The Kingpin (Wilson Grant Fisk) is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr., and first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #50 (cover-dated July 1967).
The character is portrayed as one of the most-feared and powerful crimelords in the Marvel Universe, typically holding the position of New York City's crime overlord. Initially an adversary of Spider-Man, the character later became the archenemy of Daredevil, and a recurring foe of the Punisher. IGN's list of the Top 100 Comic Book Villains Of All Time List ranked the Kingpin as number 10.
The Kingpin's signature look is his extraordinarily heavyset appearance, with most of his mass consisting of muscle. He usually wears a white suit jacket and carries a cane, which he tips with diamonds or other hard substances as necessary to aid in physical combat. The name "Kingpin" is a reference to the title of crimelord in Mafia slang nomenclature.
Kingpin drawn by David Mazzucchelli
|First appearance||The Amazing Spider-Man #50 (July 1967)|
Stan Lee (writer)|
John Romita Sr. (artist)
|Alter ego||Wilson Grant Fisk|
Emissaries of Evil
|Partnerships||Vanessa Mariana Fisk|
In his debut story arc in The Amazing Spider-Man #50–52, the Kingpin is portrayed purely as a mob boss, albeit one who tends to be unusually hands-on in his criminal dealings. In his subsequent appearances in the series, also written by Lee, he is developed into more of a typical supervillain, employing fantastic devices to further his criminal capers. In the early 1980s the character took a sharp turn in his characterization. A series of appearances in Daredevil by writer/penciler Frank Miller depicted the Kingpin as a scheming, cold-blooded crimelord who consistently stays beyond the reach of the law. This take on the character would remain the dominant one for decades, and the Kingpin became widely regarded as Daredevil's archenemy. He continues to be a recurring opponent of Spider-Man, Daredevil, and the Punisher.
Wilson Fisk began his life as a poor child in New York City, bullied by his classmates due to his obesity. Fisk began training himself in physical combat, using his new-found strength to intimidate the bullies into joining his gang. He was eventually discovered by crimelord Don Rigoletto. Fisk became Don Rigoletto's bodyguard and right-hand man. Eventually, Fisk killed Don Rigoletto and took control of his criminal empire, becoming one of the most powerful figures in New York's underworld.
While the Kingpin enjoyed a long tenure in his new position, he had made enemies such as the Maggia crime syndicate and the terrorist group HYDRA. The two groups teamed together to oppose Fisk, causing him to flee to Japan. There, he started a spice business in order to regain his wealth. After earning enough money, Fisk returned to New York and started gang wars in an attempt to bring down the Maggia. With the criminal world in chaos, Fisk was able to step in and take back control.
Fisk attempted a coalition of the New York mobs after hearing that Spider-Man had apparently gone out of action, and ordered the abduction of J. Jonah Jameson, but was foiled by Spider-Man in his first confrontation with the web-slinger.
While Fisk was a powerful crimelord, he posed as a legitimate businessman, one who made donations to charities, and seemed like a generous, wealthy man. He eventually met and then married a woman named Vanessa, with whom he had a son, Richard Fisk. Vanessa did not know that Fisk was a criminal when she married him, and when she found out, she threatened to leave him if he did not give up his life of crime. He retired from crime, and the family moved back to Japan.
Richard Fisk did not find out that his father was a criminal until he was in college. After graduating, Richard told his parents he would travel through Europe. Only months after he left, they received news that Richard, who was angry after learning the truth about his father, had died in a skiing accident. However, this was not what really happened. It turned out that Richard Fisk was still alive, and was masquerading as a rival crimelord known as the Schemer, intent on toppling his father as the Kingpin of Crime.
Fisk contended against his rival gang leader, the Schemer, who proved to be Richard in disguise, and battled Spider-Man in this encounter.
At one point, he became the manager and director of a Las Vegas-based fragment of HYDRA.
At his wife's behest, Fisk later divested himself of his criminal empire. He unsuccessfully attempted to kill Spider-Man once more before retiring from crime.
