Whether he’s going by Scorpion, Venom, or even Spider-Man, Mac Gargan always remains the same stubborn, power-hungry, self-serving lowlife.
His career started out relatively promising, as he made a quasi-honest living working as a private investigator, but things took a turn for the worse immediately following his debut. Since then, Gargan has tormented Spider-Man as Scorpion and Venom – and he even impersonated the wall-crawler on Norman Osborn’s team of Dark Avengers!
Mac Gargan first appeared 50 years ago this month in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #19 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. His debut came at the tail end of an action-packed Spidey story.
The unnamed snoop rocking a purple suit and spying on Peter Parker would be revealed as Mac Gargan in the very next issue. But who could possibly have hired Gargan to trail Parker?
J. Jonah Jameson, of course. Yep, Jameson hired a private eye to follow his teenage photographer around in order to find out how the kid managed to get such great action shots of Spider-Man. As soon as Jonah heard about a scientist with the means to graft one animal’s abilities onto another animal, he forgot all about Parker and instead focused on creating a henchman with enough power to take the web-slinger head on!
The experiment worked, even if the scientist expressed great concern about using his equipment on a human being. Gargan, now infused with a scorpion’s proportionate strength and durability, donned his new suit and began practicing with his new weaponized tail.
Jameson returned to the Daily Bugle and lured Spider-Man into the Scorpion’s trap. Spidey encased Gargan in webbing, leading the blowhard publisher to have second thoughts about his investment.
Scorpion knocked Spider-Man down for the count and, instead of unmasking the hero for J. Jonah Jameson, the villain turned on his employer. Hyped up on post-battle confidence, Scorpion struck out on his own and immediately stole a bunch of gems from an armored car. At that moment, the scientist realized that the procedure he had performed on Gargan would eventually drive the subject mad. The scientist rushed to douse Scorpion in an antidote, but that didn’t really work out.
The hero and villain tussled once more, and Scorpion broke away to go after Jameson. Spidey followed the green menace to the Daily Bugle and – despite all of the bad blood between the vigilante and the publisher – the wall-crawler saved Jameson’s life.
Of course Jonah reported on the story as if he had thwarted the bad guy, and he failed to mention that he had paid to have the monster created in the first place. Oh well. Gargan would return time and time again over the next 50 years…
Check out Mac Gargan’s stint as Spider-Man in DARK AVENGERS!