B-B Eyes (sometimes B.B. Eyes or BB-Eyes) was a bootlegger who capitalized on the tire shortage resulting from the United States involvement in World War II. He had small eyes, thin hair, battered ears, and a number of parallel scars on the right side of his face, perhaps from an animal attack. He typically wore a derby hat, and smoked cigars.
- 1 First Encounter with Dick Tracy
- 2 The Legacy of B-B Eyes
- 3 The Return of B-B Eyes
- 4 B-B Eyes Gains Power
- 5 The Black Hearts
- 6 Appearances in Other Media
- 7 Notes
First Encounter with Dick Tracy
B-B Eyes was a tire bootlegger, selling stolen tires to those who would pay top dollar. Eyes already had a vendetta against Dick Tracy for the death of his brother Jacques and tried to blow both Tracy and Debby Thorndike up in an old house. This failed and B-B Eyes became trapped in his own car. He abandoned his accomplice Micky and managed to escape. Tracy first became suspicious of B-B Eyes when he noticed that the tires on Eyes' car looked brand new, despite the rationing of rubber for the war.
Tracy attempted to gain more information on Eye's tire bootlegging operation by placing an "order" through an underworld contact. Tracy then sent an undercover police officer named O'Malley to make contact. B-B discovered the ruse, and kidnapped O'Malley. Later, at his garage, Tracy was shocked to discover O'Malley's murdered body with a sneering note from B-B. Tracy became determined to see Eyes brought to justice.
After finding Eyes' base of operations, Tracy and Pat Patton were captured and placed in warm paraffin that was allowed to solidify into solid cylindrical masses to keep them immobile. Eyes and his gang then left the officers stranded in the gang's hideout. After Tracy melted both his and Pat's bindings, they removed the stairs that led from the street level down to the lower level garage so when B-B Eyes came back, he fell, badly hurting his face. In a gunfight between Tracy and the last members of the gang, two were killed and two others (Palmy) were captured. While being taken to Police Headquarters B-B Eyes jumped out of the detectives car and went on the run, attempting to escape police capture by jumping off a bridge onto a lower level, however he miscalculated and landed in wet sewage barge of a garbage scow. To his surprise, the scow was soon dumped and he found himself stuck in a discarded tire, which seemingly drowned the gangster (April 17, 1942).
The Legacy of B-B Eyes
5 years later, gang boss Itchy captured Dick Tracy and brought him into the house of B-B Eyes' wife Kitty, so they both could get revenge on the detective by starving him to death. It was later established that Itchy and B-B Eyes were friends, just as Itchy had been with Shaky. Tracy managed to escape and Itchy was killed, and Kitty was apprehended.
In 1983, B-B Eyes younger brother B.D. Eyes and Itchy's younger brother Twitchy attempted to scare a novelist named Stephanie Queen out of the house she had recently purchased. This was the same building that had originally been B-B Eyes' house, and the criminals believed that that B-B and Itchy had left a hidden fortune there. Their charade was thwarted and both were arrested.
The Return of B-B Eyes
It was later revealed that B-B Eyes had not died following his dive onto the garbage scow. He survived with the use of an oxygen tank he'd had hidden in a bootleg tire that was on the scow. He was discovered running a bootleg DVD operation with the assistance of two thugs, Cueball and Screwball.
B-B Eyes was arrested by Tracy and the Major Crimes Unit, with the help of Honey Tracy. Cornered by Tracy at his (ex-)wife's house, B-B Eyes surrendered with surprisingly little resistance (July 28th, 2011). He was placed in custody, but was later released on bail, paid by an unknown benefactor. He later worked with the large group of Tracy Rogues (including Mumbles, Doubleup, Blaze Rize and others) organized by the second Mr. Crime.
B-B Eyes Gains Power
Following the raid on the Panda Talent Agency by the combined forces of the Major Crimes Unit and the Tracy Agency, B-B Eyes was taken back into custody. He expressed confidence that he would be back out on the street soon.
B-B Eyes was correct, and his release was secured by the underworld attorney Mr. Kleen. B-B Eyes was later seen at a bar frequented by criminals in the company of Doubleup and Mumbles. B-B expressed doubt that he and Mumbles would be able to avoid returning to jail. When the group was joined by Stiletta Jones, B-B had positive things to say about her late husband Flattop, indicating that they had known each other. When Mumbles made a disparaging comment about Flattop and Stiletta threw a knife at him, B-B encouraged Mumbles to apologize.
B-B Eyes took up the late Mr. Crime's positions on the board of the Apparatus, and used Mumbles and Doubleup as his primary enforcers. He arrived at the Wheaten family farm to support the Apparatus' agent Hy Pressure in his extortion scheme, and was inadvertently brought into the plot involving the new "Moon Maid". B-B Eyes and his men fled after Mumbles shot Dr. Zy Ghote.
The Black Hearts
B-B Eyes was later targeted by his former associate Abner Kadaver, who was now working for a new criminal organization. Kadaver was able to convince B-B Eyes to leave the Apparatus and join The Black Hearts. B-B Eyes brought his entire cartel with him (including Mumbles and Doubleup), further strengthening the Black Hearts position in the criminal underworld.
B-B Eyes rose in the ranks of the Black Hearts, and recruited Blaze Rize (who had been maintaining a low profile since the dissolution of the Mr. Crime gang) to take over his former position. He was later summoned to meet Mr. Bigg, the leader of the Black Hearts, who B-B Eyes recognized as Mr. Bribery (though B-B Eyes did not reveal this information). Mr. Bigg revealed that he was holding B-B Eyes' younger brother B.D. Eyes captive as a way to ensure B-B Eyes' continued loyalty.
