Bill Foster (comics)

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Bill Foster
Bill Foster as Goliath.
Art by Staz Johnson
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance As Bill Foster:
The Avengers #32 (September 1966)

As Black Goliath:
Luke Cage, Power Man #24 (April 1975)

As Giant-Man:
Marvel Two-in-One #55 (September 1979)

As Goliath:
The Thing #1 (January 2006)
Created by Bill Foster:
Stan Lee
Don Heck

Black Goliath:
Tony Isabella
George Tuska
In-story information
Alter ego William "Bill" Foster
Team affiliations Centers for Disease Control
Project: Pegasus
Notable aliases Black Goliath, Giant-Man, Goliath, Rockwell Dodsworth
Abilities Brilliant biochemist
Gifted intellect
Superhuman strength
Size and mass manipulation

Dr. Bill Foster, also known as Black Goliath, the second Giant-Man and the fourth Goliath, is a fictional character, a superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Bill Foster is an African American with powers similar to Hank Pym's of increasing size and mass to gigantic proportions. He is also the uncle of Tom Foster.

Bill Foster will be played by Laurence Fishburne in Ant-Man and the Wasp.

Publication history[edit]

Dr. Foster was created by Stan Lee and Don Heck in The Avengers #32 (September 1966). His "Black Goliath" persona was created by Tony Isabella and George Tuska in Luke Cage, Power Man #24 (April 1975). Foster became the second Giant-Man in Marvel Two-in-One #55 (September 1979). He became yet the fourth Goliath in The Thing #1 (January 2006).

Black Goliath is also the name of the short-lived comic book starring the character, which ran for 5 issues in 1976.

Bill Foster has appeared in the pages of various comic books, including The Avengers, Power Man, Marvel Two-in-One, The Champions, The Defenders, Marvel Super-Heroes (vol. 3), Marvel Comics Presents, and Civil War.

The character was killed in the fourth issue of the series Civil War by Ragnarok.

Fictional character biography[edit]


Bill Foster was born in Watts, Los Angeles, California. Later a biochemist, Dr. Bill Foster worked in the Plans and Research Division for Tony Stark's Baltimore factory. He is hired to be the biochemical laboratory assistant of Dr. Henry "Hank" Pym (a.k.a. Giant-Man). Pym is stuck at the height of 10 feet (3.0 m) for a time and at the behest of Stark, Dr. Foster helps Pym find a cure to change his size back to normal.[1] Foster continues to work as Pym's lab assistant.[2] Foster later investigates the seeming deaths of Pym and Janet van Dyne.[3]

Black Goliath[edit]

Bill Foster as Black Goliath on the cover of his own short lived title from the 1970s. From Black Goliath #1 (February 1976). Art by Rich Buckler.

His origin blurb from the first page of his self-titled book reads: "BILL FOSTER - Dr. William Barrett Foster, DSc, PhD - a child of the GHETTO who has pulled himself up out of the Los Angeles slums to become director of one of the nation's most prestigious research labs. A man whose research has given him the power to instantaneously grow to a height of FIFTEEN FEET, with the strength of a TRUE GIANT. A man who has become... a HERO."

Dr. Foster moves to the West Coast and at some point acquires the formula to "Pym particles" which give him the ability to grow in size like his former employer. Taking the name Black Goliath, he helps Power Man fight the Circus of Crime.[4] He later battles Atom-Smasher, the second Vulcan, and Stilt-Man. The mercenary Warhawk kills Atom-Smasher, and flees before Black Goliath can catch him.[5]

Black Goliath later assists the Champions of Los Angeles in battling Stilt-Man, then joins the group part-time as their technical advisor.[6] Alongside Ben Grimm (a.k.a. the Thing), Black Goliath battles the Hijacker.[7] After the Champions disband, Black Goliath, along with a large group of other heroes, attends a Defenders membership rally. This incarnation of the Defenders battles a number of assembled superhuman criminals for only one mission before disbanding.[8]


The Project: Pegasus Saga[edit]

Bill Foster as Giant-Man. From West Coast Avengers Annual #3. Art by Mike Machlan.

