Panel from December 22, 1941
Part 1: Underground Killer
Appeared from November 16, 1941 to December 24, 1941
The Mole was a former gang leader and killer who, for a hefty fee, provided a hideout for gangsters on the run from the police. The Mole was a stooped, pointed-faced, hairy little man, who had strong hands and fingers from “digging in the earth”.
The Mole’s hideout was a series of underground tunnels under a junkyard that were accessed by metal ladder, leading down from inside an old steam boiler, sitting in the junkyard. Mole had an emergency door in one tunnel that opened into one of the greasing pits of a gasoline station that was adjacent to the junkyard. Oily, who ran the gas station, was a confederate of the Mole. Oily provided food to the Mole in exchange for part of the fee the Mole charged for hiding wanted criminals in his tunnels.
Duke, the pickpocket, arrived one day and asked the Mole to hide him from the pursuing Dick Tracy. Duke said he could pay because he had a $2,000 “roll” of bills. Mole set the fee at $2,000. Duke protested, but Mole hit Duke, took his money and threw it into a closet, that was filled with all the money he had collected from his former “guests”. Duke—now virtually a prisoner of the Mole—tried to steal some of Mole’s money and escape one night, but the Mole caught him and strangled him to death. The Mole dumped Duke’s body into a nearby manhole. When the body was found, Tracy identified the fingerprints on the manhole cover as the Mole’s.
As Tracy and Pat were exploring the junkyard, a sudden snow storm struck and quickly turned into a blizzard blanketing the city with snow. The street department workers, cleaning up the snow, dumped many truckloads of snow in the junkyard. The warmth from the Mole’s hideout melted the snow around the boiler and the water ran down the entrance and began to flood Mole’s tunnels. Anxious to escape, the Mole tried to get out the emergency door into the greasing pit. Oily, afraid the police would find the Mole’s hideout and tie him into it, tried to wedge the door closed. Oily was successful, but not before Mole reached through the partially closed door and shot him in the head.
Trapped in his flooding hideout, Mole heard the hearth give way under the old boiler. As the tunnel gave in, a man dropped through from the surface. The Mole recognized him as Dick Tracy and quickly pulled out his gun. Tracy and the Mole grappled in the flooded tunnel until another cave-in separated them into different tunnels. The police discovered Oily shot, but alive. When they moved him, the emergency door opened and out poured water from the Mole’s tunnel. Tracy, trapped in the flooded tunnel, saw the money in the Mole’s closet float out on the current of water which, when he followed it, took him to the greasing pit door.
Tracy was pulled to safety by Pat and resumed his search for the Mole. However, the Mole was not as fortunate as Tracy and was still trapped under ground. All the Mole could do was dig his way to the surface, using his strong fingers and hands. Digging upward furiously, the Mole began to exhaust the oxygen in the tunnel. Then his hands grasped the bottom of a fence post. Pulling it free, Mole emerged into the daylight, his hands ripped and bleeding.
There he found himself staring at Tracy’s gun. Tracy pulled the Mole out of his hole. The cave-in had broken a water main and even more water filled the Mole’s tunnels. The water poured out of a nearby manhole carrying with it the Mole’s money, much to the delight of children who scrambled to collect the money to buy Christmas presents. Mole tried to pull away from Tracy to get the money, but Tracy stopped him and reminded him that it wasn’t his money. It was money he had stolen and killed for. The Mole seemed puzzled by Tracy’s explanation. Mole was taken to jail and Tracy, feeling the spirit of the season, even gave him a Christmas present on Christmas Eve.
Part 2: Grandpa Mole
Appeared from March 14, 1971 to August 15, 1971
After serving nineteen years in prison, the Mole reappeared. Still stooped and pointy-faced, the Mole now had arthritic hands and needed glasses to read. After being released from prison, the Mole moved in with his granddaughter, Molene, who lived underground in an abandoned polar bear pit in the park zoo. Molene, who referred to the Mole as Grandpa Mole, was in the stolen jewelry business with Pouch, who carried the gems inside his dewlap. The Mole objected to the life of crime Molene led and constantly tried to get her to quit.
When Tracy raided the underground den, he arrested Mole, Molene and Pouch. When Mole and Molene were released on a technicality, they moved into an apartment. The Mole denounced Molene and Pouch and told them to leave and never come back. Mole went to the police headquarters and told Tracy all about Molene and Pouch’s operation. He then shed many tears over Molene, saying that “blood is thicker than water” and that he loved his granddaughter. In August, after Molene had been killed in an explosion at Jonny Scorn’s rock quarry, Mole asked Pouch to fly with him to drop a wreath onto the stones that covered Molene’s body. The Mole shed even more tears for the granddaughter that he really loved.
- December 28, 1941
- May 2 – May 8, 1954: One of Open-Mind Monty’s gang, Alex the Timer, was arrested by Tracy, who identified Alex as a former bomb expert for the Mole whom Tracy had once pinched for handling hot money for the Mole.
- May 13, 1973: A clay bust of the Mole was sculpted by Moon Maid as part of her collection of heads of criminals.
- February 19, 1987: Mole was featured in the Rogues’ Gallery.
Adapted and reprinted with permission from the author Victor E. Wichert, “The Dick Tracy Encyclopedia, Oct. 4, 1931 – Dec. 25, 1977”. Dick Tracy is a registered trademark of Tribune Media Services, Inc.