Real Name: Melvin Potter
Identity/Class: Human technology user
Occupation: Costume shop designer/owner;
Group Membership: None;
Formerly Emissaries of Evil (Electro (Maxwell Dillon), Leap-Frog (Vincent Patilio), Matador (Manuel Eloganto), Stilt-Man (Wilbur Day)), Maggia (Big M (Whitney Frost))
Barrett, Beetle (Abner Jenkins),
Bennie, Big Joe, Becky Blake,
Chico, Cobra (Klaus Voorhees),
Dr. Devereaux, Elektra, Enforcer (Charles Delanzy), Falcon, Frank,
Gus, Jeff, Jester (Jonathan Powers),
Jimmy, Maxine Lavender,
Mangler, Masked Marauder,
Mister Hyde, Mitch,
Karen Page, Palmer, Purple
Man, Sgt. Tork, Tri-Man,
Ben Urich, Wally;
Formerly Alexander Bont, Daredevil (Matthew Murdock), Stilt-Man (Wilbur Day)
Widow (Natasha Romanova),
Blanche, Alexander Bont, Janice Cord, Daredevil (Matt Murdock),
Delany, Angela Del Toro,
Eel (Leopold Stryke),
Freddy, Ghost Rider (John Blaze),
Iron Man (Tony Stark), Jigsaw, Kingpin, Ladykiller (Michael
Reese), Larry, Dr. Mallory, Man-Thing, Felix Manning, Nick Manolis, Mister Fear (Larry
Cranston), Candace Nelson, Franklin "Foggy"
Palmer, Ivan Petrovich,
Peyer, Rahner, Richard Rory,
Sammy, Vincent Sandhurst,
SHIELD (Jasper Sitwell), Spider-Man (Peter Parker), Stilt-Man (Wilbur Day), Nathaniel Taggart,
Formerly Karen Page
Known Relatives: Betsy Beatty (ex-wife), Li Ling Potter (wife), Melanie Potter (daughter)
Base of Operations: Spotlight Costumes and Custom Tailoring (currently known as Potter's Costumes) in New York City, New York
First Appearance: Daredevil I#18 (July, 1966)
Powers/Abilities: A savage fighter and trained hand-to-hand combatant, over the years, Potter has worn a deadly suit of body armor, equipped with helmet and gauntlets. The suit has tough nylon boots, which are studded with tungsten blades, and a built-in oxygen regenerator. His primary weapons are titanium steel blades mounted on his gauntlets and equipped with rotors that turn the blades at high speeds. The shields can cut through many substances, double as shields, and give him some lift, enabling him to leap great distances. Gladiator briefly wore a suit of Roman body armor, wielding a shield and sword. Potter is a talented costume designer.
Weight: 300 lbs.
(Daredevil I#18 (fb) - BTS) - The reclusive Melvin Potter opened Potter's Costume Shop, where he hand-crafted authentic costumes of the heroes and villains of the world. His business was located in the east side of New York, where many considered it to be unsafe. Potter developed a hatred of the heroes and secretly wished to be able to prove himself against them. Over the years, he created a villainous costume for himself based on the Roman gladiators of years before, and created weapons to go with it.
(Daredevil I#18) - Potter's shop was visited by Foggy Nelson, who was looking for a Daredevil costume. Nelson was put off by Potter's frightening nature, but Potter took Foggy's measurements, as he'd have to alter the suit, and invited the lawyer to return that evening after dark to pick the costume up. Nelson confessed that he wanted the costume to impress a girl. After Nelson left, Potter punched down the Daredevil mannequin in a rage, his hatred of heroes boiling over. He decided he would test out his Gladiator identity against Nelson in his Daredevil costume. He made Nelson's costume during the day and put all the finishing touches on the Gladiator costume as well. When Nelson returned for the costume, Potter was initially furious, thinking Nelson was there to spy on him. Giving Nelson the costume, Potter suggested that Nelson stage a battle against a super-villain that Potter would hire, telling Nelson he could easily triumph over the villain and impress the girl. Nelson agreed and promised to meet this villain on the docks that evening. Gladiator tested out his weaponry: boots created from tough nylon with tungsten alloy blades, metal wrist shields created form tungsten alloy and powered with transistorized engines that enabled them to whirl and allowing them to act as propellers and gyroscopes, and a helmet with its own oxygen regenerator. In full costume, he left to meet Nelson on the docks, slashing through some of his mannequins as he left. He shouted at Nelson on the docks and waited for several minutes for Nelson to don his Daredevil costume. Nelson rushed at Gladiator, slipping just as he arrived so that Gladiator's blow only knocked him out instead of killing him. As Gladiator pursued Karen Page, Daredevil attacked anew quickly, shocking Gladiator who thought Nelson had recovered and not realizing he was now battling the real Daredevil. Daredevil knocked Gladiator down and held off a second blow. Daredevil evaded Gladiator's blows and Gladiator's armor blocked the strength of Daredevil's. Gladiator finally got Daredevil into the water, where he held him down to drown, able to breathe in his own helmet. When Daredevil seemed dead, Gladiator got back on the docks, but Daredevil attacked him anew. They continuing sparring, both evading any harm, and Daredevil successfully evaded a deadly leaping attack by the Gladiator. Daredevil hit Gladiator under his chin, in an unprotected spot, and left him unconscious as the police arrived. They arrested him as Nelson watched, and Gladiator still believed Nelson to be the real Daredevil.
