Hank Steele (sometimes referred to as “Blind Hank Steele”) was a prospector and miner who lived in the hills of Colorado. He was the husband of Mary Steele, and the father of Jackie Steele, who later took the name Dick Tracy Jr.
Hank was a struggling prospector who married a woman many years younger than him. They had a son who they named “Jackie”. Their life together was difficult and Mary grew weary of her situation. When a charming drifter named Steve happened across the Steele household, Mary agreed to run away with him, taking her infant son.
Hank was devastated by the loss of his family, but he continued to work his claim. Within 2 weeks of Mary leaving, he was blinded in a dynamite explosion at his mine. However, he had struck gold and was able to sell his claim for a significant amount. His wealth was sufficient that he retired from mining, and lived with only a hired hand to tend to the grounds and a cook named Della to tend to his domestic needs.
Longing for his SonEdit
As Hank aged, he was filled with a desire to be reunited with his son, whom he believed would be a comfort to him in old age. By coincidence, Steve (who was now known as “Steve the Tramp”) had returned to Colorado following his first encounters with Dick Tracy. Steve took a job as Hank’s hired hand and he learned about the blind man’s family. Hank told Steve that there was a standing reward of $5,000 for whoever returned Jackie Steele to his father.
Steve realized that Junior (who was now living as Dick Tracy’s ward), was the appropriate age to pass as Jackie Steele, and he plotted to take advantage of Hank’s desire to be reunited with his son. Steve did not realize that Junior actually WAS the boy that Steele was seeking.
Steve returned to Dick Tracy’s city and abducted Junior. Junior was able to leave a clue for Tracy, which Tracy used to track their travels. Tracy arrived at Hank Steele’s home before Steve and Junior, and he informed Hank of Steve’s plot. Hank agreed to cooperate with Tracy, and planned to delay Steve until Tracy could safely apprehend him.
Steve arrived with Junior and Hank welcomed the pair. To his surprise, he was able to detect a scar on Junior’s head that proved to him that Junior was his son. Steve managed to evade Tracy’s trap, and Della was killed as part of Steve’s escape plan. When Tracy learned that Hank was Junior’s real father, the detective and the kid reluctantly parted ways.
For a while, Hank lived happily reunited with his son. However, Steve that Tramp staged a daring jailbreak and was now working with Stooge Viller, another foe of Tracy’s. Tracy believed that Steve would attempt to extort Hank or harm Junior, so he sent Pat Patton to take the Steeles on a trip to keep them out of harm’s way.
Pat, Hank and Junior arrived in Halifax, Canada at approximately the same time as Stooge (who had parted ways with Steve). Stooge recognized Pat and Junior, and cornered them at gunpoint in a warehouse. Hank, attempting to protect his son, lunged at Stooge and the two men grappled. Stooge’s gun discharged, and Hank was shot. He died from the injury shortly afterwards.
Stooge Viller was later arrested and tried for Hank’s murder. Junior was re-united with Tracy, and a trust fund was established for the boy with Tracy as executor. Junior would later be reunited with his biological mother as well.