William Barrett Foster was born in the Watts ghetto of Los Angeles, California and spent his childhood there. His higher than mean-average intelligence and the influence of several good people enabled him to leave that ghetto and enroll in the California Institute of Technology, where he acquired a Ph.D. degree in biochemistry and where he met and married his college sweetheart, Claire Temple. Unfortunately for both, over time, their relationship soured and the pair separated. Dr. Foster found work as a biochemist in the Plans and Research Division for Tony Stark's Baltimore factory. He was hired to be the lab assistant of Dr. Hank Pym, the first Giant-Man, when an unstable growing serum trapped Pym at a height of ten feet. Dr. Foster helped him find a cure to change his size back to normal.
Dr. Foster moved to the West Coast to take over the research and development section of Stark International in Los Angeles and became the boss of the three brilliant scientists known as the Whiz Kids. Having memorized the formula to "Pym Particles" in his work with Pym, he synthesized it in the hopes of eliminating its harmful side effects. Eventually, when he tested it on himself, he found that it had indeed given him the ability to grow in size like his former employer and that he had successfully duplicated Pym's powers.
Taking a leave of absence from his duties at Stark, Foster devised a plan by which he believed he might win back Temple's affections; he wrote to her saying that he had worked with Pym and duplicated Pym's powers, but he deceived her into believing that he, like Pym, had been trapped at gigantic stature. They met at a circus sideshow where Foster had said that he had to work to earn money to continue his research. Foster had outfitted himself in costume and was being billed under the name of Black Goliath. Unfortunately for Foster, in taking moonlighting employment at the sideshow, he had, without realizing it at the time, come under the control of the Circus of Crime. Temple had become the girlfriend of Luke Cage, and Cage had followed Temple from New York; the two men fought over her. In the course of their dispute, the Circus of Crime captured Temple, forcing Foster and Cage to set aside their differences long enough to join forces against the Circus of Crime and its Ringmaster, Maynard Tiboldt, from whose control Cage also freed Foster. But Temple chose to stay with Cage rather than reconcile with her ex-husband; thus, Foster returned to Los Angeles, his shameful ploy having failed.
Though he had fashioned a costumed dual identity for himself, Dr. Foster was uncertain whether he should use it to fight crime, considering the circumstances under which he had fashioned it; it was with the encouragement of Pym that he decided to make the attempt. As Black Goliath, he fought criminals such as the Atom Smasher, Warhawk, Vulcan, Stilt-Man (who transported him to the planet Kirgar using his Z-Ray) and the Hijacker. Black Goliath later assisted the Champions of Los Angeles, then joined the group part-time as their technical advisor. After the Champions disbanded, Black Goliath, along with a large group of other heroes, joined the Defenders for only one mission before quitting the group.
Dr. Foster later joined the staff of Project Pegasus, the U.S. government's semi-secret energy research facility. While there he revealed his identity of Black Goliath to the Thing, who at the time was working for Project: Pegasus. In the process of answering an emergency alarm, Foster decided to change his name to Giant-Man at Ben's suggestion. After working at Project: Pegasus for a short time, Foster revealed that he was dying from radiation poisoning he had contracted in his earlier fight with the Atom-Smasher, even though he had continued his attempts to distinguish himself as a crime-fighter, on one occasion teaming up with Spider-Man to face off against Norton Fester, the Meteor Man. Some time later, while on his deathbed, Foster's radiation poisoning was treated using a blood transfusion from Jessica Drew, who called herself Spider-Woman. At the time, Drew possessed an immunity to radiation and other toxins, but when she submitted to the transfusion with Foster, she did so at the expense of losing that immunity factor.
The transfusion Foster had received from Drew had managed to arrest his cellular decay and save his life. But after he had been so treated, thinking his cellular structure had already been too severely decayed from his radiation poisoning to withstand the strain of size-changing safely, Foster gave up the Giant-Man identity for a long time. He finally returned as Giant-Man when he assisted the West Coast Avengers in their battle against the High Evolutionary in the Savage Land during the Evolutionary War. Giant-Man later defeated Ant-Man's old enemy Doctor Nemesis and Goliath (Erik Josten) in their scheme.
Foster soon gave up the identity of Giant-Man, which Hank Pym subsequently reclaimed for himself. Not too long after that, Goliath's ionic powers were disrupted in a battle against the West Coast Avengers. This caused an energy disruption which allowed a race of extra-dimensional creatures, the Kosmosians, to attack Earth. Although the creatures were ultimately repelled, the energy disruption and effects on the Pym Particles affected all who had ever been exposed to them, except Pym himself, causing them to lose control of their growth and/or shrinking powers.
