The man known as Wormy Marrons was a career criminal. A ruthless and violent man, he disrupted Dick and Tess Tracy's honeymoon. His face was gruesome and wrinkled, but he had a romantic and seductive voice.
At the time Wormy first met Dick Tracy, he had reportedly been in prison 4 times, and was a known killer.
Crossing Paths with Dick Tracy[edit | edit source]
Wormy and wife had robbed and murdered a real estate agent named Hopkins while staying at the Cliff Hotel near the town of Woodale. They hid the body in a disused closet of the hotel and fled, taking the bloodstained carpet from their room with them. Their escape was hindered by a heavy snowstorm, and they were forced to spend the night in a farmhouse off the main road.
Their stay at the farmhouse coincided with Dick Tracy's arrival with his new wife. Tracy and Tess were on their way to their honeymoon when they also found themselves snowed in. When the roads were cleared, Tracy and Tess continued to their destination, the Winter-Sun Mountain Resort. However, Tracy had inadvertently taken Wormy's suitcase, which contained the incriminating bloodstained carpet.
Wormy discovered that his bag was gone, and he and his wife tracked Tracy to the Resort. He returned Tracy's suitcase and reclaimed his own. Tracy had discovered the rug and attempted to stall Wormy in order to complete an analysis of the stain, but Wormy threatened him and drove off.
Tracy followed Wormy and ran his car off the road. Confronting Wormy, Tracy was shot at by the hidden machine gun in Wormy's car air horn. The bullet grazed Tracy's chest, and Wormy knocked the surprised detective unconscious (January 8th, 1950). Wormy then tied Tracy to the back of his car and dragged the detective along the road at a high speed. Tracy revived and was able to free himself, but Wormy and his wife escaped.
Hiding Out[edit | edit source]
Now aware that they were being pursued by police, Wormy decided to change his car's appearance. He broke into a paint shop and prepared to re-paint the vehicle. His wife complained of the cold inside the unheated shop, and Wormy told her to sit in the car with the heater on. Wormy used a gasoline-powered paint compressor to re-paint his car, which released carbon monoxide into the confined space. The car's heater intake drew the deadly fumes inside the vehicle, where his sleeping wife suffocated (January 27th, 1950).
Wormy discovered his wife had died and panicked. He left the body inside the paint shop and fled. He abandoned his car on a set of railroad tracks, where it was struck by train. Wormy believed that the police would assume he had been killed in the collision. He took up residence in the small quarters attached to the scoreboard of a nearby fairgrounds' baseball field, and was able to rig a heater to make the living space comfortable.
Under cover of darkness, Wormy made trips to acquire supplies. He walked along the top of a fence to avoid leaving tracks in the snow. He purchased some food from Janie Stoltz, a young woman who lived in the fairgrounds' horse stable with her father. When Tracy and Sam Catchem arrived with Mugg to search the fairgrounds, Janie warned Wormy about the officers' presence. Wormy assaulted the child and stole one of her father's horses.
Wormy fled on the horse to a nearby creek which was frozen over. Wormy believed that the ice was not thick enough to support the horse's weight, and he attempted to cross the frozen creek on foot. He fell through the ice, but was able to free himself. He took shelter in a nearby hunter's duck-blind, where he observed Tracy and Catchem investigating his path.
When Wormy saw that the detectives had deduced that he had not drowned, he shot at them from inside the duck-blind. Tracy and Sam returned fire and Wormy fled around the curving creek. Because Wormy did not return fire, Tracy and Sam assumed he had been hit and approached the duck blind, which gave Wormy time to escape unseen.
The Little House Over The Creek[edit | edit source]
Wormy approached the modern-style house of Ted Tellum, a radio personality whose show was broadcast from his home studio. After a failed attempt to steal Tellum's ice boat, Wormy invaded the house and held Tellum and his crew at gunpoint. Wormy demanded that the men protect him, and conceal his presence from Tracy and Catchem, who had arrived to investigate.
Tellum and his crew cooperated with Marrons, and Tellum developed a plan of his own. He recruited Wormy to perform a new feature on his radio program. Using the name "The Voice with the Kiss", Wormy would read romantic sentiments which Tellum believed would appeal to his largely female listenership (March 5th, 1950). The plan was successful, and Wormy's appealing voice increased the show's popularity.
