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Art by Sal Buscema.
|First appearance||Web of Spider-Man #36 (March 1988)|
|Created by||Gerry Conway
|Alter ego||Lonnie Thompson Lincoln|
|Team affiliations||The Hand
|Notable aliases||L. Thompson Lincoln, Lonnie Tombstone|
Fictional character biography
Born as Lonnie Thompson Lincoln in Harlem, in New York City, Lonnie started out as troubled youth who was bullied by his peers because he was Harlem's only African American albino. Taller and stronger than the other children, he became a school bully, extorting protection money from his classmates. The school newspaper was edited by Joseph "Robbie" Robertson, who was going to run a story on Lonnie's activities but pulled it when Lonnie intimidated him. Lonnie allowed his personal demons to direct the course of his life and he turned to a life of serious crime.
As a hitman and enforcer, Lonnie used his albinism to his advantage. He filed his teeth and nails to points, giving him the appearance of a vampire. This frequently caught his opponents off-guard, making it easier to kill them. He also lifted weights and engaged in many street fights to hone his fighting skills. As an adult he stood over six feet, seven inches tall.
Eventually, Lonnie returned to New York City as the Kingpin's hitman. As an adult Robertson would regret ever having known Lonnie (who was now known as Tombstone on the street). One night Robertson, now working for a local paper, went to meet a source only to see him being killed by Tombstone. The latter threatened to kill Robertson if he ever confessed the story. Robertson kept the secret for over twenty years whilst Tombstone became a powerful mob enforcer, killing many others. Tombstone threw the Hobgoblin out of the Arranger's window. Tombstone captured a mutant known as the Persuader for the Arranger. The situation between Tombstone and Robertson was exacerbated when Lonnie returned to Robertson's neighborhood. Eventually Robertson went to the police which resulted in Tombstone's incarceration, but not before Tombstone confronted and seriously injured an armed Robertson, nearly permanently damaging his spine. Tombstone then first encountered Spider-Man in Atlanta, Georgia; Tombstone was defeated and sent to the Philadelphia State Penitentiary.
Robertson however was also incarcerated by a judge on the Kingpin's payroll for suppression of evidence. On learning this, Tombstone obtained a transfer to Lewsiburg State Penitentiary where Robertson was incarcerated. In prison, Tombstone made Robbie's life a living hell. He killed Robertson's befriended bodyguard, Bruiser. Tombstone eventually broke out of prison but was confronted by Spider-Man; he eluded capture after a harrowing battle in which he nearly beat Spider-Man to death before Robertson stopped him. Lonnie and Robertson (fighting on the side of Spider-Man) were knocked into the Susquehana River, and made their escape. Both men survived, and a temporary truce was agreed, and were taken in by an Amish farmer. Robertson stabbed Tombstone with a pitchfork and then escaped. Tombstone joined a criminal organization headed by Hammerhead and the Chameleon, and then saved Robertson from the Hobgoblin so that he could kill Robertson himself. Robertson was then given a full pardon for helping recapture Tombstone.[volume & issue needed]
Lonnie eventually gained a superhuman physical constitution. Tombstone encountered Robertson at the Osborn Chemical Plant. Robertson shot Tombstone and trapped him in an airtight test chamber which contained an experimental gas. The gas was absorbed into Lonnie's bloodstream and had a mutagenic effect on his body. This resulted in the manifestation of enhanced strength and other heightened physical abilities. Tombstone then called off his vendetta against Robertson in gratitude. Tombstone was later defeated by Daredevil and the Punisher while competing against the Taskmaster in a real game of Assassin sponsored by the Hand.
During the "Origin of the Species" storyline, Doctor Octopus invites Tombstone to join his supervillain team in exchange for some items. Dr. Octopus and Shocker attack Menace's infant in a restaurant until Spider-Man interferes. Later, Tombstone confronts Carlie Cooper. However, the police arrive and Tombstone escapes, but later doubles back to follow Cooper after discovering that she knows who Menace really is. He corners her, Mary Jane and Menace, but Menace manages to knock him out by activating her glider and sending it crashing into him. The police soon arrive and take Tombstone away.
Powers and abilities
Originally Tombstone had no superhuman powers, but has gained them through artificial means as a result of a mutagenic reaction to an experimental preservative gas absorbed into his bloodstream. He possesses physical strength that has been increased beyond his original limits to superhuman levels. Tombstone's body is highly resistant to physical injury and is capable of withstanding extreme temperatures, great impact forces, high caliber bullets and toxic gases without sustaining injury. His reflexes, speed, and stamina are likewise heightened beyond a range attainable for normal human beings.
Aside from these advantages, Lonnie is an excellent hand-to-hand combatant with years of street fighting experience and, even before gaining powers, was easily capable of killing someone with his bare hands; he now combines his street-fighting skill with his superhuman strength to create a unique fighting style. He is also highly proficient with conventional firearms and well connected in the underworld of organized crime.
