Raised in modest circumstances by his widowed father, who worked for the IRS, Christopher Chance was a normal, happy youngster until the night he and his dad were returning home from a basketball game and were confronted by a killer know only as Dancer. Forced by their assailant into a nearby alley, Chris learned that his dad had borrowed money from a local loan shark in the hope of being able to give him and his son a better life. Unfortunately, Philip Chance had lost the money on the stock market and, unable to repay the loan shark, was now going to be made an example of.
As Dancer prepared to shoot him, the man pleaded for his life. Fear held the young Chris Chance rooted to the spot, unable to move as he witnessed his father's degradation. As Dancer prepared to shoot, Chris suddenly hurled himself between the two men. The Dancer swiftly brushed Chris aside and completed his assignment, killing Philip Chance.
Enraged, Chris Chance threw himself at Dancer, trying to strangle the now startled killer. Before Dancer could shoot Chris as well, the sound of police sirens sent him running for the shadows.
Discovering that his father was just alive, Chris turned to comfort him. With his last breath, Philip Chance made his son promise that he'd make a success of himself, so that Chris would not meet the same end he had. Standing over his father's dead body, Christopher Chance vowed that as long as he lived, no one would ever have to live with the kind of fear his father knew, or would have to face that humiliation. Chris had tried to be a target for his father and had failed, but he swore he would never fail again.
Christopher Chance was created by writer Len Wein
and artist Carmine Infantino
, first appearing in a back-up feature in Action Comics
#419. He was based on an earlier version of The Human Target, Fred Venable, who made one or two appearances in the 1950's.
Chance originally appeared in a back-up feature in Action Comics as well as the occasional guest appearance with Batman and his own back-up in Detective Comics. Chance trained himself for the job that lay ahead, becoming a superior athlete, an expert with weapons ancient and modern and a master of disguise. He opened a restaurant on Joy Street in Boston's prosperous Beacon Hill section and charges whatever fees the market will bear, as part of his promise to his father. Christopher Chance has become the Human Target, stepping into the shoes of people marked for murder and betting he can stop any killer before the killer stops him. He is a perfect mixture between hired protection and hitman, a gamble that never fails.
Writer Peter Milligan
revived the character for a mini-series under DC's Vertigo
imprint in 1999. The plot revolved in Chance losing his face and having to undergo reconstructive surgery. The series proved popular enough for Milligan to return with a graphic novel, Human Target: Final Cut
, where Chance fails to protect the son of a rich Hollywood family. Chance decides to reconstruct his face to assumes the son's identity and live out his life. This too lead into an ongoing which ran for 21 issues, again by Milligan, where Chance peruses his career further by moving to New York City.
The Human Target returned to the DC Comics imprint once again to star in a new series based on the FOX Television show of the same name.
The Human Target is somewhat unique in that, for a minor character, he has had several attempts at Television success.
The first of these started out as a pilot episode starring Rick Springfield as Christopher Chance produced in 1990. Although the pilot never aired, Springfield returned in a short lived series that aired in the summer of 1992 for seven episodes, airing on ABC.
In January 2010 Human Target premiered on Fox, Starring Mark Valley as Christopher Chance. Chi McBride and Jackie Earl Haley also star as Winston and Guerrero, Chances best friends and coworkers. In this series Chance is an assassin. After falling in love he quits and goes into the protection business. She is killed in an explosion and his life is changed forever. Along the way he meets a Detective named Winston and the two become great friends. Chance brings Guerrero, also an assassin working for the same people, along with him. They are Chance's most trusted friends. The series ran for two seasons, ending in May 2011.