Little is known about Ben Urich's early life. He had at least one sibling, probably a brother. As a young man he attended New York University, where he pursued and ultimately received a degree in journalism. While still at school he obtained a job working as a copy boy for the Daily Bugle, and maintained his employment there upon graduation, eventually becoming a reporter of some esteem, pursuing crime stories in particular. Eventually he was able to work out the identity of Daredevil, and leveraged this knowledge to build a friendship with Daredevil, who soon began offering Urich information in exchange for any information Urich could provide. Urich set himself to uncovering the identities of various criminal elements in the city.
Ben Urich was created by Roger McKenzie and Gene Colan and first appeared in Daredevil #153 (1978).
Major Story Arcs
Circle of Blood
The Punisher sends a note to Urich informing him of his quest to kill the Kingpin. Urich's publication of the story ultimately leads to a series of deaths, with victims including organized crime members as well as innocent civilians.
At some point after Ben gets his nephew Phil Urich, a job at the Bugle. On a journalism assignment, the two discovered one of the late Harry Osborn's secret lairs. It is at this time that Phil is knocked into a chemical bath of an untested version of the Goblin Formula leading him to becoming a new, heroic, Green Goblin.
The Pulse and Civil War
Daredevil's identity is publicly printed, and out of loyalty Urich refuses to acknowledge whether Daredevil is Matt Murdock or not, which has a detrimental impact on his career. He is later assigned to write The Pulse, a supplemental piece for the Bugle. During his time with The Pulse he uncovers the true identity of the Green Goblin, Norman Osborn, which he exposes in a book, Legacy of Evil. He also uncovers Peter Parker's identity as Spider-Man, but, as with Daredevil, he declines to expose Parker's secret. During the Civil War Urich acts as an embedded journalist, reporting on Iron Man's pro- Registration efforts. He is taken off of this assignment due to supposed neutrality issues. He later leaves the Bugle entirely, co-founding the internet news site Frontlines.com with Sally Floyd, which later receives a print outlet in the form of Front Line.
World War Hulk
Urich reports on the alien invasion alongside Floyd. He also spends a great deal of his time investigating into the identity of the Red Hulk. When the Red Hulk becomes aware of his investigations, he hunts Urich down and warns him to drop his investigations and never publish any of his research, or Red Hulk will attack his colleagues.
Urich is trapped in a hospital by the invasion of the Skrulls. He is one of the few survivors following the Skrulls' rampage through the hospital, and he and several survivors make their way to Stark Tower. Following an encounter with another Skrull at the Tower, Urich and another survivor wander to Central Park, where they observe the final battle between the Skrulls and the Earth heroes. Following the conclusion of the invasion he learns that his wife Doris has died, apparently of cancer. This sends him into a period of despondency during which he experiences severe writer's block. His writer's block is lifted when Osborn's return, rise to power, and apparent acceptance by the general public prompts him to write an article entitled " Dark Reign: Norman Osborn Takes Control".
Urich joins forces with ex-colleague Bill Stern in Chicago, and the pair are soon joined by Volstagg. The trio travels to Oklahoma, where Osborn is waging a siege on Asgard. Urich reports on the fighting and frequently comes into contact with both Stern and Volstagg in the course of the siege. At one point he is attacked and almost eaten by Venom, but manages to escape. He and Stern are later rescued from being crushed by a crashing helicarrier by Volstagg. The trio later work together to aid in the Asgardian evacuation efforts. Urich observes the defeat of the Void. After the siege is completed he and Stern return to New York.
Urich is awoken in the middle of the night and held captive by gang members at the funeral of Bullseye, and forced to write an obituary for Bullseye in which he is made to honor the man. Those who attend the funeral including the priest are forced to cry during the farce mostly for the reason they're held hostages. On the van driven by the criminals he meets a mentally unstable guy named Denny Deaver who has been seeing ghostly apparitions since childhood and is now being haunted by Bullseye's spirit who forces him to join the farce in order to stop the torment. Ben manages to leave clues to his predicament in the morgue, and a rescue effort is mounted by Daredevil and the Hand. Urich is rescued following a massive brawl, during which he is almost killed.
