David Wist was an jeweler who excelled in watch repair. While known to most of Gotham's citizens as real craftsman, Wist wanted to join Frenchy Day's gang but was turned down despite his lock picking skills. In an effort to prove himself as a notable thief, Wist attempted to rob millionaire Jan Major, but was foiled by Batman and Robin. When the dynamic duo chased the would be thief he ran into an Ultra Nuclear Fission Lab and was bombarded with radiation. Wist awoke in a pile of rubble and discovered that his body had somehow turned him into a human magnet.With his new found powers Wist intended to become Gotham's greatest criminal, the Human Magnet.
Wist created a costume for his criminal life and then clothing to mask his abilities while he was in his civilian identity. He then put together his own gang and proceeded to rob museums, trains, and casinos, clashing with Batman and Robin at every event and using his electromagnetic powers to always gain the upper hand. Eventually, Wist took over Frenchy Day's gang and beat down Frenchy for his earlier disrespect.
As the Human Magnet's success grew, he began broadcasting threats boasting about where he would strike next. Batman used this information and was able to create a trap* that exploited Wist's magnetic powers and lead to his defeat.
* He got Wist to slap a mosquito.
David Wist was turned into a human magnet with his left hand holding a negative charge and his right hand a positive charge. Wist was able manipulate large industrial machines and halt trains. He was not able to turn his powers on or off and had to use material to dampen the magnetic charge when not needed.