To complete his reformation, the Kingpin agreed to turn over his files to the authorities, incriminating his former lieutenants. His wife Vanessa was then kidnapped by said lieutenants, who put out a contract on his life. After he witnessed the apparent death of Vanessa, he returned to a life of crime. He regained control of the New York mobs because he had built them up in the first place and knew how to damage them; promises to keep the East Coast stable kept Midwestern crimelords happy and allowed him room to move. The Kingpin also gained Bullseye's loyalty by promising steady work. The files were taken by Daredevil; Kingpin encouraged him to turn them over to the police as that would allow him to replace the arrested crimelords that much swifter. Daredevil did not turn them over because this would slow down the Kingpin's plans. Kingpin maneuvered Daredevil into battling the Hand. He secretly promoted mayoral candidate Randolph Cherryh. He then hired Elektra as his assassin. Daredevil found Vanessa alive but amnesiac and returned her to him in exchange for his abandoning the Cherryh scheme. As retribution for this, he sent Elektra to kill Foggy Nelson, Daredevil's friend. Elektra failed and was killed by Bullseye.
The Kingpin learns Daredevil's secret identity through information passed on from his ex-girlfriend Karen Page, who was now a pornographic film actress. The Kingpin uses his influence to destroy Murdock's civilian and professional life. Enamored with the results of his own scheme, he became increasingly obsessed with Daredevil. This leads to, among other events, brutalizing the reporter Ben Urich, having his employees assault multiple policemen and sending the homicidal patriot Nuke into Hell's Kitchen. The last incident results in dozens of deaths, for which Kingpin is implicated. Though he avoids prison, his reputation is destroyed.
Kingpin is sought out by the Black Cat, who at the time was dating Spider-Man, and feared her lack of powers would make her a liability to him. She pays Fisk to have scientists provide her with defensive bad luck powers that cause mishap to befall anyone who attempt to harm the Cat in combat, but also negatively affect anyone who stayed in close proximity to her for an extended time, eventually causing death. The Kingpin hoped this would lead to Spider-Man's death, but Spider-Man and the Black Cat ultimately break up instead. Shortly after, Fisk is attacked by an enraged Spider-Man. Fisk's scientists also create the supervillains the Answer and the Spot to battle Spider-Man and the Black Cat.
Later, Fisk rehires Bullseye to investigate a New York drug war, and survives an assassination attempt by Crossbones. In retaliation, he sends Bullseye to assassinate Crossbones' employer, the Red Skull. The attempt fails, and the Kingpin instead defeats the Red Skull (in a clone of Captain America's body) in personal combat.
Fisk subsequently begins his own cable television station, partnering with an apparent Texas millionaire that the Kingpin thinks can be easily manipulated. However, the millionaire was actually bait planted by HYDRA. Learning of this from Nick Fury, Daredevil spread the word through the underworld that the Kingpin had become a HYDRA stooge, weakening his power. HYDRA steals the vast majority of his assets, bombs his businesses across New York City, and sends a helicopter gunship to attack his skyscraper offices. With his empire crumbling, the Kingpin is indicted on federal charges, and Daredevil tricks him into committing assault and battery at Manhattan's Port Authority Bus Terminal. Bailed out of jail by a rival who intends to use him as an errand boy, Fisk loses what remains of his sanity, murders his rival, and becomes a fugitive.
While in Japan he manipulates Maya Lopez (Echo) into thinking that Daredevil killed her father (although Fisk was actually responsible) in order to incite her to kill Daredevil. However, his plan backfires when Daredevil convinces her of the truth, and she shoots Kingpin in the eyes in retaliation, rendering him blind. Fisk eventually loses his criminal empire to one of his employees, Samuel Silke, who works with Fisk's son Richard, in a bloody assassination bid, using the Kingpin's new status as a blind man to rally supporters. In the aftermath, Vanessa kills Richard and flees the country with Fisk's remaining wealth while the Kingpin recuperates in an unnamed East European country, broken and alone. He is given an eye transplant which restores his eyesight.
He eventually confronts Silke and fatally crushes his head, almost manages to regain his empire through sheer will, but is defeated by Daredevil, who declares himself the new Kingpin. Fisk is imprisoned as a result.
He later hatches a scheme to be freed and regain his wealth by giving the FBI proof in the form of the nonexistent "Murdock Papers" that Matt Murdock is Daredevil. Having made so many enemies in prison, Fisk is constantly under attack from the Hand, HYDRA, and any number of criminal organizations with which he had had dealings. The U.S. government is hard-pressed to get rid of this expensive, dangerous, legally clean master criminal, and Fisk succeeds in manipulating the FBI into gravely wounding Daredevil and providing them a sample of Daredevil's DNA. He tells Ben Urich to give the federal government the location of the Night Nurse, the only medic for injured superheroes, or go to jail.