Dr. Foster later joins the staff of Project Pegasus, the U.S. government's semi-secret energy research facility, as a biochemical researcher. While there he reveals his identity of Black Goliath to the Thing working (at the time) in security for Project: Pegasus. In the process of answering an emergency alarm, Foster decides to change his name to Giant-Man at Ben Grimm's (the aforementioned Thing) suggestion. Alongside the Thing, Quasar, and the Aquarian, Giant-Man defends Project: Pegasus against Nuklo, the Grapplers, Klaw, Solarr, and the Nth Man. After working at Project: Pegasus for a short time Foster reveals that he is dying from radiation poisoning he contracted in his earlier fight with Atom-Smasher.[9]

Alongside the Thing and Iceman, he battles the Circus of Crime again.[10] Alongside the Thing and Captain America, he battles MODOK and A.I.M.[11] Alongside the Thing and Spider-Woman, Giant-Man battles the second Atom-Smasher, brother of the original. Foster's radiation poisoning takes a turn for the worse and he lies on his death bed. Spider-Woman is immune to radiation at the time, so Foster is given a blood transfusion from Spider-Woman. The process cures his radiation poisoning, but ends Spider-Woman's immunity to radiation, and removes Giant-Man's powers as well.[12]

Evolutionary War[edit]

Bill Foster is next seen during the events known as the Evolutionary War. Foster is a scientist working for the High Evolutionary at his base in the Savage Land.[13] After discovering the High Evolutionary's plans for a genetic bomb, Foster sends a distress message to the West Coast Avengers. Mockingbird, Tigra, and Moon Knight are the only Avengers to answer his summons and join him in destroying the base. Foster reveals that he had been suffering from cancer since his last appearance. He retakes an improved growth serum, which adds clean (cancer-free) mass to his body, so he remains at giant-size until he can receive further treatment.[13] This was the last mention of Foster's cancer. Giant-Man later defeats Ant-Man's old foe Doctor Nemesis and Goliath in their scheme.[14]

Abandoning the hero role[edit]

Bill Foster soon gives up the Giant-Man identity and Hank Pym subsequently takes it back for himself.[15] Not too long after that, Goliath's ionic powers are disrupted in a battle against the West Coast Avengers.[16] This causes an energy disruption which allows a race of extra-dimensional creatures, the Kosmosians, to attack Earth. Although the creatures are ultimately repelled, the energy disruption and effects on the Pym Particles affect all that have ever been exposed to them, except Pym himself, causing them to lose control of their growth and/or shrinking powers. During this storyline it was shown how Foster and Pym were trying to use Pym Particles to end world hunger.[17]

After losing his powers, Dr. Foster joins the staff of the Centers for Disease Control. In this capacity, he helps the Avengers deal with a bio-weapon released near Mount Rushmore.[18]

Final return[edit]

Bill Foster somehow regained his powers, and as Black Goliath appears very briefly as part of an ad-hoc team of "urban" superheroes (Luke Cage/Power Man, Iron Fist, Brother Voodoo and the Falcon).[19]

Foster dons the identity of Goliath without the "black" in the name and along with a new costume to first help the Thing deal with a supervillain (along with hitting him up for a research grant),[volume & issue needed] then help Spider-Man track down the Hulk in order for Bruce Banner to possibly deal with Spider-Man's cellular degeneration.[volume & issue needed]

Civil War[edit]

Bill Foster killed by Ragnarok in Civil War #4. Art by Steve McNiven.

When the Civil War breaks out, Goliath is seen as a member of Captain America's anti-registration Secret Avengers, adopting the alias of Rockwell Dodsworth. He subsequently appears briefly amongst the cavalcade of other super-heroes attending the wedding of the Black Panther and Storm.[20]

Foster is killed by a clone of Thor during a battle between the Secret Avengers and Iron Man's pro-registration forces. Foster is buried as a giant, with Iron Man paying for the thirty-eight burial plots required to accommodate him. His death affected the balance of forces in the war, leading several characters to switch sides like Spider-Man defecting to Captain America's side.[21]


Bill's nephew Tom Foster, a student at M.I.T., informs the Black Panther that he intends to follow in his uncle's footsteps by cracking the Pym Particle formula and becoming a hero. Black Panther promises to help him achieve his goal.[22] When the Hulk returns to earth to take revenge on the heroes responsible, Tom Foster can be seen watching the fight between Iron Man and the Hulk.[23] Later, he publicly denounced Reed Richards and Tony Stark for their hand in his uncle's death.[24] Afterwards, Tom recreates and drinks the formula originally created by his uncle to be the new Goliath, and a member of Damage Control.[25]

During the Dark Reign storyline, it is shown in Mighty Avengers #24 that Norman Osborn dug up Bill Foster's grave and removed his clavicle, and hoped to use the Pym particle residue to track down Henry Pym's Mighty Avengers. It is later broken in half by Osborn in a fit of rage after hearing Pym's team being declared "the real Avengers" on national television.[26] When Hercules ventures into the Underworld, Bill Foster can be seen in Erebus: the place in between life and death where those who feel they still have business in the mortal world (ranging from Ancient One, Banshee, Baron Heinrich Zemo, Blink, Cobalt Man, Commander Kraken, Cypher, Darkstar, Elvis Presley, Hippolyta, Jackal, Jack of Hearts, Jack O'Lantern, Namorita, Orka, Puck, Scourge of the Underworld, U-Go Girl, Veranke and Wasp) linger and gamble for their resurrection.[27]

