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Carl Nosra ("Arson" spelt backwards) was a professional arsonist who worked with corrupt building owners and landlords to burn down decrepit and outdated buildings. This would allow the owners to avoid the cost of renovations and collect on their insurance policies. He operated under the alias "Torcher".

Torcher had spiky orange/red hair resembling flames. He often smoked cigarettes.

Character Biography[]

Torcher was contacted by Venal, the landlord for the Wheelers' apartment building. Venal contracted Torcher to burn down the building, once all the tenants had vacated under the pretense of "repairs". Torcher told Venal to be sure that the building was vacant in order to avoid a homicide investigation.

Torcher decided to inspect the building in order to determine how best to set the fire. Disguising himself as a City Utilities worker, Torcher bribed Charley, the building superintendent, to gain access. The bribery was witnessed by Willie Wheeler, who became suspicious.

Torcher returned two weeks later to set the fire. Unbeknownst to Torcher, the Wheelers had remained in the building. After Torcher doused the walls with flammable material and lit multiple fuses, he left the scene. Willie and his brother Keenan discovered evidence of Torcher's handiwork and put out one of the fuses. Believing they had stopped the fire, they returned to bed.

Torcher's other fuse ignited the building and it burned down. The Wheelers escaped, but another unidentified occupant was killed in the blaze. Willie contacted Dick Tracy and notified him of the suspicious activity that he had seen Torcher engaged in, and with the help of Junior Tracy, Willie created a police sketch of the suspect.

Tracy had been investigating arson in the City and had been monitoring Torcher's dealing with his "clients". With Willie's positive identification, Tracy and Sam Catchem had just cause to go to


Torcher's apartment to question him. Torcher invited the detectives in, then quickly tossed an alcoholic beverage on Sam's coat and set it on fire. Torcher fled during the confusion.

Torcher knocked his building's doorman unconscious and stole his uniform as a disguise. He then made his way to the street and stole a taxicab. Lizz arrived in an unmarked police car and picked up Tracy. The pair pursued Torcher, and after a brief chase Torcher turned down a dead-end alley and crashed. The cab was engulfed in flames and Torcher was killed (January 5th, 1981).


  • TorcherRG
    The timeline feature in the fourth issue of the Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive comic book mini-series identified Torcher as "Gould's favorite character designed by Fletcher". The source of this claim was not stated.