Leopold Stryke was an aquarium caretaker, an expert in the care of marine life, who began a life of crime while working in the museum. After several small thefts, he accumulated a small fortune, which he used to finance the original Eel costume and a helicopter. The Eel broke into the laboratory of an inventor named Charles Lawson with his hydraulic power-ram of his helicopter. The Eel stole a case marked Project X. Lawson informed the police that the Eel stole a miniature radioactive pile that could unleash an atomic blast if the lever was pulled down when the device was exposed to air. Johnny Storm heard the catastrophic dilemma on the radio and looked for the Eel as the Human Torch. The Eel dropped the device in the woods when he came into conflict with the Human Torch. The Eel extinguished the Human Torch with his aqua attractor gun, but Storm tackled Stryke anyway. During the skirmish, the Eel used his costume to shock Storm but this reactivated the hero's molecular flame. The Human Torch melted the aqua gun and the Eel was apprehended by the police.
The Eel was created by Stan Lee and Dick Ayers in 1963 and first appeared in Strange Tales # 112.
Major Story Arcs
Fellowship of Fear
Mr. Fear would persuade the Eel and the Ox to be his underlings with the use of his gas pellets from his fear gun to form the Fellowship of Fear. This conclave came into conflict with Daredevil.
Count Nefaria hired the Eel, Scarecrow, Unicorn, Plant Man and Porcupine to join the Maggia and serve as his lieutenants. They were ordered to capture the X-Men and were successful with there task. The Eel and Porcupine managed to take down Iceman and Cyclops where they were all shackled and held prisoner. Count Nefaria offered them to join the Maggia but they refused so Nefaria continued with his outrageous plan to steal the capitol of the United States. Count Nefaria wanted special large denomination certificates worth a hundred million placed in a briefcase and forced the X-Men to do his dirty work and deliver it to him at the capitol. The Eel and the rest of the lieutenants decided to no longer follow Count Nefaria and take the briefcase for themselves. The Eel and his partners fought the X-Men for the briefcase where he forced Marvel Girl to drop the briefcase when he blinded her with an electric flash. However, Unicorn betrayed the Eel and shot him with his blaster when he attempted to retrieve the briefcase. The Army arrived and the Eel managed to elude capture and escaped with Porcupine, Plant Man and the Scarecrow.
Upon escaping from jail after the failure of Crime Wave, the Eel, along with his brother, the original Viper, and Klaus Voorhees, now King Cobra, formed the original Serpent Squad. The trio came into conflict with Captain America and the Falcon, and were defeated. Not long after, Madame Hydra murdered Jordan Dixon in order to assume the identity of the Viper for herself. She recruited the Cobra, Princess Python, and the Atlantean warlord Krang into her own version of the Serpent Squad. She also recruited the Eel, telling him that his brother had been killed by federal agents when she had attempted to free him. This incarnation of the Serpent Squad made a bid for the Serpent Crown, but were defeated once again by Captain America, under the guise of Nomad, alongside the Falcon and Namor, the Sub-Mariner. The Eel was sent back to jail.
Not long after, he was killed by Melvin Potter, the Gladiator.
Abilities & Paraphernalia
Stryke's original Eel costume had an electrified chest prod and was coated in a slippery silicone (sometimes asbestos), allowing him to slip easily from the grip of enemies. He also armed himself with several weapons which he stole from inventor Charles Lawson, including the Eel Cannon and the Aqua-Attractor gun.
Eddie LaVell appropriated the costume after Stryke's death, and has modified it several times.