Real Name: Lawrence Chesney
Identity/Class: Human technology user; later demon or undead magic user
Occupation: former art restorer (employed at
Metropolitan Museum of Art);
later serial killer, later agent of a demon
Group Membership: Leader of the Gang of Four (Stilt-Man (Wilbur Day), Owl, Gladiator (Wylie Lemick))
Affiliations: Agent of an unidentified demon;
former co-worker of Arthur Reynolds
Enemies: Daredevil; Harry; Spider-Man (Peter Parker); the Kingpin (Wilson Fisk); the Owl (former); petty criminals: Chester Chino (deceased); Gil (deceased); Walter Kranz (deceased); Milton Wexler (deceased); Martin Foster
Known Relatives: Mr. Chesney (father, deceased)
Place of Birth: New York City, New York
Base of Operations: New York City; presumably an unnamed "hell" dimension
Extent of Education: Presumed art degree
First Appearance: Daredevil I#124 (August, 1975)
Powers/Abilities: Initially, Lawrence Chesney used a set of weaponry modeled after that of the pulp hero Copperhead. Chesney wore a bulletproof suit of copper armor which granted him superhuman strength, around the Enhanced Human level, and greatly increased his resistance to blunt injury. The suit had no insulation against electrical or other energy assaults, however. The suit apparently contained a voice alteration device causing Chesney to speak with a pronounced hiss. Chesney also carried pneumatically-powered copper pistols, from which he fired copperhead-venom or tranquilizer darts, and could use the pneumatic capsules from his weaponry to blow open locks.
After becoming a supernaturally-powered being, Chesney had undefined mystical powers. He could apparently strike bargains with others and alter their physical and psychological attributes, raise the dead as zombies, and cause mental anguish and hallucinations in others. It is unclear whether or not he has greater powers allowing him to manipulate matter and energy because of his ability to cause hallucinations. He could also open portals to a hell-like dimension.
Height: (human) 6'; (demon) 6' 6"
Weight: (human) 225 lbs.; (demon) 111 lbs.
Eyes: (human) Brown; (demon) yellow
Hair: (human) Brown; (demon) none
History: (Daredevil I#124-125) - Lawrence Chesney's father was the model for the painted covers of a series of pulp novels centering around the vigilante Copperhead. In the stories, Copperhead was Richard Crandell, a socialite disfigured by acid who then created the equipment and weaponry of Copperhead. Crandall occasionally killed criminals in self-defense, and leaving pennies on their eyes. Chesney's father gradually went insane, and identified himself with the fictional vigilante. Lawrence Chesney grew up listening to and believing his father's tales of being the Copperhead, and of being cheated out of the money from the pulp novels.
(Human Fly#9 (fb) - BTS) - Lawrence Chesney grew up to work at an art museum, restoring great works of the past.
(Daredevil I#124-125) - At some point, publisher Martin Foster struck a deal with the publisher and author of the Copperhead stories, Milton Wexler and Walter Kranz, to reprint the stories in paperback form. Chesney, hearing of this, decided to take on the identity of Copperhead to seek vengeance. Outfitted as Copperhead, Chesney murdered Kranz (whose death Daredevil was informed of by landlady Mrs. Gooch), and also began imitating the vigilante character by killing various petty criminals (including Chester Chino moments after Chino had stolen the purse of Wilma Mertz) in New York City, leaving pennies on their eyes. This attracted the attention of Daredevil, who began investigating the killings and soon found himself battling Copperhead after the latter started murdering members of two youth gangs. Daredevil could not harm Copperhead through his armor, and Copperhead swiftly beat him and fired poison darts at his prone form.
Daredevil managed to surreptitiously block the darts with his billy club, but he was too late to prevent Copperhead from killing Wexler. After searching through Wexler's notes, Daredevil considered Chesney's father a suspect, only to find his grave. Having overheard Copperhead mention the new paperback reprints, Daredevil arrived at Martin Foster's office in time to save the publisher, but was again beaten and left for dead by Copperhead. Trailing the madman to his father's grave during a convenient thunderstorm, Daredevil confronted him with his origin. Copperhead was again beating Daredevil when he was struck by lightning attracted by his copper armor (oh, the irony!). Copperhead fell atop his father's grave, and Daredevil laid pennies on his eyes.
