Lee Price was born in Queens, New York and had a rough life growing up. He was constantly bullied and watched his mother being periodically beaten up by his father. To escape the difficulties of life he burned down his house and killing his parents. He framed a mutant boy who had pyrokinesis. Lee was taken to protective service and stood there five years as a ward before joining the Army Rangers. He got injured in a mine explosion that killed a couple of his squad members and he himself lost two fingers. He had to retire as a veteran due to his injury.
Faced with eviction from his apartment, Lee accepted a job from Scorpion to work as muscle for Black Cat's gang during an arm's deal with Tombstone's crew. After delivering the package things escalated when Tombstone refused to pay, both factions pulled their guns on each other and Lee was going to get shot when the symbiote intervened desperately looking for a new host. Lee overpowered the symbiote's will and it used it to kill every single one of Tombstone's crew, he even killed Black Cat's men and his childhood friend in order to keep in secret his possession of the symbiote.
When the fight was over and Lee had went back to his apartment, he confronted the symbiote in a mental battle for control and ended up overpowering him. On the following day he went to Black Cat and offered his services to her but her right hand men - Adams and Mac Gargan immediately suspected that something is off. Once he went home he was attacked by Firebug, an assassin sent by Tombstone. The fight broke off and went to the street where Lee was also confronted by two FBI agents who were following him from Black Cat's hideout. The Venom symbiote tried to bond with one of the agents but had to go back to Lee when he was shot and wounded. Lee escaped but the agents tracked him and offered him an ultimatum - work with them as an informant or risk becoming public and getting in the sight of law enforcement and vigilantes.
While one of the FBI agents - agent Bagman was requesting from Lee to ask the symbiote about Spider-Man's secret identity, Black called out Price for a job. He was paired with Mac Gargan and they had to intimidate a reporter from the Daily Bugle. Mac Gargan wore his Scorpion costume and had the intention to eliminate Lee and frame the reporter. However, when Mac Gargan attacked Lee the symbiote protected him. Lee defeated Mac Gargan and would have killed him if Spider-Man had not intervened.
The same night, Lee Price attacked Adams, Black Cat's right hand man at his home who happened to be working with agent Bagman who was also an informant for Black Cat. The two of them managed to ambush Lee with an armed helicopter. Lee hijacked the helicopter but Agent Bagman was forced to call in the Symbiote Task Force which was led by Eddie Brock. Lee was about to take the helicopter to the Hudson River and escape from there but Spider-Man's appearance changed his plans. Lee was forced to fight the hero but the arrival of the FBI and their attack on Price managed to give Eddie Brock a window to brief in Spider-Man with the plan on how to take down Venom. Spider-Man went back in to confront Venom and told the symbiote he wants him back. The symbiote left Lee Price and the FBI managed to contain the symbiote. This led to Price's arrest by the NYPD.
He was imprisoned in the New York Supermax Corrections Facility but his stay there was brief. His lawyer managed to build a case arguing for Lee Price's innocence. The lawyer had a strong case that the symbiote actually possesses mind-controlling abilities and Lee was under their influence the whole time.
Venom Inc. and Maniac
After being released from the Corrections Facility, Price and a group of thugs ambushed Mania with a sonic cannon and flamethrowers injuring her and separating her from her symbiote. Lee Price took the symbiote for himself and named himself Maniac. After that he went to New York where he recruited other supervillains by infecting them with pieces from the symbiote.