Wendy Wichel (foreground) with Lizz
July 6th, 1978
Can Be Found:
Wendy Wichel was a reporter who has served as an antagonist towards Dick Tracy in a non-criminal sense. She was slender woman, with dark hair, who usually wore a hat with a large floppy brim.
Wendy was critical of Tracy's record, claiming that he consistently used excessive force and had killed more people in the line of duty than any other detective in the country. Wichel would often be the first to get an exclusive on any story related to Tracy and his latest case.
During the period where Big Boy put a nationwide open contract on Dick Tracy, Wichel was present when the first death occurred in Police Headquarters during a press conference.
She was seen again getting an exclusive about Tracy taking over the Organized Crime Unit and declaring open war on the Apparatus crime syndicate (of which Big Boy was a former high echelon member).
Wendy confronted Tracy near his fiftieth birthday about his record. She was also there when Tracy and his wife, new son and granddaughter returned from Washington State and Quiver Trembly attempted to hijack the plane by sneaking a gun into Joe Tracy's baby carrier. Wendy criticized Tracy for using excessive force by punching Quiver and risking the lives of everyone on the plane on the off-chance the bomb detonator she was holding wasn't a fake.
Helping the Major Crimes SquadEdit
For all her hostility to Tracy, her journalistic reputation occasionally served Tracy's purposes. For instance during Big Boy's $1 Million open contract on Tracy, the detective invited Wichel to be the first to learn that he intended to take over the Organized Crime Unit in response, which successfully served as a persuasive enough threat to The Apparatus for that organization to squelch the attempts. In addition, Wichel assisted the Major Crimes Squad during the Art Dekko case, though her cooperation was motivated primarily by self-interest.
After corrupt Deputy Chief Climer was killed, Wendy asked Tracy if he was proud of his part that he played in revealing the biggest police scandal in history. Tracy responded that reporters like her would paint all police officers with the same brush and that corrupt officers like Climer where the exception, not the rule.
She later interviewed B.O. Plenty when he won $3 million in a lottery.
The Case of The CipherEdit
When the mysterious figure known as "The Cipher" sent Wendy a note threatening Dick Tracy and his associates, she brought it to the detective's attention. Tracy dismissed the first note as a meaningless hoax, but soon changed his mind. When Wichel received a second note taking credit for the death of officer Groovy Grove, she again passed it along to Tracy and the Major Crimes Unit.
The Xylon AffairEdit
After the Cipher was revealed to be a young man named Normal Jones, Wendy brought up the subject of Flattop Jones Sr. to Tracy. At first, Tracy didn't feel that Flattop was worth discussing, as there was no connection between Flattop and Normal. After Wendy revealed that Flattop had "come back to life" in a sense, Tracy showed up at her office the next day. He gave her his side of the incident in question; the Espionage Ring consisting of Flattop, Shaky and Pruneface that sought the secret of Professor Roloc Bard's brainchild, the explosive Xylon formula.
Wendy believed that Tracy was withholding certain pieces of information as to why the Xylon incident was classified in the first place. When the professor was held hostage by Pruneface and his Xylon torpedoes were dispersed across the city in key locations (city hall, FBI HQ and Police HQ) Pruneface had a contingency plan to move the final bomb to an alternate location, which was executed after Bard and the Bomb Squad disarmed the bombs and Tracy was rescued. The bomb was never found and was still out there as potent as ever, and would have caused a nationwide panic. Wendy's documents revealed that the FBI suspected the professor's love and Pruneface's "hostage", Frieda Smith of espionage, which brought Wendy, Trailer and Tracy to Washington DC where the elderly Smith was living. It was revealed after they raided her house that she spent forty years as Pruneface's sleeper agent waiting for the word to set the bomb off, which was hidden in her fruit cellar. Smith was arrested, the bomb squad defused the bomb, hours before Pruneface called Smith to detonate the bomb. After getting this story, Wendy intimated that Tracy had failed in his duties. This angered Tess Tracy, but Dick agreed with Wendy.
Putty Puss and "Diet Smith"Edit
When the criminal actor Putty Puss was impersonating Diet Smith during his bid for the presidency, Wichel and Tracy were both present when "Diet" was committing political suicide by making wildly controversial statements at a press conference. The voice analyzer in Tracy's 2-Way Wrist Computer (which the real Diet Smith had given him) enabled Tracy to reveal that the man was an imposter. Wendy and the other members of the media witnessed Tracy punching Putty Puss in the face and saw the impression left on his malleable features by Tracy's fist.
It was later revealed that Wendy had hosted a TV special in which she would reveal the contents of the deceased mob boss Big Boy's secret vault. The vault proved to be empty, resulting in a public embarrassment for Wendy. The criminal Little Boy (who falsely claimed to be a descendant of Big Boy) later discovered a secondary vault that Wendy had overlooked, which was filled with the spoils of Big Boy's criminal endeavors.
Wendy confronted Tracy about a rash of bank robberies that were being committed and demanded to know what steps the police were taking to combat the crimes. Tracy, not wanting to reveal the police's tactics, offered Wendy the exclusive story of the "ghost" of Flattop instead.
Later CareerEditWendy left Dick Tracy's city for a while, but eventually returned to take a job working for SBN, a television news network. She has crossed paths with Tracy several times since then.
Wendy conducted an in-depth interview with Tracy in which the detective revealed several things about his tastes in popular culture. This program also reunited him with his uncle Ray Tracy and daughter Bonnie. Wendy was disappointed that they show did not have enough time for her to ask Tracy more controversial questions.
Wendy later introduced Ted Tellum at his public announcement declaring his intention to aid Dick Tracy in finding the stolen gold from the Billion Dollar Limited.
Wendy received the staged video that seemed to show Tracy (actually Putty Puss) engaged in a romantic physical encounter with Notta Fallar. Wendy broadcast the video without confirming it's veracity, thus causing a scandal for Dick Tracy and the police department.
- Wendy's name was inspired by the famous journalist Walter Winchell. Some readers have misidentified her name as Winchell or Wichell from time to time.
- Wendy's addition to the strip was primarily motivated by a desire among the strip's creators to address claims that Dick Tracy represented an out-dated mindset toward justice and police conduct. Her inclusion gave Tracy an in-strip method of responding to critics.
- Wendy's TV special about opening Big Boy's vault was apparently inspired by a real-life television event in which TV personality Geraldo Rivera opened the "vault" of famous gangster Al Capone during a live prime-time broadcast (which was partially financed by the Chicago Tribune). The "vault" was empty, and Rivera was publicly embarrassed.