(Daredevil I#19 (fb) - BTS) - Gladiator revealed in an interview to the Daily Bugle that Nelson was Daredevil.
(Daredevil I#19) - At the courthouse, Gladiator was surrounded by reporters who instructed him to put on his mask quickly, then they gassed the crowd. Gladiator peppered the thugs with questions as they ran out, but they refused to answer on the drive over. Just as he was ready to get violent, the Masked Marauder revealed himself and proposed that they ally against Daredevil. Gladiator was furious, claiming he didn't need the Marauder, but the other villain proved his power by blinding Gladiator with an opti-blast. As Gladiator was still recovering, the Marauder spoke to several hired criminals, including Big Joe, that he was sending after Nelson. Gladiator listened as the Marauder shared his plans to put Gladiator in charge of his armies, but he shocked the Marauder by leaping forward and striking him repeatedly. Though his wrist units were damaged, Gladiator still declared that he would command the Marauder's actions and successfully shut off the Marauder's opti-blast component. The Marauder tried fighting back by ramming Gladiator with his steel-plated helmet, but Gladiator merely shrugged off the punch. The fight was interrupted by one of the Marauder's men announcing that Nelson wasn't really Daredevil, and that the true Daredevil had defeated the others. Gladiator and the Marauder agreed to partner up until Daredevil was defeated.
(Daredevil II#67 (fb) - BTS) - Mob leader Alexander Bont hired Gladiator to perform several murders and other jobs.
(Daredevil II#67 (fb)) - Out on parole, Potter tried focusing on running his store peacefully. When Bont came in, Potter was nervous and asked Bont to leave, but Bont would not go. He offered to give the whole store to Potter and to not turn Potter into the feds if Potter would go after Daredevil once more.
(Daredevil II#68 (fb) - BTS) - Gladiator wreaked havoc on the city, waiting for Daredevil to show up.
(Daredevil II#68 (fb)) - When Daredevil finally arrived, in his yellow costume, Gladiator traded several blows with him. Daredevil finally beat Gladiator, unmasked him, and demanded to know who hired him to do this. Daredevil tossed Gladiator, unconscious, in front of Bont's club.
(Daredevil II#69 (fb) - BTS) - Lawyer Matt Murdock, seeing potential in Potter, got him to go free, giving him another chance at freedom.
(Daredevil I#22) - The Marauder and Gladiator put together their plans to take over the Maggia, figuring they could activate the Tri-Man to defeat Daredevil publicly. Gladiator was frustrated in relying on technology rather than his own skill, but he agreed to go along with the plan. They used the Levitation Ray to retrieve the Mangler (a talented wrestler), the Dancer (an agile safe-cracker), and the Brain (a criminal mastermind), who all willingly agreed to download their skills into the Tri-Man. The Tri-Man was activated and the Maggia agreed that if Daredevil was defeated, the Marauder and Gladiator would be considered for leadership. The Tri-Man invaded a public boxing match and announced that he would harm the bystanders unless Daredevil fought him. Daredevil arrived and managed to defeat the robot, so the Marauder, over the loudspeaker, threatened to harm Nelson and Page if Daredevil didn't surrender.
(Daredevil I#23) - Though Gladiator was skeptical, he planned to bring Daredevil to their headquarters and add the hero's powers to the robot. He activated his levitation ray and brought Daredevil and the Tri-Man back. Daredevil defeated the freed Dancer, Mangler, and Brain, and fought off the Gladiator. Daredevil and Gladiator savagely fought, Gladiator protected from injury due to his armor, until Marauder sent them both to Europe with the levitation ray at the Maggia's instruction. Gladiator was furious that the Marauder had betrayed him so easily. They were dropped in a gladiator style arena with the Maggia watching. Though shocked, they continued their fight. Gladiator tossed sand in Daredevil's eyes and was shocked when it didn't harm the hero. Daredevil grabbed Gladiator by the feet and tossed him into a wall, but Gladiator quickly recovered, confident he could win. Daredevil tossed Gladiator into a lion cage and his blades freed the lion. Daredevil rescued Gladiator from the attacking beast, getting it imprisoned again, so Gladiator proclaimed the fight over, unwilling to harm a man who'd saved him. Gladiator was offered a position in the Maggia and he accepted.
(Daredevil Annual I#1 (fb) - BTS) - After spending months with the Maggia, Gladiator was contacted by Electro, an old foe of Daredevil's, and invited to join a quintet of villains seeking revenge on Daredevil as the Emissaries of Evil.
(Daredevil Annual I#1) - Gladiator flew to the states, donning his new costume in his old costume shop, and joined with Leap-Frog, Electro, Matador, and Stilt-Man. At Electro's headquarters in a power plant, Daredevil arrived and Gladiator eagerly attacked him, punching the hero repeatedly and ignoring Electro's orders to hold back. Daredevil swung Matador into Gladiator, then punched Gladiator down himself even while turning to fight the other villains. Gladiator attacked anew, activating his spinning blades, but Daredevil fended them off with a steel girder momentarily, then kicked Gladiator down. Electro tried getting the teammates together for another strike, but Daredevil tied them all up in an electric wire and placed the other end in a transformer, so that if one of the villains tried to cut through they would get electrocuted. The villains were later arrested.
