Rance Preston was a former cowboy and performer of rope tricks. Rance started his criminal career partnering with two other mercenaries named Shellshock and Ivan. They were enlisted by the Psycho Man and given special weapons. Rance received an electrified lariat and called himself Live-Wire. The trio was to help Psycho Man acquire components to build a large scale version of his mind-ray emotion device. The plan was thwarted by members of the Fantastic Four, the Inhumans and the Black Panther. They were ultimately defeated and sent to jail.
Live-Wire was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1967 and first appeared in Fantastic Four Annual # 5.
Shellshock and Live-Wire escaped from prison and teamed up once again to steal some statues created by Alicia Masters. This led to another confrontation with the Thing but they were beaten once again when the Thing was assisted by some members of the Yancy Street Gang.
Live-Wire would lay low for awhile until he read from a Daily Bugle article that the Circus of Crime was captured after they were defeated by Daredevil. Live-Wire intercepted the delivery that was being made to an upstate penitentiary and freed his new buddies. Live-Wire asked if he could join the show and the Ringmaster happily obliged. As a member of the Circus of Crime, Live-Wire and his new family would come into conflict with numerous heroes like Power Man, Bill Foster, the Hulk, Spider Man and Power Pack.
A Council Of Masters
Max Fury, the leader of the Shadow Council has assembled a new Masters of Evil in the sovereign nation of Bagalia where Live-Wire and the rest of the Circus of Crime are currently members. Max Fury and the Masters of Evil capture John Steele after he attempts to escape Bagalia with the Serpent Crown and the Crown of Thorns. Steele is given to the Circus of Crime where he is shackled onto a giant bullseye as part of their show. Steele was beaten and tortured in front of a large audience until he is struck in the heart by a plasma knife from the Clown. Steele knew his time was short and broke free. Live-Wire snares his left arm with his lariat and hits him with several thousand volts of electricity. Princess Python commands her massive snake to eat Steele but the original super soldier tosses Live-Wire into the mouth of the giant python and is apparently consumed.
Abilities & Weapons
Live-Wire is a master at handling the lariat and learned various skills working as a cowboy such as horseback riding. Live-Wire also uses an electrified lariat and wears special insulated gloves to protect him from electric shock.