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Jim Zess was a member of Nails Wolley's gang. He had light wavy hair and typically wore round eyeglasses.

Jim Zess worked with Wolley's gang as part of their stolen jewelry smuggling ring. Later, he participated in the plot to kidnap the jewelry salesman Mr. Jade.

Unbeknownst to Wolley's gang, their activities were being observed by Dick Tracy. When Mickey Gainer (another member of the gang) refused to be party to Jade's murder, Zess prepared to join the rest of Wolley's gang in shooting him. Tracy and the police shot and killed the Wolley gang before they could execute Gainer and Jade.


  • Wolley's gang was consistently depicted as consisting of himself, Mickey Gainer, and two other men (including Nibbs). One of these men appears in the strip from January 10th, 1939, but he is not wearing eyeglasses. This makes it unclear if this is supposed be Jim Zess. This same group later appears entirely in silhouette. The first recognizable appearance of Jim Zess is on February 3rd.
  • In the strip from March 6th, 1939, Dick Tracy is shown shouting a warning at the Wolley gang to drop their guns, but he is also shown shooting at the men from behind them. Zess is shown to have fallen in the next day's strip.