Kingpin finally succeeds in getting Matt Murdock arrested, but the FBI betrays him at the last minute and arrests him as well, placing him in the same jail as Murdock in the hopes that the two will kill each other. Instead, the two enemies team up in order to survive a prison riot directed at them. Finally, Murdock sacrifices the deal, refusing to let Bullseye, who was also incarcerated, leave the prison as Kingpin had planned. The fight ends with the Kingpin shot point-blank in the knee by gunfire from Bullseye intended for Murdock, while Murdock escapes.
Fisk appears in the 2006 Civil War: War Crimes one-shot issue, in which he offers information about Captain America's Resistance base to Iron Man, the leader of the pro-Registration forces in exchange for a reduced sentence. However, as his status in prison is threatened for collaborating with Stark, he betrays him. He then puts out a hit on Spider-Man and his loved ones after Iron Man convinced Spider-Man to publicly reveal his identity as a means of demonstrating his support for the Superhuman Registration Act. This results Spider-Man's Aunt May being gravely wounded by a sniper's attempt to kill Spider-Man. After tracing the event back to Kingpin, Spider-Man confronts Kingpin in prison and badly beats him in front of his fellow inmates. He decides to let the Kingpin live with the humiliation of his defeat, news of which will quickly spread through the Underworld. He vows, however, to kill the Kingpin if May dies.
However, after Matt Murdock returns to the United States with his name cleared, he completes Vanessa Fisk's last wish and takes on Fisk's case, getting all charges dropped in exchange for Fisk leaving the country, giving up his American citizenship, and his agreement to end his vendetta with Daredevil. Although the charges were dropped due to the evidence being deemed inadmissible in court, Murdock delays the case enough so Fisk is unable to attend his wife's funeral. A mournful Fisk is later seen visiting his wife's grave, before temporarily returning to New York to resolve some loose ends.
In a 2007 - 2008 storyline in the series Runaways, Fisk meets with the Runaways, revealing he knew all about their parents, since they ruled Los Angeles with efficiency and vision; he never tried to take their territory, nor did they invade his. He makes a deal with the Runaways to secure a mysterious object for him in exchange for protection from the government. He and his army of ninjas are defeated when the Runaways refuse to give it to him after stealing it, discovering that it was a device invented by the Pride. It is later revealed that Fisk was hired by an elderly woman named Lillie McGurty, who orchestrated the events so the Runaways can travel back to 1907 and ensure that she would come back to the present with them, which her past self declined.
In the 2007 "One More Day" storyline, which ends with the undoing from history of Peter and Mary Jane's marriage and Spider-Man's public revelation of his real identity, all memories on the part of the public that Spider-Man is Peter Parker are removed, including Kingpin's.
During the 2008 "Dark Reign" storyline, Kingpin forms an alliance with Lady Bullseye to destroy Daredevil. He orders Lady Bullseye to disguise herself as a member of the Hand and kill two corrupt cops and a judge, making it seem that Daredevil ordered it and prompting Norman Osborn (who has been given wide authority by the U.S. government as the leader of the espionage and law enforcement organization H.A.M.M.E.R.) to send Bullseye in retaliation. Though Daredevil survives the fight with Bullseye, Kingpin is undeterred and states that he has Daredevil "where he wants him". Kingpin has also targeted Daredevil's friends to frame Norman Osborn for their recent misfortunes to further his attempts on manipulating Daredevil's actions. He has Foggy Nelson disbarred as an attorney for standing up to a judge on his payroll for an unfair ruling of overturning a jury's verdict. He also causes Dakota North to lose her private investigator's license.
In the 2009 Daredevil arc, "Return of the King", it is revealed that Kingpin has spent the past year living a normal life in a small Spanish fishing village. There he meets and falls in love with Marta, a young mother of two. He finds himself trying to overcome his former life as a crime boss, only to later find Marta and her kids murdered by Lady Bullseye, and the Hand, who then brutally attack him, stabbing him through the shoulders with two katanas. When he asks why, Lady Bullseye replies, "The reasons are far too numerous, but if you want a specific cause, ask Daredevil." In his revenge against the Hand, Kingpin frees and recruits the Owl to help him with it. Fisk begins experiencing hallucinations of his dead wife Vanessa, who taunts him. It turns out that Fisk's actual plan to is to take the leadership of the Hand, after killing Hiroshi, the ninja-lord who ordered the family's assassinations. However, he is thwarted by Daredevil, who takes the leadership for himself.