(OHotMU 2006#3 - BTS) - After his death, Copperhead became the agent of an unnamed demon, and was sent back to Earth to get Spider-Man's soul. He concocted an elaborate plan, recruiting Daredevil and Spider-Man's old foe the Owl. The Owl in turn recruited Daredevil's foes the Stilt-Man and the Gladiator, and the Gang of Four launched an attempt to take over the Kingpin's criminal operations in New York City.
(Daredevil/Spider-Man#1-4) - Copperhead was a part of the assault on Kingpin Tower that nearly killed the Kingpin and attracted Spider-Man's attention. The Kingpin also hired Matt Murdock, and manipulated Daredevil into going after the Gang of Four with Spider-Man. Daredevil and Spider-Man traced the Gang to a sewer base, and battled the four members there until the Kingpin's men arrived. The crimefighters, the mobsters, and the super-villains battled for a time, but a gas main explosion ended the battle. Finally, Copperhead revealed his nature to the Gang of Four and the heroes, trapping the Stilt-Man and Gladiator in mystic energy and tormenting them, as well as unleashing a massive display of power above the city. Spider-Man tried to free the Stilt-Man and Gladiator, only to be assaulted by mental anguish and hallucinations. Copperhead began taunting Daredevil, explaining his plans to the hero, and prepared to suck everyone into "hell." Before he could do so, however, the Owl attacked him to save Daredevil, who had once tried to redeem the villain. The entire Gang of Four was apparently pulled into "hell," leaving Spider-Man and Daredevil to wonder what had really happened.
(Dark Reign Files) - Quasimodo researched Copperhead for Norman Osborn.
Comments: Created by Len Wein, Marv
Wolfman, and Gene "the Dean" Colan;
modified into a demonic being by Paul Jenkins and Phil Winslade
The pulp version of Copperhead is an homage to three actual pulp heroes, the Shadow (from whom Copperhead derives his hat and trench coat), the Black Bat (who was also scarred by acid and became a crimefighter), and Doc Savage (whose copper skin tone got him the nickname "The Man of Bronze").
I've read and reread Daredevil/Spider-Man over
and over, and I still can't completely figure out what's going
on. Copperhead and the others are changed for no apparent reason,
and his plan makes no sense to me. It had some nice Spidey/DD
The Gladiator is not the original, Melvin Potter, rather he is the newer version, Potter's successor. This along with his physical statistics were revealed in the Marvel Knights Encyclopedia.
Milton Wexler was mistakenly called Mexler in one panel. - Chadman
to omniversal theory, the pulp magazine stories featuring Richard
Crandell as Copperhead would be its own reality, now officially dubbed
Earth-75924. Since those adventures occurred within their own reality,
Earth-616's Walter Kranz must have unknowingly adapted those adventures
from another reality into his own writings on Earth-616. -Proto-Man
Profile updated/edited by Kyle Sims, with new subprofiles added by Chadman.
Copperhead is based on:
Gladiator, the successor, @ Daredevil I#366 should not be confused with:
(Daredevil I#125 (fb) – BTS) – Chesney worked as an artist's model in the 1930s, dressing and posing as the fictional Copperhead for a series of pulp magazines for years. Copperhead, created by Walter Kranz (who unknowingly was adapting the adventures of Earth-75924's Copperhead) and published by Milton Wexler, became world-famous and the men got rich but Chesney never profited. When they cancelled the series, Chesney went mad and threatened Wexler. Over the years, he went insane and began to believe he actually was Copperhead and he raised his son Lawrence to believe him. More recently, when Wexler began reissuing the old pulps, Chesney grew upset and he died suddenly. Lawrence styled himself after Copperhead to get revenge for his father.
(Daredevil I#125 – BTS) – Daredevil battled Lawrence at Chesney's grave. Lawrence was struck by lightning and killed.
--Daredevil I#125 (125 (fb) – BTS, 125 – BTS
(Daredevil I#124) – Young thug Chester Chino stole a purse from Wilma Mertz but was then murdered by Copperhead's venom gun, who left coins on the young man's eyes.
(Daredevil I#124 (fb) - BTS) - In the 1930s, Richard Crandell, a millionaire playboy had acid thrown in his face. Horribly disfigured, Crandell designed a costume and a venom-gun and stalked criminals as Copperhead. (see comments)
(Daredevil I#125 (fb) - BTS) - On Earth-616 the adventures of Copperhead were published in pulp comic, Copperhead Monthly. (see comments)
(Daredevil I#125 (fb) - BTS) - Earth-616's Walter Kranz was dubbed the "creator" of the fictional (on Earth-616) Richard Crandell after designing Copperhead on artist's model Chesney. Kranz's series ran for decades on Earth-616, published by Milton Wexler.
