Lizard

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See Marvel Comics * List of Marvel Comics characters *Spider-Man *Spider-Man Supporting Characters * Spider-Man Store *Spider-Man Gallery

*First appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man v1 #6 (Nov 1963)
*First appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man v1 #6 (Nov 1963)


Contents

Facts and Stats

  • Height: (As Connors) 5' 11" (As Lizard) 6' 8"
  • Weight: (As Connors) 175 lbs (As Lizard) 550 lbs
  • Eyes: (As Connors) Blue (As Lizard) Red
  • Hair: (As Connors) Brown (As Lizard) None
  • First appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man v1 #6 (Nov 1963)
  • Powers: Superhuman strength, (sometimes) superhuman intelligence, stamina, agility and reflexes,
    Ability to control reptiles,
    Regenerative healing factor,
    Reptilian body grants:
    Hardened scales, razor sharp teeth and claws

Summary

The Lizard is a comic book supervillain in the Marvel Comics universe, and an enemy of Spider-Man. In his normal human state however, he is Dr. Curt Connors, a friend and ally of Spider-Man. The Lizard first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #6 (November 1963), and was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

character biography

Curtis Connors was born in Coral Gables, Florida. He was a gifted surgeon who enlisted in the military and was sent off to war. He performed emergency battlefield surgery on wounded GIs, but his right arm was injured in a blast and had to be amputated. After his return to civilian life, he became obsessed with uncovering the secrets of reptilian limb regeneration and studied reptilian biology extensively. From his home in the Florida Everglades, he finally developed an experimental serum taken from reptilian DNA. He successfully regrew the missing limb of a rabbit and then, despite the warnings of his wife Martha, chose to test it on himself. Connors ingested the formula and his missing arm did indeed grow back. Unfortunately, it had a horrible side effect; Connors was subsequently transformed into a reptilian humanoid monster. Spider-Man discovered this situation during a trip to Florida to investigate newspaper reports of the Lizard. Spidey was then able to use Connors' notes to create an antidote to restore him to his human form and mentality.

The Lizard battling Spider-Man on the cover of Amazing Spider-Man #45. Art by John Romita Sr.
The Lizard battling Spider-Man on the cover of Amazing Spider-Man #45. Art by John Romita Sr.

Later, Curt Connors relocated to New York City. He was able to repay Spider-Man by developing a formula to save May Parker's life after Peter Parker had given his aunt his radioactive blood during a transfusion that had put her in mortal peril. It later became clear that the success of Connors' apparent cure from the Lizard persona was short-lived. A repeating pattern occurred, with stress or a chemical reaction turning Connors into the Lizard, Spider-Man fighting him, and then forming some kind of temporary cure to reverse the transformation until the next time. A second personality had formed with the Lizard, one with the familiar goal shared by many villains of taking over the world. The Lizard envisioned a world where all humans had been transformed into (or replaced by) super-reptiles like himself. Despite the Lizard's overall hatred of humans, he was often shown to be unwilling to harm his wife Martha or young son Billy.

For a time, Peter Parker worked as a teaching assistant to Dr. Connors at Empire State University, although Connors had no idea that Peter was actually Spider-Man. Connors' wife took their son Billy and separated from Curt after his absence during the Lizard's involvement in the Secret Wars battles. Connors then tried to straighten out his life and control the Lizard, with some degree of success. This ended when the villain Calypso used her voodoo magic to take control of the Lizard for her own purposes, reducing him to a mindless savage state. After a series of bloody battles, the Lizard and Calypso were defeated by Spider-Man. Connors once again gained control of the Lizard's mind and body, although it was very weak. Curt carried out a plan to cure himself temporarily, after which he voluntarily submitted to incarceration in the supervillain prison, the Vault. When Calypso forced the transformation and attempted to control the Lizard once again, the creature killed her and escaped from the Vault. After this escape, the Lizard fell into a quicksand pit during a battle with Spider-Man and the bounty hunter Warrant and was believed to have died. This would soon be proven incorrect.

