The man known as Mr. Crime was the head of a nationwide criminal syndicate (a forerunner of The Apparatus), who operated out of Dick Tracy's city. He also went by the name George Alpha, which turned out to be an alias shortened from his real name, George Alphanone.
Mr. Crime was an older man, with white hair and a moustache. He had light eyes, and seemed to have a case of exotropia, a condition that makes the eyes drift outward (the opposite of being cross-eyed).
Mr. Crime was first seen following news stories about Tonsils, the young singer. Mr. Crime arranged to have his agents abduct the fugitive Tonsils. Mr. Crime then threatened Tonsils that unless he killed Dick Tracy, Mr. Crime would feed Tonsils to his man-eating barracuda.
Tonsils reluctantly agreed to the assignment, and was issued a rifle that had been purchased by another of Mr. Crime's associates, Newsuit Nan. Tonsils believed that he had successfully killed Tracy, but upon returning to Mr. Crime's secret headquarters, Mr. Crime ordered him fed to the barracuda.
Betrayal by Newsuit Nan
At this time, Mr. Crime turned his attention to other matters. He visited Newsuit Nan (of whom he was enamored), in the company of his right-hand man Panda. In Nan's apartment, she dosed Mr. Crime with her new experimental mind-control drug, which she had synthesized from a sample of his blood. Under Nan's influence, Mr. Crime admitted to several instances where he had cheated Nan and Panda out of payments that he had promised them. When he came out of his trance, Mr. Crime scoffed at his associates' demands that he make restitution.
Dick Tracy was now investigating the incident in which Tonsils had shot him. The rifle had been recovered and was traced to Newsuit Nan. Tracy began to monitor Nan's activities, and she inadvertently led him to Mr. Crime's secret headquarters in an abandoned boys' club. When Mr. Crime learned what Nan had done, he strangled her to death and abandoned his hideout.
Tracy investigated the boys' club's ownership and found that it was held in the name of Judge Lava, a jurist who had disappeared years before. Mr. Crime's public identity of George Alpha was listed as a member of the club's board, along with several other prominent members of the community.
Meeting Dick Tracy
Tracy called Alpha and the other board members in for questioning. They all claimed to have no knowledge of the judge's whereabouts or what had become of the boys' club. Tracy became suspicious of Alpha, and arranged to have him followed. Alpha went to the rural home of his associate, the Vine Lady, where the carnivorous plant known at the Muerte vine was kept. Following Alpha's visit, Tracy went to investigate the Mushroom Lady along with Sam Catchem.
Tracy discovered the Mushroom Lady's criminal dealings with Alpha, and (after an attempt on Tracy's life) he prepared to capture Alpha before he could flee. Alpha became suspicious when the Mushroom Lady failed to check in with him in their usual way, and he prepared to leave the city.
Alpha went to the office of Judge Rulings, another of his current accomplices. The two men gathered money, passports and guns and prepared to flee. However, Rulings hesitated in his preparations and delayed the two from leaving the office. Tracy had learned of Alpha's whereabouts and ordered police officers posted outside Rulings' office to arrest them as soon as they showed themselves.
Alpha realized that he and his accomplice were trapped. Shortly before Tracy and his fellow officers arrived at Rulings' office door to take them into custody, Rulings committed suicide. Alpha was determined not be taken alive. He engaged in a shootout with the police and was killed.
It was later learned that Alpha had been responsible for the death of Judge Lava, ultimately feeding him to the Muerte Vine.
Mr. Crime's Legacy
Upon the death of Mr. Crime, his criminal endeavors were taken up by Odds Zonn. Zonn was later killed himself and Mr. Crime's empire was divided up. Operations in Dick Tracy's city were eventually taken over by Willie the Fifth before becoming part of The Apparatus.
Many years later, Mr. Crime's hideout was demolished. Among the wreckage were some of the records of his criminal activities that had not been found by the police. These were discovered by Davey Mylar, an adventure-seeking comic book fan. Mylar decided to take up the mantle of Mr. Crime as a way to add excitement into his life. He recruited Mr. Crime's old associate Panda (who had recently been released from prison), as well as the Vine Lady and her Muerte Vine. A portrait of George Alpha was hung in the gang's headquarters as a tribute to their "founder".
- Mr. Crime made his first appearance in April of 1952, in a brief cutaway scene. After this, he was not seen again for 2 months, at the end of June 1952.
- Newsuit Nan made her mind-control drug from a sample of Mr. Crime's blood. It was not made clear if this drug would work on other people (though Mr. Crime seemed to believe that it would), or if it was designed specifically to work on only him.
- Towards the end of the Mr. Crime storyline, it was revealed that George Alpha's real name was George Alphanone.
- At nearly 10 months long (from the first appearance of Tonsils to the death of George Alpha), the Mr. Crime storyline was the longest-running plot that had appeared in the strip at the time, surpassing the Purple Cross Gang storyline by several months. The entire Mr. Crime storyline is contained within IDW'S The Complete Dick Tracy Vol. 14. This record would later be broken by the first Mr. Bribery story, which ran for 14 months.