It is later revealed that Foster had worked with Hank Pym on a virtual reality program where one could upload their consciousness and live on after death prior to his own death. A grieving Pym uploaded Foster's mind into the program, in effect creating a virtual Utopia for his comrade.[28] The members of A.I.M. later attempted to hijack the program, but Pym was able to defeat them with help from the current Ant-Man Eric O'Grady. During the course of the adventure, O'Grady, disguised as Pym in the virtual world, converses briefly with Foster, who tells "Pym" to stop pushing loved ones away.[29]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Bill Foster's superhuman powers are a result of his ingestion of a biochemical formula containing Pym particles. He has the ability to increase his size and mass to a gigantic size by psionically drawing extra mass from an extra-dimensional source while gaining superhuman strength in proportion to his height. The extra mass returns to the extra-dimensional source as he decreases in size. The process of changing height is fatiguing, making Foster more vulnerable to harm, after successive changes.

Foster was able to routinely grow to 15 feet (4.6 m) in height, and could lift approximately ten tons at that height. After regaining his powers during the "Evolutionary War", his level of power increased, and although precise quantification was not provided, he has demonstrated the ability to grow to 25 feet (7.6 m) in height.

Bill Foster has a Ph.D. in biochemistry, and is a brilliant biochemist with a gifted intellect.

Other versions[edit]

Spidey Super Stories[edit]

An alternate version of Bill Foster appeared in Spidey Super Stories as Giant-Man. In the story, it was explained that Foster was originally the young lab assistant of Hank Pym, and became the second Giant-Man after he retired.[30]

Marvel Zombies[edit]

A zombified Black Goliath attacks the fortress of Doctor Doom known as "Doomshadt" in Marvel Zombies vs. The Army of Darkness #4. He is repelled by Doom's forces as he is impaled by several large missiles and killed when they explode while still within him.[31] A different zombified Black Goliath shows up in Marvel Zombies Return. He had been decapitated and his still 'living' zombie head is used as part of a makeshift computer to allow the zombified Hank Pym to create dimensional travel. This Goliath is destroyed in an attack by human-friendly forces.[32]

MC2 Universe[edit]

In the MC2 universe, in the pages of A-Next, Bill Foster is seen within the series as his son, John Foster, becomes the new Earth Sentry.[33]

Ant-Man Season One[edit]

A younger version of Foster appears in the Ant-Man: Season One graphic novel. He is portrayed as the lab assistant of the young Hank Pym, and helps him in his crusade against Egghead.[34]

In other media[edit]


Laurence Fishburne will portray Bill Foster in Ant-Man and the Wasp.[35]

Video games[edit]


Bill Foster appears in #1 of the comic based on The Avengers: United They Stand animated series. He appears as Henry Pym's lab assistant.[36]


  1. ^ Avengers #32-35
  2. ^ Avengers #41, 54, 75
  3. ^ Marvel Feature Vol. 1 #9
  4. ^ Avengers #24-25
  5. ^ Black Goliath #1-5
  6. ^ Champions #11-13
  7. ^ Marvel Two-in-One #32-35
  8. ^ Defenders #62-65
  9. ^ Marvel Two-in-One #54-58
  10. ^ Marvel Two-in-One #76
  11. ^ Marvel Two-in-One #82
  12. ^ Marvel Two-in-One #85
  13. ^ a b West Coast Avengers Annual #3
  14. ^ Marvel Comics Presents #113-118 (1992-93)
  15. ^ Avengers #368 (November 1993)
  16. ^ Avengers West Coast #92 (March 1993)
  17. ^ Avengers Double Feature ... Avengers/Giant-Man #379-382 (October 1994-January 1995)
  18. ^ Avengers (vol. 3) #66 (June 2003)
  19. ^ Black Panther vol. 3, #17 (April 2000)
  20. ^ Black Panther (2005) #18 (September 2006)
  21. ^ Civil War #4
  22. ^ Black Panther Vol. 3 #23
  23. ^ Incredible Hulk Vol. 2 #107
  24. ^ World War Hulk #4
  25. ^ World War Hulk: Aftersmash #1
  26. ^ Mighty Avengers #24
  27. ^ Incredible Hercules #129
  28. ^ Ant-Man & Wasp #1
  29. ^ Ant-Man & Wasp #3
  30. ^ Spidey Super Stories #47
  31. ^ Marvel Zombies vs. The Army of Darkness #4
  32. ^ Marvel Zombies Return: Avengers (September 2009)
  33. ^ A-Next #2
  34. ^ Ant-Man: Season One graphic novel (2012)
  35. ^ Aaron Couch; Graeme McMillan (July 22, 2017). "Ant-Man and the Wasp' Casts Michelle Pfeiffer and Laurence Fishburne". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  36. ^ Avengers: United They Stand #1

External links[edit]