Lizard-clone and the Lizard's return

Shortly after Connors' apparent death in quicksand during the Lizard's battle with Spider-Man and Warrant, a huge bestial Lizard appeared. Spider-Man realized that not only had the Lizard survived, but this new monstrous transformation seemed to be permanent and the personality of Curt Connors appeared completely lost. However, when this savage mindless Lizard later unexpectedly encountered Dr. Connors himself, Curt became the true Lizard once again and saved his family by killing the "Lizard-clone". It was revealed that the Lizard-clone was a scientific accident resulting from an experimental formula being tested on a piece of the original Lizard's tail, which had then grown into a fully-formed second creature.

Death of Martha Connors and onwards

Although reunited after Curt's apparent death, tragedy later struck again in the Connors family - this time for Martha and Billy. Both mother and son were diagnosed with cancer after years exposed to carcinogens from living near an industrial lab of the Monnano Corporation in Florida. Spider-Man assisted Curt in successfully forcing Monnano to admit their environmental culpability. However, Martha succumbed to the cancer and died. Billy recovered but remained bitter towards his father. Curt's guilt and internalized anger at these events eventually led him to become the Lizard and attack Spider-Man once again. After reverting back to his human form, Curt purposefully attempted a bank robbery so he would be sent to prison. Curt's stint in prison was short-lived; he was released and transformed into the Lizard once again as part of a scheme by Norman Osborn, aka the Green Goblin, to form a "Sinister Twelve" group of villains to kill Spider-Man. The Sinister Twelve was defeated and captured by the combined forces of the Fantastic Four and certain members of the Avengers.

The Lizard later resurfaced to face Spider-Man with the aid of a smaller twin of himself, who was revealed to be none other than his son, Billy. Curt had injected Billy with the Lizard formula while under the influence of a mysterious meteorite that caused savage behavior in those within range of its radiation. Both the Lizard and "Lizard Junior" were eventually captured and transformed back to human form, but the future effects of the Lizard formula on Billy Connors remain to be seen.

A heretofore unseen version of the Sinister Six including the Lizard appeared briefly during the superhero Civil War but were stopped by Captain America and his Secret Avengers. Since the Lizard was never a member of the original Sinister Six, the circumstances of his involvement with this short-lived group of villains has yet to be revealed.

Post-Civil War, Doctor Curt Connors was seen within the Spider-Man books aiding Spider-Man in developing a cure for the victims of Calvin Zabo, aka Mister Hyde, who were mutated with unstable versions of Spider-Man's powers. Dr. Connors is also currently monitoring the progress of the new hero Komodo, a female grad student who stole a sample of Connors' Lizard formula and modified it for her own DNA to give herself reptilian powers.

Powers and abilities

Doctor Curt Connors has no superhuman powers unless he transforms into the Lizard. However, he is highly intelligent and studied in the fields of genetics and herpetology.

When Connors is transformed into the Lizard, his strength is increased to superhuman levels. Likewise, his speed, agility, and reflexes are also raised to a level equivalent to that of Spider-Man. He can also scale walls using a combination of the sharp claws on his hands and feet and micro-scales that create molecular friction. He is highly resistant to injury due to his thick scaly hide, allowing him to resist punctures and lacerations from ordinary weapons and low-caliber guns. In addition, the Lizard has enhanced healing abilities which allow him to quickly recover from grievous wounds including regenerating lost limbs. He also has a powerful tail which he can whip at high speeds. The Lizard has razor-sharp teeth set in muscular jaws that can deal a lethal bite. Like a reptile, he has cold-blooded characteristics and grows weaker if he is exposed to cold temperatures for too long.

The Lizard can control all reptiles within a mile of himself via telepathy. He has also on at least one occasion secreted powerful pheromones which caused humans to behave violently.

Based on various physiological and environmental factors, the Lizard's intelligence can range from bestial and animalistic to normal human intelligence. The Lizard personality often presents itself with human intelligence, capable of speech and higher reasoning, although he is rarely as intelligent as Dr. Connors is in human form.

Controversy

In a 2004 story arc entitled "Lizard's Tale" written by Paul Jenkins in the Spectacular Spider-Man comic book, it was revealed that the Lizard persona was not a separate personality from Dr. Connors after all - Curt had been consciously controlling his reptilian alter ego all along. Furthermore, Connors was shown to know that Peter Parker was Spider-Man, despite the discovery of the secret identity never being explained or depicted. The story ended with Dr. Connors deliberately getting himself sent to prison and hoping the Lizard wouldn't be unleashed again. The Lizard's next appearance after this was as a member of the Sinister Twelve, where he showed no indication of being controlled by the mind of Dr. Connors. To date, there have been no subsequent comic storylines referencing the claim that Connors himself was responsible for the Lizard's villainy.