Ben Urich interviews Norah Winters about her tell-all book on her relationship with his nephew, Phil now known as Goblin Knight and part of the Goblin army terrorizing New York. Norah blames herself for ignoring the obvious signs, making Ben wonder how he could still call himself a reporter. Leaving the interview, Ben receives a call from Mary Jane, warning him that the Goblins are coming after friends Spider-Man. However after Ben’s call ends, he gets a surprise visit from Phil promises his safety, but warns him to stay off the streets. Ben then goes to the Daily Bugle to warn Robbie Robertson and then to Parker Industries where he is told by Sajani Jaffrey that Peter is dead. Knowing this is only a cover story, he gives Sajani his notes on the Goblin Formula in hopes of creating a cure. Sajani, however, has already working on one, and shows him Carlie Cooper, still in her Monster form. Sajani says that because it hasn’t been tested, it might kill her and Carlie points out that since Ben is desperate to help Phil the cure can be tested on him first to which Ben agrees.
Fearing Phil will go after Norah for revenge Ben waits at Norah’s apartment to kill her only to find Ben waiting for him. Ben tries to convince Phil to turn himself in and is about to inject with him a cure, when Phil’s Goblin minions bring in Robbie, who had been following Ben. Ben tries to convince Phil its not a trap, offering him the cure. Enraged, Phil smashes the vial and taking out his flame sword, slashes Robbie across the chest. Ben yell for help and when Phil’s lackeys try to silence him, Phil kills them instead. He then demands Ben tell him where the rest of the cure is located. Suddenly, Spider-Man arrives and during the ensuing fight Phil’s goblin mask is shattered. Seeing Phil’s face, Ben realizes Phil enjoys being a Goblin. Otto is able to stun Phil, but he tells them that if they want to save Robbie they’ll have to let him go. Having no other choice Ock and Ben allow Phil to escape, taking Robbie to the hospital. Ben now realizes he’s lost his nephew for good and that he has to learn to accept it.
Powers and Abilities
Urich has no superhuman abilities. He is of average or above-average intelligence, and a gifted reporter. He is fairly skilled at detective work and research.
Urich makes a minor appearance in this universe, as a staff member at the Daily Bugle.
Urich does not physically appear, but is apparently a published author, having written at least one book, which is entitled His Name Was Spider-Man.
Urich is a young reporter who works with both of Spider-Man's identities. He is mostly responsible for exposing the criminal machinations of the Kingpin, even submitting incriminating evidence in court. He is at one point attacked by a vampire, but does not contract vampirism.
House of M
Urich works for The Daily Bugle, a propagandistic mouthpiece for the mutant government. He does not attempt to challenge those in power, and encourages others to do the same.
Urich is a drug addict who relies on blackmailing Osborn to feed his habit. He acts as a mentor to Parker, and eventually passes on the incriminating evidence on Osborn to Felicia Hardy. He is murdered by the Chameleon, who has disguised himself as J Jonah Jameson.
Urich appears as a reporter for the New York Post who uncovers Daredevil's identity but decides not to reveal it. He is played by Joe Pantoliano.
Urich appears in the live-action Daredevil TV series, which is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This version of the character is African-American rather than white, and is portrayed by Vondie Curtis-Hall.
In the show, he works for the fictional New York Bulletin newspaper rather than the Daily Bugle. He was once a proud investigative journalist who helped take down the Mafia and expose a number of corrupt dealings in the city, but was mostly reduced to inoffensive puff pieces in his later years. He gets some of his old spark back after being approached by Karen Page, and aids her in her investigation into Wilson Fisk. He and Karen eventually uncover some crucial information about Fisk's past, namely that as a child, he killed his father. Fisk confronts Ben and asks if he was alone when he discovered this, and Ben lies to protect Karen. Fisk proceeds to kill Ben, whose funeral is attended by Karen and the others. After Fisk's criminal dealings are finally exposed in the season finale, Karen and the others drink a toast to Ben's memory.
Spider-Man: Battle for New York
Urich appears as a minor character in this game. He is voiced by Robin Atkin Downes.