Ira Quimby was nicknamed I.Q. by his gang because of his initials and the bizarre ideas he had for committing crimes. I.Q. had below average skills and intelligence. When I.Q. was sitting alone at the Midway City Museum, he suddenly had the intelligence to properly use one of his bizarre ideas.
Building several super scientific devices, I.Q. returned to the gang and proved to them how he now had the intelligence to become their leader. Committing the first in a series of extraordinary crimes, I.Q. and his gang found their efforts thwarted by the sudden appearance of Hawkman and Hawkgirl.
Escaping from the Hawks, I.Q. returned to the museum and once again found himself possessed of a brainstorm. Shortly thereafter, he set off to commit another crime. Defeated a second time by the Hawks, I.Q. found himself in the museum again, wondering whether there was something there that was filling him with super intelligence.
He discovered that it was sunlight-triggered radiation from an alien stone that was responsible for his flashes of genius. Unknown to either I.Q. or the Hawks, the stone had been brought to the museum by none other than the interstellar hero Adam Strange.
I.Q. then stole the stone, but accidentally left several fragments behind. From these fragments, Hawkman was able to deduce that an aura of super-mental energy which could stimulate thought was contained in the alien stone - an aura that could only be triggered by sunlight. This was the source of I.Q.'s ideas.
Using this knowledge, the Hawks were able to capture the I.Q. gang and bring them to justice. They believed I.Q. would soon return to normal as the effects of the stone wore off. However, they were wrong. While in prison, I.Q. discovered that his contact with the stone had left a residual energy in his mind - which now could be triggered by I.Q. going into sunlight. His super mind restored, I.Q. soon escaped prison and embarked upon a new wave of crimes.
At one stage, he enlisted the help of Chemo, hoping he would help him with an experiment to increase his powers even further. However, I.Q. and Chemo were defeated by Superman and the Metal Men, moments before their plans reached fruition. I.Q. has also come up against - and been defeated by - Batman. I.Q.'s mind was destroyed by Prometheus, who gave him poisoned wine.
Fortunately, for IQ, the poisoned wine caused temporary neural paralysis because Prometheus couldn't afford to have Ira running around bragging about his latest scheme while at the same time Prometheus could utilize Ira's intelligence on a later date. Ira joins Dr. Veronica Cale on Oolong Island as her head of projects. Ira along with Cale become reluctant affiliates with the Doom Patrol and assisted them on certain missions.