Another bit of continuity-related controversy involves Connors' son Billy. Unlike many other Marvel Comics children, he has not appreciably grown up since the comics stories of the 1960s. Billy's visible age has also seemed to waver back and forth between approximately eight and thirteen years old, depending on the particular comic artist drawing the character.

Other versions

Ultimate Lizard

Ultimate Lizard appears in a dream sequence, as drawn by Mark Bagley in Ultimate Spider-Man #60.
Ultimate Lizard appears in a dream sequence, as drawn by Mark Bagley in Ultimate Spider-Man #60.

The one comic storyline to date featuring the Ultimate Marvel universe version of the Lizard appeared in Ultimate Marvel Team-Up # 10. The character has appeared in a few subsequent issues of Ultimate Spider-Man, but only in flashbacks and dream sequences. Ultimate Lizard appears to be based on a basilisk lizard in design and has been presented as being less intelligent than the original Marvel universe Lizard.

In the Ultimate universe, in addition to becoming the Lizard, Dr. Curt Conners (note the different spelling of the last name in comparison with the Marvel universe version) unintentionally created the Ultimate version of the supervillain Carnage using DNA from Spider-Man and based on an analysis of Richard Parker's work on the Venom suit. Due to the ensuing chaos, he was arrested and Stark Industries canceled their financial support of his experiments.

Exiles

The reality-hopping heroic team the Exiles once found themselves on an alternate earth where Connors' experiment had taken a different turn. Finding himself as the Lizard, Curt felt the need to 'reproduce' by immediately injecting the Lizard-formula into other people. He infected his family and they infected others, all feeling the urge to spread the transformation into lizard-men. The forces of this particular world eventually managed to restrain the infected reptile-people behind miles-long, man-made walls.

Marvel Zombies

In the Marvel Zombies universe, the Lizard, like almost every other hero and villain, has become an undead zombie. This particular incarnation of the Lizard is apparently destroyed when he is blasted apart by several cosmic-powered heroes while fighting Galactus. Marvel Zombies #4

In other media

Animated series

Dr. Curt Connors and the Lizard have appeared in several of the Spider-Man animated television series over the years.

Spider-Man (1967)

The original 1967 Spider-Man cartoon featured the Lizard in the episode "Where Crawls the Lizard." The animated Lizard in this episode was referred to as "Lizard Man," and the family is named "Conner" instead of "Connors." Also, Dr. Connors is depicted as having both of his arms in the episode, most likely to avoid the topic of amputation in a children's cartoon (his serum was intended to cure "swamp fever"). Conner later appears, separate from the Lizard, in "Fountain of Terror". He was voiced by Gillie Fenwick.

Spider-Man (1980)

The Lizard appeared later on in the 1981 Spider-Man cartoon series episode "Lizards, Lizards Everywhere." However, there was no mention of Dr. Curt Connors in the episode and the Lizard is presented as a monster villain with no alter-ego.

Spider-Man: The Animated Series

The Lizard in the "Night of the Lizard" episode of Spider-Man: The Animated Series
The Lizard in the "Night of the Lizard" episode of Spider-Man: The Animated Series

Possibly the most notable of the Lizard's animated appearances was in the 1994 premiere episode of Spider-Man: The Animated Series, titled "Night of the Lizard". Here, the Lizard was portrayed as possessing a genius level of intelligence but also having the savage mindset from the comics. He also has a prehensile tail. The Lizard later went on to appear in the episodes "Tablet of Time", "The Ravages of Time", "The Final Nightmare", "The Lizard King", and the "Secret Wars" 3-part episode from the end of this series' run in 1997. Dr. Curt Connors had many other appearances throughout this series as a supporting character. Dr. Connors and the Lizard were both voiced here by Joseph Campanella.

Spider-Man: The New Animated Series

The Lizard also appeared in the "Law of the Jungle" episode of MTV's 2003 Spider-Man: The New Animated Series. The Lizard's physical appearance in this series was much more animalistic and saurian than the comic book version. In this episode, Connors is revealed to have lost his arm as a result of an Osborn Industries weapons testing accident and when he transforms into the Lizard he goes after Harry Osborn. The Lizard falls to his apparent death from a helicopter at the end of the episode. Both Dr. Connors and the Lizard are voiced here by rock musician/filmmaker Rob Zombie.

