The original Ringer was a man named Anthony Davis whose first outing as a criminal led him into conflict with Nighthawk when he broke into Kyle Richmond's building and ripped open a safe with an explosive ring. This was the first field test of the Ringer suit and Davis was pleased with the results. Davis caught Nighthawk with a constricting ring that destroyed his jet-pack. Davis was upset that a man like Kyle Richmond had inherited his fortune and accused him of making more money by ripping off the natural resources, his employees and consumers. The Ringer told Nighthawk that he was no longer going to work menial labor at the NASA Labs and technology would truly enrich the common man, instead of cheapening it. The Ringer would link up a number of metal rings to form a whiplike weapon he could strike and snare his enemy. The Ringer was forced to retreat when he ran out of rings and tried to escape through a window. The Ringer broke through the window but Nighthawk used the ring whip to snare Davis and smash him into a brick wall. Davis was out cold and apprehended by the police.
The Ringer was created by David Anthony Kraft and Keith Giffen in 1977 and first appeared in The Defenders # 51.
Anthony Davis would hire the Tinkerer to rebuild his suit and add some upgrades after giving him new specs on the Ringer costume. Davis was forced to break into the workshop through the roof when two cops were guarding the workshop after Spider Man busted the Tinkerer a few days earlier. Davis entered the workshop and found his new outfit in a crate. Davis was pleased with the particulate-matter condensers the Tinkerer added to the suit which allowed the Ringer to form rings out of the smog and soot in the air. When he was testing the suit by himself, a man in a trench coat broke into the workshop and the two battled. Davis placed some rings around his attacker but he was able to break out of the them. The attacker knocked out Davis and carried him away along with another crate as they escaped through the utilities tunnel. Davis was held prisoner by Abner Jenkins also known as the costume criminal called the Beetle. The Beetle wanted Davis to fight Spider-Man for him and convinced the Ringer to comply or he would detonate an explosive device attached to the mid-section of the Ringer's suit. The Ringer waits on a building rooftop with a pint-size radar unit until he sees Spider Man swinging nearby. The Ringer attacks the wall-crawler and the two combatants engage each other on the rooftops. Spider Man calls Davis the Hoopster and was able to escape from some constricting and freeze ring attacks. Spider Man punches the Ringer in the jaw and leaves him because Peter Parker has a date twenty blocks away with Debra Whitman. Parker tells Debra to meet him at his place in a half-hour because he has to run a quick errand. Spider Man finds the Ringer on a Midtown rooftop to finish the fight. Spider Man crushes the Ringer's gauntlets, causing Davis to panic and struggle to remove the ring around his midsection. He tells Spider-Man that "some guy" attached an explosive ring around his gut. Spider-Man observes that his spider-sense is not going off and then the ring "explodes" but the Ringer is unharmed. Spider Man writes off the Ringer as the victim of a bad practical joke, and turns him in, hanging him in a webnet outside of a Midtown police precinct house. The Ringer was used as stooge for the Beetle because the belt he wore collected data and information during his fight with Spider Man and beamed that data to his computers. The Beetle planned to beat Spider Man once and for all with the information the Ringer gathered for him.
According to his entry in The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #19 - Nuke To Obadiah Stane, the Ringer relocated to the Midwest to avoid superheroes and apparently enjoyed some success. He was invited by Gary Gilbert to attend a meeting of costumed criminals at the Bar With No Name about how to deal with the Scourge of the Underworld. The Scourge disguised himself as the bartender and gunned down the Ringer and everyone else in attendance.
Lethal Foes of Spider-Man
Anthony Davis would return as Strikeback and save his wife Leila Davis from a confrontation with Stegron. Leila Davis was the costumed criminal named Hardshell, having brought together several members of Spider-Man's rogues gallery including Boomerang, Vulture, Rhino and the Beetle to retrieve a powerful nuclear blaster weapon. Poop hit the fan when everyone was fighting over the weapon for their own personal gains and Strikeback wanted to help his wife turn her life around. Strikeback told his wife that he survived the shooting by Scourge at the Bar With No Name and was found by AIM. They saved his life and used him as a guinea pig in their cyborg experimentation. Davis performed several missions for AIM as Strikeback and eventually became a free agent. Strikeback wanted to get back with his wife and start a good life together because criminality was a false path. Stegron reappeared and engaged with Strikeback once more. Strikeback took down the Dinosaur Man with a power blast and teleported away with his wife as Spider Man entered the picture.
Anthony and Leila lived happily together, but cybernetic systems essential to his life support apparently failed, and he died quietly and at peace. Leila was enlisted into the Redeemers, offered amnesty for her crimes in exchange for service as the new Beetle. She died in battle against Graviton.
Ringer would ring up Spider Man during a diamond heist and puts the squeeze on the wall crawler. Ringer thinks he's hardcore being from Waldorf, Maryland and plans to make a name for himself when he takes out Spider Man whom he believes is some mutant freak. Spider Man is assisted by a masked beauty with phasing powers and the Ringer unloads his rings at her. These metal rings harmlessly pass through her body and she uses her powers to phase Spider Man out of his circular bindings. Ringer tries to run away with his stash but gets blocked off by some webbing. Spidey's female friend phases into the Ringer's mechanism on his back causing it to explode. The female masked hero turns out to be Kitty Pryde and clowns the Ringer for carrying his wallet with him while committing a crime. Kitty tells the crowd that the Ringer is Anthony Davis from Medina County, Ohio and he's really not from Maryland. Spider Man and Kitty take off when the cops take the Ringer away. Presumably, he died with the destruction of the rest of Earth-1610's reality.
Powers and Abilities
The Ringer wears a suit that allows him to shoot steel rings from his wrists that have various offensive capabilities. Some are explosive rings, freezing rings and rings that constrict an opponent. The rings have a tensile strength of steel and the Ringer can also interlock those rings to form a whip-like weapon or use them to scale down various structures. Davis gave the Tinkerer new specs when upgrading his suit and added particulate-matter condensers which formed rings from the soot and smog in the air.
As Strikeback, Antony had a powerful cyborg body constructed by A.I.M. He was nearly invulnerable, and very strong. His wrists contained powerful blasters. He could fly by means of rocket boosters on his ankles. He also could telport by some unknown means, and take at least one passenger with him.