During the 2010 "Shadowland" storyline, Kingpin approaches Iron Fist and Luke Cage telling them that they will need to take down Daredevil soon. Kingpin and Lady Bullseye later perform a ritual that brings back Ghost Rider to attack the Hand. After Daredevil is dethroned from Shadowland, Kingpin takes both Shadowland, and the Hand, under his rule, officially taking his place back as the crimelord of New York City.
During the 2011 "Spider-Island" storyline, it is revealed that Fisk has gained spider-powers, as demonstrated by heightened reflexes and the ability to crawl on walls. Like all other New Yorkers, he lost those powers when the situation was resolved.
As part of the 2012 Marvel NOW! initiative, Kingpin hears about how Superior Spider-Man (Doctor Octopus' mind in Spider-Man's body) has been using brutal methods to take down the local crime families, which would leave a vacuum to fill. Kingpin's hideout in Shadowland is attacked by Superior Spider-Man and Kingpin claims that this Spider-Man is much different than the Spider-Man he had fought. While escaping, Kingpin kills his doppelgänger, Smedley Kornfeld (who was hired for events like this), in order to fool Superior Spider-Man.
During the 2015 Secret Wars storyline, Kingpin hosts a viewing party for the incursion between Earth-616 and Earth-1610 where his guests include Absorbing Man, Bullseye, Norman Osborn, Sandman, and Scorpion. Festivities are interrupted by the arrival of Punisher who reveals that since he cannot take them with him, he is going to have to put his large supply of bullets somewhere.
As part of the 2015 All-New, All-Different Marvel, Wilson Fisk represented Fisk Industries when he attended a meeting at the Universal Bank with Tiberius Stone of Alchemax, Sebastian Shaw of Shaw Industries, Darren Cross of Cross Technological Enterprises, Zeke Stane of Stane International, Shingen Harada of the Yashida Corporation, Frr'dox of Shi'ar Solutions Consolidated, and Wilhelmina Kensington of Kilgore Arms where they discussed with Dario Agger about his and Roxxon Energy Corporation's plans to exploit the Ten Realms of Asgard. Wilson Fisk also saw the arrival of Exterminatrix of the Midas Foundation, who knocked out Dario and declared herself a new member of their assembly.
During the 2016 Civil War II storyline, Kingpin returns from San Francisco, where he ends up in a fight with Bushwacker which ends in Bushwacker's death. Afterwards, he learns from a barista named Armand that his girlfriend, Sonia, had gone missing. Kingpin and Turk Barrett track her to a human trafficking business that Man Mountain Marko and Kingpin's former minion, Janus Jardeesh, are working for. Kingpin decides not to kill Janus when he learns that he is a recently emerged Inhuman whose abilities render him undetectable by Ulysses Cain's abilities. To test this ability, Kingpin has Janus kill a security guard that Janus knocked out upon discovering the human trafficking business.
As part of the 2016 Marvel NOW! in a lead-up to the Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy storyline, Jackal sends Rhino to Kingpin in order to get him on his side. He even had Rhino bring a revived Vanessa Fisk with him in order to persuade Kingpin to go with the deal. Kingpin snaps the neck of the revived Vanessa Fisk stating, "That's not my wife. That's an abomination." Rhino then fights Kingpin, even when Spider-Man shows up. After the resulting fight in which Rhino gets away, Jackal is not pleased that Kingpin declined the offer. Kingpin knows this is a set-up and has a better plan on using Spider-Man to get rid of Jackal. After Spider-Man and Spider-Woman of Earth-65 learn from the New U Technologies staff what had happened to Kaine and Anna Maria Marconi, Kingpin shows up and reveals he has been following the Jackal's trail ever since the encounter with his wife. He gives Spider-Man a folder containing the location of a meeting that Jackal will be at so Spider-Man can take him down for revenge. Spider-Man is seen beating up most of the Kingpin's henchmen at a restaurant in Chinatown. Kingpin tells Spider-Man that he is ready to repay his debt and gives Spider-Man a flash drive that has the location of Norman Osborn.