(Iron Man I#7 (fb) - BTS) - Gladiator escaped from prison and returned to the Maggia, with new leader Big M (Whitney Frost). He also added components to his armor, based on the Marauder's technology. One was the ability to draw current from his wrist-blade power-packs and emit electro-shocks from any portion of his armor.
(Iron Man I#7) - Gladiator learned that the Maggia were planning a raid on Stark Industries. He tried demonstrating his worth and powers by chopping up an Iron Man suit, and convinced the men and Big M that he was worthy to accompany them on the raid, though he planned to seek control of the Maggia for himself in time. From their Maggia airship, Gladiator and the men trailed Stark and planned to set a trap for Iron Man. They hijacked Stark's car with magnetized grappling claws, taking Tony Stark, Janice Cord, and Vincent Sandhurst captive. The kidnapping was seen by several, including Harry and Blanche. He explained his plan to wipe out Iron Man to Big M, who rushed off. Gladiator, growing impatient, threatened to start hurting hostages just before Stark feigned a heart attack. Stark jumped through the window to escape, with the Maggia men after him, and Gladiator moved to harm the other hostages. He tied them up and placed them under a pile of slimly supported machinery. He yelled to Stark, letting him know that they would die in minutes. Iron Man rushed in, saving the pair in the nick of time. The two of them battled savagely across the room, trading repeated blows. Gladiator managed to down Iron Man with an electro-shock, then moved in for the kill, even while Big M lead her men on the theft.
(Iron Man I#8) - Iron Man, his armor down, managed to evade Gladiator and punch him, but the villain just kept advancing. Using his boot jets, Iron Man managed to knock Gladiator into heavy machinery and then through a wall, knocking the villain out momentarily. He soon rallied the Maggia men to fight against Jasper Sitwell and his SHIELD agents, hoping to seize victory out of Big M's disaster. Just as Gladiator prepared to kill Sitwell, a stray shot (fired by Big M) knocked his disc off course, then Iron Man renewed his attack. Gladiator was knocked into more machinery and grabbed it, but an electric shock shorted out his armor and left him weak. He was then arrested.
(Daredevil I#63 (fb) - BTS) - From jail, Potter claimed that he'd been set up and that the police had gotten the wrong man. The doctors, unsure, sent him from the maximum security prison to a psychiatric facility, where he'd be kept under guard. He surmised that this ruse could help him escape.
(Daredevil I#63) - Potter was taken to another psychiatric meeting, where Dr. Mallory had him don the Gladiator costume, hoping to show that it fit him and prove that he was Gladiator. They brought in Foggy Nelson and Matt Murdock, and Nelson identified Potter as being Gladiator. They continued trying to clear up Potter's amnesia, showing him various files and even letting him hold his wrist-blades. With his hands on his weapons, Potter punched down Nelson, the guard, and the doctor. Potter seized Nelson, planning to kill him. As the blind Murdock flailed, his cane struck the lights, putting them out. Gladiator released Nelson and made a run for it. Gladiator saw a distracted Daredevil rushing past and knocked him down. Daredevil fought back and managed to evade Gladiator's blows, even striking the villain after sneaking away briefly. Daredevil managed to knock Gladiator into a prison cell. Gladiator tried using his wrist-blades to cut through the bars, but the blades disintegrated, having been specially treated earlier.
(Daredevil I#85 (fb) - Gladiator put together a plot to hijack a plane and deliver it to South America, where he would sell it for a high price to revolutionaries. He recruited British henchmen to join him in the attack.
(Daredevil I#85) - Gladiator and his thugs hijacked a 747 carrying over 300 passengers flying from Switzerland to New York, not realizing Daredevil and Black Widow were passengers aboard the plane. They waited until three hours before landing, then jumped into action. When one thug pistol-whipped the stewardess in first class (where the heroes were sitting), Gladiator grew angry with him. He left Cheech behind to guard first class while the rest of them secured the ship. Cheech was quickly overwhelmed by the heroes and their ally Ivan Petrovich. Black Widow and Daredevil attacked Gladiator's other thugs, who'd been looting the passengers, then Gladiator, in his full armor, revealed himself, shocked that Daredevil had recognized him in his civilian form before. Gladiator attacked savagely and silently, slashing through compartments and seats, while Daredevil worked to protect the passengers. Gladiator then revealed that three of his thugs were wearing plastic explosives, and that if Gladiator's orders weren't obeyed the plane would be blown up. Daredevil, though shocked at how ruthless Gladiator had become, surrendered, and he and Black Widow were tied up in first class again. Gladiator introduced himself to Black Widow, not realizing that another passenger, Nathaniel Taggart, remained free, and he soon, freed the heroes. From coach, Gladiator heard a scuffle in first class and sent first Bennie, then Buck, then Frank to handle it. When he investigated himself, he found his thugs defeated. After the bombs were dismantled, Daredevil attacked Gladiator again and swiftly defeated him. The plane nearly crashed due to damage sustained in the attack, but Daredevil saw it safely to the ground. Gladiator was presumably arrested.
