Jim Trailer was an FBI Agent who often worked with Dick Tracy. He was a slim man, with a heavy-lidded expression and a neatly-trimmed moustache. He often wore a bowler or derby hat.
The Famon CaseEdit
Trailer first appeared during the case of "Cut" Famon and his gang. Trailer posed as a former accomplice of Famon's named "Bail" Gordon (whom Trailer resembled) and arrived in Homeville after Famon was released from prison. Trailer's appearance was so similar to Gordon's that he was able to earn Famon's trust and infiltrate the gang. Trailer participated in Famon's extortion and protection scheme, and he suffered physical abuse at Famon's hand in order to keep his identity secret.
Trailer later revealed his true identity and attempted to apprehend the Cut Famon and his brother "Muscle". The two brothers managed to signal their mother "Maw" Famon, who threatened Trailer with a machine gun. Tracy intervened and the Famons fled. A brief shootout occurred and Cut Famon escaped.
It was revealed that Trailer and Tracy had been previously acquainted. Trailer recruited Tracy as a temporary federal agent, giving Tracy the authority to join Trailer in the pursuit of Cut Famon. Trailer and Tracy pursued Famon back to Dick Tracy's city, where Tracy disguised himself as a member of Famon's gang. Tracy was discovered and seriously wounded, but Trailer managed to find Tracy and get him treatment.
Trailer eventually caught Cut Famon in an ambush on a secluded road. Trailer was tricked into activating the secret machine guns hidden under the hood of Famon's car, seriously injuring several other law enforcement agents. Famon made a final escape attempt, but he was gunned down by Trailer and other officers.
Later, Trailer assisted Tracy in the investigation of the murder of Addie Gothorn by Athnel Jones.
Jim Trailer had been investigating the activities of the Purple Cross Gang and was found in the home of Maylie, the Gang's second-in-command. He was beaten and tortured, but he did not reveal what he had learned. He was left in Maylie's apartment when the gang fled and he was found by Dick Tracy.
Trailer also aided in the apprehending of the foreign agent Karpse, who was manufacturing poison gas in a remote rural area.
In 1940, Trailer was once again working undercover as a Foreign Diplomat in order to trap Black Pearl and her gang.
Later AdventuresEditIn 1980,Trailer (now an Inspector in the Bureau sent out on special cases) worked with Tracy to solve the kidnapping of Diet Smith by Bernard Breakdown.
Trailer and Tracy maintained a very cordial relationship. Trailer was present at the wedding of Junior Tracy and Sparkle Plenty. Trailer is also on good terms with Pat Patton and the rest of Tracy's Major Crimes Unit.
Jim Trailer was also involved in the case of the planned sabotage of Diet Smith's nuclear fusion plant by Angeltop and her accomplices.
When a "blindness virus" struck the suburb of Homewood and incapacitated many residents (including Tess Tracy), Trailer was sent (by direct order of the President) to aid in Dick Tracy's investigation. Trailer nearly contracted the virus himself (by drinking contaminated coffee), but was prevented from doing so by Tracy. Trailer and Tracy discovered a ninja in the employ of Pruneface (who was behind the blindness plot), and Trailer was wounded by a throwing star. The weapon had been treated with the blindness virus and Trailer lost his vision. Tracy eventually captured Pruneface, who provided the antidote and Trailer was cured along with the other victims.Trailer later returned to Dick Tracy's city seeking two witnesses in a major organized crime case. The witnesses had entered the FBI's Witness Protection Program and received cosmetic surgery and new identities. They then disappeared from FBI monitoring before they could provide the agreed-upon testimony. Trailer was able to find the witnesses with some help from the Crimestoppers Club.
When the presumed-dead Willie the Fifth and Flyface re-appeared, Tracy consulted Jim Trailer to verify the men's claim that they were working for the FBI. Trailer confirmed the claim but could not go into detail, citing concerns about national security.
According to FBI Agent Fritz Ann Dietrich, Trailer received a promotion, meaning that he would be engaging in less field work.
Appearances in Other MediaEdit
1990 Movie ContinuityEdit
Jim Trailer does not appear in the 1990 Dick Tracy feature film.
Trailer does appear in the original comic book prequel. He joins Dick Tracy and the other members of his squad in raiding the Mole's underground lair.
Trailer is also a character in both of Max Allan Collins's original novels, Dick Tracy Goes to War and Dick Tracy Meets His Match, both of which are direct sequels to Collins's novelization of the film, and, consequently, seem to be set in the film's continuity.
- When Trailer was re-introduced into the strip by writer Max Allan Collins, he was drawn with a more aged appearance by artists Rick Fletcher and Dick Locher, with white hair. Locher later drew Trailer with thick dark hair as well. When Trailer re-appeared under the creative team of Mike Curtis and Joe Staton, he was depicted with a more youthful appearance.
- Jim Trailer is one of several federal agents to work closely with Dick Tracy. Other such agents include Agent Kelley and Fritz Ann Dietrich.