The Spectacular Spider-Man

Dr. Curt Connors appears in the Kids' WB animated series The Spectacular Spider-Man. Both Connors and the Lizard are voiced by Dee Bradley Baker.http://www.comicscontinuum.com/stories/0709/20/index.htm Connors is shown to have been injecting himself frequently with modified Lizard DNA to help regrow his arm. In a battle between Spider-Man and Electro, one of the vials was hit by electricity, ampilifying the DNA within the serum. As a result of injecting the altered serum, Connors turns into the Lizard. One key difference from usual media is that Connors has a fully functioning, mechanical prosthetic arm.

Films

Dr. Connors was mentioned briefly in the film Spider-Man (2002) as Peter's laboratory supervisor who fired him for being late, and appeared in the sequels Spider-Man 2 (2004) and Spider-Man 3 (2007), where he was played by actor Dylan Baker. Director Sam Raimi had reportedly considered his friend, B-movie legend Bruce Campbell for the role of Dr. Connors, but decided against it since Campbell had already appeared in the first movie as a wrestling announcer. Campbell did appear in different cameo roles in Spider-Man 2 (door attendant at M.J.'s play) and Spider-Man 3 (head waiter at restaurant).

So far Dr. Connors has not become the Lizard in this franchise and whether he will in any future film is presently uncertain. In the films, he is missing his right arm as in the comic book. In Spider-Man 2, Connors is depicted as a Columbia University physics professor concerned for Peter Parker's well-being and academic performance in his quantum mechanics course. Peter is seen studying with several textbooks for this course, two of which can be made out as quantum mechanics and photonics books. Curt's friend, Doctor Otto Octavius recalls Peter's name and tells Peter that Connors considers him "brilliant, but lazy". Otto chuckles about his friend's assumption about Peter's laziness once he finds out Peter is also Spider-Man.

The possibility of the Lizard appearing as the villain in Spider-Man 3 was once considered likely, until two different actors, Thomas Haden Church (Sandman) and Topher Grace (Venom), were cast for Spider-Man 3's villains, along with James Franco (The New Goblin). Marvel Studios CEO Avi Arad later confirmed that Dylan Baker would indeed be returning for Spider-Man 3 to reprise the role of Dr. Connors. In the film, Peter turns to Connors to analyze the substance of the Venom symbiote and Connors informs him that it makes one more aggressive and that it has a particular liking for him. At one point during this scene, Connors says, "I'm a physicist, not a biologist", which contradicts the origins of Connors' lizard-related research from the comic books. However, there is a scene in which it shows that Connors was studying lizards in the background, possibly foreshadowing his transformation in a future installment. He is also Peter's quantum mechanics professor in this film, which suggests it might be the same semester as, or a continuation of the course, shown in Spider-Man 2, though a different classroom full of new students is shown.

Director Sam Raimi has confirmed that Sony intends to produce at least three more Spider-Man films after Spider-Man 3, http://www.superherohype.com/news/topnews.php?id=5536 and Columbia Pictures has hired screenwriter David Koepp to write the script for a fourth Spider-Man film. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117957843.html?categoryid=13&cs=1 Dylan Baker stated in interviews that he was open to the idea of playing the Lizard in the future and that Sam Raimi had talked to him about becoming the Lizard. http://www.ifmagazine.com/new.asp?article=4055 http://movies.ign.com/articles/757/757729p1.html Spider-Man creator Stan Lee has also voiced a desire to see the Lizard appear in Spider-Man 4.

