Homer Barley, the boy known as "Peanutbutter", was the son of Marvin Barley, a criminal who was killed in a shootout with police while attempting to infiltrate Diet Smith Industries.

Peanutbutter had dark hair and wore eyeglasses. His nickname came from his fondness for eating peanut butter on bread. He was a skilled artist, and he could also play the guitar and drums.

Peanutbutter was a very smart young man. He had embraced several principles of the counter-culture of the early 1970s, and was antagonistic to the police.

Spy in Training[edit | edit source]

Following his father's death, Peanutbutter was able to recover some money that his father had stolen. He revealed to Dick Tracy and the police that he was especially skilled in observation and information gathering. However, he refused to provide information about his father's activities and associates to the police, believing that doing so would make him a "stool pigeon". This put him at odds with his mother and sister.

Dick Tracy eventually made an appeal to Peanutbutter's vanity and convinced him to help gather information that would identify a suspected gang of saboteurs. He was successful, and provided a sketch to police (which put him at odds with Junior). He was then placed under police protection (over his strong objections) which prevented him from attending summer camp.

Peanutbutter managed to sneak away from home and planned to take a bus to camp. However, he was abducted by the criminals that he had helped to identify, and was left to die in an automobile that had been parked on a railroad track. After a train struck the car, Peanutbutter's belongings were found among the wreckage and he was presumed dead.

A Change of Heart[edit | edit source]

PeanutButter03.jpg

Peanutbutter had managed to escape from the car before the crash, and he hid at a nearby commune. Tracy was able to track down the boy's whereabouts and convinced him to return home in time for his 10th birthday.

Peanutbutter had shifted his thinking and adopted a more "Law & Order"-friendly mindset, though his views on several issues of the day were still not especially mainstream.

Peanutbutter turned his attention to politics, planning to run for class president at his school. For a while, he remained a frequent visitor to police headquarters, where he met (and expressed a childish attraction to) Moon Maid. His crude comments put Peanutbutter at odds with Junior once again, but they eventually reconciled.

The Armored Car Money[edit | edit source]

A disgraced and ashamed Peanutbutter hides his face.

Peanutbutter's family spent the remainder of Marvin Barley's money and found themselves on the brink of bankruptcy and homelessness. Peanutbutter learned that a $10,000 reward was being offered for the recovery of $500,000 that had been stolen from an armored car and lost when the thieves fled with it.

Peanutbutter convinced Tracy and Groovy Grove to let him help search for the money. He found it in a decrepit silo, where he attempted to hide it so he could come back later and take the entire amount. Tracy and Groovy became aware of Peanutbutter's scheme, but were unable to stop him before harsh weather forced them to take shelter.

A severe winter storm battered the area and the silo collapsed, burying Peanutbutter and the money. The boy and the money were recovered, and Peanutbutter's family received the reward in spite of his attempted treachery.

Junior Janitor[edit | edit source]

Later, Peanutbutter asked Dick Tracy for a summer job at police headquarters. Tracy agreed to let Peanutbutter work part time as a janitor. He assigned Peanutbutter to the art department, where Peanutbutter was under Junior's authority. Peanutbutter continued to express his attraction to Moon Maid, which annoyed Junior.

Peanutbutter surprised the night shift officers by coming in late at night and practicing drawing with Junior's supplies. Peanutbutter was reassigned to the jail section, where he aided the attending officer Sands when he was grabbed and being choked by a prisoner. He was then reassigned back to the art department.

One day, Peanutbutter left some of his cleaning supplies within reach of an occupant of one of the holding cells, who grabbed a metal dustpan and prepared to use it as a weapon. Peanutbutter discovered the missing equipment and informed Tracy, who found the material in the holding cell. Tracy fired Peanutbutter due to the child's carelessness.

Kidnapped by Button[edit | edit source]

Peanutbutter went to the headquarters' photography department and claimed that he had been reassigned. He was present when the criminal known as Button was being photographed. Button grabbed Peanutbutter and threatened to stab him in the neck with a pencil. Using Peanutbutter as a hostage, Button escaped from police custody.

Button held Peanutbutter prisoner at the home of his sister Hope, who disapproved of Button's actions. Dick Tracy was tracked down the area in which Button was hiding, but Button was able to capture Tracy. Button placed Tracy in a death-trap wherein Tracy's feet were tied to the fireplace inside Hope's apartment with a length of rope. Another rope was tied around Tracy's neck, with the other end tied around Peanutbutter's wrists. Peanutbutter was then hung out the window (which was several stories up and out of view from the ground). Button's plan was that Tracy would strangle to death, or if he did manage to remove the rope from his neck then Peanutbutter would fall and die.

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Tracy was able to free his hands by cutting the tape that bound him with his belt buckle. He rescued Peanutbutter and was able to call for assistance. Peanutbutter was treated for his injured wrists (and seemed to enjoy the comforting that he received from Lizz).

Success for Peanutbutter?[edit | edit source]

While he was working for the police department, Peanutbutter showed Junior and Moon Maid samples of a comic strip that he had created called "Bugs & Worms". Later, the strip was shown published in a newspaper with Peanutbutter's signature, indicating that he had become a cartoonist in some paid capacity.

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • Peanutbutter's nickname was consistently depicted as one word.
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