Steve Harmon, a high school student in Morristown, NJ, decides to get back at Winston a classmate who ratted Steve out to a teacher after a prank. Steve's plan is to disguise himself as a clown at a local carnival in order to get close enough to throw a pie in Winston's face. As Steve is about to make his move, Winston and his girlfriend are kidnapped by a trio of sinister clowns and dragged into the Hall of Mirrors. Steve follows them, deciding that saving his friends is more important than revenge on Winston. He finds out that these clowns are extradimensional beings planning a full-scale invasion on Earth. The clowns open up a portal to Dimension Ecch and drag Winston and his girlfriend through. Steve follows after them, awaiting an uncertain future.
Slapstick was created by Len Kaminski and James Fry III and first appeared in his own mini-series, Slapstick issue 1 from 1992.
Major Story Arcs
Traveling through the portal affects Steve's molecular structure, making him rubbery and blob-like. He lands in a cell occupied by the former Scientist Supreme of Dimension Ecch. The scientist, who was imprisoned for opposing the invasion plan, explains that when Steve went through the portal, "rather than having [his] atoms scattered throughout the universe, [he] was molecularly dis-discombobulated. This transformed him into a new form of matter-- a type of living unstable molecules called electroplasm, which is totally indestructible."
The scientist gives Steve two gloves outfitted with "molecular stabilitroids" that will enable him to control the cohesion of his body's molecules. The gloves also enable Steve to carry weapons in hyperspace. He can make the hidden weapons appear at will, as if he simply plucked them out of thin air. The Scientist Supreme then goes on to encourage Steve to use his new abilities to stop the evil ruler of Dimension Ecch. After doing so, Steve rescues the kidnapped humans and returns them to Earth. His best friend Mike Peterson, one of the kidnapees, recognizes Steve even in his newly-altered state. Once Steve tells Mike everything that happened, Mike informs Steve that he has "Just had an origin" and suggests Steve come up with a new name under which he can fight crime. After rejecting several suggestions (including "The Joker" and "The Jester"), Steve finally names himself Slapstick.
New Warriors and The Initiative
After several solo adventures, Slapstick joins the New Warriors. He was, however, not with the team when they accidentally blew up Stamford, Connecticut. After Civil War, he was one of the Initiative recruits (along with Cloud 9, Komodo, MVP, Ultragirl, Trauma, Thor Girl, Debrii Fields, Hardball, and Rage). When camp instructor Gauntlet continued to criticize, insult and mock the New Warriors for their mistake, Slapstick became so angry that he ambushed Gauntlet and beat him nearly to death. After his assault, Slapstick painted "NW" (for New Warriors) across Gauntlet's chest in Gauntlet's own blood.
No one ever discovered Slapstick's crime (because Secretary Henry Gyrich ended the investigation for fear it would uncover some of his shady experiments like the Scarlet Spiders); however, both Justice and Rage (of the Initiative) nearly got jailed, and Gauntlet (who survived and returned to active duty) blamed his assault on the terrorist Ghost, a foe of Iron Man.
Eventually, Justice became so angry at the Initiative that he formed a New Warriors team, and Slapstick joined. Norman Osborn then branded the New Warriors wanted criminals.
The New Warriors entered Camp Hammond to retrieve the body of fallen comrade MVP, but found mad Thor cyborg-clone Ragnarok about to kill Gorilla Girl. The Initiative intervened and Slapstick (calling Ragnarok a "hippie" who needed to be introduced to "Whack-a-Mole") attacked Ragnarok. Ragnarok then easily defeated Slapstick. After the battle, Slapstick and the other New Warriors were successful in their mission to retrieve MVP's body.
Commander Steve Rogers informed Prodigy of the unknown meteors that have fallen from the heavens and of the mass panic that is on the horizon. Rogers asked Prodigy to gather heroes on a volunteer basis to help keep the peace and lead a new Initiative---one where there is no forced conscription or registration. Prodigy agrees to become the leader of the new Initiative and most of the former Initiative members including Slapstick gather in Washington DC.
Slapstick is a classic class clown, always quick with a joke or wisecrack, even if they're sometimes poorly timed or inappropriate. Since humor is his personal coping mechanism, he will often try to lighten the mood, or get a laugh from his teammates. Much of the time though, his teammates find him more annoying than funny.
Using his cartoon-like body, he is able to easily alter his appearance, often to appear more humorous. It's been noted that he has an anger problem, and the results can be catastrophic if he is pushed too far.
When Steve first got his powers, he was told he needed to use them to fight crime. Always out for a laugh, Steve replied that he would rather "play cruel tricks on" crime instead.
Powers and Abilities
He has similar characteristics to that of a cartoon character. These include limitless durability, increased speed, stamina, strength, and reflexes. He is able to stretch in a manner similar to Mr. Fantastic. In an early solo adventure, Slapstick discovers that stimulating his body's electroplasm with ordinary electricity can increase his strength to near-Hulk-or-Thing-like levels.
Steve wears two gloves. The left glove enables Steve to go from human-form, to Slapstick form at the press of a bottom. The right glove enables to him to store massive quantities of items in sub-space receptacles dubbed "Infinite Pockets". The "pockets" give off a pink-red hue when accessed.
In his "infinite pockets", he has random stuffed toys including one of a sponge with a face, Spider-Man, a rubber chicken, duck, and frog. He also keeps a variety of weapons in there, including: a wooden mallet, chainsaw, flail, dynamite, a shield and a sword. He also carries several gag items, to facilitate his pulling pranks. These include an arrow-through-the-head hat, a boot on a stick, eye-pop glasses, a seltzer bottle, a party horn, and a whoopie cushion. He also carries a lot of junk, such as a trombone, bowling ball and pins, among other things.
In the Mutant X reality Slapstick is a member of the Lethal Legion.