Real Name: Rance Preston

Identity/Class: Human

Occupation: Criminal, circus performer;
former cowboy

Group Membership: Circus of Crime (Bruto the Strong Man/Bruce Olafsen, Clown/Eliot "Crafty" Franklin, Dragon Man, Fire-Eater/Tomas Ramirez, Great Gambonnos/Ernesto & Luigi Gambonno, Human Cannonball/Jack Pulver, Princess Python/Zelda DuBois, Rajah/Kahir Mahadevu, Ringmaster/Maynard Tiboldt, Sultan the elephant, Teena the Fat Lady/Mary Stenson)

Affiliations: Max Fury, Ivan Karlovich, Psycho-Man, Shellshock, Taskmaster;
   formerly Devil Dinosaur, Moonboy

Enemies: Avengers (Hawkeye/Clint Barton, Valkyrie/Brunnhilde, Venom/"Flash" Thompson), Black Ant (Eric O'Grady LMD), Black Goliath (Bill Foster), Black Panther (T'Challa), Devil Dinosaur, Red Fowler, Corky Franklin, Ghost Rider (John Blaze), D.W. Griffith, Hulk (Bruce Banner), Inhumans (Black Bolt/Blackagar Boltagon, Karnak, Medusa/Medusalith Amaquelin), Alicia Masters, Mercs for Money (Deadpool/"Wade Wilson," Domino/Neena Thurman, Gorilla-Man/Ken Hale, Hit-Monkey, Machine Man/X-51, Masacre, Negasonic Teenage Warhead/Ellie Phimister), Moonboy, Power Man (Luke Cage), Power Pack (Alex Power, Jack Power, Julie Power, Katie Power, Franklin Richards), Spider-Man (Peter Parker), Claire Temple, Thing (Ben Grimm), Kate Waynesboro, Yancy Street Gang

Known Relatives: Unidentified ex-wife

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Mobile

First Appearance: Fantastic Four Annual I#5 (November, 1967)

Powers/Abilities: Live Wire used an electric lariat for various tricks, including ensnaring intended victims who he could then electrocute. Good at horseback riding, Live Wire wore insulated gloves and clothing that protected him from the electric currents. He had also used electric guns in combat.

Height: 6'1"
Weight: 200 lbs.
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Brown

History: (Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Deluxe Edition I#2 (fb) – BTS) – Rance Preston was born in Houston, Texas and became a cowboy, specializing in performing rope tricks while working on a ranch. He eventually began performing with an electric lariat, wearing insulated gloves and clothing to protect him from electric shock. Calling himself Live Wire, he embarked on a criminal career. At some point, he got a divorce. 

(Fantastic Four Annual I#5 (fb) – BTS) – Live Wire, Ivan Karlovich and Shellshock were recruited by Psycho-Man to be his operatives on Earth.

(Fantastic Four Annual I#5) – When Psycho-Man gave the men orders, Live Wire grew annoyed and tried attacking Psycho-Man with his electric gun and lariat but it couldn't penetrate Psycho-Man's armor. Psycho-Man used his devices to fill the men with fear, reminding them who was in charge, then ordered them to seek Component Five, which had been delivered accidentally to Alicia Masters. After stunning the Thing, they stole the Component then took it to a remote island, where Psycho-Man planned to build a giant emotion ray. When Black Panther and the Inhumans investigated, Live Wire shocked Black Bolt and wrapped Medusa in his lariat but Karnak knocked him aside with a blow. Psycho-Man's plots were soon foiled.

(Power Man I#25 (fb)) – Live Wire snuck away from the others and laid low for a time. When he saw news about the Circus of Crime being apprehended, he developed a plan. Using his electric lariat, Live Wire freed them from their prison transport van.

(Power Man I#24 (fb) – BTS) – Live Wire joined the Circus of Crime.

