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Grotesques was a term coined by Max Allan Collins referring to Dick Tracy villains with a deformed appearance that was generally reflected in their name. A character's behavior (if it is uncommonly vicious or cruel) can push them from being merely "unusual-looking" into the realm of the Grotesque (i.e. Mamma or Empty Williams).

The exact criteria for what makes a character qualify as a Grotesque can be hard to specify, but it should mostly be applied to characters whose features are at the limit of what is actually humanly possible.

Additionally, "Grotesque" is generally limited to being defined by a character's facial features. Misshapen or injured bodies (or amputated limbs) would not necessarily qualify a character as a Grotesque.

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