Peter Petruski first appeared in Strange Tales #104 with the nickname Paste-Pot Pete and was an enemy of the Human Torch. He robbed a bank and captured the Human Torch, stole a missile and tried to send a weakened Human Torch off by tying him to it. Johnny Storm fights through it and forces Pete to attempt a hasty getaway, consisting of attaching a wire of his paste to the bottom of an airplane. Pete's escape fails and he is forced to bail while being flown over the ocean.
Peter Petruski was created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby in 1963 and first appeared as Paste-Pot Pete in Strange Tales # 104. He later changed his name to The Trapster in Fantastic Four #38.
Major Story Arcs
A Brief Change of Heart
Returning, Paste-Pot Pete would again attempt to defeat the Human Torch to no avail. Eventually he would be captured and arrested. However his talents in chemistry were needed and assisted in earning him parole. Petruski aided the Avengers by creating a solvent that could dissolve Baron Zemo's Adhesive-X, which had captured Captain America and earned him a parole from prison. But Petruski could not give up his criminal ways and his activities against the Human Torch and Fantastic Four would soon land him back in jail.
Petruski would break out of jail with the Sandman and serendipitously they found the Wizard who was stuck drifting about because of a malfunction in his anti-gravity discs. The three deadly criminals formed an alliance against their mutual enemies the Fantastic Four. Wanting to make a counter part to the F4, Wizard, Paste-Pot Pete, and the Sandman recruited a forth member, Medusa and called themselves the Frightful Four, with the Wizard as the leader. It was shortly after this point that Petruski changed his name to the Trapster.
Retroactively, it was revealed that part of his motivation for the abrupt name change came from an encounter with Spider-Man who started laughing uncontrollably from the PPP alliteration when Petruski introduced himself. He hates his former name but he would never live it down. Heroes and villains alike remind him of the goofy name to make him furious.
The Frightful Four would nearly defeat the Fantastic Four on a few attempts, but they were thwarted by unlucky interference and chance encounters with the wrong people. However, there were two exceptions to this rule. First, the Frightful Four absolutely defeated the Fantastic Four in FF #38, " Defeated by the Frightful Four". After Medusa captured the Invisible Girl, Trapster pasted the blonde girl to make certain she could not escape. The Wizard then flew the four of them to an isolated Pacific island where a perfect trap had been prepared by the Wizard. They placed the unconscious Sue Storm in an underground chamber next to a Q-bomb, a powerful nuclear device. Then they waited for the rest of the Fantastic Four to arrive. When the FF came a battle ensued, but the Frightful Four managed to escape, leaving the FF on the island. The bomb exploded and while the FF survived, they totally lost their powers. The second win by the Frightful Four came in FF #41, when the Wizard captured the Thing and brainwashed him. With the Thing's might, the evil FF easily defeated their foes.
However, Trapster can boast of three very meaningful successes that he secured without the aid of his evil F.F. partners as follows: (1) His most amazing victory of all time came when he and his new team temporarily defeat and capture Annihilus in Fantastic Four #44, volume 3. (This follows a holographic Trapster victory over Annihilus in FF #40, volume 3.) Considering that Annihilus is one of the greatest foes that the Fantastic Four have ever faced, this is quite an achievement. (2) Trapster defeats the Invisible Girl all by himself and very nearly finishes her off. Disguised as Daredevil, he comes to the Baxter Building in Daredevil #35 and finds Sue Storm all alone. Before she can react, Trapster pastes the blonde girl helplessly to the floor. Then he brilliantly sets a powerful bomb go off, as soon as anyone might enter the room to try and save the doomed Invisible Girl, presumably the rest of Fantastic Four. Fortunately for Susan Storm, Daredevil hears someone leaving the building in Daredevil #36 and so he senses something is wrong. He is able to get rid of the bomb just in time to save the blonde girl's life. (3) Another superb solo victory by Trapster is in Fantastic Four #10, volume 3, when he defeats Mr. Fantastic but good! So much for the legendary leader of the Fantastic Four! Many foes have taken him on, one-on-one, but very few have beaten him. Trapster's victories over Annihilus, Sue Storm and Reed Richards, all without the help of his Frightful Four allies, should dispel the view of some comic fans that he is little more than a joke.
What Peter Petruski lacks in strength and combat skills, he makes up for in intelligence. He has also shown growth in his stature since the early days, as leadership is now one of his qualities, thanks to his being the leader of the team that took on and temporarily captured mighty Annihilus. It should also be noted that in FF #218, Trapster has two key victories. Even though is part of the Frightful Four in this issue, his battle wins come all by himself. Dressed up in a Spiderman costume, he first defeats the Human Torch and he then beats the mighty Thing!
Making a Name for Himself
For the sake of recognition Trapster tried to challenge lower level heroes on his own, but eventually blundered embarrassingly when he tried to take over the Baxter Building and was defeated by its robotic security.
Humiliated and frustrated by constant defeats, Trapster would seek out the Tinkerer's aid in redesigning his arsenal. They adding wrist-pumps for his glue, which would change his costume, and also a variety of explosives to his repertoire.
An oddity regarding Trapster is that he has done what few humans can accomplish. His original appearance artwork in the Strange Tales comic makes him look like a somewhat older middle aged man. Later when he enters the scene as a member of the Frightful Four in Fantastic Four, he suddenly looks like he has gone back in time 20 years and has a much younger look.
He is one of the zombies that attacks the Thing and Nova on the SHIELD Helicarrier as they rescue civilians taking shelter.
Ultimate Spider-Man Animated Series
The Trapster will be a feature villain in the upcoming Ultimate Spider-man cartoon series in 2012.
Powers and abilities
The Trapster does not possess any superhuman powers, but relies on a variety of technological devices. Peter Petruski is a genius-level chemist and inventor, combining the two into his specialty: chemical adhesives.
Petruski’s special “paste-gun” fires a stream of glue (originally supplied by a canister worn at his hip). The adhesive dries instantly, can adhere to nearly any surface, and is virtually unbreakable, flameproof, and vulnerable only to ultraviolet light. He is so accomplished with the use of his gun that he can trap an opponent’s limb, jam machinery, build restraining walls, and form paste “lassos.” He could even retract the stream of glue, a technique which helped him to form a swing-line much like Spider-Man.
As the Trapster, Petruski continued the use of his paste-gun and expanded his repertoire with special traps (some developed in collaboration with the Wizard.) He changes the variety of traps according to his mission, but past examples include scatter-shot balls and discs (that can rebound and snap on his opponents limbs) and a “memory wire” (that can assume pre-planned shapes such as a cage or a weapon). The Trapster’s boots and gloves have also been outfitted with adhesive systems so that he can walk up certain vertical or upside-down surfaces. Much later, he would incorporate the paste-gun into wrist-mounted shooters with the adhesive supply on tank strapped to the back of his costume. From the wrist shooters, he could also fire spring-loaded spheres containing traps of his own design or fire a specially-designed solvent. The solvent can instantly dissolve his unique glue as well as be used as a grease gun to lubricate surfaces and reduce traction.