(Daredevil I#113 (fb) - BTS) - Gladiator was hired by the Death-Stalker to help secure the Sallis papers, research that would allow others to be turned into monsters.
(Daredevil I#114 (fb) - BTS) - Gladiator learned that Death-Stalker had the power to kill others with a touch, and that he ran a vast criminal organization.
(Daredevil I#113) - At Death-Stalker's command, Gladiator traveled to New York and burst in to the apartment of Candace Nelson, who had the papers. Finding two FBI agents there, Gladiator kicked one aside and slashed the other's abdomen, the grabbed Candace and leaped through the window to the street. He returned Candace to the swamps outside Citrusville, Florida, where Death-Stalker waited in the last known location of Ted Sallis. Gladiator later heard a car approaching and saw two men outside. He knocked Richard Rory unconscious with a blow while the other man ran into the trees, quickly returning as Daredevil. Gladiator was frustrated he hadn't taken the time to see Daredevil's face without the mask on. They quickly attacked each other and Gladiator managed to slice Daredevil's leg with his razor sharp boot, then knock him out with a severed tree limb. Death-Stalker ordered Gladiator to kill Daredevil.
(Daredevil I#114) - Man-Thing emerged from the trees and grabbed Gladiator's arm, burning him until Gladiator's fear turned to despair. Death-Stalker then stepped in and seemingly killed Man-Thing with a touch. After Death-Stalker defeated Daredevil in combat again, Gladiator yelled at him, wondering why he hadn't stopped Man-Thing earlier. Death-Stalker threatened Gladiator and ordered him to take Daredevil and Rory inside and tie them up. Death-Stalker soon departed with Candace and ordered Gladiator to kill the two men. Gladiator, though frustrated he couldn't kill the men in combat, started the house on fire and rushed out. He ran directly into Man-Thing and fell unconscious. Daredevil escaped and took Gladiator to the authorities.
(Daredevil I#140 (fb) - BTS) - While in jail in Florida, Gladiator met another villain, the Beetle (Abner Jenkins), and the duo decided to break free and get their revenge on Daredevil.
(Daredevil I#140) - Gladiator and Beetle attacked a passenger train and took over it. Gladiator slashed the conductor when he attacked, then they forced all of the passengers, including Hubert, to jump off the moving train. The villains soon arrived in New York, where they allowed the train to crash into the station. Daredevil attacked them and successfully fought off the villains one by one. During the fight, Gladiator managed to slash Daredevil's leg again and Daredevil managed to evade the two villains, causing them to crash into each other. When Beetle was thrown into Gladiator, Beetle was slashed open. He panicked and was easily defeated. Gladiator savagely attacked the hero, who defeated him with a series of blows.
(Ghost Rider II#21 (fb) - BTS) - The Enforcer hired Gladiator to come to Los Angeles and steal an electrical component from Leopold Stryke, the Eel.
(Ghost Rider II#21) - Gladiator broke into Stryke's office at Delanzy Studios, but before he could find the component he was attacked by Ghost Rider (John Blaze). Gladiator tried to fight as Ghost Rider buzzed past him several times on his motorcycle, but Gladiator chose to flee when Ghost Rider fired hellfire at him. He later attacked Stryke in the street, killing him, but still didn't find the component. Ghost Rider attacked again and quickly defeated Gladiator by hitting him with a severed lamp post. Gladiator was picked up by the police.
(Daredevil II#69 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, Potter fathered a daughter, though he had little do with her after that.
(Daredevil I#154) - Incarcerated at Ryker's Island prison, Gladiator was coerced by the pheromone wielding Purple Man into attacking Daredevil while Purple Man held Heather Glenn hostage. Gladiator and fellow inmates Cobra (Klaus Voorhees), Mr. Hyde, and Jester (Jonathan Powers) attacked, arguing over who got to kill Daredevil. When Cobra threw venom darts at Daredevil, the hero dodged them and Gladiator had to block them with his blade. While recovering from the poison, he used his blades to fan the air around him. Soon, Paladin arrived to help Daredevil and Gladiator attacked anew, but Daredevil forced Gladiator's blades into the wall, breaking them. Daredevil then downed Gladiator with a blow and the villains were soon defeated.
(Daredevil I#166 (fb) - BTS) - Released on parole, Potter was assigned a social worker to aid him in his reintegration in society. Betsy Beatty began working with Potter, and she learned to care for his calm and creative soul, unable to understand what he would be like as the Gladiator. Potter began to think that Betsy only loved him because he was the Gladiator and thought he needed to prove that love. He heard that Betsy was taking some children on a field trip to the Dirney Museum of Human History, where the Gladiator armor was on display as part of an exposition on man and his weaponry through the ages.
