Little is known about the Jack Dawkins' origin. He was probably an orphan raised in a workhouse, either in or around London. At some point early in his life he met Fagin, and became involved in pickpocketing. He was very skilled as a pickpocket, earning him the nickname by which he is best known, "The Artful Dodger", as well as his position as second in command to Fagin as the leader of Fagin's child gang of pickpockets.
The Artful Dodger was created by Charles Dickens.
Major Story Arcs
Dodger encounters young Oliver Twist, newly arrived in London, and offers the young boy free food and lodgings. He takes Twist to Fagin's hideout, where they attempt to pressgang the naive youth into participating in their theft ring. Dodger takes Twist, still unaware of Dodger's true occupation, on a trip into London where they steal a man's handkerchief. Dodger abandons Twist when the man realizes the theft and escapes, leaving Twist to take the blame for the theft. He is later arrested for the theft of a silver snuff box, and is probably transported to a penal colony in Australia for this crime.
Dodger has appeared in most adaptations of the Oliver Twist story. Notable among these adaptations are the musical adaptation Oliver!, originally released in 1960 and adapted as a movie in 1968, in which he was originally played by Martin Horsey and Jack Wild respectively. A character based on him appears in Disney's loosely adapted Oliver & Company where he is an anthropomorphic dog. He is played by Billy Joel. He also appears in the film Twisted, played by Jean Loup Wolfman, in the film Twist, where he is played by Nick Stahl, and in the television series Escape of the Artful Dodger, where he is played by Luke O'Loughlin