Note: It's not so much that the writer unknowingly adapted
those alternate reality adventures (although he certainly could have
glimpsed them in a dream or something), but it's just that in an
infinite multiverse, there is a reality for every possible
instance/circumstance, and thus there's one that matches the stories of
--Daredevil I#124 (124 (fb) – BTS, 125 (fb) – BTS,
(Daredevil I#125 (fb) – BTS) – Publisher Martin Foster received the rights to publish old Copperhead serials, a pulp series from the 1930s, from original publisher Milton Wexler.
(Daredevil I#125) – A vigilante dressed as Copperhead approached Foster at gun point, told him he had killed Wexler and demanded money. As Foster refused, Daredevil attacked the villain.
--Daredevil I#125 (125 (fb) – BTS, 125
(Daredevil I#124) – Young thug Gil was mugging a man with
his friends when Daredevil attacked and Gil fought back with a knife. The
vigilante Copperhead soon arrived and murdered Gil with his venom-gun.
(Daredevil I#124 (fb) – BTS) – Landlady Mrs. Gooch heard the news that Walter Kranz, the writer of the old pulp novels about Copperhead, was murdered.
(Daredevil I#124) – When Daredevil came to visit, Mrs. Gooch gave him the news.
--Daredevil I#124 (124 (fb) – BTS, 124
(Daredevil I#125) – Police officer Harry investigated the murder of Milton Wexler at the hands of the vigilante Copperhead. When Daredevil arrived, Harry chased him off, not wanting the hero's help.
(Daredevil I#124 (fb) – BTS) – In the 1930s, Walter Kranz created the pulp character Copperhead (unknowingly adapting the adventures of the Earth-75924 Copperhead).
(Daredevil I#125 (fb) – BTS) – Kranz worked with publisher Milton Wexler and the artist's model, Chesney.
(Daredevil I#125 (fb) – BTS) – In the modern era, Walter Kranz refused to give the vigilante Copperhead (actually Chesney's son Lawrence) any money.
(Daredevil I#124 (fb) – BTS) – Walter Kranz was murdered by Copperhead and his landlady Mrs. Gooch learned the news.
--Daredevil I#124 (124 (fb) – BTS,
(Daredevil I#124) – Wilma Mertz was carrying home groceries when Chester Chino snatched her purse, running as she screamed. She soon saw Copperhead murder Chino, leaving coins on his eyes, and she screamed for help as Copperhead tranquilized a police officer before running away.
(Daredevil I#125 (fb) – BTS) – In the 1930s, Milton Wexler was the publisher of Copperhead Monthly, the pulp series, along with author Walter Kranz. He made a fortune from the work, keeping meticulous records and journals which he kept in his safe. When he cancelled the series, the artist's model, Chesney, went mad and threatened him. In recent years, Wexler resold the publishing rights of Copperhead to Martin Foster, making even more money.
(Daredevil I#125 – BTS) – The vigilante Copperhead (actually Chesney's son Lawrence) murdered Wexler in his home after Wexler refused to pay him money.
--Daredevil I#125 (125 (fb) – BTS, 125 – BTS
Daredevil I#124 (August, 1975) - Len Wein & Marv Wolfman (writers), Gene Colan (pencils), Klaus Janson (inks), Len Wein (editor)
Daredevil I#125 (September, 1975) - Marv Wolfman (writer), Bob Brown (pencils), Klaus Janson (inks), Len Wein (editor)
Human Fly#9 (May, 1978) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Frank Robbins (pencils), Mike Esposito (inks), Archie Goodwin (editor)
Daredevil/Spider-Man#1 (January, 2001) - Paul Jenkins (writer), Phil Winslade (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Nanci Dakesian (editor)
Daredevil/Spider-Man#2-4 (February-April, 2001) - Paul Jenkins (writer), Phil Winslade (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Nanci Dakesian & Stuart Moore (editors)
Dark Reign Files (February, 2009) - Michael Hoskin & various others (writer), Jeff Youngquist (editor)
First posted: 12/30/2001
Last updated: 08/29/2018
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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