(Daredevil I#166) - Potter watched Betsy and the kids look at the armor, then he snuck in and killed one of the museum attendants, snapping his neck. He donned the armor and, when Betsy entered, explained his theory of her love. When Betsy's friend Larry ran for help, Gladiator fired his wrist-blade at him and slashed him to the ground. He allowed one child to go free, to notify the authorities to send a hero to battle Gladiator or he would start killing hostages. Betsy begged Gladiator to let the children go free and slapped him when he tried to kill her, but it only furthered his resolve to try and win her heart through combat. The hour passed and no hero arrived, so Gladiator moved to kill one of the children. Just then, Daredevil arrived and taunted Gladiator away from the children, hiding among statues of several villains. Daredevil attacked and the battle continued in a makeshift Roman arena, where Gladiator fell further into his madness. Daredevil knocked Gladiator's helmet free and soon knocked the villain out by pressing his pressure points at once. Betsy rushed in even as the police did, promising to help Potter.
(Daredevil I#170 - BTS) - Murdock kept working on Potter's case.
(Daredevil I#171 - BTS) - Ms. Maxine Lavender called for information on Melvin Potter's case, but couldn't get a hold of Matt Murdock.
(Daredevil I#173 (fb) - BTS) - Betsy acted as Potter's probation officer as well and helped him overcome his challenges as his upcoming trial was set.
(Daredevil I#173) - Potter was shockingly arrested by Lt. Nick Manolis and Delany, who were accusing him of the attack of two reporters, including Jeff. Betsy and Murdock stood up for Potter as he was taken off to jail. At the courthouse, Ms. Lavender spoke against Potter, but Murdock successfully got a delay on the trial until the new case settled itself. Not trusting the court system, Potter broke out of jail and returned to the museum to retrieve his costume. Murdock approached him there and stood up to Potter, who nearly gave in to his Gladiator side before tossing his helmet aside in defeat. He returned to jail willingly. Later, Daredevil captured Ladykiller, who was a close look-alike to Potter, and Potter was cleared of his charges.
(Daredevil I#174) - Ms. Lavender objected against Murdock's attempt to get another delay in the hearing, and this time the judge agreed with her. Murdock invited Potter to trust him, once again. The Hand, ninja assassins, tried killing Potter, so the police tried moving him. The van was attacked by Elektra and the driver, Mitch, left unconscious. She gave Potter his costume and he reluctantly put it on. They were soon surrounded by ninjas and Potter found himself unable to fight, even though he was stabbed. Daredevil soon helped fight off the assassins and comforted Potter, who thanked him for his life.
(Daredevil I#175) - Potter sat with Foggy Nelson and Becky Blake as he awaited being tried. Nelson continued stalling, wondering where Murdock was, as Lavender and the judge grew more and more impatient. Nelson soon was able to get the court to declare a mistrial.
(Daredevil I#186) - Working in his costume shop, Potter was approached by Turk Barrett, who was seeking for Potter to return to crime and become the Kingpin's assassin. Potter refused, as he sold a glove to Wilbur Day.
(Spectacular Spider-Man II#77) - Potter was working in his costume shop when he heard gunfire. Criminals, including Sammy and Freddy, broke in and forced Potter to put on his costume to defend them. When he initially refused and tried to call for help, they shot him through the upper arm. He reluctantly donned the costume and went out into the street when the police fired tear gas inside. Trying to stop a confrontation between the villains and the police, Gladiator fired his blade through a sign that separated them. Spider-Man attacked, thinking that he was behind this, then Spider-Man took down the other criminals. Furious, and giving into his delusions, Gladiator fired on Spider-Man, slashing his back and quickly retrieving his blade from t he wall. He slashed several more times, destroying property before coming to his senses and firing his blades into the ground in front of the criminals and police. He tossed off his helmet, then took Spider-Man inside to repair his costume.
(Daredevil I#226 (fb) - BTS) - Melvin and Betsy lived happily for time until some thugs kidnapped Betsy and demanded that Melvin steal a million dollars to exchange for her life. Potter was beside himself and moved to put his old costume back on, but it made him sick to do so. He got a different costume, ancient armor with a shield and sword, and ignored his feelings of insanity as he started stealing things.
(Daredevil I#226) - Potter robbed a jewelry store, fighting off those inside. Feeling guilty, he took a long cold shower. He placed a call to Matt Murdock, leaving a message and asking him to get a hold of Daredevil for him, telling him to have Daredevil meet him at the Dibney Museum. Gladiator then went to rob an expensive necklace as Daredevil showed up and easily beat Potter up. Potter finally explained himself and Daredevil agreed to help, soon letting Potter know where they were keeping Betsy. They moved to save her and fought off the kidnappers. Potter nearly killed one, but he saw Betsy and stopped himself.
(Daredevil I#230) - Potter, while working in his costume shop, was approached by Kingpin's man Felix Manning, who threatened to harm Potter and burn down the shop unless Potter created a Daredevil costume for them.
(Daredevil I#231) - Potter read Ben Urich's article in the Daily Bugle that exposed the Kingpin, then called Urich so they could talk, but Urich refused. Potter then called Betsy for advice, but she was more focused on how he was doing than on what he should do, so he grew frustrated and hung up. Daredevil then appeared at the shop and told Potter to go ahead and that everything will be fine.
(Amazing Spider-Man I#287) - Potter met with Murdock, Karen Page, Sgt. Tork, and Falcon, and agreed to make a Kingpin costume for Daredevil to wear, with which the hero hoped to lead the Kingpin into a trap.
