- Spider-Man Villains
The Kingpin (Wilson Fisk)
most often comes up against The Punisher,
Spider-Man, and Daredevil. Created by writer Stan Lee and artist
John Romita, Sr., he first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #50
(July 1967). He was modeled after Sydney Greenstreet's character in
The Maltese Falcon, Kasper Gutman. The Kingpin is the
leader of the New York mafia, although his army of lawyers maintain
his image as a legitimate businessman. The character played a
prominent role in the Daredevil stories of the late 1970s and early
1980s written by Frank Miller, and the two have had a bitter,
violent feud ever since.
Fisk has no superhuman powers, but the majority of his 400-plus
pound bulk is muscle.
Amazing Spider-Man #50 Cover
Daredevil 170 Cover
Wilson Fisk began his life as a poor child, ridiculed by his classmates,
as he was heavy and unpopular. When he was repeatedly harassed by
bullies, Fisk began training himself in physical combat. Using his
newfound strength, he intimidated the bullies into joining his gang, and
he started on the road towards being one of the most successful
criminals in New York City. His first gang was a small one with only a
few thugs. However, he eventually was found by crime lord Don Rigoletto.
Fisk became Don Rigoletto's bodyguard and right-hand man. Eventually,
Fisk killed Don Rigoletto and took control of his gang, immediately
becoming one of the most powerful criminals in the city.
The Kingpin stayed the ruler of New York's criminal underground for a
long time. However, he had made enemies with other gangs, specifically
the Maggia and HYDRA, who teamed together to bring down Fisk and his
gang. Fisk left for Japan after his empire was brought down, and started
a spice business, in order to become wealthy once more. 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 control.
While Fisk was a powerful crime lord, he posed as a legitimate
businessman, one who made donations to charities, and seemed like a
generous, wealthy man. He eventually met a woman named Vanessa, whom he
married and had a son with, 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
temporarily retired from crime, and the family moved back to Japan,
until gang wars in New York required Fisk's attention.
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 he rose
up to be one of the Kingpin's greatest criminal enemies, a rival crime
lord known as The Rose. When Kingpin's empire was at its top, Fisk was
the most powerful human in the Marvel universe, controlling several
governments including the United States of America.
Cover to Daredevil #170. Art by Frank Miller. Wilson Fisk eventually
lost his criminal empire to one of his employees, Samuel Silke, who was
working with his son Richard, in a bloody Caesar-like assassination bid.
In the aftermath, Vanessa killed Richard and fled the country with
Fisk's remaining wealth while the Kingpin recuperated in an unnamed
eastern-European country, broken and alone.
He returned, and after getting revenge on Silke by crushing his head,
almost managed to regain his empire through sheer will, but was defeated
by Daredevil, who declared himself the new Kingpin. Fisk was put in
Recently, he hatched a scheme to be freed and regain his wealth by
giving the F.B.I. proof in the form of the nonexistent "Murdock Papers"
that Matt Murdock is Daredevil. Having made so many enemies who were in
prison, Fisk was constantly under attack from the Hand, HYDRA, or any
number of criminal organizations with which he had had intimate contact.
The U.S. Government was hard pressed to get rid of this expensive,
dangerous, legally clean master criminal, and Fisk succeeded in
manipulating the F.B.I. into gravely wounding Daredevil and directing
them to his DNA. He tells Ben Urich to give the feds the location of the
Night Nurse, the only medic for injured superheroes, or go to jail.
He succeeded in getting Matt Murdock finally arrested, but the F.B.I.
betrayed him at the last minute and arrested him as well, placing him in
the same jail as Murdock with hopes that the two would kill each other.
Ironically, the enemies were forced to team up in order to survive a
prison riot which was directed at them. Finally, Murdock sacrificed the
deal, refusing to let Bullseye, who was also incarcerated, leave the
prison as Kingpin had planned. The fight ended with the Kingpin shot
point-blank in the knee by gunfire from Bullseye intended for Murdock,
while Murdock escaped.
Fisk also appeared in the Civil War War Crimes one-shot. He offered a
deal to Iron Man — consideration on his sentence in exchange for
information about Captain America's Resistance base. However, as his
status in prison is threatened for collaborating with Stark, he betrays
him; he first sets up Iron Man by revealing a gathering of super
villains by Hammerhead to create a new criminal empire, claiming it was
a base of Captain America's, and gives information to the Secret
He also put out a hit on Spider-Man and his loved ones. A sniper
attempted to hit Spider-Man, only to hit the "secondary target" of Aunt
At some point later, after Matt Murdock returns to America 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.
Fisk is seen visiting his wife's grave.
In DC and Marvel's Batman/Spider-Man crossover book, Kingpin is forced
to partner with Ra's Al Ghul in a plan that would destroy New York City,
in an exchange for a cure to Vanessa's cancer. As it turned out, Ra's
gave Vanessa her cancer to force Kingpin to aid him, but the Kingpin
actually formed an alliance with Batman and Spider-Man to save the city.
