For the current Crime-Master, see Bennett Brant.
Nick Lewis Jr. was already a renowned gang boss in New York City when he instructed 'The Terrier' to keep a tail on Betty Brant. Miss Brant's brother had run up terrible gambling debt's with Lewis' gang, and he wished to use this to his advantage by wrestling the Daily Bugle from out of J Jonah Jameson's control. However, The Terrier (and therefore Lewis) was thwarted by Spider-Man, thus creating a passionate vendetta against the wall-crawler.
Later Lewis arranged for the Vulture to be liberated from his incarceration. In order to repay the debt of freedom, the Vulture was expected to assassinate the Kingpin. The plan was to remove the Kingpin, allowing Lewis to usurp his power base and take further control over New York's gangs. However, the Kingpin proved to be a more formidable foe than expected and once again Lewis was thwarted.
Super heroes & super villains were making it increasingly difficult for Lewis to run his gang or take any further ground in New York. As such, he decided to upgrade himself into the super criminal known as the Crime-Master.
Crime-Master first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #26, created by Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko.
Major Story Arcs
The guise of the Crime-Master was simply a mask that obscured Lewis' face. However, his plans grew in scope instead. One of the Crime-Master's first schemes were to use a new invention call the Cerebra Chip. Created by Dr Bartholomew Carson, the chips would take over the cerebral control of any individual. Crime-Master intended to plant the Cerebra Chips on hundreds of New York's henchman, taking over their minds to create a 'Super Squad' and controlling them in a mass-scale simultaneous crime spree. To achieve this, Crime-master kidnapped Dr Carson's daughter and used her as leverage to force his cooperation. However, his zombie-like goons were defeated by Spider-Man as they were breaking into the bank.
Although defeated once again, Crime-Master's true identity remained a mystery.
The Crime-Master's hunger for more power in New York brought him into a dangerous alliance with the Green Goblin. Lucky Lobo's gang had been imprisoned, and naturally Crime-Master wanted to fill the void. The Green Goblin had already discovered Crime-Master's true identity, and pretended to share his own true identity (which was an assumed name) to gain the Crime-Master's trust. Together they tried to steal a device that created a Seismic Ray. Once again Spider-Man intervened, but in the subsequent chaos Crime-Master began to doubt the stability of the Green Goblin's sanity and their pact.
Crime-Master continued with his plans to usurp power from other gang bosses, by breaking into their hideouts and shooting their previous leaders. However, the reporter Frederick Foswell had discovered Crime-Master's true identity. Desperate to prevent the reporter from revealing his true name, Crime-Master went to Foswell's apartment to assassinate him. Instead of Foswell, the Crime-Master found Spider-Man ready and waiting for him. During the fight, Crime-Master managed to render Spider-Man unconscious by choking him with gas, and threw him off the building.
Having called a meeting of all the remaining gang leaders, Crime-Master declared himself their overall leader since he had accomplished the one thing they couldn't; the death of Spider-Man. However, his plans were immediately crushed when the Green Goblin burst in on the scene carrying Spider-Man's unconscious body. The assembled gang leaders ignored the Crime-Master and all pledged allegiance to the Green Goblin instead. More chaos ensued when Spider-Man regained consciousness and escaped, leaving the gangs to fight amongst themselves and the local police force.
Embittered by his constant failures and defeat at the hands of Spider-Man, Crime-Master decided to take his revenge. From a rooftop, he managed to spy a meeting between Spider-Man, Frederick Foswell, and J. Jonah Jameson. His plan was simple: shoot them dead. Just as he was taking aim, the police arrived. This resulted in a shoot out between the Crime-Master and the police. However, out-gunned and outnumbered, the Crime-Master was killed in the shoot out.
Lewis' son briefly adopted the mantle of Crime-Master in a bid to avenge his father's death. He was thwarted by Spider-Man and the Human Torch.
More recently, Bennett Brant has become Crime-Master and plagued the new Venom.