Cover art of Daredevil #24 (October 2017).
Art by David Lopez.
|First appearance||Web of Spider-Man #36 (March 1988)|
|Created by||Gerry Conway|
|Alter ego||Lonnie Thompson Lincoln|
|Place of origin||Harlem, New York|
|Team affiliations||The Hand|
|Notable aliases||Lonnie Tombstone|
|Abilities||Excellent street fighter|
Highly skilled marksman
Superhuman strength, speed, stamina, and reflexes
High-level resistance to injury
Tombstone (Lonnie Thompson Lincoln) is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. A hulking albino man with filed teeth, Tombstone is a notorious crime boss in New York City. He is primarily an enemy of Spider-Man and Daredevil, and the father of Janice Lincoln.
The character has appeared in various media including two animated series (Spider-Man: The Animated Series and The Spectacular Spider-Man), and the animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse with his voice provided by Marvin "Krondon" Jones III.
The character was created by Gerry Conway and Alex Saviuk and first appeared in Web of Spider-Man #36 (March 1988). The character was immediately established to have a history with longtime Spider-Man supporting character Joseph "Robbie" Robertson, and was brought on as a regular in The Spectacular Spider-Man, which was then being written by Conway. Conway explained why he created Tombstone: "My general motivation was a need to work with the characters who weren't central to The Amazing Spider-Man title, since that was the main book. That meant I needed to focus my attention not on Aunt May or Mary Jane, or even J. Jonah Jameson, but on second- or even third-tier supporting characters. Joe Robertson was one of those. The second motive had to do with my desire to bring back the ruthless gangster Hammerhead had been, but not Hammerhead himself. It just came to me as a character type. One thing led to another, and as his backstory expanded, readers responded well to it."
Fictional character biography
Born as Lonnie Thompson Lincoln in Harlem, in New York City, he 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, edited by Joseph "Robbie" Robertson, was going to run a story on Lonnie's activities, but pulled it when Lonnie used scare tactics to intimidate Robertson. Lonnie allowed his personal demons to direct the course of his life and he turned to a life of serious crime.[volume & issue needed] As a hitman and enforcer, he 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. One night, Robertson, now working for a local paper, went to meet a source only to see the source being killed by Lincoln. He threatened to kill Robertson if the story was brought out. Robertson kept the secret for over twenty years whilst Lincoln became a powerful mob enforcer, killing many others.
Now known as "Tombstone" on the street, he returned to New York City as the Kingpin's hitman. Tombstone threw the Hobgoblin out of the Arranger's window. Tombstone captured a mutant known as the Persuader for the Arranger. 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 Robertson, nearly permanently damaging Robertson's spine. Tombstone then encountered Spider-Man in Atlanta, Georgia; Tombstone was defeated and sent to the Philadelphia State Penitentiary.
Robertson was also incarcerated for suppression of evidence. On learning this, Tombstone obtained a transfer to Lewsiburg State Penitentiary where Robertson was incarcerated. In prison, Tombstone 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. Tombstone and Robertson were knocked into the Susquehana River. Tombstone brought a badly-injured Robertson to an Amish family so that Robertson could recover enough to give him a decent fight. When Tombstone finally made his move to kill Robertson in retaliation for turning on him during the fight with Spider-Man, 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 Hobgoblin so that he could kill Robertson himself. Robertson was then given a full pardon for helping recapture Tombstone.[volume & issue needed]
Tombstone 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 Tombstone's bloodstream and had a mutagenic effect on his body, enhancing his strength and heightening his other physical abilities. Tombstone then called off his vendetta against Robertson in gratitude. Tombstone was later defeated by Daredevil and the Punisher while competing against Taskmaster in a real game of Assassin sponsored by the Hand.
During the "Origin of the Species" storyline, Doctor Octopus invites Tombstone to join a supervillain team in exchange for some items. Later, Tombstone confronts Carlie Cooper. However, the police arrive and Tombstone escapes, but later doubles back to follow Cooper after discovering that Cooper knows who Menace really is. He corners Cooper, Mary Jane Watson and Menace, but Menace manages to knock him out by activating the Goblin glider and sending it crashing into him. The police soon arrive and take Tombstone away.
Tombstone has a battle with Spider-Man. During a police shootout Tombstone critically injured a friend of cop Yuri Watanabe, the fourth Wraith. Tombstone was set free by the judge as Tombstone saved his wife from cancer. However, Mister Negative supplied Watanabe with evidence of Tombstone having a hold on the judge, putting them both in prison.[volume & issue needed] The judge was killed by a prisoner who worked for Tombstone.[volume & issue needed] When Black Cat, an Inner Demon disguised as the Crime Master, and the Enforcers attempted a jail break, the Inner Demon shot Tombstone in the chest.[volume & issue needed]
After surviving the attempt on his life, Tombstone is later approached by Mr. Fish who warns him about Black Cat's gang targeting him and his criminal empire in the upcoming gang war in Harlem. Tombstone and Mr. Fish are later visited by Alex Wilder who talks about his father Geoffrey Wilder's family business as the two of them knew him back when he was still alive. He also tells Tombstone and Mr. Fish that he is starting a new incarnation of the Pride which he will start in Harlem. Afterwards, Alex Wilder beats up Tombstone and uses a magic spell to send Mr. Fish to Hell. After recovering from the attack, Tombstone rescues Mr. Fish from Hell with the help of Black Talon.
Powers and abilities
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Originally, Lonnie Lincoln 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, he 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 skills 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, Tombstone is sensitive to sunlight due to a natural deficiency of melanin. He is usually depicted as only being capable of speaking in whispers. However, after the exposure to gas at OsCorp, he has been depicted speaking in tones approaching normal vocal tones.
