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 expose 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 life drawing class in which his fellow student, Beverly Switzler, served as a 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 crash 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.
Howard the Duck
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 other dimensional waterfowl Howard the Duck, while they were on a cruise in the Atlantic Ocean. Bong 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 Allan 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 lived.
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 Walters, the She-Hulk.
He later confronted Deadpool and Steve Roger's Secret Avengers where it was revealed that he continued to work as shrink for Deadpool for some time. At the end of the battle, he was defeated and Deadpool cut off his metal ball hand.
He later attended a support group called Villains Anonymous that was held at a church and also attended by Boomerang, Hippo, Porcupine, Grizzly, Looter, Mirage, and others. At another Villains Anonymous meeting, Grizzly and Looter talked about their run-ins with Spider-Man.
He battled Spider-Man along with a group of other villains including; Angar the Screamer, Shrunken Bones, Gorilla-Man, Ruby Thursday and Chondu the Mystic. Led by Doctor Bong they planned on conquering the Multiverse by creating a "Cosmic Bong" in the world’s quietest room.
Powers and Abilities
Super-Genius Intelligence: 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 Evolutionary's New Men), created clones and even transformed a sentient other dimensional duck into a human being. He also has advanced knowledge of sonics.
Doctor Bong possesses the normal human strength of a man of his age, height, and build who engages in intensive regular exercise.
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.
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 temporarily paralyze a living being , 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 teleportation equipment powerful enough to transport his entire castle over vast distances. He can also create highly effective illusions through unknown means, perhaps involving holography.
- 32 appearance(s) of Lester Verde (Earth-616)
- 4 minor appearance(s) of Lester Verde (Earth-616)
- 2 mention(s) of Lester Verde (Earth-616)
- 14 image(s) of Lester Verde (Earth-616)
- 1 quotation(s) by or about Lester Verde (Earth-616)