Unbeknownst to Wormy, Tellum was planning to trick the criminal into confessing to his wife's death while on the air. Tellum was able to alert Tracy to his plan, and a trap was set for Wormy. Tellum was able to pump carbon monoxide gas into the studio broadcast booth while Wormy was responding to a "listener letter" about a woman who had suffocated to death inside a car. Responding to the psychological manipulation, Wormy exclaimed that his wife's death had been an accident, revealing his identity to show's listeners (March 19th, 1950).
Tracy, who had been waiting in the house for Wormy's confession, closed in on the desperate Wormy, who shot one of Tellum's microphones and attempted to flee. Tracy shot Wormy through one arm (March 20th, 1950) and again through the shoulder/upper torso (March 21st, 1950), causing Wormy to tumble down a spiral staircase (March 22nd, 1950). In spite of all this physical punishment, Wormy still attempted to get away, prompting Tracy to wonder "How can a guy that full of lead move?". Wormy was shot at least once more before finally collapsing and being taken into custody. Despite his extensive injuries, he survived.
The Return of Wormy[edit | edit source]
Wormy served a prison term, during which time he became friends with Measles Enog. The two men were eventually paroled, and Wormy recruited Measles into an armored car robbery that he had planned. Wormy introduced Measles to Dewdrop, another paroled criminal and a former foe of Dick Tracy. Wormy had been seeing Dewdrop socially, and had asked her to provide counterfeit uniforms for the planned robbery.
Wormy's plot coincided with the Major Crime Squad's investigation of threats made against Dick Tracy and Diet Smith, which prompted them to seek out any of Tracy's former adversaries who might have a vendetta against the detective. Lee Ebony and Johnny Adonis observed the home of Measles' cousin Wally Enog, with whom Measles was staying.
When the detectives observed Wormy dropping off Measles (which was a violation of both men's parole), they approached the criminals' car. When they identified themselves as police officers, Measles surrendered. Wormy, however, backed his car into Lee, striking her (December 21st, 1981). Lee drew her gun and shot through the vehicle's back window, hitting Wormy in the shoulder (December 22nd, 1981). He was taken into custody.
Measles inadvertently confessed to the planned armored car robbery, making both men subject to a conspiracy charge as well as the parole violation. Dewdrop was also arrested in connection with the planned crime.
The Death of Wormy?[edit | edit source]
Years later, Dick Tracy read a report in the Jackson Banner newspaper that indicated that Wormy had been killed in a fire while he and his new associate Thistle Dew were attempting to rob an armory (March 21st, 2011). Wormy is presumed dead. Some time later, it was revealed that Wormy had been friends with Tulza Tuzon (aka Haf-and-Haf, aka Splitface). Tuzon planned to use Wormy's scheme of armored car robbery in an attempt to get revenge against those who had wronged him.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- It is unclear if "Wormy" was an alias or Marrons' actual given name. It was reportedly the name on his vehicle registration.
- No explanation was provided for Wormy's appearance. Presumably, his wrinkled features were the result of some kind of skin disorder, similar to Pruneface.
- The high-tech machine guns concealed in the air horns of Wormy's car are reminiscent of similar guns concealed in the grill of Cut Famon's car. A specially-modified car would later become one of the defining traits of Flattop Jr.
- At the time of Tracy's first encounter with Wormy, Wormy's address in the city was 200 Lans Avenue.
- Wormy was shown to be an extremely violent man. It was implied that he had struck his wife on several occasions, and he showed no hesitation about assaulting the young woman Janie Stoltz.
- It is unknown if Wormy was officially held accountable for his wife's death. Upon his capture following his encounter with Ted Tellum, Tracy implied that there was sufficient evidence to send Wormy to the electric chair, but Wormy avoided this fate.
- Wormy and Thistle Dew have the distinction of being the first classic villains referenced by the new creative team of Mike Curtis and Joe Staton. They are also the first villains to be "killed" by the new team.
- When Tracy read the news of Wormy's apparent death, Lizz responded with revulsion at the mention of Wormy's name. However, Lizz was not a member of the police force during Tracy's first encounter with Wormy, and she was being held hostage by Angeltop during Wormy's second appearance, so she would presumably have had very little interaction with the man.
- Wormy was the villain featured on the cover of IDW's The Complete Dick Tracy Volume 12.