Dick Tracy Wiki

William "Broadway" Bates was a confidence trickster who arrived in the City at an early point in Dick Tracy's career. He was heavyset man with wavy dark hair. He typically wore a monocle and smoked cigarettes with the use of a long holder.

At the time of his first encounter with Dick Tracy, Bates was apparently wanted in nearly every state on charges such as extortion and murder. Bates often worked with an attractive young woman called "Belle".

Crossing Paths with Dick Tracy[]

Bates learned that Mrs. Trueheart had recently received a significant payout on her late husband's life insurance policy. Bates schemed to trick the elderly woman out of this money. Mrs. Trueheart had hired a kindly old Dutch immigrant named Heinie to help her operate her delicatessen, and Broadway Bates sent Belle to gain the man's confidence. They would then exploit Heinie's fondness for her as a way to get him to help convince Mrs. Trueheart to "invest" her money with them.


Tracy had been monitoring Bates' activities, but Bates planned an ambush for Tracy. Bates lured the plainclothesman into an alley, where Bates' associates dropped a load of bricks on Tracy's head from an upper-floor window.

Bates held Tracy hostage and tortured him, beating him with a cane and holding a torch to his feet. Now that Bates had Tracy at his mercy, Bates decided to change tactics and adopted a ransom scheme. He tried to get Tracy to write a ransom note to Mrs. Truehart. Tracy resisted, and was ultimately rescued by Heinie. Tracy then subdued Broadway and his gang long enough for the police to arrive. Bates and his associates were taken into custody.

Meeting Tracy on a Train[]

A short time later, Tracy encountered Bates (without Belle) on a passenger train that he was taking to a mountain vacation. Bates told Tracy that he had been granted a re-trial and was out of prison on bond. Bates and his associates planned to throw Tracy off the train as it was passing across a trestle high above a river, intending that Tracy should either die in the fall or drown. Tracy was able to surprise his captors and held them at gunpoint until the next stop, where he put them off the train. Bates and his men went on their way, with Bates vowing revenge.

The Return of Broadway Bates[]


Modern Broadway Bates, with Belle

In late 2012, Bates and Belle were seen returning to Dick Tracy's city, due to Broadway's frustration with the presence of costumed vigilantes in the city where they had been living with his brother Oswald. Broadway was annoyed to discover similar adventurers in the city, and he conspired with Belle to eliminate the phenomenon.

Broadway's plan was to use Belle to lure the costumed adventurers into a trap, where they would be killed or at least scared into retiring. Using his brother's funds, Broadway hired henchmen and an armored car. Broadway was apparently willing to sacrifice Belle for the sake of his plan, because when Belle arrived with the Black Piranha and Cinnamon Knight, Broadway and his men opened fire on them. Broadway was shot and arrested by Dick Tracy (January 1st, 2013), who had been informed about the scheme. Broadway and Belle both apparently survived.


  • BatesDOC
    In 2012 it was revealed that Broadway Bates has a brother named Oswald, whom he closely resembles. It is implied that this brother is the Batman villain known as The Penguin.
  • Bates' full name was confirmed during a storyline in 2020 when he appeared at a parole hearing.