Orson Kasloff was a scientist who turned to crime after deciding that his scientific endeavors were not paying as well as they should. Kasloff first attempted to use several of his inventions to rob a bank, but triggered an alarm and narrowly escaped police capture. He then attempted to hire some other criminals but they scoffed at him. Kasloff decided that if he wanted the criminal underworld's respect he would have to defeat the person they feared most, The Human Torch!
Kasloff purchased an old castle outside the city to use as a laboratory and set to work designing his costume. Some time later he emerged as Asbestos Man.
Asbestos Man was created by Stan Lee, Dick Ayers, and H.E. Huntley at a time when asbestos was thought to be a benign substance.
Major Story Arcs
Asbestos Man vs. The Human Torch
To earn the respect of his criminal peers, Asbestos Man set out to defeat The Human Torch. Asbestos Man sent him a letter, challenging him to a fight at his castle. Johnny, not wanting to appear scared, accepted the challenge, but Asbestos Man stunned him with his net and then used a trap door to drop The Human Torch into the moat. Asbestos Man mocked The Human Torch and allowed him to escape, telling him that he could easily defeat him again anytime he wanted.
When news of The Human Torch's defeat at the hands of Asbestos Man, criminals began paying attention to Kasloff and he was soon designing equipment for a crime boss to help him improve his rate of bank robbery success. Johnny Storm, after receiving words of encouragement from Sue Storm went to challenge Asbestos Man again.
This time he was prepared and started the fight by melting the steel handle on Asbestos Man's net, rendering it useless. The Human Torch then used his flames to consume all the oxygen in the room, which caused Asbestos Man to surrender. He was promptly taken into custody by the police.
Asbestos Man made an attempt to return to a life of crime, but was talked out of it by the Great Lakes Avengers, none of whom actually wanted to touch Asbestos Man to take him into custody because of the toxicity of his suit.
Powers and Abilities
Asbestos Man wore a suit and carried a shield composed of "Super Asbestos," created from his own formula of chrysotile, calcium, and iron. The suit and shield protected him from flames and were thick enough to be bulletproof as well. He also carried a net with him that was fashioned from "skin-covered nitrogen strands," with which he could catch fireballs and hurl them back with explosive force.