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So seeing as no one took up the implicit challenge in the last post (Who was that cartoon character that Nabokov described?) here is the answer.  It was Texie Garcia, moll/wife of Big Boy, the platinum-haired mobster who wears rings and smokes cigars, cheifest enemy of Dick Tracy.

When I first came upon Appel's puzzlement I thought the right person was Sparkle Plenty, wife of hillbilly gangster B.O. Plenty; but on investigation I found that Sparkle Plenty, through all of my (and Nabokov's) comics reading, was a baby, the child of B.O. Plenty and his wife, who was Gertie Gravel.  Sparkle was all wrong -- but how did I connect them?  Only when I was running down the list of Dick Tracy characters on a handy website did I see a woman whose name began with T, and something went off in the noggin.  Yes, it was a T!  ANd when it became obvious that it was Texie, and the wife of Big Boy, I remembered all that clearly -- big him and little her, the jewels etc. -- and here's the oddity -- I also remembered that at some time in childhood I came to believe, on no evidence I can remember, that Big Boy and Texie actually were  B.O Plenty and his wife, who had undergone a huge makeover as they rose up in big-city crime.  Thus my confusion, and the transference of Texie's diamond sparkles to Sparkle Plenty, remade by memory into a grown (though tiny) woman.

The word "sparkle" actually appears on the page of Lolita where the kiddoid gnomide is mentioned.

I can find no image of Texie on line.  Anyone who can scan their 1949 comic book or well-saved Herald Tribune Sunday comics page with her image will earn my gratitude, dfor all that's worth.  

And I'm still sorry I couldn't tell Appel, though see now that I would have given him the wrong person.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 23rd, 2009 02:18 am (UTC)
Texie Garcia has her own entry in this Dick Tracy tribute site. But I would never have recognized her or him.
Jul. 23rd, 2009 10:31 am (UTC)
Erf. Who is this flapper? DId she evolve into the person I remember or am I entirely wrong? Off to the comics store!
Jul. 23rd, 2009 02:19 pm (UTC)
May I recommend getting the whole series of hardcover reprint strips? I am reading the 1940 strips now and they are simply amazing.
Jul. 24th, 2009 06:09 am (UTC)
I really had no idea of who Nabokov was talking about in the gnomide passage, but I noticed a previous one (some 40 pages earlier) where he makes another reference to Dick Tracy, when Humbert has the encounter, or dreams thereof, with a man wearing the mask of Jutting Chin, "a grotesque sleuth in the funnies". I really don't know much about comics, so maybe I got that one wrong, but when you revealed the origin of the kiddoid I thought it all did fit quite well together.
Jul. 24th, 2009 10:51 am (UTC)
Oh yes, that's Dick Tracy, no doubt. Appel makes clear that Nabokov liked the funnies (he loved movies, too, and saw one almost weekly, in Berlin, Paris, the US.)
Jul. 26th, 2009 01:01 pm (UTC)
200 Dick Tracy Characters
Here you go:


Jul. 27th, 2009 12:45 am (UTC)
Re: 200 Dick Tracy Characters
Very confusing. The only picture of Texie Garcia is entirely wrong, and there is no Big Boy.

My certainties are evaporating.
Jul. 27th, 2009 12:39 pm (UTC)
Re: 200 Dick Tracy Characters
Big Boy is right there next to Texie.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )