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The man known as "Apples" Malone was a criminal who operated in Dick Tracy's city. His head was round with thin hair and with indentations that made it resemble an apple. Additionally, he had a voracious appetite for apples, which also contributed to his nickname.

Apples' Reform[]

At some point in the past, Dick Tracy had arrested Apples on some minor charge and Apples had served a prison term. Upon his release, Apples opened a fruit market and seemed to have given up crime.

However, the fruit market was a front to cover up Apples' new criminal endeavor- providing alibis for other criminals. Apples was approached by Joe Grenza, a notorious gambler, who needed to prepare an alibi for a murder he had planned. Apples provided this alibi for Joe by using a recording of the two men playing cards to create to impression that they were together in the back room of Apples' fruit market at the time that Joe was murdering another gambler.

Going along with Apples' plan, Joe returned to the fruit market after committing the murder. He then started a argument with Apples that was witnessed by several of the fruit market's employees and patrons, all of whom gave statements to the police that the two men had been playing cards in the back room of the market for several hours. This confused Dick Tracy and Sam Catchem, as there was also a witness who placed Joe at the scene of the murder.

Tracy arranged for Joe Grenza to be released from the charge of disturbing the peace. Tracy and Sam then followed Joe, who immediately went to Apples' fruit market and demanded the incriminating recording. Tracy and Sam confronted the two men and shots were fired. Joe was shot but survived, and Apples fled.

Apples Hides Out[]

Apples paid another of his criminal associates (a man named Mike) to hide him from the police and provide him with food and drink. Apples insisted on being provided with apples, which soon proved difficult as police officers were stationed at all stores that sold the fruits. Apples and Mike quarreled and Apples left the hideout.

Apples returned to his fruit market, which had been shut down. There, he was approached by Freddie Rich, the son of a wealthy banker. Freddie had struck a young woman with his car the night before, and he needed an alibi for the hit-and-run. Apples agreed to furnish Rich with an alibi in exchange for five-thousand dollars.

Apples took Rich to a private hospital operated by Doc, another old associate of Apples. Doc placed Freddie's leg in a cast and created false X-Rays to create the appearance that his leg had been broken. The plan was that Freddie would claim that his car had been stolen and he was injured during the theft, so he could not possibly have been the driver who struck the woman.

A witness provided Tracy and Sam with information that led them to Freddie Rich, who they traced to Doc's hospital. They observed the presence of apple cores in Freddie's room, which led them to suspect Apples' involvement. Apples, who was hiding in the hospital furnace room, overheard the detectives speaking with Freddie through a ventilation shaft. When confronted, both Freddie and Doc admitted that Apples was hiding in the hospital. Apples attempted to kill Freddie for revealing his presence, but was stopped by Tracy and Sam.

Apples tried to flee by jumping out of a high window, but he became tangled in the branches of a tall apple tree and was captured.

Notes[]

  • Apples appeared in Dell Comics' Dick Tracy Monthly #22 (cover date October, 1949). This was an original full-length story produced for specifically for the comics. The writer and artist(s) were not credited.
  • At the conclusion of the Apples storyline, Tracy and Sam are briefly observed by Jukebox Wilson, the villain in the next issue. This was the only instance in which an original Dell character appeared in two issues.
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