The woman known as Mamma was the wife of the diminutive criminal Jerome Trohs. She was a tall, large, strong woman with blonde hair. Her weight was estimated at three-hundred pounds. She enjoyed chocolates and often wore garish jewelry. Mamma displayed very cruel tendencies, but was lovingly devoted to Jerome.
Gangland Figure[edit | edit source]
Mamma was a member of Jerome's gang and was first seen after he had arranged for the death of Junky Doolb. Mamma served as Jerome's enforcer, squashing any resistance the other gang members may have had to his taking control.
Mamma was present when Jerome kidnapped and tortured Dick Tracy. After Jerome and the gang released Tracy, Pat Patton found one of Mamma's candy wrappers on Tracy's person. Patton traced the wrapper to the candy store, and happened to arrive while Mamma was shopping there. Patton recognized Mamma from the brief description that Tracy had provided and he attempted to arrest her. Mamma fought Patton, flinging him around even though he was handcuffed to her wrist. Mamma swung him with such force that his momentum broke the chain of the handcuffs and she was able to escape (May 10th, 1940).
Mamma then aided Jerome in a successful robbery at a hotel. While Jerome prepared his next crime, Mamma took their dog Tip for a walk. She encountered Junior Tracy and his dog Oscar. Tip and Oscar took a dislike to each other, and Mamma provoked them into a dogfight. Mamma delighted in the violence and laughed at Junior's pleas for her to call off her dog (May 15th, 1940). She then left the scene with Tip.
During the fight, Oscar had pulled off Tip's dog tag. Junior picked it up and took to the police department, where it was traced. This led the police to Jerome and Mamma's home. While Jerome was out committing a daring armored car robbery, Tracy and the police arrived and subdued Mamma. They held her while waiting for Jerome to return. When he did, he was able to make his escape, abandoning Mamma and the rest of his gang.
Woman Scorned[edit | edit source]
Mamma was furious by Jerome's betrayal and vowed revenge. While in jail, she and her fellow inmates were shown a weekly movie that included a newsreel. When Mamma saw film of Jerome's exploits in a rodeo, she recognized him immediately (June 15th, 1940) and informed Dick Tracy. She then decided to seek revenge on her own.
Mamma escaped from prison by faking appendicitis. She was taken away in an ambulance, and was able to ambush one of the medics, stealing his clothes and fleeing. She stowed away on an automobile transport truck, and eventually stole the entire rig when the drivers stopped for lunch-but not before stealing 20 bars of chocolate candy bars as well! Realizing that the truck was too slow-moving, Mamma abandoned it and stole another car, this time from an older woman. (In comic relief the victium (redressed in the stolen hospital uniform) showed up at Doggie City and meet Dick Tracy and the local Sherriff!)
Mamma made her way to Doggie City, coincidentally the same place where Jerome had recently acquired a tourist campground. Mamma found Jerome and trapped him in an outdoor shower stall. She stoked the hot water heater until it was boiling, dousing Jerome with scalding water.
Jerome's activities had also attracted the attention of the local police, who had responded to a "Wanted" notice from Dick Tracy. Tracy arrived at the campground just after Mamma, and the two struggled. Tracy was too late to save Jerome's life, but he was able to subdue Mamma after a violent struggle (July 12th, 1940) using the sling holding his injured hand to choke Mamma into unconscious before arresting her.
Mamma was returned to Stateville Prison, now facing many additional charges including murder. A Rogue's Gallery biography reported she received a life Sentence.
Legacy[edit | edit source]
Years later, it was revealed that Jerome and Mamma had a daughter named Janice (aka "Doll"), who was also a criminal. During Tracy's investigation of Janice's activities, he mentioned that Mamma had died in prison.
Appearanes in Other Media[edit | edit source]
Archie's TV Funnies[edit | edit source]
Dick Tracy segment in an episode of the 1971 animated series "Archie's TV Funnies" featured a criminal couple called Roger Trohs and Big Mamma. They were apparently foreign nationals and were daring thieves. They attempted to steal a royal seal (which would have caused an international incident), but were stopped by Dick Tracy.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Mamma was often described as "fat", but she was also consistently depicted as very strong and energetic.
- Mamma was the first of several hulking, dangerous women who would appear in the strip, such as Mina and Mrs. Pruneface.
- While Mamma sought revenge on Jerome, she did not specifically seek to revenge herself upon Dick Tracy, and only fought him when he arrived to thwart her attempt on Jerome. She therefore would not meet the criteria of a Revenge-Seeking Relative.