(Marvel Comics Presents I#98/4 (fb) - BTS) - Melvin and Betsy were married and they started running the costume shop together. He started working with a new therapist.
(Marvel Comics Presents I#98/4) - When a disturbed young man came in to the costume shop asking for a fully equipped Gladiator costume, Potter refused to see him one, but still took down the man's name and address. He talked with his therapist later about how he wanted to help this young man and how he couldn't get him out of his head, but his therapist advised him not to do anything. Potter snuck into the man's apartment, clad in black, and saw homages to several super villains, including Gladiator, there. He then rushed out past the police, hiding from them. Despite his reservations, he donned his costume and snuck back into the man's apartment and tried scaring him straight, but he nearly lost his cool and killed the man. He rushed home and explained to Betsy what had happened, and she hugged him and said she understood.
(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Hardcover#4: Gladiator) - At some point Melvin divorced Betty and married Li Ling, who gave birth to his daughter.
(Daredevil I#366 - BTS) - Mr. Fear (Larry Cranston) manipulated a bloodthirsty villain into becoming a new Gladiator, wearing the same costume as Potter.
(Daredevil II#8) - Potter and Betsy attended the funeral of Karen Page.
(Daredevil II#41) - Working as a bodyguard for Matt Murdock, Potter showed Wilbur Day (formerly Stilt-Man) out, explaining that he was a different person now than he was during his Gladiator days.
(Daredevil II#62) - Potter and another bodyguard were called in to escort the hostile Jigsaw out of Murdock's office.
(Daredevil II#69 (fb)) - Bont, high on MGH, approached Potter in his costume shop once again. Potter immediately drew a bat to defend himself, but Bont held off the bat with his increased strength. He vowed to see Potter's 4 year old daughter killed unless Potter dressed as Gladiator and brought him Daredevil.
(Daredevil II#70 (fb) - BTS) - Potter reluctantly put the costume on again, remembering his mental illness and how he'd really believed himself a gladiator hearing the coliseum cheering at him. He set up a series of traps around Murdock's place.
(Daredevil II#70 (fb)) - When Murdock approached, Gladiator regretfully told Murdock that he should have killed him when he had the chance. He then set off the trap and several buzz-saws hit Murdock, knocking him out.
(Daredevil II#67) - Potter reluctantly beat up Daredevil at Bont's command, trying to explain to Murdock that it wasn't his choice. Bont ordered Gladiator to cut off Murdock's head, but changed his mind, wanting to humiliate Murdock more.
(Daredevil II#68) - Potter argued that Bont had already won and begged him to just let him kill Murdock and go. Bont disagreed, wanting Murdock to live to see himself exposed. When Murdock questioned Potter, he grew angry and stomped Murdock in the face. Bont ordered Potter to pick up Murdock and toss him into the street. Potter ignored Murdock's questions about why he was doing this.
(Daredevil II#70) - Bont shouted out to the civilians to look at Murdock beat up, while Gladiator watched. With several people watching, Bont ordered Gladiator to execute Murdock, but Angela Del Toro of the FBI leapt in and knocked him backward. While Gladiator held her back, Bont ingested more MGH and attacked Murdock at Fogwell's Gym, where his father had been murdered. He soon suffered a heart attack and passed away. Gladiator was taken into SHIELD custody.
(Daredevil II#86) - From his cell in Ryker's Island, Potter panicked when a riot broke out. Murdock, who'd recently been incarcerated, stopped two men from attacking Potter and urged him to get back in his cell and shut the bars to stay safe.
(Daredevil II#95 (fb) - BTS) - Two inmates at Ryker's Island assigned to work duty with Melvin Potter, the former costumed criminal Gladiator, continually teased and provoked him. One day, they were both brutally murdered with buzzsaws in their backs.
(Daredevil II#95) - Potter came to awareness as he was being arrested for the murders. He helplessly claimed that he didn't do it.
(Daredevil II#95 - BTS) - Potter hired a lawyer, Gus, who had him transferred to the Bellevue Hospital for the Criminally Insane, and he grew to hate the constant taunts from the fellow inmates there. He grew to believe that someone had knocked him out before and committed the murders.
(Daredevil II#95) - Potter's case was taken by Becky Blake, the new law partner of Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson. She and Murdock came to visit Potter, who proclaimed his innocence. Later, while being moved alongside another inmate who continually taunted Potter, Potter broke his handcuffs and savagely murdered the inmate and the guard standing by. When another guard entered with a gun, Potter claimed he didn't do it.
(Daredevil II#96 (fb) - BTS) - Potter was kept sedated. District attorney Palmer represented the city against him.
(Daredevil II#96) - Murdock, Blake, and Palmer stood by while Potter had his psychiatric evaluation, non-sedated, with Dr. Devereaux. Though he was aware that he'd committed the murders, he couldn't figure out why and so he denied responsibility even when the doctor probed him for information. Later Potter was being transported by two marshals, including Jimmy, back to Ryker's. A car shot the van aside, then armed men held off Daredevil. Potter began succumbing to the fear even more and went insane, no longer in control of his own mind and reacting strictly to impulses. Potter burst free and killed two of the men who'd been there to save him, then punched Daredevil repeatedly before running off. He ran into a tunnel and retrieved a Gladiator costume he'd stashed.