Foster donned the identity of Goliath again, along with a new specialized outfit and this time without the modifying "Black," first to help the Thing deal with a super-villain even as he requested a research grant from the Thing. He then helped Spider-Man track down the Hulk, so that Dr. Robert Bruce Banner, the scientist who uncontrollably transforms into the Hulk, could, possibly, deal with Spider-Man's own cellular degeneration.
During the superhuman Civil War, Foster was a member of Captain America's anti-registration Secret Avengers, adopting the alias of Rockwell Dodsworth. He subsequently appeared briefly amongst the cavalcade of other African-American superheroes attending the wedding of the Black Panther and Storm.
Foster was killed by a clone of Thor during a fight between the Secret Avengers and Iron Man's pro-registration forces. Since it proved not to be possible to reduce his body to normal size, he was buried as a giant, with Tony Stark (Iron Man) paying for the thirty-eight burial plots required to accommodate him. His death affected the balance of forces in the war, leading several previously pro-Registration or neutral figures to change sides, most notably the Invisible Woman, the Human Torch, the Black Panther, Storm, and Spider-Man, as well as many others, questioning Iron Man's cause.
Bill Foster's nephew Thomas, while a student at M.I.T., informed the Black Panther that he intended to follow in his uncle's footsteps by cracking the Pym Particle formula and becoming a hero. The Black Panther promised to help him achieve his goal.
Powers and Abilities
Size Alteration. Due to his infusion with Pym Particles, Goliath is a mutate who possesses the ability to increase his size, to a maximum safe limit of approximately 25 feet in height. Persons infused with the particles who are able to increase their sizes do so by means of accruing mass from an unknown, presumably extra-dimensional, source and expanding their own molecular structures at the same time; as they are so expanding their molecular structures, they add this mass to them. William Foster himself generally attained a stature of 15 feet for the majority of his crime-fighting activities. At this stature of 15 feet, which is 2.5 times his normal height of 6 feet, Foster's weight increased by a factor of 15.625, the cube of the factor of 2.5, from his normal weight of 200 pounds to a weight at 15 feet of 3125 pounds.
It is not known precisely how Pym Particle infusees, including William Foster himself, determine the specific sizes, larger than their normal ones, they wish to become. In William Foster's own case, it presumably involved biofeedback, an acute awareness of his bodily conditions.
For some such Pym Particle infusees as William Foster, there appear to be no limits on how long they can remain in their expanded forms. The longest period of time Foster himself ever attempted was three weeks.
- Super-Human Strength Based On Increased Size. Since the accruing of mass in their expanded molecular structures augment their bone and muscle tissue, Pym Particle infusees who are able to increase their sizes acquire strength levels that are sufficient to support their additional weights. Goliath presumably gained super-human strength by this means, in proportion with his increased height; at 15 feet tall, he could lift (press) approximately 5 tons.
Aside from his increased strength level in his expanded form, William Foster possessed the normal human strength of an Earth human of his age, height, and build who engaged in moderate regular exercise.
After-Effects Of Size Changes: The process of changing sizes, for Pym Particle infusers who can increase their sizes, is a fatiguing process, rendering such persons more vulnerable to harm after successive changes. When William Foster, as Black Goliath, was bombarded with deadly radiation in his initial combat against the Atom Smasher, the radiation bombardment immediately produced harmful side effects, making his size changes physically painful and occasionally causing him to black out.
- The death of William Foster was predicted by Deadpool, who described Goliath as "Deserving of death and worse."
- His last words were, "Get ready for the shortest comeback in history, Thor!"
- His origin blurb from the first page of his self-titled book read: "BILL FOSTER - Dr. William Barrett Foster, DSc, Ph.D. - a child of the GHETTO who has pulled himself up out of the Los Angeles slums to become director of one of the nation's most prestigious research labs. A man whose research has given him the power to instantaneously grow to a height of FIFTEEN FEET, with the strength of a TRUE GIANT. A man who has become... a HERO."
- 80 appearance(s) of William Foster (Earth-616)
- 22 minor appearance(s) of William Foster (Earth-616)
- 22 mention(s) of William Foster (Earth-616)
- 38 image(s) of William Foster (Earth-616)
- 6 quotation(s) by or about William Foster (Earth-616)
- 2 item(s) used/owned by William Foster (Earth-616)