The Mole was a villain that resembled his animal moniker. He had a large build, dark hair and a prominent nose.
- 1 Early Life
- 2 Encounter with Dick Tracy
- 3 The Mole Reforms
- 4 The Mole's New Life
- 5 Appearances in Other Media
- 6 Notes
Early Life[edit | edit source]
As a baby, the Mole's mother abandoned him in the city's underground service tunnels because of his grotesque appearance. The baby was found by a city worker named Louis Rewes ("sewer" spelt backwards) who adopted the child and raised him.
The Mole apparently started his criminal career in 1911, and he rose to prominence due his ruthlessness and strength, though his specialty was apparently as a currency counterfeiter.
In 1926 (before Dick Tracy joined the police force), Mole's gang turned on him and was about to drown him in the bay. Mole was able to convince them to let him live in exchange for providing them with a permanent secret hideout, free of charge. They agreed, but Mole later systematically killed them and took their money.
Encounter with Dick Tracy[edit | edit source]
By 1941 Mole continued to operate his underground hideout for fugitive criminals. A low-level crook named Duke came to the Mole for sanctuary. Duke double-crossed the Mole, attempting to steal Mole's money and flee. Duke was electrocuted by Mole's rigged medal ladder and then strangled by Mole, who disposed of the body.
Mole's hideout was directly under a gas station run by his associate Oily, who provided Mole with supplies in exchange for cash. The police, who had been investigating Duke's crimes and the subsequent discovery of his body, started questioning Oily, and he decided to end his association with Mole. When Oily attempted to barricade Mole into his hideout, Mole fired a blind gunshot out the door which ricocheted and wounded Oily.
During a record-setting blizzard, the city's snowplows piled a large amount of snow over Mole's hideout. The heat from the warmth of Mole's hideout melted the snow, flooding the hideout and forcing Mole to pack as much of his money as he could and flee. Tracy discovered Mole (who recognized Tracy from newspapers) and the two men fought. Tracy and the Mole were separated during their fight, and Mole tried to dig his way to freedom. Tracy had found another way out and caught Mole just as he reached the surface (Dec. 20, 1941). The water that had flooded Mole's hideout drained out into the street along with Mole's stashed money, which was claimed by passers-by until police intervened and claimed it for the state.
Once in custody, the Mole confessed to his hotel scheme. He was cooperative with authorities and served a 19 year prison sentence. On the Christmas shortly after he was arrested, Tracy gave the Mole a gift package of fruit, cigarettes and candy. This kindness astonished Mole who hadn't received a gift in thirty years.
The Mole Reforms[edit | edit source]
After his release from prison, Mole was seen working with his granddaughter Molene who bore an uncanny resemblance to him. At first, Mole seemed to bear a grudge against Dick Tracy, and was supposedly involved with the former circus sideshow fat man called the Pouch in a smuggling operation secretly run by Johnny Scorn. After being arrested and released (due to lack of evidence), Mole washed his hands of Molene. Still, he refused to report her activities to the police, and he expressed grief at her death when she later killed herself along with her rival for Scorn's affections El Tigress.
Later, Mole purchased a farm and Tracy came to visit him while on vacation. Tracy helped the Mole foil an attempt by some thieves to steal his farm equipment in the night.
Tracy identified the Mole as one of the few villains he had faced that he came to like. Tracy and the Mole were on such good terms that he was one of the three former villains that were invited to the wedding of Junior Tracy and Sparkle Plenty, along with Pear-Shape and Influence.
The Mole's New Life[edit | edit source]
It was later discovered that Mole's former underground hideout was being used as a refuge for homeless families. Mole became determined to help these people, allowing himself to be drawn into a charity match with the colorful professional wrestler Thunderchild, even though Mole believed it was organized by Thunderchild's publicist Patty Cure to exploit Mole's criminal reputation. Vitamin Flintheart acted as the Mole's agent in this endeavor, and Mole befriended the wrestler Jerry Lawler.
Shortly thereafter, Mole was shown to be illiterate and in the process of learning to read. In his endeavors to do so and to maintain Mole town (his former hideout) for the homeless families, he made good friends with a little girl named Toad Spencer and her mother. Toad was a bright student and a talented baseball player, and Mole was very protective and affectionate towards the Spencers. When Tracy brought the Mole the gift of a meal at an upscale restaurant, Mole invited Rose and Toad to go with him.