Ra's attempted to get his revenge by denying Fisk the cure for Vanessa's
cancer, but Talia Al Ghul, Ra's's daughter, provided the cure herself,
recognizing in Vanessa a kindred spirit, who loved a man that society
would regard as a monster. In the second Batman/Daredevil crossover
book, Kingpin almost lost his entire criminal empire to the Scarecrow,
who had tried to dismantle it merely as a distraction so that he could
spread fear toxin throughout New York. In this book, Kingpin is shown to
be a formidable physical match for Batman.
The character has appeared in each
animated series adaptation of Spider-Man (with the exception of
Spider-Man Unlimited) so far, including the 1967 version in "Kingpinned"
and "The Big Brainwasher", the 1981 version in "Wrath of the
Sub-Mariner" and "The Return of the Kingpin", and
Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends in "Pawns
of The Kingpin". He also appeared in the Spider-Woman episode "The
Kingpin Strikes Again".
Spider-Man: The Animated Series, he was the main villain. This
Kingpin is fairly close to the comics version, but he is often occupied
with manipulating super-powered characters to do his bidding. He's the
mastermind behind the creation of the Spider-Slayers and is responsible
for the creation of the Insidious Six, the animated equivalent of the
Sinister Six. He's also involved in a power struggle with crime boss
Initially he operated behind the scenes until a two-part episode where
his identity was revealed to Spider-Man with the help of Daredevil, who
was seeking revenge for his father's murder at Kingpin's hands. The
Kingpin's associates here was first Alistair Smythe but after Smythe
almost betrayed the Kingpin, Dr. Herbert Landon replaced him. The
Kingpin was voiced by Roscoe Lee Browne in this series.
This series also described an origin for the Kingpin, somewhat different
than the comic-book version. As a boy, Wilson Fisk was influenced by his
father, who sought employment as a mob criminal. When older, Fisk
assisted his father in robbing banks and jewelry stores, culminating in
one robbery where his father escaped but Fisk, hampered by his
already-considerable weight, was captured by police. In adulthood, Fisk
emulated his father's goal and climbed to a position of seniority within
the mob, adopting the alias "Kingpin". He has had his police file
destroyed, removing all record of his earlier arrest. He arranged for
the arrest and conviction of his father, still an aspiring but minor
criminal, and declared that he did this because "Sacrifices must be
John Rhys-Davies played Fisk in the TV movie,
| In the feature film,
, Michael Clarke Duncan played the character. As in
MTV animated series, he is responsible for the murder of
Daredevil's father. Although he is African-American and in the
comics the Kingpin is Caucasian, the studio decided to use Duncan,
who resembled the character's intimidating stature. Many fans and
critics have praised Duncan for his portrayal of the character.
Here, Kingpin started out as an enforcer for a mob boss named Falon,
in which capacity he was hired to kill Jack Murdock after he
refused to throw a fight. Years later, Fisk became a crime boss in
his own right and successfully hid his criminal activities from the
public, although the media picked up on reports of a "Kingpin",
running all crime in the city.
Michael Clarke Duncan
He hired Bullseye to kill Nikalaos
Natchios (attempting to frame Natchios as the Kingpin in the process).
He was successful, but Fisk also wanted Natchios' family killed as well
and hired Bullseye to kill Natchios' daughter, Elektra, as well as the
troublesome Daredevil. Even though Bullseye successfully killed Elektra,
he lost to Daredevil and during the fight revealed that Fisk was really
the Kingpin. Daredevil and Kingpin confronted each other in a final
showdown. Daredevil was severely beaten by Fisk, who unmasked him,
revealing that Daredevil was really "the blind lawyer from Hell's
Kitchen". Daredevil nevertheless managed to make a comeback, taking Fisk
down by breaking his kneecaps. Daredevil prepared to kill Fisk to take
revenge for his father and for Elektra, but let the Kingpin live so as
not to stoop to his level. Instead, Daredevil left Fisk for the police,
who had learned of his identity as the Kingpin. Fisk threatened to tell
everyone who Daredevil really was, until Daredevil pointed out that
revealing to his prison inmates that he had been beaten by a blind man
was the equivalent of suicide. Nevertheless, Kingpin swore that he'd get
out of jail soon and that he'd be back to kill Daredevil, who merely
said he would be waiting.
Duncan reprised his role as the character in one episode of Spider-Man:
The New Animated Series. Here, the Kingpin manipulated Spider-Man into
thinking he worked for the F.B.I. and assigned the superhero to steal a
chip from the mob (they were actually innocent scientists). Spider-Man
soon realized he was scammed (evidenced when he learned that the first
F.B.I. agent he met is just a movie actor) and with the help of Harry
Osborn and the real F.B.I., Spider-Man had the Kingpin behind bars. In
this series, Kingpin uses a red diamond-studded cane capable of shooting
lasers from the diamond.
He appears in some notable episodes of Police Academy cartoon, as a tie
to Marvel Comics. This was unique as Kingpin normally is confronted by
Marvel characters such as Spider-Man, Daredevil, and Punisher, but in
this case was being pursued solely by the Police Academy group who were
police officers with no supernatural abilities, until leading their own
The Kingpin is featured in the video game The Punisher .
In The Punisher arcade game, Kingpin was the final villain.
In Spider-Man: The Video Game, the Kingpin was one of the main villains,
the last boss of the stage 3, 'The Lair of Kingpin'.