As an albino, he is sensitive to sunlight due to a natural deficiency of melanin. He is also usually depicted as only being capable of speaking in whispers; however after the exposure to gas at Osborn's, he's been depicted speaking in tones approaching normal vocal tones. In his appearances in two of the Spider-Man animated series episodes, Tombstone speaks normally.
Tombstone has filed all his teeth into razor-sharp points.
An older version of Tombstone appears in the Spectacular Spider-Girl digital comic series, set in the MC2 universe. He had been paid by Silvermane to carry out a hit on Spider-Girl. Despite his advanced years, Tombstone still proved to be a tough opponent to defeat.
He met Spider-Girl and did battle with her, but when he saw another Spider-Girl saving people from a burning building on TV Tombstone grew furious and rapidly finished her off.[volume & issue needed]
When Tombstone met the Blue Spider-Girl, he revealed to her that he killed the other Spider-Girl, which caused her to attack him in rage. Tombstone was surprised that she has symbiote powers and was defeated. At first thinking he will be on the streets again soon since he believes heroes can't kill, the Blue Spider-Girl suffocates and kills him.[volume & issue needed]
Lonnie Lincoln, known as Lonnie the Tombstone appears in Cage miniseries. He is the leader of a criminal empire, and much closer resembles an albino than his 616 counterpart, with extremely pale skin, very light blonde hair and pink and pale blue eyes.
In other media
- In Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Tombstone's origin was different from the comics. Tombstone (voiced by Dorian Harewood) was not originally an albino, he was turned into one by the same laboratory accident that gave him his superpowers. He was once Lonnie Lincoln, a friend of Joseph "Robbie" Robertson. When he was a child, he accidentally threw his basketball through the glass of a grocery store, but, after seeing the store was closed, Lonnie decided to rob the store to get ice cream, with Robbie's help. Lonnie's robbery ended up a failure when the police came and arrested him. Robbie felt guilty for abandoning Lonnie and guiltier that Lonnie never gave his name to the police. After his release, Lonnie became a crook while Robbie graduated with honors at school. Eventually, Lonnie made a break-in at the Spaulding Chemical Plant to contact Robbie. While there, it was revealed that Lonnie wanted to frame Robbie to get his revenge for abandoning him at the grocery store (Robbie had his fingerprints on the ladder that he climbed when confronted by Tombstone). After Lonnie fell into the vat of chemicals by accident, Robbie decided to stay behind to face the consequences to think about abandoning Lonnie at the grocery store. Lucky for Robbie, his fellow workers told the police about the "tip" Robbie received. After the fall, Lonnie's skin turned dark white, his hair yellow, and his flesh tough and rock-like and takes up the name "Tombstone". In his debut in the episodes "Tablet of Time" and "Ravages of Time", he was hired by Silvermane to steal the Tablet of Time. During an altercation with Spider-Man in Dr. Connors' lab, poison gas was released choking Spider-Man. Tombstone was unaffected because he claimed he did not need to breathe anymore while he bearhugged Spider-Man, before attempting to abduct Dr Connors. In fact, it is implied that he is a walking corpse, a member of the undead. In the episode "Tombstone", Tombstone appeared again and became the leader of a gang that had Robbie's son Randy, as a member in a plot to kill the story of Alicia Silvermaine being a gangster in the Daily Bugle. Tombstone promised to set Randy free to Robbie if he kills the Silvermaine story (especially since Tombstone made Randy the only one to not wear gloves when unloading stuff in order leave fingerprint evidence to have the police arrest Randy). Robbie refuses and sets off the alarm at the Spaulding Chemical Plant causing Tombstone's minions to flee. Spider-Man captures Tombstone by webbing him before he fell into the chemical vat again. Tombstone was sent to jail while Robbie and Randy confess to the police about what happened. In "Guilty", it was revealed that the prison Tombstone went to was Ryker's Island with Richard Fisk (who was incarcerated two episodes before Tombstone). Fisk and Tombstone agreed to team up and bring Robbie Robertson into the same prison as them. They eventually arrange for Robbie's kidnapping, slipped a gun in his hand while he was unconscious and made him look like the leader of a gang in frozen crime. Apparently, Robbie's prison assignment would be New York State Penitentiary instead of Ryker's Island. However, with help from the Kingpin (Richard Fisk's father), Robbie was reassigned to Ryker's Island. There, Robbie would live for the next fifteen years. He also met Richard and Tombstone there again, and they revealed their entire plot to him. Spider-Man discovers this plan and rescues Robbie just when Richard and Tombstone would escape with their cellmate, landing them back in jail.
