A poor boy without resources, James lost his parents and worked in a circus, where he increased his strength in menial jobs. He climbed through the ranks to become a trapeze artist working along with veteran colleague Gretchen, whom he married.[1]

Dr. Owen Wallach had his brain trapped in Frankenstein's Monster's body and, disliking the situation, he went to the circus looking for a healthy body to which transfer his mind. His appearance startled Gretchen during his number, and she fell to her death. Wallach/Monster then captured and knocked out James and tried to transplant his brain to him, but a mouse accidentally sabotaged the process and replaced James in the operation - causing a mouse-controlled Monster to kill its former body. James was unconscious during the process and his body was left behind in Wallach's lab.[2]

Wallach's deceased enemy Derek McDowell came back to life as a zombie due to psycho Master of Freaks's voodoo magic because the Master wanted the Monster's brain back in its body.[3] McDowell found James' body and transferred his mind to it, using a healthy, unrotten body in his quest - only to discover that Wallach was already dead. The Monster recovered his brain and killed James' body, with McDowell's mind on it.[4]

James, understanding his plight, talked to the mute Monster and explained his story as far as he knew it, obtaining the Monster's sympathy. Once he was done, the Master took control of James body to guide the Monster to his lair for his own purposes - James walked not understanding why he felt that need. Once the Monster and James reached the Master's lair, the Master decided to turn off his magical control, and McDowell's body felt limp,[1] something that moved the Monster against the Master because he felt that he had lost a friend.[3]


In Derek McDowell's corpse, James had some superhuman zombie abilities that have not been fully explained.


When in Derek McDowell's corpse, his actions could be controlled via voodoo by The Master of Freaks.

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