(Power Man I#24) – Live Wire stunned Power Man and Black Goliath, who had been sparring with each other. The Circus of Crime closed in, with Ringmaster determined to recruit the two heroes, whose allies Claire Temple and D.W. Griffith stood nearby.

(Power Man I#25) – When Princess Python cruelly zapped Claire Temple with an electric prod, Live Wire was frustrated by her brutality and vocalized it. Despite his new doubts in his team, Live Wire stopped Griffith from stealing Ringmaster's hat, using a stun instead of a kill charge. Temple soon escaped, resulting quickly in the heroes being released from their hypnosis. In the following battle, Live Wire refused to kill with his lariat and he was defeated by a throw from Black Goliath.

(Marvel Two-in-One I#70 (fb) – BTS) – Keeping the supplies that Psycho-Man had given them, Live Wire and Shellshock kept their equipment and went on a series of robberies.

(Marvel Two-in-One I#70) – Live Wire and Shellshock planned to rob the home of Alicia Masters. Learning she was moving into the Baxter Building with Thing, they knocked out the movers and then took over the moving responsibilities, loading her expensive statues into the truck. They planned to take off with the truck but Thing sat on the back, so they took a sharp corner to knock him off. After getting the van repainted, the villains thought they were safe but Thing attacked them. Live Wire was knocked aside but he took Alicia Masters hostage until the Yancy Street Gang dumped water over his head and Live Wire was electrocuted and defeated.

(Ghost Rider II#72 (fb) – BTS) – Live Wire and the Circus of Crime broke out of jail but chose to leave Ringmaster behind. After they recruited new member Fire-Eater, the team put Clown in as their leader. In time, Clown ran away from the Circus and the others tracked him down, living with his father, the clown Corky, at the Quentin Carnival.

(Ghost Rider II#72) – The Circus members took turns attacking the Carnival to convince Clown to return to them. Live Wire overloaded the Carnival's generator, shutting off the power during a performance, then leaving a note in the dirt for Clown. Later that week, Clown rejoined the team. When John Blaze followed him, Bruto knocked him out and Circus stood over him.

(Ghost Rider II#73) – With John Blaze tied up, Clown convinced the Circus to return to the Quentin Carnival and take it over. To show off for the others, Live Wire ensnared a rabbit with his lasso. Clown sided with the Carnival, taking it over as well and turning against the Circus. During the fight, Live Wire was tricked by Red Fowler into throwing his lasso into the electric mesh above the bumper cars and Live Wire was overloaded.

(Incredible Hulk II#292 (fb) – BTS) – The Circus (Ringmaster, Clown, Fire-Eater, the Great Gambonnos, Human Cannonball, Live Wire, Rajah (aboard his elephant Sultan), Teena the Fat Lady, Bruto the Strong Man and Princess Python (with Precious)) headed to Mexico, fleeing warrants. Ringmaster forced Dragon Man to perform with them.

(Incredible Hulk II#292) – When Live Wire and the Circus saw Bruce Banner arrive with his girlfriend Kate Waynesboro, Ringmaster forced Banner to change to Hulk and battle Dragon Man. Before the fight concluded, the Big Top was destroyed.

(Power Pack I#59) – At the MacFadden Brothers Circus, the Ringmaster tried convincing the Circus (Human Cannonball, Great Gambonnos, Clown, Bruto, Live Wire) to go legitimate but they wanted one last major heist, having heard that foreign royalty would be in the crowd. Clown took over leadership of the group and during the live performance, they tried stealing the crown off the prince but Power Pack and Franklin Richards, who were in the crowd, fought back and the Circus was easily stopped. When the police arrived, Ringmaster used his powers to make the Circus appear innocent.

(Amazing Spider-Man/Devil Dinosaur '98 Annual) – The Circus rehearsed for their new performances with Moon Boy and Devil, and their shows sold out. While the crowds gathered, however, Circus members robbed local stores. Soon, Spider-Man attacked, freeing Moon Boy from hypnosis, then helped take the Circus down. During the fight, Livewire was webbed up by Spider-Man.

