example, before he became a superhero, Spider-Man tried using his powers to become a wrestler. In one of the latest storylines of the long-running newspaper strip “Dick Tracy,” WWE Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler made a special appearance and became a new ally for the famous yellow-fedora clad detective, Dick Tracy.

The storyline featured Tracy asking Lawler, portrayed as “Jerry King,” to help take down a criminal wrestler named Thunderchild who was responsible for stealing money from a charity. Alongside reformed classic Tracy villain The Mole, Jerry King and Dick Tracy step inside the squared circle to slam crime.

In the second year helming the strip, artist and writer, Joe Staton and Mike Curtis, respectively, told WWE.com that using Jerry Lawler in the storyline was planned from the start. While Staton credited Curtis with coming up with the idea to feature Lawler, both creators cited their familiarity with Lawler’s influence in sports entertainment.

“We are both originally from the same area of Tennessee,” Curtis said. “We were both fans of Memphis Wrestling and ‘The King’ was certainly the face of that organization.”

Joe Staton/Mike Curtis“The King” is no stranger to the world of comics. The WWE Hall of Famer has drawn numerous comic book covers and pin-ups over the years and makes frequent appearances at comic conventions.

“With Lawler’s strong connection to comics, it just totally made sense,” Staton explained, adding, “We figured Jerry would be the perfect counterpart to Tracy, the perfect tag team partner.”

Although Curtis drew much of the inspiration from Lawler’s days in Memphis Wrestling when writing the script, he also mentioned that this was not the first time Dick Tracy has set foot inside of the squared circle.

“In the 1950s, the villain T.V. Wiggles was a wrestler, so we didn’t exactly break new ground, but we featured more of the actual competition.” Curtis told WWE.com.

“Dick Tracy has a history of being involved in different areas of pop culture,” Staton explained. “The villains in particular have often come from different areas of entertainment like T.V Wiggles or the singer Sparkle Plenty,” Staton continued, “so having a villain who is primarily a wrestler, and bringing in Jerry Lawler to help crack the case fits in with the whole theme of the pop culture cross over.”

Curtis and Staton found many similarities between Dick Tracy and Jerry Lawler. “Tracy is a lot like Jerry,” Curtis explained. “He doesn’t take anything from anybody; he puts his chin out there and keeps going no matter what. We’ve seen Jerry get beat down in matches and come right back again.” Staton added, “Tracy has certainly taken his share of punishment, but always keeps going. They both have powerful morals for readers of all ages.”

Jerry Lawler in Dick TracyDick Tracy has always been known to have a set of villains defined by their distinctive physical features, character traits and the names that complement those features. WWE Superstars also have their own distinct physical features and traits that define who they are in and out of the ring. Staton and Curtis both agreed that if they were to create a WWE Superstar with a specific trait it would be “someone nefarious and sneaky, perhaps invulnerable to a steel chair.”

Curtis and Staton both joked that the one thing they regretted not including in the strip was having someone get hit with a steel chair or go through a table.

“At the very least we should have put someone through the Spanish announce table,” Curtis joked, adding, “That table seems to take the most abuse.”

Jerry Lawler in Dick TracyCurtis and Staton agreed that if there was one current WWE Superstar that would be the perfect villainous foil for Dick Tracy, it would be Kane. “I could see Joe drawing Kane and Tracy face-to-face. Actually, Kane would be perfect, the mask and his imposing stature already make him the textbook Tracy villain!”

To see Jerry Lawler's appearance in "Dick Tracy," CLICK HERE

Dick Tracy ® and © 2012 Tribune Media Services, Inc. All rights reserved.

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