Video games

  • The Lizard's first video game appearance was in the 1984 Spider-Man Questprobe game, where still graphics were added to a formerly all-text adventure.
  • The Lizard later appeared in the 1991 Sega Spider-Man arcade game, one of several beat 'em up games of the time.
  • In The Amazing Spider-Man 2 for the Game Boy, the Lizard roams free in a sewer level and must be cured with an antidote secured earlier in the game.
  • In the SNES game Spider-Man, the Lizard is a boss of the sewers in every stage in the game (except the Brooklyn Bridge). He is optional and can be avoided to escape the sewers. When he is defeated, he transforms back into Dr. Connors. However, attacking Dr. Connors will result in him changing back into the Lizard, who now glows with a yellow aura, and is twice as strong. He also appears as a mini boss in the final level.
  • The first Spider-Man 3-D environment video game by Neversoft also included the Lizard. This game was released in 2000 for multiple game platforms, including PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Sega Dreamcast, and PC. The Lizard has a small role in the game, trapped behind a cage in the NYC sewers. A group of lizardmen that he created are antagonists, and the Lizard reveals that Venom had taken crontrol over them and imprisoned him. The Lizard tells Spider-Man where Venom is keeping Mary Jane Parker. In the entire game, the Lizard is the only villain not fought against, despite the fact he was previously publicized as a level boss. It is possible to complete that level without even meeting him. In the storyboards for the finale that are in the storyboard gallery, Lizard is seen in the jail cell instead of the Jade Syndicate thug.
  • In the sequel to the 3-D Neversoft game, Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro, the Lizard is a boss character. Resembling a velociraptor, the mindless Lizard rampages around his lab and must be defeated again by injecting him with a cure.
  • Dr. Connors made a minor appearance in Activision's 2004 Spider-Man 2 console game, but not the Lizard himself. Originally the Lizard was supposed to have been included in this particular video game and was even prominently featured in some promotional materials before being suddenly removed. However, there are some hints that The Lizard was still going to be in the game, such as the use of green (his alter ego's color) in his lab, Doctor Octopus breaking Dr. Connors arm, and the reptile-like creatures that appear in the Fight Area (possibly these creatures were going to be the Lizard's version of thugs). The Hex Editor shows there is a skin named Lizard. There is even a sewer entrance which looks like it could be entered. There was speculation that the character had been removed from the game because at the time he was being considered for use in the future Spider-Man 3 film, but this was never confirmed. This is jokingly referred to in one of the hint icons in the game. The Lizard did appear as a level boss in the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS versions of the game, where his appearance in cutscenes matches his Ultimate version, though his in-game sprite resembles his traditional appearance.
  • The Lizard makes an appearance in the 2006 RPG video game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance as a member of Doctor Doom's Masters of Evil. In the game, he appears alongside the Scorpion guarding a just-defeated Tyr. Besides Scorpion, there is special dialogue between him and Spider-Man. However, Connors never appears or is even mentioned in the game, so how he wound up as a member of the Master of Evil is up to speculation. A simulation disk has the heroes fighting Lizard, and notes the connection to Connors, but Lizard casually ignores the mention of his alter ego's name and attacks anyway.
  • The Lizard is a major character in the 2007 Activision Spider-Man 3 game voiced by Nathan Carlson. In the game, he is created when Dr. Connors injects himself with an experimental serum to regrow his lost arm. Like in the comics, the Lizard's goal seems to be to replace humanity with a race of reptiles. Kraven the Hunter believes that the Lizard would be a worthy trophy, but when he is about to slay him, Spider-Man in his black suit stops him. The Lizard tries to escape, but Calypso chases after him. While Spider-Man and Kraven battle, Calypso finds the Lizard and changes him into a new gigantic form. After Kraven flees, Spider-Man manages to defeat the giant Lizard and he transforms back into Connors. Spider-Man would later ask Connors for help to stop the remaining lizard creatures in the sewers, which is accomplished when a gas antidote is dispersed through the sewer, and also asks him to analyze the black suit in return for him saving Connors' life.
  • The Lizard is a playable ally in the 2007 game Spider-Man: Friend or Foe. Spider-Man encounters him while in Egypt, as the Lizard is traveling the world in search of a cure. He is portrayed as a much more heroic figure and does not hesitate to join Spider-Man on his mission.

Toys and collectibles

  • The first Lizard action figure was produced by Mego in 1975 as part of their "World's Greatest Super-Heroes" line of toys.
  • Hasbro released a Lizard figure as part of their 2007 Spider-Man 3 series of toys. The figure seems to be based on the Lizard design seen in the Spider-Man 3 video game.
  • The character has been reproduced in mini-bust form by both Art Asylum (as part of their Rogues Gallery collection) and Bowen Designs, who also released a full statue of the character.


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