Name: Lester Verde
Occupation: Former reporter, rock music critic,
and performer in a rock band, now genetic engineer
Legal Status: Citizen of the United States with
no known criminal record
Other Aliases: None known
Place of Birth: Unrevealed
Marital Status: Formerly married
Known Relatives: Mrs. Verde (mother), Beverly Switzler
(ex-wife), the Bong Quintuplets ("sons")
Group Affiliation: None
Base of Operations: A castle that moves between
a location on an island in the Atlantic Ocean and a site in the
First Appearance: HOWARD THE DUCK (first series)
History: Lester Verde was an overweight child
who was the victim of continual bullying by his schoolmates. On
one occasion Lester went to his mother for solace, telling her,
"They made fun of me. They called me names. They're all a
bunch of monkey-mouths!" Strangely enough, Mrs. Verde thought
that "monkey-mouths" was a very original and funny expression,
and complimented Lester on it, saying, "You know, I wanted
to be a writer when I was growing up. If I'd had your talent for
making up names, maybe I would've been. The pen is mightier than
the sword, you know." This hackneyed observation had a profound
effect on young Lester, who raced upstairs and began writing invective
against his tormentors.
In the third grade Lester went on a field trip to the offices
of his local newspaper, and decided to become a reporter in order
to wield power over others with his writing.
Years later Verde became a journalism student in college, intent
on making a career out of sensationalistic stories. After his
teacher, one Professor Furgen, challenged Verde's journalistic
ethics in class, the vengeful student wrote an exposee in the
school paper accusing him of involvement in a drug scandal. In
fact, Furgen had obtained an illegal drug, for the first time
in his life, to keep himself awake while writing an important
paper under deadline, but Verde wrote the article in such a way
as to make Furgen's offense seem far more serious. As a result
of the ensuing scandal, Furgen lost his tenure and was even divorced.
While in college, Verde also took a lifedrawing class in which
his fellow student, Beverly Switzler, served as model on four
occasions. Infatuated with Switzler, Verde, who had avoided women
before now except for his mother, boorishly tried to pick Switzler
up, only to be angrily rejected. Again seeking revenge, Verde
informed the parents of Switzler's boyfriend, David, about their
son's relationship with her, portraying it in lurid terms. David's
parents forced him to leave school, and David subsequently died
in a car trash while driving back to the school through a blizzard
to visit Switzler.
After college Verde made a career as an investigative journalist
for various tabloids dealing in alleged scandals. Verde fantasized
that his growing fame would impress Switzler, but heard nothing
from her. In fact, she had long ago forgotten him. He decided
to change careers, hoping to attract her notice and became a rock
music critic for a Midwestern newspaper.
Hoping to become a celebrity through his writing, Verde arranged
to become a performer with Mildred Horowitz and his Band, a popular
rock group known for their spectacular stage shows. Verde planned
to write a book exposing the band as alleged purveyors of decadence.
Significantly, considering Verde's later career, large bells were
tolled on-stage during the band's shows. Verde played the Easter
Bunny in the show, a symbol of innocence that the band pretended
to try to kill in on-stage mock fights. One night, however, the
fight went out of control and Verde's left hand was accidentally
severed by the prop guillotine used on-stage
As yet nothing more has been revealed about how Lester Verde
became the costumed criminal Doctor Bong. Hence, it is unknown
how, and why Verde adopted his costumed persona or how he gained
his extraordinary knowledge of genetic engineering and sonics.
Some years ago, Doctor Bong captured Beverly Switzler and her
companion, the sentient otherdimensional waterfowl Howard
the Duck, while they were on a cruise in the Atlantic Ocean.
Song held them prisoner at his castle, which at first was situated
on an island in the Atlantic but which somehow was transported
to a site in the Himalaya Mountains during this time. Still obsessed
with Switzler, Doctor Bong demanded that she agree to marry him
or else he would kill Howard. Switzler agreed, but Bong nevertheless
used his skill at genetic manipulation to transform Howard into
a human being (albeit one with only four digits on each hand).
Bong then forced a sea captain to marry him to Switzler.
Howard escaped Bong's castle and eventually regained his original
avian form. As for Switzler, Bong never consummated his marriage
with her, preferring to spend his nights reciting Edgar Allen
Poe's classic poem "The Bells." Wearing a suit of armor
filled with weaponry. Howard finally did battle with Doctor Bong,
who easily defeated the courageous bird. Switzler, however, surreptitiously
used Bong's own laboratory to create five infant clones of the
insane geneticist from one of Bong's nail clippings, which she
called the Bong Quintuplets. Switzler then, confronted Bong and
demanded that he spare Howard's life or else she would publicly
accuse Bong of being a negligent father toward his children. Unwilling
to see his image thus besmirched, Bong teleported Switzler and
Howard from his Himalayan castle back to Cleveland, where they
Doctor Bong took custody of the quintuplets and has cared for
them ever since. Presumably his marriage to Switzler has been
annulled. Nothing had been heard of Doctor Bong since his last
confrontation with Howard until recently, when he clashed unsuccessfully
with Jennifer Waiters, the She-Hulk.
Height: 8 ft. 2 in. (8 ft. 8 in. with helmet)
Weight: 225 lbs.
Hair: Reddish blond
Strength level: Doctor Bong possesses the normal
human strength of a man of his age, height, and build who engages
in intensive regular exercise.
Known Superhuman Powers: None
Other Abilities: Doctor Bong possesses knowledge
of genetic engineering advanced far beyond the scope of contemporary
mainstream science. Using this knowledge he has transformed normal
animals into sentient, semi-humanoid beings, (somewhat like the
High Evolutlonary's New
Men), created clones, and even transformed a sentient otherdimensinnal
duck into a human being. He also has advanced knowledge of sonics.
Weapons and Paraphernalia: Doctor Bong wears
a helmet shaped like a bell, and wears a large metal ball in place
of his severed left hand. By striking the ball against his helmet,
he creates sonic vibrations which can produce a wide variety of
effects. The vibrations can, for example, have concussive force,
enough to bend steel, or can paralyze a living being temporarily,
create a nearly impenetrable sonic barrier, or teleport Bong or
someone else in his vicinity to another location. (Presumably
the vibrations trigger a teleportation device and do not perform
the teleportation themselves.) It is not known how Bong protects
himself from the adverse effects of these vibrations.
Doctor Bong possesses teleportational equipment powerful enough
to transport his entire castle over vast distances. He can also
create highly effective illusions through unknown means, perhaps
Doctor Bong refers to his principal device for genetic manipulation
as his evolvochamber. Using it, he can transform an animal of
one species into another, or give the animal humanoid characteristics,
or create clones from cell samples and accelerate their aging
and growth processes so that they change from zygotes to infants
in an unusually short period of time.