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Jerome Trohs
Trohs01

First Appearance:

April 21st, 1940

Known Aliases:

Joe Atom

Known Relatives:

Mamma, Wife (Deceased)
Janice Trohs, Daughter (Deceased)
Daddy (Son-in-Law)

Known Associates:

Junky Doolb (Deceased)
Montana Joe

Created By:

Chester Gould

Can be Found:

The Celebrated Cases of Dick Tracy
The Complete Dick Tracy Vol. 6

Appearance of Death:

July 9th, 1940

Jerome Trohs ("Short" spelt backwards) was a diminutive criminal who operated for a time in Dick Tracy's City. His closest accomplice was his wife, the lage woman called "Mamma".

Trohs Comes to PowerEdit

Trohs had been a member of "Junky" Doolb's gang. Trohs first encountered Dick Tracy when he came to the city jail to visit Doolb, who had been arrested on a murder charge. Trohs claimed to be Doolb's attorney (though whether or not Trohs was actually an attorney remains unclear). Trohs smuggled a gun into Doolb's cell by hiding it in the mouth of his pet St. Bernard named Tip. When Doolb made his escape attempt, Trohs fled by riding on Tip's back. Doolb discovered too late that Trohs had given him an unloaded gun, and was shot to death by police.

Trohs returned to his apartment where he met with Mamma. Trohs revealed his intention to take over Doolb's gang. His first act was to abduct Dick Tracy and mangle the detective's right hand in a large clamp. This was meant as a show of strength, both to his new gang and to the police.

Trohs' Crime WaveEdit

Trohs' next plan involved hiding inside a suitcase while Mamma smuggled him into a hotel, which they then robbed at gunpoint. In the wake of these successful crimes, Jerome planned a daring armored car robbery.

The armored car robbery proceeded as planned, but (unbeknownst to Jerome) Mamma's activities had attracted police attention, which enabled Dick Tracy to trace the gang to their apartment hideout. Tracy (who had been practicing shooting with his left hand) and the police were waiting for Trohs and his gang when they returned from the robbery. Once again, Trohs was able to escape on the back of his large dog.

Trohs split from Tip, using the dog as a distraction to mislead police. He then made his way to a railyard, where he hid on a train carrying Montana Joe's Rodeo Circus. Trohs claimed to be a famous novelty act called "Joe Atom". Montana Joe believed that Trohs would be a huge sensation, and had a special costume made for his new attraction.

Trohs on the RunEdit

Trohs02
At "Joe Atom's" first public performance, Trohs rode his horse through a fence and away from the arena, making his escape. The incident was filmed by a newsreel crew, and became part of a national news story. Mamma saw the film while in prison and recognized Trohs. She first alerted Dick Tracy to his whereabouts, then soon managed to escape in order to track down the man who had spurned and abandoned her.

Trohs, still in his cowboy outfit, came across a cabin resort that was struggling financially. Trohs offered to buy the establishment from the current owner, using some money from the armored car robbery that he'd managed to get away with. Trohs then stole back the money he'd just paid, and when the owner confronted him, Trohs threatened the man with a gun. This led the resort owner to report Jerome to the sheriff in nearby Doggie City, who had received notice of the nationwide search for Jerome. The sheriff contacted Dick Tracy.

The End of Jerome TrohsEdit

Trohs03
Jerome surveyed his new property, and decided to try one of the outdoor showers. He was surprised by Mamma, who had escaped jail and made her way to the resort. She locked him in the shower booth, then stoked the fire in the boiler until the water was scalding hot. Jerome cried out in pain just as Dick Tracy and the sheriff were arriving on the scene. Tracy went to arrest Mamma while the sheriff got a doctor for Jerome, who had suffered serious burns. By the time the doctor arrived, though, Jerome had died from his injuries. Mamma was arrested, now facing a murder charge.

Years later, it was revealed that Jerome and Mamma had a daughter named Janice, aka "Doll", who also crossed paths with Dick Tracy.

Appearances in Other MediaEdit

Archie's TV FunniesEdit

Roger
A Dick Tracy segment in an episode of the 1971 animated series "Archie's TV Funnies" featured a criminal couple called Roger Trohs and Big Mamma. They were apparently foreign nationals and were daring thieves. They attempted to steal a royal seal (which would have caused an international incident), but were stopped by Dick Tracy.

1990 Movie ContinuityEdit

Jerome Trohs does not appear in the 1990 "Dick Tracy" feature film. He appeared briefly in the comic book tie-in, where he was shown working as an enforcer for Pruneface. Shortly after an encounter with Steve the Tramp and The Kid, Trohs was killed in an explosion.

NotesEdit

  • RgTrohs
    At several times during the course of the story, Jerome was addressed as or otherwise referred to as a "midget". This has led to him being referred to as "Midget" in later strips and in other writings about the strip, as though it was his name or alias (often in the alliterative context of "Midget & Mamma"). However, "midget" was only ever used as an identifier, and was never meant to be construed as a name or title.
  • In more recent years, the term "midget" has come to be considered by many to be a pejorative and harmful term, equal to any other type of ethnic slur. However, allowance must be made for the different sensibilities of the time in which the strip was produced. Modern readers will hopefully not interpret characters' (including Tracy) use of the term "midget" as an intentional slight, insult, or vulgarism.
  • Jerome's size was depicted inconsistently throughout the strip. Taking into account variations in setting or perspective, he was shown to be as small as 2 feet tall, to perhaps as tall as 3.5-4 feet. He could typically stand on a regular-sized desk and see eye-to-eye with an average-sized adult.
  • When he first appeared, Trohs visited Junky Doolb in jail, claiming to be his attorney. After that incident, Trohs was never shown practicing law, or depicted as anything other than a career criminal. It is reasonable for readers to assume that his claim of being an attorney was a lie prepared to gain access to Doolb's cell.
  • The dynamic of Jerome Trohs and Mamma would later be duplicated in the strip with Heels Beals and Acres O'Riley.

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