Dennis Burton was an assistant District Attorney in Rapid Falls with a hatred for criminals. Unfortunately for him, the politicians of the city had become increasingly corrupt, making it nearly impossible to deal with criminals through legal means.
One day while investigating a train wreck, because that apparently is what assistant district attorneys in Rapid Falls do, Dennis Burton discovered that the wheels of the engine had been purposely sabotaged with acid. Burton disguised himself as an oiler and went to the railyard where he discovered two men tampering with the trains. Burton removed his oiler disguise and followed the men to their hideout where he discovered a large gathering of gangsters under Lester Deeks. The gangsters overpowered Burton and Deeks had him put into the attic. Burton managed to escape and donned his Laughing Mask costume. He then cut the lights in the hideout and lowered a second, glowing mask into the room the gangsters were meeting in to create confusion. He then slaughtered the gangsters and raced to the trainyard to prevent the next train from being sabotaged. Laughing Mask was able to prevent the acid from damaging the train's wheels and managed to stop the train before it reached the Rapid Falls bridge, which had been rigged to explode. Laughing Mask then executed the remaining gangsters save for one who he had sign a confession before dropping him off at a police station. In order to fight crime the only way possible, Burton remained with the persona of the Laughing Mask, and became a masked vigilante. As the Laughing Mask, Burton hunted down criminals and brutally killed them.
Laughing Mask was created by Will Harr and Maurice Gutwirth.
Major Story Arcs
"Mystery of the Swabert Mansion"
After some fighting crime as the Laughing Mask for some period of time, Burton retired the Laughing Mask persona and became the more conventional Purple Mask. The reason for the change is unknown. Sometime later, Burton and Police Commissioner Herrick learn that businessman Frederick Swabert had received a threatening letter demanding to know the location of his father's fortune. Swabert explained that his father did not trust banks and had hidden the money away in secret vaults beneath the house that even Frederick did not know the location of.
Burton quickly realizes that the plans for the Swabert Mansion must have been in a planbook that was recently stolen from an architect, and confirms with his friend William Grant of the National Bank, that the only one with access to the plans was a man named Renard. As the Purple Mask, Burton breaks into Renard's apartment to find that Renard and a gangster named Maurice Bellos were behind the threats. The Purple Mask rushed to the Swabert Mansion, arriving just in time to save Frederick from poisonous gas that was spewing from his telephone. The Purple Mask followed the wire into another room were he discovered Bellos and quickly dispatched of him with his gun.
Shortly thereafter, The Purple Mask encountered Renard and his goons and a deadly shootout ensued. During the firefight, a stray bullet hit a secret switch opening up a concealed door. Renard and his henchman ran through it finding the Swabert treasure in a locked chest surrounded by a moat of acid. The Purple Mask was hot on their heels and in the fight that followed, Renard's henchman fell into the acid moat and perished. The Purple Mask then threatened to toss Renard into the acid as well. This proved too much for Renard to bear and he confessed to everything.
"Busting a Banker"
Burton happened upon a daring daylight bank robbery, and pursued the robbers to a farmhouse on the outskirts of town. Burton then purchases a wagon and disguises himself as a farmer so he could get close to the thieves' hideout and sneak inside. Barton overhears the crooks plotting to leave the farmhouse, so Burton changes into his Purple Mask costume and ambushes the crooks, but they are able to get the drop on him and knock him out with a chair before escaping. The next day in Burton meets with the sickly Mr. Whalen, the owner of the First National Bank that was robbed the day before. Burton rides along with Whalen to the scene of the crime listening about how ill Whalen is before he noticed that Whalen's driver was one of the criminals from the farmhouse. Burton says nothing, but later follows the driver who leads him to the bank robbers' new hideout. Burton realizes that the robbers must be working with Whalen when he hears them mention meeting their boss at the same southern retreat where Whalen said he was going to go to recover from his illness.
Burton rushes ahead, taking the same train as Whalen and then poses as a waiter at the hotel. Burton then changes into his Purple Mask costume and attacks the bank robbers when they arrive. He beats them senseless and locked them in the room while he went to get the police. By the time they had returned, the criminals had escaped out the window. The Purple Mask chased them down on his motorcycle, causing their car to crash which allowed them to be captured by the authorities. The next day Burton handed over the money to the District Attorney, telling him he had received it from Purple Mask.
World War II
Burton would return to his Laughing Mask persona sometime after capturing the bank robbers and joined with Captain America, The Invaders, and assorted other superheroes to fight in the Battle of Berlin.
Rockman, Fiery Mask, the Witness, Black Widow, Mastermind Excello, Dynamic Man, Mister E, Captain Wonder, Blue Blade and Electro went into an SS headquarters in Berlin and discovered a secret, underground chamber. The heroes were trapped in the chamber and Electro shut down when the signal that controlled him could not penetrate that far beneath the ground. The rest of the Twelve were gassed by German scientists and placed inside freezing tubes to be studied and dissected at a later date. However, certain parts of Berlin were seized by the Russians and most of the scientist were either killed or placed in prison camps. The Twelve would lay dormant in suspended animation for years. On August the second, 2008 the basement of the SS bunker was discovered during constructionworks on the sight and the heroes were discovered to still be alive, frozen inside their tubes. The Pentagon brought them over to America and defrosted them, asking them to work for the government once again, openly this time as the Super- Human Registration Act was in effect.
For every hero, it was a major adjustment to wake up 'in the future,' more then 60 year after they where frozen. More so perhaps for the Laughing Mask, because not soon after he had been defrosted, he was arrested for murder. It turned out that, some 60 years ago, he had killed a few mobsters as the Laughing Mask. Police found some of the bullets that Laughing Mask had fired during one of his heroics in the present day. They matched the ones that where found on the crime scene more then 60 years ago. And although it was the murder of a gangster, it was still murder. He would now finally stand trial for his so-called crimes. Luckily, another teammate of the Twelve, Mastermind Excello managed the police to drop the charges for the moment and got him free.
It was however not soon after that a disturbing phone-call came in; Laughing Mask's teammate Blue Blaze had been killed, and it seemed that the lifeless robot Electro was to blame for it. Electro however could only be controlled through a control panel, and nobody was at the panel at the moment that the robot killed Blue Blaze. Eventually, Phantom Reporter brought the remaining Twelve members together to expose the murderer. He revealed that Electro's control helmet revealed to him that Electro had been searching for contact while the twelve slept. It had made contact with the synthetic brain of Dynamic man. This enebled Dynamic Man to control Electro. Richard revealed that Dynamic man used Electro to murder several people including Blue Blade. Dynamic man snapped and destroyed the mansion the Twelve were staying in. Durnig the ensuing battle Firey Mask was killed but was able to pass his powers to Phantom Reporter (as they were passed to him). Phantom Repoter used his powers to incinerate Dynamic man and permantly scarred Captain Wonder in the process.
After their confrontation with Dynamic Man, the remaining members of the Twelve scattered for good. Laughing Mask managed to make a deal with the U.S. Government to get the murder-charges dropped for good, if he in return would be willing to operate the robot Electro for them. This was because only he and other Twelve members where able to operate it thanks to their connection with it for 60 long years. Dennis accepted and became the new operator of the robot, hunting down terrorists and in the proces, once again, started working for the U.S. Government.
Dennis has no real super powers. But, he is strong and athletic. He is a very good fighter. Also he is a master of disguise. He uses guns and a motorcycle.
He is quite ugly, which is why he wears a mask, and the Laughing Mask mask would scare people very easily.