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 cannot kill, the Blue Spider-Girl suffocates and kills him.
In the Marvel Adventures reality, Tombstone is a hired muscle of the Torino crime family. After his fellow mobsters were arrested, Tombstone secretly stole Captain George Stacy's cellphone and lured Gwen Stacy to the subway where he sent the pictures he took of them to George. Spider-Man arrived telling him to get away from Gwen. Tombstone stated that he didn't abduct or harm Gwen and backed away without a fight. When Captain Stacy arrived to arrest Tombstone and his fellow mobsters, Spider-Man and Captain America arrived. It took the combination tactics of Spider-Man, Captain America, and Captain Stacy to defeat Tombstone.
During the 2015 "Secret Wars" storyline, a version of Tombstone lives in the Battleworld domain of Arachnia. He and Carnage were stalked by Spider-Man Noir and was defeated by the Warriors of the Great Web.
In other media
- Tombstone/Lonnie Lincoln appeared in Spider-Man: The Animated Series, voiced by Dorian Harewood. This version was disfigured in the same laboratory accident responsible for his superpowers, blaming Robbie Robertson for the accident. Tombstone's revenge attempts on his former childhood friend puts him in regular conflict with Spider-Man while under the employ of various crime figures (like Silvermane and Richard Fisk).
- Tombstone/L. Thompson Lincoln appears in The Spectacular Spider-Man animated series, voiced initially by Keith David (pilot episode) and subsequently by Kevin Michael Richardson (subsequent episodes). This version is a calculating and intelligent crime lord known as the "Big Man" of crime with the public image of a benevolent wealthy philanthropist and Hammerhead as a henchman. He hires the Enforcers to take out Spider-Man (first in the pilot and then later personally as the New Enforcers thanks to Tinkerer). Tombstone then enlists Norman Osborn to engineer super-villains (such as Sandman and Rhino), and even allows Venom to eliminate their enemy. A gang war later breaks out between Tombstone, Doctor Octopus and Silvermane over control of New York's underworld, culminating in a summit where his own enforcer pits the three crime lords against each other. After a lengthy battle with Spider-Man, Tombstone is finally defeated and exposed as the Big Man, leading to his arrest. Although he is later let out of prison, he discovers that his Big Man position has been taken over by the Green Goblin, who has manipulated Hammerhead to get Tombstone arrested, so that he could then take over his criminal empire.
Tombstone appears in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, voiced by Marvin "Krondon" Jones III. This version of the character is under the Kingpin's employ and acts as his personal bodyguard; he usually wields two pistols, but is shown to also be a skilled hand-to-hand combatant. Tombstone is present when Kingpin unmasks and kills Spider-Man, before ordering Tombstone to dispose of the body. Later, Tombstone accompanies Kingpin and his other henchmen - Doctor Octopus, Scorpion, and Prowler - to attack the spider-people at Aunt May's house, in order to retrieve the USB drive that can be used to stop the Alchemax Super Collider, which Kingpin plans to use to access different dimensions and reunite with an alternate version of his family, after they died in a car crash. In the final battle at the Collider, Tombstone is defeated by Spider-Man Noir, and is later seen being arrested by the police alongside Kingpin and those involved.
- Tombstone appears in Marvel Heroes, voiced by Nolan North.
- Tombstone appears as a side mission boss in the 2018 Spider-Man video game, voiced by Corey Jones. This version of the character is a notorious and well-known crime lord in New York City, and a powerful hand-to-hand combatant, but is portrayed as also being the leader of a biker gang, and is bald-headed, wears biker clothes instead of a suit, and his skin is much less visibly white than that of a normal person. The game also provides a different origin for his superhuman powers, having been exposed to a chemical in his youth that hardened and turned his skin white, while also completely eliminating his sense of pain. Because of this, Tombstone is nearly impervious to any form of physical harm; Spider-Man comments that he could punch Tombstone for an entire day and he would still feel nothing, and, on one occasion, Tombstone even goes so far as shooting himelf point-blank in the head to intimidate one of his bikers. Alongside Kingpin, Shocker, Electro, Rhino, Scorpion and Vulture, Tombstone serves as one of Spider-Man's oldest enemies, having fought him several times during the hero's past eight years career, and, although Spider-Man managed to defeat him numerous times, Tombstone would always escape from prison and return to his life of crime, with the help of his gang. In the main story of the game, Mary Jane Watson discovers and infiltrates Tombstone's garage during her investigation on the Inner Demons gang led by Martin Li. Staying hidden from Tombstone's crew, Mary Jane discovers that they are building some sort of armored vehicle for the Inner Demons (which is later used by Li to steal the Devil's Breath virus), before escaping the garage and telling Spider-Man about it. Later, in a side mission, Spider-Man, with the help of the information provided by Mary Jane, discovers that Tombstone is using Li's money to finance the theft of certain chemicals so he can create "Grave Dust", a drug similar to the one that empowered him that confers temporary invincibility on users. Spider's Man then tracks down Tombstone at his garage and engages him and his goons in a fight. After dispatching of Tombstone's goons, Spider-Man is able to deploy a drug meant to fix Tombstone's condition, which makes him vulnerable enough to bleed and feel pain. Spider-Man eventually defeats Tombstone and, as he leaves him for the police, Tombstone realizes that being "mortal" makes his life of crime more exciting, stating that he can't wait for a rematch with Spider-Man. In his character biography, Spider-Man states that Tombstone sees every loss as "another great challenge on the horizon", and that, amongst all the villains he has fought over the years, Tombstone is one of the hardest to put down, as he loves fighting and never gives up until he's defeated, which is difficult even for Spider-Man to accomplish.
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