Created by Chris Wisnia
Hot-tempered, foul-mouthed, crotch-scratching DICK HAMMER is a private skulk working the web comic mean streets of Crude Bay, Southern California.
Yeah, Crude Bay.
But just because artist/writer/creator Chris Wisnia apparently has his tongue wedged firmly in his cheek most of the time doesn’t mean he doesn’t know what he’s doing.
In fact, he betrays a great feel and obvious affection for the Shamus Game; a sort of gritty, 1970s-era down-and-dirty urban vibe (complete with suspicious men in Ford Torinos). Sure, Dick was defiantly (and perhaps, predictably) politically incorrect (he was billed originally as “Dick Hammer: Conservative Republican Private Investigator”). And sometimes the gags seemed decidedly juvenile, but trust me: this was the real deal.
There was a spareness to the cityscapes, and the occasionally rough, sketchy vibe of the art suggested nothing so much as yesterday’s litter blowing down the sidewalk, adding to the brooding, world-weary sense of cynicism and regret at play here.
Dick first popped in 2004 in Dick Hammer: Conservative Republican Private Investigator, a back-up feature in Tabloia Weekly Magazine (which only ran from issues #572-576). It was Chris’ personal anthology of pulpy goodness, which featured “The Lump,” his tribute to film noir, mad scientists, and the classic horror films of the 1930’s and 1940’s. Other back-up features included Doris Danger and Dr. DeBunko.
Dick returned in 2007 as a web comic, featured in Chris Wisnia’s Tabloia, as well as on Webcomics Nation and, ahem, The Thrilling Detective Web Site (and we were glad to have him).
In the first sprawling story arc (done in daily strip format, albeit posted only weekly), Dick goes to the aid of a good (ie: “wealthy”) client who’s just had the crap beat out of him by his mistress. But the client wants her back–preferably without his wife finding out. Toss in (like the blurbs say) “Hard-boiled Suspense! Crime and Murder! Amnesia!” and season with “Mystery! Unlikely Coincidence! Lurid Romance! Brutal Action!” and you’ve got all the pulpy goodness that private eye dreams are made of.
It ran sporadically both here and elsewhere for about a year before it was “web-cancelled” in November 2008, leaving readers to wonder how the hell things wrapped up.
“Apologies to all of you who have kindly been following Dick’s adventures. As much as I hate the thought of quitting (even temporarily) before the story is completed, I’ve been offered the opportunity to receive payment by a publisher for another of my works, to be released in 2009, and that means dedicating my time in that direction. Thanks for reading, and rest assured that Dick will be back, some day, not only to complete his current case, but on other adventures as well.”
So far, Hammer hasn’t returned, but if he ever does, I hope Chris knows he can always crash here. In the meantime, you can see the last three strips we ran, back in November 2008.
- “When it comes to detective noir, Hammer nails it.”
— A Comic a Day
- “Mr. Kaplan… kisses my ass like all my clients should. In my book that makes him one of my closest friends.”
- “Dangle, limpwad.”
— Dick dismisses the butler.
- TABLOIA WEEKLY MAGAZINE
Written by Chris Wisnia
Art by Chris Wisnia
- DICK HAMMER: CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR
- “And The Tupee Cried … Vengeance!” (2004, Tabloia Weekly Magazine #572)
- “The Evil Twin Must Die!” (2004, Tabloia Weekly Magazine #573)
- “Wear Those Dresses To The Morgue!” (2004, Tabloia Weekly Magazine #574)
- “A Dame’s Love Bites Like a .45 Slug in the Guts!” (2005, Tabloia Weekly Magazine #575)
- “The Unfaithful Dame Will Pay … In Spades!” (2005, Tabloia Weekly Magazine #576)
- DICK HAMMER: THE DAILIES
(2006-2008, Chris Wisnia’s Tabloia)
The “Dailies” also appeared on Webcomics Nation and The Thrilling Detective Web Site.
- “Chapter 0: Intro” (December 17, 2006-February 26, 2007)
- “Chapter One: My Pistol Weeps” (February 27-May 22, 2007)
- “Chapter Two: Blood-Spattered Lilies” (May 29- August 23, 2007)
- “Chapter Three, Part One: Lipstick on a Gun Barrel” (August 24-October 1, 2007)
- “Chapter Three, Part Two: Lipstick on a Gun Barrel” (October 8, 2007-January 14, 2008)
- “Chapter Four, Part One: Nice Shot, Drug Addict” (January 16-April 21, 2008)
- “Chapter Four, Part Two: Nice Shot, Drug Addict” (April 28-August 8, 2008)
- “Chapter Five” (August 12-November 18, 2008)
Chris’ naming conventions were always a little imprecise, the victim of too many idea, with titles, sub-tiles, chapter numbers and the like flying all over the place. I’ve tried my best…
- Chris Wisnia’s Arts
The official home of Dick Hammer and Chris’ other creations. All the Hammer strips are there, but you have to sign up to see ‘em.
- My Scrapbook: The Last Three Dick Hammers
As far as I know, these are the last three dailies ever “published.”
- Thrilling Detective Web Comics!
The Magnificent Seven
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.