- 1 Nazi Spy
- 2 The Brow and the Summer Sisters
- 3 The Brow Flees
- 4 The Brow meets Gravel Gertie
- 5 The Brow's Legacy
- 6 Appearances in Other Media
- 7 Notes
The Brow's primary mission was monitoring ship movements and radioing the information back to his superiors. He may also have been involved in acts of sabotage.
After Dick Tracy and some Navy men captured the Brow's subordinate Spy 26, his field glasses (the most damning evidence against him) fell into the hands of two girls in the room next door named May and June Summer.
The Brow and the Summer Sisters
The sisters were picked up by one of the Brow's henchmen. The Brow offered the girls a high paying job and initiated them by breaking their wrists. In order to ensure their cooperation, the Brow put one of the sisters in a diabolical device of his own creation, the Spike Machine. The machine held the victim in place and slowly drove spikes into their leg while the other sister ran errands for the Brow.
On one of these errands, June brought back a gun she had hidden in the rooming house linen closet (which she had stolen from Pat Patton). She shot and killed the Brow's two subordinates. When the Brow tried to grab a hidden gun, she pushed his desk against him which knocked the Brow unconscious. He landed with his head in the Spike Machine. June freed her sister and they turned the machine on as they fled.
The Brow awoke to the sharp pain of the deadly machine. He pulled the plug and painfully extracted himself, almost tearing the flesh off his skull in the process.
The sisters brought Tracy and his men back to the Brow's hideout, where they discovered that the Brow had escaped via a hidden door. The Brow hid in a testing casket belonging to an adjoining scientific lab, until he was discovered by one of the workers who mistook him for a dead body and fainted. The man's partner thought he had suffered a heart attack and summoned the police for help. Before they arrived, the Brow took a length of hose and a weight and submerged himself in a pool while the sisters drew a picture of the Brow for Tracy.
Brow fled and made his way to the apartment of his compatriot, Doc. Once the Brow's wounds had been tended to and he had acquired a change of clothes, they attempted to kill the treacherous Summer sisters. Knowing that the sisters were in danger, Tracy suggested they be put in a safe house. Officer Murphy gave them a police escort in a taxi. The Brow and Doc ambushed the taxi, killing the taxi driver and forcing the cab off a bridge into the river. Murphy managed to escape, but the sisters were trapped and drowned. After Tracy recovered and identified the three victims and their car, the Brow and Doc split up.
The Brow Flees
Brow hid on a beach hidden under a towel. Unknown to anybody, Brow was on the same beach as WAC Sgt. Tess Trueheart (Tracy's fiancée), and her gas ration coupons blew out of her purse and were picked up by the Brow. Doc rejoined the Brow and they stole Tess's license plates, which they matched with the number on the 12 coupons. Tess tried to stop them but was knocked out by Doc with bolt cutters. Doc and the Brow split up when the stolen license plates were spotted by a highway patrol car. In a car chase Doc's car crashed and he was killed. Tracy and the police backtracked and found a wounded farmer those tractor had been hijacked by the Brow.
They then followed the Brow to a barn theater where the coupons slipped out of his pocket, as he hid in the attic and were found by one of the stage hands during intermission. Informed of the discovery of the coupons, Tracy closed in on the Brow, but was injured when the villain threw a lightning rod (left over from the days when the theater was a barn) at Tracy, stabbing him in the shoulder.
The Brow meets Gravel Gertie
As the Brow fled by car, Several police officers pursued him. One of the uniformed officers and Pat Patton shot the Brow from different spots, cutting through his forehead. He was able to drive to an empty gravel pit, where he was found by Gravel Gertie, the homely owner of the gravel pit. Blinded by the blood on his head, he couldn't see the face of the beautiful-voiced, silky haired woman who took him in. She tended to his wounds with an old fashioned remedy of soot and spider webs, and hid him from a recovered Tracy, Patton and the police.
The Brow became enamored with his benefactor because of her beautiful voice and long silky hair, but when he took off the bandages and saw her face for the first time, he was horrified. He attempted to flee, but the love-starved Gertie tried to stop him. In the struggle, the Brow knocked over a kerosene lamp, setting Gertie's home on fire. Gertie's hair also caught fire and she ran out of the house into a small pond in the pit, where she was found by Patton. She revealed that the Brow had been hiding with her.
The Brow escaped from the burning building and Tracy found him fleeing into a cow pasture. After being shocked by an electrified fence, the Brow hid in some bushes. Tracy shot into the bushes, flushing the Brow out. Tracy then took the Brow into custody, striking him several times in retaliation for the death of the Summer sisters and the assault of Tess.
Both Gertie and the bloodied Brow were taken to the top floor of the jail where the Brow's wounds were being tended to. Gertie grabbed Officer Callahan's gun and tossed it to the Brow, urging him to kill the officers. The Brow struggled to release the gun's safety while in handcuffs, giving Tracy time to throw an inkwell at his head. This caused the Brow to fall backward out the window to his death, impaled by a flagpole "bearing the flag of the country he tried to harm".
The Brow's Legacy
Some time later, it was revealed that The Brow had a son who looked much like his father. Brow's Son (Alfred Jr.) was in love with and aided Angeltop Jones, the daughter of Flattop Jones Sr. (who had also bedeviled Dick Tracy in 1944).
