Flattop Jones

FlattopJonesFloyd “Flattop” Jones led a gang of three hoods (including Charlie and Machine Gun Eddy) and was known as an “Ace Killer” in one newspaper headline shown in the comic strip (having committed five murders). In the storyline in which Flattop is the featured villain, black marketeers hire him to eliminate Dick Tracy for a fee of $5000: five times his regular rate.

Flattop proves his value by quickly orchestrating a successful setup involving an argument over money to capture Tracy in the killer’s car, to be transported somewhere where he can be murdered undisturbed. Fortunately for Tracy, Flattop stops just short of doing the deed when he realizes that if his employers are willing to pay such a high price for Tracy’s death, then they would surely be desperate enough to pay much more. As such, Flattop decides to blackmail his employers for an additional $50,000 lest he release the detective with the information Tracy needs to arrest them.

Hiding in a boarding room while the transaction is completed, Tracy learns that a resident living with her mother downstairs downstairs is a WAC who is learning morse code. Taking advantage of an available piano in the room, he plays it and stamps on the floor in code as if keeping time to his music, hoping that the WAC below, Margie Elong, will recognize the call for help. Sure enough, Elong and her mother get the message and alert the police.

However, even as Tracy’s partner, Pat Patton, is preparing for a rescue; Flattop, having closed his blackmail deal, prepares to shoot Tracy while he’s surrounded by his henchmen. On Flattop’s count of three, Tracy interrupts the assassination by lunging at the killer and wrestles for his gun. In the struggle, Tracy manages to kill a henchman with a Tommy gun, using it to kill the rest of Flattop’s gang even as the police were storming the hideout. While the police tend to Tracy, the detective suggests that it be publicly announced that he was found dead, anticipating that Flattop’s employers would contact the killer soon afterward. The black marketeers take the bait, call Flattop’s number to invite him for a celebration and the police quickly arrive to arrest the lot.

Flattop escapes and becomes a hunted fugitive hampered by his extremely distinctive appearance. This leads to a long chase, during which Flattop stays in a boarding house while being extorted by the crooked child Bud Jenkins hiding him. Bud drowns in a lake while skating with expensive new skates he buys with the blackmail money. This leads Tracy to the boarding house, forcing Flattop to flee. In a comic relief episode Flattop decides to hide his $5000 in an old family album which he has hollowed out; when Tracy visits the boarding house to question the dead boy’s mother about her son flashing $50 bills around town, a reporter in need of a good picture of the deceased finds the money in the album.

Flattop is caught in a chimney and stung by bees in a hive he disturbs there. He murders a street hawker to fake his own death and to steal his victim’s ration cards, Flattop hides out in a hotel, but the ration cards blow out a window and betray his location. In desperation as the police officer reports this to headquarters, he hides in the room of Vitamin Flintheart, an aging actor.

After attempting to explain his trespass, Flattop assaults Flintheart and uses his makeup supplies for a disguise. Tracy, Patton and Flintheart continued the search and battle Flattop after almost being fooled by a child to whom Flattop had passed off his disguise in hopes of making him a decoy. Flattop is severely wounded, but successfully treated in custody which he soon escapes, taking Flintheart hostage and hiding out in the harbor area. Tracy is led to them when Vitamin throws out one of his old prescription bottles. Tracy arrives and Flattop tries to escape by swimming under a replica of the Santa Maria. On the way, he gets his coat hung up on an old spike and drowns.

Flattop left behind a large family of villains and characters that Dick Tracy would encounter at one time or another, including two children, Floyd “Flattop” Jr. and Angelica “Angeltop” Jones, both of whom would die after clashing with the police.  In a 2012 storyline we learned that Flattop had married young Stiletta Jones when they were both teenagers and Stiletta left the family for Europe soon after.  She now seeks revenge on Dick Tracy for the deaths of her ex-husband and children.

More information can be found on Flattop’s Wikipedia page.

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