- Tombstone appears as one of the principal villains in The Spectacular Spider-Man initially voiced by Keith David and later voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson. Tombstone is depicted as a calculating, emotionless and highly intelligent crime lord (as opposed to being a Mafia enforcer like his comic book incarnation) though to the public he has the image of benevolent wealthy man, acting as a philanthropist. Although it is never specifically stated that he is either a mutant or invulnerable, he does boast a chalk-white complexion and oddly pointed teeth. He easily bests Spider-Man in a physical confrontation at their first meeting, in which he did display superhuman strength and reflexes, catching and crushing a pool ball with a single hand, seems unconcerned about being killed in a bomb blast — even helping Spidey look underneath tables for the Green Goblin's "special" explosive — and takes several of Green Goblin's razor-bats through his back seemingly without pain in "The Uncertainty Principle". In "Gangland", he is able to hold his own in a fight against Doctor Octopus and Silvermane, the latter of whom had used a hydraulic exoskeleton to increase his strength. His voice is first heard as the "Big Man" when he has Hammerhead send the Enforcers to challenge Spider-Man during his fight with the Vulture. After Ox and Fancy Dan are jailed, Tombstone orders Hammerhead to have Montana use the equipment he stole to become Shocker. When Shocker is defeated, Tombstone has Hammerhead forge an alliance between him and Norman Osborn to create super villains to distract Spider-Man from his activities (this results in the creation of Sandman and Rhino). After learning Tombstone's identity from Rhino, Spider-Man confronts Lincoln as all the evidence points to him being the mysterious crime boss known as the Big Man. Lincoln states that he has had many names and that his favorite is Tombstone, however, Tombstone never outright admits that he is the "Big Man" (Hammerhead does, but even he might be wrong). After easily beating down Spider-Man (partially because Spider-Man underestimated him), Tombstone offers the hero money in exchange for looking the other way in certain cases, which Spider-Man refuses. Tombstone subsequently sends in the police to incriminate Spider-Man as a villain. Tombstone later attends a town banquet which is crashed by the Green Goblin who seeks to overthrow him. Spider-Man managed to save him. In "The Uncertainty Principle," Green Goblin later makes another attempt on his life by capturing Hammerhead and luring him into a trap with the threat of releasing evidence of Tombstone's criminal activities. He winds up working with Spider-Man in battle against the Goblin until Hammerhead is freed, at which point the two escape together in a helicopter. Tombstone later appeared in "Intervention", where the symbiote-influenced Spider-Man demands the previous job opening. Tombstone would agree as long as Spider-Man did not fight crime for a week, unless it were a super villain. In "Nature vs. Nurture" following him breaking free from the Symbiote, Spider-Man broke their deal, saying that no amount of money is worth turning a blind eye to his operations, and vows to bring him down. Just after Spider-Man left, Venom arrived and accepted the offer and tells Tombstone he'll take down Spider-Man, to which Tombstone seems unsurprised. In the second season, Tombstone becomes involved in a gang war for control of New York with the Master Planner (Doctor Octopus) and Silvermane. In "Gangland", he attends a summit with his two rivals, which Hammerhead uses to trick them into fighting each other. The fight spills out onto the streets, incurring Spider-Man's intervention. During the fight, Tombstone helps Spider-Man against the other two, after taking into consideration his public image if he did otherwise. When Silvermane and Doctor Octopus are taken out, Tombstone fights Spider-Man in the sewers. After a brutal skirmish, Tombstone is knocked out when Spider-Man throws a piece of heavy metal piping at his head. With his identity as the Big Man revealed by Spider-Man (A fact corroborated by Frederick Foswell who had been undercover at the summit as "Patch"), Tombstone is taken into police custody, but first takes a moment to fire Hammerhead. Tombstone manages to pay for his bail, but is put under surveillance by sixteen different government agencies, crippling his operations. However, this left his position as the Big Man to be taken over by the Green Goblin, who was the one who persuaded Hammerhead to try and topple Tombstone. Tombstone had correctly guessed that Green Goblin had helped Hammerhead.
- Cage #3
- Web of Spider-Man #36
- Spectacular Spider-Man #137
- Web of Spider-Man #38
- Spectacular Spider-Man #138
- Spectacular Spider-Man #139
- Spectacular Spider-Man #142
- Spectacular Spider-Man #150, 153, 155, 157, 161
- Web of Spider-Man #66-68
- Daredevil #292-293
- Marvel Knights Spider-Man #10-11
- Daredevil vol. 2 #90-91
- Punisher (2009) #4
- Amazing Spider-Man #626
- Amazing Spider-Man #642
- Amazing Spider-Man #643
- Amazing Spider-Man #644
- Amazing Spider-Man #645
- Amazing Spider-Man #646
- Cage #2
- Luke Cage Noir # 1