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Art by Sal Buscema.
|First appearance||Web of Spider-Man #36 (March 1988)|
|Created by||Gerry Conway (writer)
Alex Saviuk (artist)
|Alter ego||Lonnie Thompson Lincoln|
|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
Razor sharp teeth
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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 that type of character, 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 intimidation. 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, 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. As an adult, he stood over six feet, seven inches tall.
One night Robertson, now working for a local paper, went to meet a source only to see the source being killed by Tombstone. He threatened to kill Robertson if the story was brought out. Robertson kept the secret for over twenty years whilst Tombstone 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 his 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 was not nearly as badly injured by the fall as Robertson, and brought him 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. 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 a supervillain team in exchange for some items. Both 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 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 Watanbe, also the Wraith. Tombstone was set free by the judge, as Tombstone saved his wife from cancer. However Mister Negative supplied Watanbe 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]
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 where he will start in Harlem. Afterwards, Alex Wilder beats up Tombstone and uses a magic spell to send Mr. Fish to Hell.
Powers and abilities
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 also usually depicted as only being capable of speaking in whispers. However, after the exposure to gas at OsCorp, he's 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 can't kill, the Blue Spider-Girl suffocates and kills him.[volume & issue needed]
In other media
- Tombstone appeared in Spider-Man: The Animated Series, voiced by Dorian Harewood. In this version, Lonnie Lincoln is disfigured in the same laboratory accident behind his superpowers. He blames Robbie Robertson for the accident so he sets out for revenge on his former friend, and then would regular conflict with Spider-Man while under the employ of various crime figures like Silvermane and Richard Fisk.
- Tombstone appears in The Spectacular Spider-Man, voiced by Keith David (in the pilot episode) and by Kevin Michael Richardson (in subsequent episodes). This version of is depicted as a calculating and intelligent crime lord known as the "Big Man" of crime yet has the public image of benevolent wealthy philanthropist L. Thompson Lincoln with Hammerhead as a henchman before finally being exposed by Spider-Man and his Big Man position taken over by the Green Goblin.
- Cage #3
- Williams, Scott E. (October 2010). "Gerry Conway: Everything but the Gwen Stacy Sink". Back Issue!. TwoMorrows Publishing (44): 17.
- Spectacular Spider-Man #137
- Web of Spider-Man #36
- 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
- Superior Foes of Spider-Man #6-7
- The Spectacular Spider-Man #204-206
- Amazing Spider-Man #16.1
- Power Man and Iron Fist Vol. 3 #10
- Power Man and Iron Fist Vol. 3 #11
- Luke Cage Noir # 1