Crime is ugly, and the criminals Chester Gould created to face off against Dick Tracy were designed to reflect their grotesque profession; in the 1940’s one bizarre character after another was introduced: Pruneface, Littleface, Flattop, The Mole, and my favourite, The Brow!
1944 is considered by many to be the “Golden Year” of Gould’s newspaper comic strip. The era of outlaws like Bonnie and Clyde, Baby-Face Nelson, and John Dillinger was over, and America was confronted by international villains instead. Appearing during May to September that year, The Brow reflects this real-world change; he’s not a bank robber or gangster, but a Nazi collaborator and spy.
He has such a memorable look, and I find it hilarious that it’s barely commented upon by the rest of the characters. He’s suave but sadistic and cruel, whilst at turns formidable and cunning. He meets his end in a most brutally ironic manner for a traitor to his country; impaled on a flagpole bearing the stars and stripes.
The character was given a brief cameo in Warren Beatty’s 1990 film, although he simply appears as a common-or-garden henchman, shot down whilst playing cards – and holding Aces and Eights, the ‘Dead Man’s Hand’ – in the opening scene.
Have a good night, take care, and keep the heid, everyone!