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"Lips" Manlis
Lips

First Appearance:

March 20th, 1936

Real Name:

Unrevealed

Also Known As:

Bob Honor

Known Relatives:

Unnamed Mother

Known Associates:

Kitty (Lips Manlis Storyline)
Nig Mahoe
Memphis Smith
Jocko
Red
Duke Malloy, aka "Joe"
Addie Gothorn (Deceased)

Created By:

Chester Gould

Can be Found:

The Complete Dick Tracy Vol. 3
The Complete Dick Tracy Vol. 4

"Lips" Manlis was a criminal figure who caused some trouble for Dick Tracy during the 1930s. He had a wide mouth and thick lips (hence his nickname). He had a large, imposing body and wavy dark hair that he typically wore swept back on top and short on the sides. He sometimes had a moustache.

Lips' Life of Crime and ReformEdit

Lips was a criminal and gambler who was implicated in the murder of Addie Gothorn. He was eventually cleared of the charge, but it was discovered that he was involved in Gothorn's conspiracy to blackmail Athnel Jones. When Manlis discovered that Tracy was investigating his activities, he attempted to kill Tracy in an elevator that was rigged to explode. Tracy detected the trap and used Manlis' valet Memphis Smith as a human shield to gain access to Manlis' hideout.

Tracy gave Lips a chance at redemption and helped rehabilitate him. Manlis was shocked by this show of kindness and took on a new name "Bob Honor". He reformed and took a job as a daytime watchman at a local warehouse.

Manlis' former gang, including his ex-girlfriend Mimi, refused to believe that Manlis had given up his life of crime. The believed that Manlis was working some kind of confidence scheme against Tracy and the warehouse owner, and attempted to frame him for a robbery when they learned the truth.

Much of the gang was captured, but Mimi fled. She hid on the boat of her associate Toyee, which Lips later helped to infiltrate. Mimi and Toyee were captured, and Lips, as "Bob Honor" successfully reformed, and attempted to reconcile with his ex-wife Kitty.

Appearances in Other MediaEdit

Movie ContinuityEdit

In the 1990 feature film Dick Tracy, Lips was played by Paul Sorvino. In the film, Lips Manlis was a powerful crime boss. His girlfriend was the attractive nightclub singer Breathless Mahoney.

Lips (Movie)
At the beginning of the film, Big Boy attempted to take control of Lips' territory. He arranged to have 5 of Lips' men (The Brow, Rhodent, Shoulders, Little Face, and Stooge Viller) killed at the Seventh Street Garage by Flattop and Itchy.

Shortly thereafter, Big Boy had Lips escorted from his nightclub, Club Ritz, by several of Big Boy's henchmen who were posing as police officers. Lips was taken to the South Side Warehouse and forced to sign over the club to Big Boy, who then proceeded to entomb Lips in a cement-filled crate ("The Bath") and dump him into the river below.

The murder of Lips Manlis became the central point of Dick Tracy's investigation of Big Boy, and Tracy tried to convince Breathless (who was a witness) to testify to Lips' murder.

Lips played a prominent role as secondary antagonist in the graphic novel prequels by John Moore and Kyle Baker. He was the employer of Big Boy Caprice, Flattop, Mumbles, and Itchy, as well as being the owner of the Club Ritz and the most powerful crime boss in the city. He treated Big Boy and his subordinates quite poorly, eventually driving Big Boy to strike out on his own. Lips had his man, The Brow, unsuccessfully try to kill Big Boy in an explosion, which set Big Boy's vendetta in motion.

In Max Allan Collins' novelization (which is not co-canonical with the graphic novels), Lips Manlis rose to prominence on the city's West Side, using Prohibition to make his fortune. He established a friendship with Little Face early on, employing him as a subordinate. In the novel, Lips hired Little Face, The Brow, Rhodent, Shoulders, and Stooge as talent from out of town to help him deal with the local mob wars. Their execution at Flattop's hands ruined these plans.

NotesEdit

  • When Lips was first referred to in the strip, his name was spelt "Manlus". This changed quickly and "Manlis" became the consistent spelling thereafter.
  • Although Lips had a distinctive wide mouth, he predated the strip's more grotesque villains by several years. Chester Gould originally based his appearance on real-life gangster John Dillinger.
  • In the movie's comic book adaption and prequel story, Lips' rivals were Lorenzo Prunesti (Pruneface), Ribs Mocco, and B-B Eyes.
  • Paul Sorvino was one of several actors in the 1990 Dick Tracy film who had also appeared in one of the many "Star Trek" series. In addition to Sorvino, Lips' associate who informed him of the massacre at the Seventh Street Garage was played by Robert Costanzo, who had also appeared in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Manhunt". Hamilton Camp, who played a Ferengi on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, appeared as a store owner. Colm Meaney (Chief O'Brien on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine) appeared as a uniformed policeman, and Seymour Cassel (Sam Catchem) had appeared in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Child".

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