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Sludge was originally a dirty NY cop named Frank Hoag. Hoag worked for John Paul Marcello. Marcello gave Hoag the job of killing another dirty cop, but Frank refused to do so. Marcello then put another hit out, this time on Frank. The hit was then carried out by Vittorio Sabatini who shot Frank several times and then finished him off with a bomb. However the bomb had caused chemicals near him to cover his body. His body was then dumped, but sewage from the dump site and the chemicals from his body merged and caused him to come back to life with a new anger against crime as Sludge. He was super strong and durable, no longer needed air, was immune to poisons and could cause tissue growth in others, however a side effect of his transformation is that he can no longer speak properly and often gets words mixed up. Frank soon makes friends with a blind man who sells newspapers named Chas who doesn't notice Frank's transformation. Thanks to a newspaper from Chas, Sludge begins to investigate the deaths and along the way meets a reporter named Shelly Winters and discovers that the crimes are caused by an albino human/alligator named Veffir Voon Iyax. Sludge fights and kills Veffir Voon Iyax and then gets thirty-five cents from Shelly and pays Chas back. Sludge would also become the first hero to ever face Lord Pumpkin.

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