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The Cipher
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Normal Jones (right) with Wingy Plenty

First Appearance:

November 26th, 1984

Real Name:

Normal Jones

Known Relatives:

Sgt. Carl Jones, Father (Deceased)
Unnamed Mother

Created By:

Max Allan Collins &
Dick Locher

Normal Jones was the son of police Sergeant Carl Jones. Carl had a history of violence and a quick temper. It was implied that he had been physically and/or emotionally abusive of Normal. After the death of his father, Normal continued to live with his mother, who doted on him.

Normal's physical appearance was generally considered to be unremarkable.

Community CollegeEdit

Normal graduated high school and enrolled in the local community college. He had very few friends, and most people considered him to be "weird". One of the few people who was fond of Normal was Susie Plenty, aka "Wingy". Wingy attempted to befriend Normal in spite of her friends' objections.

At some point, Normal had become fixated on Dick Tracy, as well as his extended family and friends. Normal decided to gain notoriety by assaulting and/or killing Tracy and those connected to him. He dubbed himself "The Cipher" and sent an ominous notes to reporter Wendy Wichel. Wichel informed Tracy of the note, but Tracy initially dismissed it as a prank. Upon further consideration, Tracy decided to take the note more seriously.

The Cipher EmergesEdit

Cipher

A Cipher in the Snow

One snowy night, Normal (wearing a ski mask) confronted Lizz and Groovy Grove outside Lizz's high-rise apartment. Normal interrupted Groovy's marriage proposal and shot at the couple. Groovy gave chase, and Normal fled down a fire escape. Lizz took the elevator and caught Normal as he reached the ground, grabbing his mask and holding him at gunpoint. However, Groovy slipped on the icy fire escape and fell, severely injuring himself. His cries of pain distracted Lizz, enabling Normal to escape. Groovy died shortly afterwards from his injuries.

Normal sent another note to Wichel, claiming responsibility for the death of Groovy. Tracy was now taking Normal's threats seriously, and he ordered police protection for his friends and family. Normal was still able to surprise Tracy at his home one night, catching the detective off-guard as he came home from work. Rather than shoot Tracy, Normal opted to take a photograph of Tracy being held at gunpoint, intending to publicly embarrass the famous detective.

Evading PoliceEdit

Normal then went into hiding, asking Wingy if he could stay with her. Lizz had produced a police sketch with the help of Junior Tracy, and Normal feared that Wingy would soon discover what he had done. Normal's knowledge of Tracy's life apparently did not include the fact that Wingy was the adoptive daughter of B.O. Plenty, one of Tracy's best friends.

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Tracy and the Major Crime Unit tracked down Normal, finding ammunition in his school locker and interviewing his mother. They eventually learned that Normal was friends with Wingy and went to her apartment to speak with her. When Normal saw the police arrive, he sent Wingy out, not wanting her to be hurt. He then put on his ski mask and exited the building, gun drawn. Normal's intention seemed to be to allow himself to be shot by police, sparing himself and his mother the trauma of a trial. The officer who arrested Normal was Lizz, who resisted the urge to shoot the young man who had been responsible for Groovy's death.

Normal was taken into custody, pending a psychiatric evaluation. His mother had hired an attorney who intended to mount an insanity defense, on the basis that Normal's mind had been corrupted by exposure to violent television and movies.

Notes:Edit

  • It was explicitly stated by Dick Tracy that there is no connection between Normal Jones and the criminal Jones family.

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