Dick Tracy Wiki

The criminal known as Silver Nitrate was confidence trickster who operated around the country before settling in Dick Tracy's city. He had wavy hair that was grey and shiny (to the degree that it appeared silver). He had a pointed chin and nose. He typically wore dark glasses and smoked cigarettes.

Silver worked with his adoptive older sister Sprocket. They had a very close relationship, though they were both known to lash out in anger at the other on occasion.

Nitrate was an avid collector of rare films, and his schemes usually involved films and film memorabilia. His adoptive parents had reportedly also been criminals and they had used a similar modus operandi.

Tricking Flintheart[]

The Nitrates first became known to Dick Tracy when they attempted to sell Tracy's friend Vitamin Flintheart a fraudulent recreation of one of his early television roles. Flintheart recognized the deception and informed Tracy. When they realized that their ruse had been discovered, the Nitrates fled (after killing their accomplice Miles Mycroft and feeding the corpse to their pet hyena named Lena).

The Nitrates took possession of their specially-modified super-car (which had previously belonged to Flattop Jones Jr.) from the exhibition to the which they had loaned it. They were spotted by police and a chase ensued. In a rage over their predicament, Silver struck Sprocket in the face. Sprocket then drove the car into a nearby large body of water, seemingly intent on killing them both.

The car and the Nitrates were not recovered.

Agate Aggie and Mrs. Flattop[]

Unbeknownst to police, the super-car had been augmented in a way that allowed for underwater travel and the Nitrates survived their ordeal. They re-surfaced some time later and contacted the actress known as Agate Aggie. Using a scheme similar to the one they had attempted with Flintheart, the Nitrates attempted to sell Aggie a print of an early commercial that she had made (and had been presumed lost to the ages).

Before the scheme could come to fruition, the Nitrates were visited by Stiletta Jones, aka "Mrs. Flattop". She attempted to recruit them into her scheme to get revenge on Dick Tracy by kidnapping Tracy's newborn grandson. Sprocket, appalled by the idea, hurled a large metal film container at Stiletta. The impact killed Stiletta and the Nitrates fled.

Due to their easily identifiable appearance and habits, the Nitrates were caught and taken into police custody. Sprocket confessed to her role in Mrs. Flattop's death, but Silver was not implicated.

Freed by Public Domain[]

Later, as the Nitrates were being transferred (separately) from one facility to another, they were freed from police custody by agents of Public Domain, another con man. The Nitrates were reunited and brought to Domain, who wanted to recruit them into his latest scheme.This plan involved convincing the wealthy Bea Thorndike to pay a large sum of money for a long-rumored (though fraudulent) recording of Abraham Lincoln's voice.

During the course of this caper, Silver dyed his hair to a darker color. While Silver was preparing his part of Domain's scheme, Dick Tracy and the MCU learned that Silver and Sprocket were not biologically related.

Silver and Sprocket double-crossed Domain and absconded with Bea Thorndike's money. They then contacted John Locher Springstein to secure passage out of the country, intending to flee to the Caribbean. Their escape plans were waylaid, and the pair hid in the disused basement storage area of the Lyric Theater.

Silver and Sprocket were surprised to learn that the Lyric would be hosting a special screening of the Midnite Mirror film. Silver attempted to flee the hideout after the screening, hoping to lose himself in the large crowd. Dick Tracy (who was in attendance) apprehended Silver, who declared that Sprocket had already left town (which was apparently a ruse on his part intended to divert attention from Sprocket's presence). Silver was taken into custody.


  • Silver01
    Silver Nitrate is a type of film stock. It is unstable and often degrades over time. As a result, many films that were stored on silver nitrate stock have now disintegrated and no known copies remain.
  • Nitrate first appeared (in profile) in the strip on Sunday, January 5th, 2014. However, these strips were not part of the story and are specifically designed so they can be omitted by local newspaper editors to conserve space, if necessary. He first appeared in-story on the next day (Monday, January 6th, 2014).
  • Nitrate's silver hair gave him an aged appearance. It is unknown if this is his hair's natural color or an affectation, though it is unlikely that he would have had access to hair dye during his prison stay. It is also possible that Nitrate's hair was prematurely silver. It was eventually revealed that Sprocket was the older one of the pair.
  • Nitrate's interest in rare films in a trait that he shares with Abner Kadaver. It is unknown if the two men have ever crossed paths.
  • In his initial appearance, Nitrate says "Call me 'Silver'.", indicating that that name may be an alias.
  • Nitrate's prisoner number was 603971.
  • Silver Nitrate was apparently allowed to keep his dark glasses while in police custody, indicating that they may serve some medical purpose.