Curtis Conners is noted geneticist who lost his right arm under unrevealed circumstances, he dedicated himself to finding a means of restoring lost limbs, studying the regenerative capabilities of reptiles; however, after five years without major breakthroughs, his sponsors were on the verge of cutting his funding. Drowning his disappointment with alcohol, the drunken Conners injected himself with an experimental serum in a desperate attempt to achieve results. The serum regenerated his right arm but also transformed Connors into an inhuman reptilian creature. Seeking refuge in the sewers, he became an urban legend, dubbed “The Lizard” by the press. A sympathetic Spider-Man sought out Conners who attacked the young hero until the Man-Thing happened upon the scene and restored Conners to human form. Conners’ restored right arm soon withered and died; however, his DNA remained irreparably damaged, with dormant potential for further transformation, and he cut himself off from his wife and son out of fear for their safety.
Conners turned to research on the experimental biological “Suit” designed by Richard Parker, but his work was undercut when Spider-Man, secretly Richard’s son Peter, tested the Suit’s capabilities, and one of Conners’s students, Eddie Brock, absconded with a second sample, then battled Spider-Man while wearing it. When Spider-Man returned to the lab. Conners, who had watched reports of the young hero’s activities and deduced his identity, was waiting him. Although Conners only vaguely recalled their earlier meeting, he felt that he owed the youth a debt and offered to assist him in any way possible.