(Daredevil II#97) - Manipulated from afar by Mr. Fear, Gladiator accepted a ride from Chico and Merv, then he went on a deadly rampage through Chinatown, killing whoever he came across, including a man named Tom. He later attacked Murdock and his wife Milla Donovan, sending the customers at a public restaurant running. He managed to get the drop on Daredevil while he was distracted and, resisting the hero's attempts to snap him out of his insanity, knocked Daredevil out with repeated blows. Leaving Daredevil for the police, Gladiator took Murdock's wallet in order to attack his wife at their home.
(Daredevil II#98) - Gladiator announced himself to Milla and punched her down, telling her that Matt was nowhere nearby to help her. He took her to a local rooftop where she briefly managed to break through to the sane part of his mind, but the insanity took over yet again and he held Milla by the neck from the roof, demanding that she call for Matt to help her. Daredevil arrived just as Gladiator dropped Milla off the roof. Gladiator fired two buzzsaws at Daredevil, who rushed past them and caught Milla. Gladiator pursued them, bursting through drywall, and he and Daredevil traded blows until Daredevil hit Gladiator in the face with a can of paint. He managed to get Gladiator up against the wall and Potter finally reawakened in his own head. Realizing what he'd done, he tried to jump to his death, but Daredevil stopped him and knocked him out.
(Daredevil II#99) - Potter was returned to Bellevue and had to be sedated after he tried bashing his head in the wall. He was put into a padded room in a straitjacket.
(Daredevil II#105 - BTS) - Daredevil found out there was no cure for Gladiator.
Comments: Created by Stan Lee, Gene Colan, Frank Giacoia, and Dick Ayers.
A pin-up of Gladiator showed up at the back of Daredevil Special#1. A profile of Gladiator appeared in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Master Edition#24 and OHotMU: Daredevil 2004.
The new Gladiator has only appeared a few times, in Daredevil I#366-367, and in Daredevil/Spider-Man#1-4, as part of the Gang of Four.
Novel info by Per Degaton:
(Daredevil: Predator's Smile) - A rebellious underling of the Kingpin, Gary Wiezack, seeking to mold the Gladiator back into serving as an assassin, had his spouse Betsy kidnapped. Melvin Potter spoke with Matt Murdock at Spotlight Costumes. Eventually, Daredevil found Betsy.
Profile by Chadman.
Gladiator is not meant to be confused with:
Gladiator has no known connections to
Freddy and Sammy
(Spectacular Spider-Man II#77) - Freddy and Sammy were running from the police when they hid out in Potter's Costume Shop. They fired on Potter and forced him to dress as Gladiator, his criminal identity. The police fired tear gas on them, so the villains exited and were prepared to battle, but Spider-Man (Peter Parker) attacked them, leaving them to be captured. Gladiator nearly went mad and attacked the criminals and police, but came to his senses first.
--Spectacular Spider-Man II#77
(Daredevil I#140) - A passenger on a train from Florida to New York, Hubert was growing tired until Gladiator (Melvin Potter) and Beetle (Abner Jenkins) attacked they train. They forced Hubert and the others to jump from the speeding train.
Rahner and Peyer
(Daredevil II#95 (fb) - BTS) - Two inmates at Ryker's Island assigned to work duty with Melvin Potter, the former costumed criminal Gladiator, continually teased and provoked him. One day, they were both brutally murdered with buzzsaws in their backs.
--Daredevil II#95 (Daredevil II#95 (fb) - BTS
(Daredevil II#96) - One of the two marshals assigned to transport Melvin Potter, the Gladiator, to Ryker's Island, Jimmy was shot while driving by Mr. Fear's men.
(Daredevil I#63) - A psychiatrist at a minimum security prison, Dr. Mallory was assigned to work with Melvin Potter, who'd been incarcerated for being Gladiator. Potter claimed that he wasn't really Gladiator, so Mallory questioned him in depth and had Potter dress in the Gladiator costume. When this line of questioning proved ineffective, Mallory called in Franklin "Foggy" Nelson and Matt Murdock. Nelson had seen Potter as Gladiator before and confronted Potter with the news, but it still didn't work. They tried showing Potter various evidence files and finally let him hold his wrist-blades, which had been specially prepared to dissolve minutes after being activated. Potter, with his weapons, finally stopped the ruse and punched aside Mallory and the others, seeking to escape. Daredevil arrived and got Potter back into his cell.
(Daredevil I#174) - Smoking his cigar, Mitch was driving the prison van that was transporting Gladiator (Melvin Potter), when Elektra tossed a tear gas capsule inside. Mitch crashed the van into the pier.
(Daredevil II#97 - BTS) - A man in Chinatown, Tom was killed by Gladiator as he massacred people on the streets.
--Daredevil II#97 (Daredevil II#97 - BTS
(Daredevil I#19) - Tom was the bailiff at the courthouse when Gladiator escaped.
