Philbert Hoskins was a fat, underachieving child who had an obsession with astronomy. However, one night while gazing through his telescope, Philbert saw a crashing meteorite. He ran out to it, and poked it with a stick. It gave off a bright flash of light that turned Phil into a huge, walking pile of sludge called Grossout. When his mother could no longer afford to feed him, he was taken away to a government base in New Mexico. There, he met three other mutated misfits: Slither, Fang, and Scream Queen. The four would escape and form a rock band named Scare Tactics.
Grossout was created by Len Kaminski, Andy Lanning and Anthony Williams.
While physically imposing, Grossout is arguably the most gentle member of the group. When Burnsteel and the rest of the gang rescue him from the R-Complex facility, he can be seen cowering in fear, begging them not to hurt him. He often reassures his friends in times of peril, in his own clumsy, stammering way. They do not understand him at first, assuming that he is just a big, dumb monster. But after the events of Scare Tactics #4, in which Grossout writes his story and hands it out for the group to read, they see him in a different light. Grossout further elaborates on this in Impulse Plus, telling Max Mercury that people often mistake his verbal clumsiness and slowness for mental inability.
Major Story Arcs
Grossout is featured in the Weirdoverse crossover story arc Convergence.
As part of a four issue miniseries designed to push the Scare Tactics series by teaming each member up with an established DC character, Grossout was paired with Impulse (Bart Allen), in Impulse Plus. In this issue, Grossout escapes and runs wild in Alabama, causing rumours of a bog monster in the local swamp. When Impulse and Max Mercury try to track down what they believe may be Bigfoot, they encounter Grossout. Their aim is to get to him before the military do, as they do not want the creature to be hurt. But after protecting Grossout from enemy fire, Impulse is taken down by an energy beam and is temporarily drained of his powers. During his stay with the pair, Grossout learns that he and Max share a fascination with astronomy. When Grossout realises he has absorbed some of his new friend's speed ability, he makes the decision to give that ability back, and takes part in an energy transfer which restores Impulse's powers.
At the end of the issue, Bart and Max tell Grossout he is welcome to stay there with them - but he declines, imagining that his presence in Alabama may put all three of them at risk.
Assisters Of Mercy
It is Grossout that Jimmy turns to when his powers spiral out of control. After attacking Nina, he begs his friend to put him out of his misery, which he does. This has a profound emotional effect on Grossout, who bursts into tears whenever the incident is mentioned.
In Scare Tactics #11, Grossout confesses to his crime while being interrogated by Batman. He is so remorseful and grief-stricken about the incident that Batman decides to show him mercy, and allows him to go free.