One of the appeals of the Dick Tracy comic strip is its unique villains.
Many had bizarre deformities including The Blank (1937), Little Face Finny (1941), Pruneface (1943), The Brow (1944), Shaky (1945), and Pear-Shape (1949).
Chester Gould often wrote these villains to invoke his readers' righteous condemnation, without exploring moral gray areas. This was emphasized by depicting the heroes as attractive (or at least normal-looking) and the villains as grotesque (with a few notable exceptions).
While nearly all of the villains depicted in the strip were criminals in one way or another, not all of the criminals in the strip would qualify as "villains". The Brow, for example, was certainly a villain, but his criminal accomplices/henchmen/underlings were not. Being a "villain" in the context of Dick Tracy implies a certain primacy, as well as ruthlessness, cruelty, and a certain grandness of scale.
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