Toad was later kidnapped as a part of a plot by the serial killer Sweatbox. Frantic, Mole went to his former associate Pouch and demanded information about where Toad had been taken. Mole freed Toad from Sweatbox's car and attacked the elderly criminal so that Toad could escape. Sweatbox was soon killed while trying to escape.
Eventually, Mole's relationship with the Spencers grew closer, as Toad revealed to her class that her mother and Mole were to be married, and that he had taken steps to legally adopt her.
Mole's familiarity with the city's abandoned subway tunnels enabled him to help Dick Tracy in the investigation of the train robbery committed by Jimmy Choo Shooz.
Mole's wedding plans proceeded, and he enlisted Jerry Lawler to act as his best man. The ceremony took place in one of the natural caves that had been opened during the attempt by Jimmy Choo Shooz to hide his stolen gold.
Appearances in Other Media[edit | edit source]
Dick Tracy in B Flat[edit | edit source]
The Mole was a character in the humorous radio play Dick Tracy in B Flat, produced for Armed Forces Radio in February of 1945. He was played by Jimmy Durante.
1950s Live-Action TV Series[edit | edit source]
The Mole appeared in a 4-part episode of the 1950s Dick Tracy television series. He was portrayed by actor Raymond Hatton. Mole was portrayed as a light-sensitive underworld figure who captured and imprisoned Dick Tracy in an underground hideout. Tracy eventually escaped and the Mole was arrested.
1960s Animated Series[edit | edit source]
The Mole appeared as a character in the 1960s Dick Tracy cartoon show. he was sometimes paired with Sketch Paree, and often populated backgrounds/stock shots. He was also shown as part of the gang led by Pruneface in The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo. In the Dick Tracy cartoon, he was voiced by voice director, Jerry Hausner who also voiced Oodles and others.
Archie's TV Funnies[edit | edit source]
The Mole was a character in the "Dick Tracy" segments of the 1971 animated television series Archie's TV Funnies, produced by Filmation Associates. The Mole's appearance closely resembled his depiction in the comic strip. He was portrayed as a lone operator, with access to several high-tech pieces of equipment. The Mole was one the villains featured in the show's opening and closing credits sequence.
Movie Continuity[edit | edit source]
The Mole did not appear in the 1990 film Dick Tracy.
The Mole was a character in the audio drama adaptations of the film - Big Boy Turns Up the Heat and Everything Comes Up Blank. In these adaptations, The Mole fills the role occupied by Mumbles in the film. He was a member of Big Boy's gang who informed Dick Tracy that Big Boy had killed Lips Manlis.
Tie-In Comic Book[edit | edit source]
The Mole was a featured character in the comic book tie-in published by the Walt Disney company, written by John Moore with art by Kyle Baker.
In the comic book, Mole operated an underground hide-out for fugitive criminals. He was closely associated with the underworld doctor Doc Hump, who performed plastic surgery on fugitives to help them evade capture. Mole aided Karpse, and was later approached by Dick Tracy disguised as B-B Eyes.
Karpse arrived and discovered Tracy's ruse, and Tracy's backup arrived. Mole fled, pursued by Tracy, while Karpse and Doc Hump were arrested. Mole hijacked a hearse, but Tracy was able to hop in the back. The two men struggled and forced the car off the road. It crashed through the ice into a frozen lake. Tracy survived, but Mole died from the shock of the cold.
Tie-In Novels[edit | edit source]
The Mole was also a character in the film's follow-up novel written by Max Allan Collins, Dick Tracy Goes to War. He was given an elaborate back story and his name "Louis Rewes Jr." (taken from his adoptive father) was revealed. It was explicitly stated that the gang he had worked for and later was betrayed by had been run by Big Boy. As in the comic strip, Mole operated an underground hideout for fugitive criminals. He recruited B-B Eyes and Shaky into a secret plot arranged by Mrs. Pruneface.
Mole was eventually betrayed by his cohorts and left in a death-trap with Dick Tracy. The two men escaped, and Mole told Tracy about the various plots with which he was involved. Mole was arrested on a murder charge, but Tracy believed that the Mole could mount an insanity defense and avoid a death sentence. Later, Tracy arranged for a Thanksgiving dinner to be sent to the Mole's jail cell.
