In the history of comic books, some of the greatest villains of all-time came about their villainous ways for understandable reasons. Some started out as victims of evil themselves, such as Magneto. Others, like Namor the Submariner, acted to protect an entire civilization of their own people. Still, some were merely the victims of horrible unforeseen accidents beyond their control, such as the Hulk. This has often led such characters to redemption arcs as well. Paste-Pot Pete is not one of them…
Humble Beginnings lead to an American Success Story
The tale of Paste-Pot Pete shares absolutely nothing in common with those origin stories. Peter Pretuski (as he was previously known) actually had a pretty good thing going for him before becoming a supervillain. From his humble beginnings in Gary, Indiana, Pete was a simple blue-collar guy who invented a special multi-polymer adhesive that made him very rich. What should have been a remarkable example of the American Dream turned into something else, however.
The American Dream Turns into a Nightmare
Pete just wasn’t satisfied with his new riches. Rather than find better ways to expand his product for capital gain, he decided that crime probably paid better. Hence, Paste-Pot Pete was born. Pete created the most ridiculous looking costume any villain could ever dream of, and then weaponized his adhesive into a “paste-gun,” which he used to rob banks. Sounds like a fool-proof plan, though a guy smart enough to create such an amazing invention might be bothered to put a mask on before he began his crime spree…
Paste-Pot Pete had a plan though, one that would put him at odds with the Fantastic Four’s own Human Torch. Pete attempted to steal a high-tech missile from the US Government, which he planned to sell to the highest bidder. The Human Torch was successful in retrieving the missile and Pete fled the country in shame. Once returning to the country, Pete helped the Avengers defeat Baron Zemo’s “Masters of Evil.” This bought Pete a pardon from the government, as the Avengers believed he had reformed. Never one to refuse looking a gift horse in the mouth, Pete immediately resumed his grudge against the Human Torch before being arrested once again.
Paste-Pot Pete’s Legacy: Crime Doesn’t Pay
Pete later joined up with fellow supervillains Madame Medusa, the Wizard, and the Sandman to form the Frightful Four. The alliance felt that they could take on the Fantastic Four together, though that wasn’t the case. Pete went on to be humiliated by the Human Torch on several more occasions before deciding it was time for a more menacing moniker. Pete changed costumes and renamed himself “The Trapster.”
Pete never truly escaped his original name though, and continued to find himself on the wrong end of jokes for most of his criminal career. He took part in several different incarnations of the Frightful Four, and experienced varying degrees of failure in each. Eventually Pete decided to accept the past, and returned to his original criminal persona, Paste-Pot Pete. In a battle with Gwenpool however, Pete was banished to “Gutter Space.”
Crime doesn’t pay all that well after all.