In the 80th Anniversary re-telling of Dick Tracy's first adventure, the Brow was shown to be an ally of Pruneface. The two men were seeking explosives and timing devices, presumably as a means of sabotage in the name of a fascist foreign government.
Appearances in Other Media
1950s Live-Action TV Series
The Brow appeared in three episodes of the 1950s live-action Dick Tracy TV series starring Ralph Byrd. He was played by Norman Rice.
1960s Animated Series
The Brow was one of the villains used the 1960s Dick Tracy animated cartoon shorts produced by UPA. He was sometimes paired with Oodles. The Brow had a voice that was reminiscent of actor James Cagney.
The Brow was also shown to be a member of Pruneface's gang in the episode of The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo that featured Dick Tracy. When Oodles asked the crooks in the room who wanted the job of killing Dick Tracy, The Brow (voiced by Howard Morris) said "the sight of blood makes me sick" and the others made up other excuses.
Archie's TV Funnies
The Brow was a character in the "Dick Tracy" segments of the 1971 animated television series Archie's TV Funnies, produced by Filmation Associates. The Brow's appearance closely resembled his depiction in the comic strip. He was portrayed as foreign agent working within the U.S., with connections to a large criminal network. The Brow was one the villains featured in the show's opening and closing credits sequence.
Along with Shoulders, Little Face, Rhodent, and Stooge Viller, he was one of the 5 criminals in the employ of Lips Manlis that was shot and killed by Flattop at the Seventh Street Garage in the beginning of the film. He is shown holding 2 pair, aces and eights, which is commonly known as "the dead man's hand".
Tie-In Comic Book
The Brow also appeared in the comic book prequel to the film, working as an enforcer for Manlis' gang. He was shown working with Boris Arson, extorting protection money from a newsstand owner.
Tie-in Video Games
- Nintendo Entertainment System- The Brow is one of Big Boy's henchmen and makes the 5th & J Nightclub his hideout. The Brow has kidnapped a diplomat to hold for ransom. A chloroform bottle with the Brow's fingerprints on it is needed to arrest him.
- Sega Genesis- Players encounter The Brow in an abandoned parking lot. The Brow tosses dynamite whilst disappearing behind cars. After being detained, the Brow reveals that Lips sent him to steal Big Boy's nitroglycerin.
- Game Boy- The Brow breaks Big Boy out of prison by dynamiting the walls. He is the boss of the second stage and battles with his bare fists.
Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive
The Brow was one of several villains shown as part of a large gang in issue #2 of the comic book miniseries Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive published by IDW. The Brow was not shown being taken into custody after the villains' hideout was demolished, so his fate is unclear.
Later in the same issue, a criminal named Chin Music appears, whose jawline is very similar to the Brow's forehead. It is unknown if the characters are related or have some other connection.
Dick Tracy: Forever
The Brow was a character in the first two issues of the comic book miniseries Dick Tracy: Forever published by IDW. In issue #1, The Brow was a convicted criminal who had recently been paroled. Tracy and Chief Brandon suspected that bribery had been a factor in the Brow's release.
Later, it was revealed that the Brow was part of a criminal organization that was stealing radio components in order to aid a subversive group of German nationals operating in the United States. He was shot by Dick Tracy while fleeing the scene of a crime, but survived.
In issue #2, the Brow was shown to be an ally of Pruneface. Some time after World War II, the men embarked on a scheme to produce poison gas that would be released in cities around the United States. This would presumably weaken America to a point that a revived Nazi party could seize power. This plot was stopped by Dick Tracy and Bricks Walker. The Brow and Pruneface were both arrested.
The Brow also appeared in the epilogue in issue #4.
- Despite only a minor character in the 90s movie, much of the tie-in media featured the Brow prominently.
- The packaging for the action figure of the Brow produced by Playmates Toys gives his name as "George Grissom".
- The same Playmates packaging describes Brow as a criminal genius who travels around the globe. It states the Brow wanted for "International espionage" and stealing government secrets. This is possibly a reference to Brow's original comic story.
- When the Brow storyline was reprinted in The Celebrated Cases of Dick Tracy, the story was edited to omit the panels showing the Brow breaking the Summer Sisters' wrists and his deadly fall from the window. It also did not include the Sunday strips, like many other stories included in that collection.
- In the Midnite Mirror series, the Brow is called "Alfred Brau". It was later confirmed that this had been the Brow's real name, and his son was Alfred Jr.
- The Brow's nationality was never explicitly stated in the strip. During the conclusion of the Midnite Mirror storyline, Brau was described a "traitor", indicating that he was most likely an American who had been recruited by a foreign power.
- In the Midnite Mirror series, Alfred Brau is the manservant/valet/assistant to the detective known as "The Chalice", which is reminiscent of the butler to Batman who was also named Alfred.
- In the Midnite Mirror movie, Alfred Brau was played by an actor named Freddy Capp, who later murdered by the Hangman, who was revealed to be the Brow's Son in disguise.
- Dr. Howard, a member of the Rogues' Gallery Cosplay Club dressed as The Brow for their Dick Tracy-themed event, as seen in a 2018 Minit Mystery.