Cheech, Bennie, Wally, Buck, Frank
(Daredevil I#85) - When Gladiator (Melvin Potter) hired men to help him hijack a plane, Cheech and Wally were among them. Wally tried taking the stewardess hostage, but she punched him, leaving Cheech to knock her out. Gladiator left Cheech behind to keep an eye on things, but he was soon taken down by Ivan Petrovich, Daredevil, and Black Widow. Gladiator, using a plastic explosive, managed to gain control over the plane again and nearly all the passengers were restrained, but Nathaniel Taggart and Daredevil managed to stay free. They defeated Cheech, then one by one Gladiator sent Bennie, Buck, and Frank to check on him, and those three were defeated as well.
images: (without ads)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Daredevil 2004, p19
Daredevil II#95, p15, pan3 (face)
Daredevil I#85, cover (3rd)
Daredevil I#226, cover (warrior armor)
Spectacular Spider-Man II#77, p3, pan1 (Freddy and Sammy)
Daredevil I#140, p5, pan2 (Hubert)
Daredevil II#96, p15, pan1 (Jimmy)
Daredevil I#63, p6, pan 3 (Dr. Mallory)
Daredevil I#174, p14, pan1 (Mitch)
Daredevil I#19, p4, pan7 (Tom)
Daredevil I#85, p18, pan1 (Cheech, Benny, Wally, Buck, Frank)
Daredevil I#18 (July, 1966) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Denny O'Neil (writer), John Romita (penciler), Frank Giacoia (inker)
Daredevil I#19 (August, 1966) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), John Romita (penciler), Frank Giacoia (inker)
Daredevil I#22 (November, 1966) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Gene Colan (penciler), Frank Giacoia, Dick Ayers (inkers)
Daredevil I#23 (December, 1966) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Gene Colan (penciler), Frank Giacoia (inker)
Daredevil Annual I#1 (September, 1967) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Gene Colan (penciler), John Tartaglione (inker)
Iron Man I#7-8 (November-December, 1968) - Archie Goodwin (writer), George Tuska (penciler), Johnny Craig (inker), Stan Lee (editor)
Daredevil I#63 (April, 1970) - Roy Thomas (writer), Gene Colan (penciler), Syd Shores (inker), Stan Lee (editor)
Daredevil I#85 (March, 1972) - Gerry Conway (writer), Gene Colan (penciler), Syd Shores (inker), Stan Lee (editor)
Daredevil I#113-114 (September-October, 1974) - Steve Gerber (writer), Bob Brown (penciler), Vince Colletta (inker), Roy Thomas (editor)
Daredevil I#140 (December, 1975) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Sal Buscema (penciler), Klaus Janson (inker), Marv Wolfman (editor)
Ghost Rider II#21 (December, 1976) - Gerry Conway (writer/editor), Gil Kane (penciler), Sam Grainger (inker)
Daredevil I#155 (November, 1978) - Roger McKenzie (writer), Frank Robbins (penciler), Frank Springer (inker), Bob Hall (editor)
Daredevil I#166 (September, 1980) - Roger McKenzie (writer), Frank Miller (penciler), Klaus Janson (inker), Denny O'Neil (editor)
Daredevil I#173-175 (August-October, 1981) - Frank Miller (writer/penciler), Klaus Janson (inker), Denny O'Neil (editor)
Daredevil I#186 (September, 1982) - Frank Miller (writer/penciler), Klaus Janson (inker), Denny O'Neil (editor)
Spectacular Spider-Man II#77 (April, 1983) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Al Milgrom (penciler), Jim Mooney (inker), Tom DeFalco (editor)
Daredevil I#226 (January, 1986) - Denny O'Neil, Frank Miller (writers), David Mazzuchelli (penciler), Dennis Janke (inker), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Daredevil I#230-231 (May-June, 1986) - Frank Miller (writer), David Mazzuchelli (penciler/inker), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Amazing Spider-Man I#287 (April, 1987) - Jim Owsley (writer), Erik Larsen (penciler), Art Nichols (inker), Jim Salicrup (editor)
Marvel Comics Presents I#98/4 (1992) - Scott Benson (writer), John Stanisci (penciler/inker), Terry Kavanagh (editor)
Daredevil: Predator's Smile (April, 1996) - Christopher Golden (writer)
Daredevil I#366 (August, 1997) - Joe Kelly (writer), Gene Colan (penciler), Al Williamson (inker), Jaye Gardner (editor)
Daredevil II#8 (June, 1999) - Kevin Smith (writer), Joe Quesada (penciler), Jimmy Palmiotti (inker), Nanci Dakesian (editor)
Daredevil II#41 (March, 2003) - Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Alex Maleev (penciler/inker), Joe Quesada (editor)
Daredevil II#62 (September, 2004) - Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Alex Maleev (penciler/inker), Jennifer Lee (editor)
Daredevil II#67-70 (January-April, 2005) - Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Alex Maleev (penciler/inker), Jennifer Lee (editor)
Daredevil II#86 (August, 2006) - Ed Brubaker (writer), Michael Lark (penciler), Stefano Gaudiano (inker), Warren Simons (editor)
Daredevil II#95-99 (May-September, 2007) - Ed Brubaker (writer), Michael Lark (penciler), Stefano Gaudiano (inker), Warren Simons (editor)
Daredevil II#105 (March, 2008) - Ed Brubaker (writer), Michael Lark (penciler), Stefano Gaudiano (inker), Warren Simons (editor)
Last updated: 10/24/11
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