(Secret Avengers I#29 (fb) – BTS) – Taskmaster, working with Max Fury, hired Live Wire and the Circus for an assignment in Bagalia.

(Secret Avengers I#29) – In Bagalia, members of the Circus (Princess Python, Clown, Bruto, Live Wire, Fire Eater) put on a daring performance, torturing John Steele with plasma knives. When Steele escaped, he brutally defeated the Circus, tossing Live Wire into the giant snake's mouth and seemingly killing him. The Avengers (Valkyrie, Hawkeye, Agent Venom, Ant-Man) arrived to rescue Steele.

(Amazing Spider-Man V#18.HU (fb) ) - Live Wire helped Princess Python leave her husband, the Gibbon.


(Deadpool and the Mercs for Money II#6) – The Circus of Crime, in the Ringmaster's new armored Mecha-Lord Big Top, attacked the city and Deadpool led his Mercs for Money (Deadpool, Gorilla Man, Hit-Monkey, Machine Man, Masacre, Domino, Negasonic Teenage Warhead) to fight back.  They fought back against clowns with rocket boots then the Circus (Clown, Bruto, Live Wire, Fire-Eater, Great Gambonnos, Princess Python and Ringmaster on a giant robot elephant) were defeated and delivered to S.H.I.E.L.D.

Comments: Created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Frank Giacoia.

Thanks to Ron Fredricks for the cleaned-up main.

Profile by Chadman.

Live Wire has no known connections to:

images: (without ads)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Deluxe Edition I#2, p64, pan2 (main)
Fantastic Four I Annual#5, p16, pan1 (versus Medusa)
Secret Avengers I#29, p11, pan2 (Live Wire eaten by snake)

Fantastic Four Annual I#5 (November, 1967) – Stan Lee (writer/editor), Jack Kirby (penciler), Frank Giacoia (inker)
Power Man I#24 (April, 1975) – Tony Isabella (writer), George Tuska (penciler), Dave Hunt (inker), Len Wein (editor)
Power Man I#25 (July, 1975) – Bill Mantlo, Tony Isabella (writers), Ron Wilson (penciler), Fred Kida (inker), Len Wein (editor)
Marvel Two-in-One I#70 (December, 1980) – Mark Gruenwald, Ralph Macchio (writers), Mike Nasser, Gene Day (artists), Jim Salicrup (editor)
Ghost Rider II#72-73 (September-October, 1982) – Roger Stern (writer), Bob Budiansky (penciler), Dave Simons (inker), Tom DeFalco (editor)
Incredible Hulk II#292 (February, 1984) – Bill Mantlo (writer), Sal Buscema (penciler), Joe Sinnott (inker), Ann Nocenti (editor)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Deluxe Edition I#2 (January, 1986) - Mark Gruenwald (writer/editor), various artists
Power Pack I#59 (October, 1990) – Michael Higgins (writer), Tom Morgan (artist), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Amazing Spider-Man/Devil Dinosaur '98 Annual (July, 1998) – Tom DeFalco (writer), Tom Lyle (penciler), Robert Jones (inker), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Secret Avengers I#29 (September, 2012) – Rick Remender (writer), Matteo Scalera (artist), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Deadpool & the Mercs for Money II#6 (February, 2017) – Cullen Bunn (writer), Brian Level (artist), Jordan White (editor)
Amazing Spider-Man V#18.HU (June, 2019) - Nick Spencer (writer), Ken Lashley (artist), Nick Lowe (editor)

First Posted: 10/17/2018
Last updated: 06/23/2019

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

Non-Marvel Copyright info
All other characters mentioned or pictured are ™  and © 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. If you like this stuff, you should check out the real thing!
Please visit The Marvel Official Site at:

Special Thanks to for hosting the Appendix, Master List, etc.!

Back to Characters