B-B Eyes became aware of Jimmy Choo Shooz's theft of the gold shipment from the Billion Dollar Limited, and was angered because Shooz did not get approval for this activity from the Black Hearts. The gold was eventually recovered and passed into the hands of Mr. Bigg. This resulted in the Black Hearts' headquarters becoming the target of a raid by Dick Tracy, and B-B Eyes, Mumbles, and Doubleup were prepared to defend themselves with deadly force.
When the building was breached by Dick Tracy and Sam Catchem, B-B Eyes and Mumbles fired at them. The officers returned fire and B-B Eyes was hit. Mumbles fled, and Doubleup (who had refused a gun in favor of his traditional bullwhip) surrendered so that B-B Eyes could get medical attention.
Appearances in Other Media
1950s Live-Action TV Series
B-B Eyes appeared in 2 episodes of the 1950s Dick Tracy TV series starring Ralph Byrd. B-B Eyes was played by actor Wyott Ordung.
The plot of the episode deals with a murder that B-B Eyes (operating under the name B.B. Ize) committed with the unknowing assistance of Vitamin Flintheart. B-B Eyes had his men kidnap Flintheart and try to force the actor to sign a false confession. Flintheart was eventually freed, and B-B Eyes was arrested by Dick Tracy.
1960s TV Cartoon
B-B Eyes was one of the featured villains in the 1960s humorous cartoon version of Dick Tracy produced by UPA. B-B Eyes was often paired with Flattop, and had a voice reminiscent of Edward G. Robinson. He did not interact with Tracy directly, but was instead foiled by Tracy's "funny" subordinates.
Archie's TV Funnies
B-B Eyes appeared on the 1971 animated series Archie's TV Funnies. He used an airplane to seed clouds with a sleeping gas which he used to rob a bank. He later took control of the Police Department building in Tracy's city. Tracy managed to set off a fire alarm which activated the building's sprinkler system and woke everybody up. B-B Eyes tried to escape, but Tracy caught up to him and wedged his truck into a railway crossing, rendering it immobile. B-B Eyes was captured by police.
B-B Eyes spoke with a voice that was reminiscent of James Cagney. In some shots, his scars appeared on the wrong side of his face.
B-B Eyes does not appear in the 1990 film Dick Tracy. He does appear in some tie-in material.
Tie-In Comic Book
B-B Eyes is a featured character in the comic book tie-in published by the Walt Disney company, written by John Moore with art by Kyle Baker. In the comic book, B-B Eyes was a member of Pruneface's gang. He got arrested after a shootout, and Tracy disguised himself as B-B in order to get information from Supeena, B-B's lawyer. Still in disguise, Tracy went to the underground lair of the Mole, where he also encountered Karpse and Doc Hump.
B-B Eyes is also a character in the film's follow-up novel written by Max Allan Collins Dick Tracy Goes to War. In the book, his backstory was more thoroughly explained, revealing that he had been a part of Big Boy's gang years before, but had gone on the run before the events shown in the feature film. He was recruited, along with Shaky, to join Mrs. Pruneface's subversive organization while hiding in the Mole's underground home.
B-B Eyes agreed to participate in Mrs. Pruneface's scheme to recreate and distribute counterfeit ration cards. The plot was discovered by Dick Tracy, who tracked B-B to the Mole's underground hideout. B-B Eyes and Shaky trapped Tracy and the Mole in a sealed room, intending to drown them while they made their escape. Tracy and the Mole survived, and Tracy later led a raid on Mrs. Pruneface's hideout at the Stage-Door Canteen. B-B Eyes engaged in a shootout with Tracy and was shot between the eyes.
Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive
- B-B Eyes name has occasionally been represented as B.B. Eyes or BB-Eyes.
- B-B Eyes is the first example in the strip of a revenge-seeking relative, a relative of a deceased villain, Jacques, who is also a criminal.
- B.D. Eyes has been explicitly stated to be B-B Eyes' younger brother. Their birth order relative to Jacques has not been established.
- During his DVD bootlegging scheme, B-B Eyes was shown to be working under the name "Eislander", but it is unclear if this is his real name or an alias based on "Eyes". He was later addressed as "Mr. Eizlander".
- Additionally, B-B Eyes called the legitimate front for his bootlegging company "Bea Bea Entertainment". While clearly derived from his own name/alias, this may also be reference to Bea Thorndike, who had thwarted one of his earlier plots.
- Upon the capture of Honey Tracy, B-B Eyes made reference to his brother Jacques, his ex-wife Kitty, and his friends Itchy and Shaky, but no reference was made to his brother B.D.
- After B-B Eyes apparently drowned, his wife had him declared legally dead, allowing her to inherit his home. When B-B Eyes resurfaced, he referred to Kitty as his ex-wife. It's unclear if they were officially divorced, or if his being declared dead means that they are simply no longer legally married.
- The scars on B-B Eyes' face have been inconsistently represented. There are usually between three and five of them. It can be difficult to discern when lines are meant to represent his scars and when they are wrinkles on his face caused by his expression. Sometimes the scars are almost entirely vertical, going from the forehead above his right eye down onto his cheek. Other times, they are shown to be more diagonal/horizontal, stretching onto the left side of his face. The origin of these scars has not been established.
- In the original storyline, B-B Eyes is shown lying (apparently dead) trapped in a old tire at the bottom of the Bay. Later, B-B Eyes claimed to have survived using a aqualung tank. It is not clear how much this retcon relies on the strip's sliding timeline, as the modern aqualung was invented in 1942 by engineer Émile Gagnan and Naval Lieutenant Jacques Cousteau but wasn't commercially available until after World War II.
- In the Midnite Mirror story-line, B-B Eyes was a uniformed police officer working the main desk at headquarters. He seemed to have as many as seven scars on his face.