IDW Comics[edit | edit source]
Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive[edit | edit source]
"The Mole" was a character in the 4-issue miniseries Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive published by IDW. He was significantly different from his comic strip incarnation. In this version, the Mole is a well-spoken doctor who worked at a prison in Chicago and made arrangements to obtain the body of a supposedly executed criminal. That criminal turned out to be Big Boy, who - after the failed execution - lost the ability to speak and was apparently brain-dead, but otherwise alive.
Mole then used Big Boy, now operating under the name of "Yesterday Knewes", as a puppet, and attempted to take control of the city's underworld by relaying orders via a microphone on Big Boy. The duo would later encounter up-and-coming mobster "Shark" Moran, who also coveted the position of the city's only crime boss.
It was eventually revealed that the Mole had perfected a re-animating serum that was able to effectively bring people back from the dead. The serum was used to revive Tracy after a climactic showdown with Big Boy/Knewes. The Mole eventually became a member of Tracy's scientific detection team, as part of his criminal reformation.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Mole's original encounter with Dick Tracy took place in 1941. When he re-appeared in 1971, he claimed to have served a 19-year sentence. This would have had him convicted and incarcerated in 1952 rather than 1941. This would be an example of the sliding time-line of the comic strip.
- Despite the evidence of Mole's literal handiwork on Duke's body and Mole's own confession to Dick Tracy of killing his own gang (and apparently other fugitive criminals) over the years which would rate Mole as a serial killer, Mole was only released after serving only about 20 years of what would most likely have been a life sentence in the real world.
- In his original 1941 meeting with Tracy the Mole states "The Mole has followed the newspapers! Your face is familiar and so is your method!" creating a continuity issue regarding his later illiteracy (though it's possible that Oily may have read the newspapers to him, while Mole simply looked at the pictures).
- Years later, during the case of Dewdrop and Open-Mind Monty, Tracy would recognize Alex the Timer, who was identified as having been a bomb expert and money handler for the Mole. It is unclear why the Mole would have needed a bomb expert, or for how long the two men were associated.
- Mole has occasionally been confused/conflated with Rhodent, but the two men are separate characters.
- The Mole's real name (Louis Rewes Jr.) and origin was given by Max Allan Collins in the novel Dick Tracy Goes to War. The current creative team made that canonical in the strip from May 3rd 2015. Writer Mike Curtis gave credit to Max Allan Collins on the Dick Tracy Fan Club Facebook page. However, there are some slight differences between the novel and the strip. In the book, it was the Mole's biological father who dumps him in the sewers after his mother died during childbirth. In the strip, Mole claimed that it was his mother who discarded him (though how he could have known this is unclear).
- Mole appears in both the comic book prequel to the 1990 feature film, and the follow-up novel. His death in the comic book is the main element that keeps the two fictions from being considered continuous with each other and the film. However, if (in the comic book) Tracy made a mistake in his assessment that the Mole had died, the two works would have a fairly strong claim at canonicity.
- Mole's origin (as revealed in Dick Tracy Goes to War) is similar to that of the Batman villain The Penguin in the film Batman Returns. Both men are abandoned as babies by their fathers, who are disgusted by their grotesque appearance, and come to grow up in sewers.
- The Mole's actual modus operandi (operating a criminal operation in the abandoned subway tunnels and sewers of a major city) was adopted by another Batman villain, the Gopher, in the Batman & Robin newspaper strip distributed by the McClure Syndicate from 1943 to 1946. The storyline originally ran in the Sunday strips beginning on May 6, 1945, and ending on July 7, 1945. It was reprinted in the collection Batman - The Sunday Classics (1991).
- The Mole was the villain featured on the cover of IDW's The Complete Dick Tracy Volume 7. This volume was the first to have a format that was altered from previous versions. Like all subsequent volumes, it was slightly larger and featured a color image of a well-known Tracy adversary.
- The Mole's cameo in the 80th Anniversary re-telling of Tracy's first case in 2011 doesn't mesh well with the strip's continuity. In the Mole's debut, he's a known criminal wrongly believed to have died sometime before Tracy became detective. In the re-telling, during Tess' captivity, she spent some time in the Mole's underground hideout where she could see him and where her kidnappers even called him "Mole" in front of her. It seems extremely unlikely that after Tess was rescued, she'd forget to mention to the police her time with the Mole or that the police wouldn't then know that the Mole was still alive. A more likely explanation is that since the re-telling is being told by Sam Catchem (who was not around at the time the events took place), he got some details of the story wrong.