During the 2017 Secret Empire storyline, Kingpin is among the people trapped in a Darkforce-enclosed Manhattan. When some armed robbers raid a church for medical supplies, Kingpin saves the people inside from the armed robbers. Kingpin tells the people present that they should let people know that he saved them once the crisis is over. He later saves Doctor Strange, Spider-Woman, and Ben Urich from the Elder God Pluorgg by ramming it with his limousine and offers his help to the heroes. After crossing through a monster-filled subway, Kingpin takes the heroes to a witch in order to acquire weapons to retake the Sanctum Sanctorum, though Doctor Strange argues over the side effects of black magic. Kingpin is then possessed by a demon inside a mask and attacks the heroes until Ben, transformed into a mystical knight, stops him and they come to a truce. They later help Doctor Strange in defeating Baron Mordo, who had been put in charge of New York by Hydra Supreme Captain America, and retake the Sanctum.
After Hydra's defeat, Fisk is able to use a subsequent mayoral election to put himself forward as a last-minute candidate, avoiding his criminal past being drawn into the issue by simply ignoring questions about it, aided by the fact that he has never been legitimately charged with anything. With his primary policy being a bill to declare all vigilantes criminals, and despite Daredevil's own recent efforts to create a precedent for superheroes testifying under their secret identities in Washington, he is able to have Daredevil arrested in an FBI sting operation, mocking his old nemesis with the knowledge that the people he protects chose Fisk to 'protect' them, prompting Daredevil to break a window and leap out of Fisk's office to begin his own efforts to bring down Fisk's empire. Although Daredevil eventually attempts to set up a 'sting operation' where he and his fellow street-level heroes will capture Fisk meeting with various gang bosses, Fisk uses this plan against them and uses the opportunity to arrest all of Daredevil's allies, subsequently attempting to provoke Daredevil into attacking him. Although Fisk is able to arrest Daredevil as well, he is subsequently attacked and left in critical condition by the Hand, with various amendments made to New York's constitution by prior administrations putting Matt Murdock in control of the city, once he has escaped from captivity, thanks to the Hand attacking the police van where he was being held, Fisk in critical condition and nobody willing to challenge the legal situation.
While the Kingpin has no superhuman powers, he is incredibly strong and significantly durable above the average human, possessing remarkable strength concealed by his extremely corpulent appearance. Most of his body mass is actually muscle that has been built to extraordinary size, much like a Super Heavyweight sumo wrestler, or some Olympic weightlifters and powerlifters but at greater strength levels. He has been shown to be strong enough to hurl large men across a room, rip limbs from people (demonstrated under a handshake), crush a man's skull with his bare hands, and leave imprints in concrete walls after punching them. Defying his size, the Kingpin is a master of many forms of armed and unarmed combat, especially sumo wrestling. His signature move is the bear hug. He has fought Captain America to a standstill in hand-to-hand combat. His daily workout typically consists of simultaneously overcoming five or more trained martial artists with his bare hands; he stores his valuables in a safe which has no lock, only a door which is so heavy that only the Kingpin is strong enough to open it.
He typically wears Kevlar armor under his clothing. Fisk sometimes carries a walking stick that conceals a laser beam weapon capable of firing a blast of concussive force sufficient for vaporizing a handgun (or a person's head) at close range; this is also known as his "obliterator cane". He typically wears an ornamental diamond stick-pin that conceals a chamber of highly compressed sleeping gas that is effective if sprayed at close range directly into his victim's face. Due to his wealth and intellectual industry, Kingpin could use far more advanced paraphernalia, but he prefers to use such things as a last resort. As Fisk became less Spider-Man's enemy than Daredevil's, he became more of a naturalistic mafioso than a comic-book criminal mastermind, and depended less on science fiction-like weaponry.
The United States government is aware of the Kingpin's crimes, but has never been able to prove his involvement. Members of the government have worked with him when necessary (even while describing him as "the devil"), such as when they needed his help to dispose of a Manhattan office building that the Beyonder turned into gold. The Kingpin's willpower is so great that he can resist even the Purple Man's mind control. He is intellectually formidable and is a master tactician and a highly skilled planner and organizer. He is self-educated to university graduate level in the field of political science. He is extremely skilled and knowledgeable in the organization and management of criminal and legal business operations.
In the play Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Fisk is seen robbing a bank with Hammerhead before being thwarted by Spider-Man.
Although he made his debut in the previous issue, it was in this [Stan] Lee and [John] Romita tale [The Amazing Spider-Man #51] that the Kingpin – real name Wilson Fisk – really left his mark on organized crime.