Exact details about Lonnie Thompson Lincoln's early life are few, but what is known is that he grew up as an albino in the mostly African American neighborhood of Harlem in the borough of Manhattan. Harlem has been synonymous with violent crime for decades, fairly or not. In the 1970's it was a very poor neighborhood, with two thirds of household making less than $10,000 per year and one of the highest crime rates in New York. Garbage filled vacant lots and apartment buildings were often dilapidated. It was this environment that formed young Mr. Lincoln.
By the time that Lincoln was in high school, he was shaking down other students for protection money. A fellow student, Joseph "Robbie" Robertson, threatened to write a story for the school newspaper exposing Lincoln's crimes and was beaten up for it. Robbie never wrote the story and in Lincoln's mind, this made them friends. They parted ways after school, with Lincoln working as a mafia hit man and Robertson became a journalist. Robbie had moved to Philadelphia by this point and has agreed to meet with a witness about the murder of a mob boss. However, when he arrived at the water front, Robbie found that the witness was being killed by Lincoln, who had by now gained the alias of "Tombstone." After Tombstone threatened Robbie and his wife, the Robertsons moved back to New York. (Spectacular Spider-Man #139)
Tombstone eventually also returned to the Big Apple to work for Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin of Crime. (Spectacular Spider-Man #137) Robbie happened to catch a glimpse of his old "friend" and made a voice recording of everything that he had experienced with Tombstone up to that point. He had never spoken to anyone about witnessing the murder of the witness in Philadelphia and the guilt had eaten away at him. The recording was left for Peter Parker, claiming that Robbie was guilty of murder, even if he had never pulled a trigger. Robbie went to confront Tombstone at Battery Park, hoping to arrest him with the aid of a gun. The thug was prepared and wore a bullet proof vest. The vest saved his life, allowing him to break Robbie's back. (Spectacular Spider-Man #139)
Spider-Man then took a personal interest in apprehending the hitman and battled him several times. While Lincoln was working for the mob boss known as Hammerhead, he forced an ex-con named Mark Raxton to aid in a theft of a plant preservative called DIOX-3 from Osborn Chemicals. The chemical was intended to be used in preserving the plant that is used to create cocaine and Raxton was an inside man at the chemical factory. The theft was thwarted by Spider-Man, the Green Goblin and Raxton himself but Tombstone was briefly exposed to the DIOX-3, which hardened his skin to a rock-like substance. From that point forward, the formerly human killer was as tough as his namesake. (Web of Spider-Man #66) Tombstone's first order of business as a super-human was to overthrow his boss, Hammerhead. (Web of Spider-Man #67)
From that point forward, Lonnie Lincoln has acted either as gun for hire or mob boss, depending on who has won the endless cycle of gang wars.
Uncomfortable in His Own Skin
Albinism is a group of genetic disorders that result in a lack of melanin, which is responsible for skin, hair and eye pigmentation. Melanin is also responsible for the development of various optic nerves, and the lack of melanin often results in extreme nearsightedness or farsightedness.
People with albinism often feel socially isolated, due to their appearance. There is a long history of people with albinism being accused of being supernatural or being deviant. It is not uncommon for such a person to look very different from members of their own families and ethnic groups, making them even more persecuted.
Psychopathology: Inferiority complex, leading to anti-social personality disorder (ASPD)
Since little is known about Lincoln as a young man, it is difficult to determine exactly how he became a contract killer. Psychologist Alfred Adler described his concept of an "inferiority complex" as "feelings of lack of worth." He believed that all people want to overcome this feeling and to seem "strong, superior and complete." Ironically, an inferiority complex can lead to a "superiority complex." Adler believed that everyone had an idea as to what their ideal self would be and he called this mental image "fictional finalism." The person directs their entire lives to achieving this mental image, even if they don't fully understand their own image.
Even before the exposure to the DIOX-3 that gave Lincoln his bullet proof skin and enhanced strength, he was a very physically powerful individual. He also had filed down his teeth into sharpened points, making him resemble a shark or vampire. Intimidation and power was clearly part of his "fictional finalism."
According to Vandana Prakash, a clinical psychologist at Fortis Hospital, "Contract killers are emotionally cold and murder is not a big deal for them. They have a low self esteem and do not value inter-personal relationships." A fellow psychologist, Rajat Mitra, added "Such people enjoy torturing and hurting others. People are like objects for them and they don't feel guilty about their actions."
Lincoln was clearly a juvenile delinquent as a high school student, and a large study had found that such young men tended to have criminal, alcoholic or missing parents. Inadequate or erratic supervision has also been linked to anti social behavior in young adults. Lack of adult supervision can lead to weak bonds between the child and others, leading them to become self centered and to use aggression to resolve problems.
Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, is sometimes helpful in treating those with anti-social personalities. Such therapy is only useful if the patient is willing to admit that they contribute to their own problems. There are no medications that treat this disorder, but there are some that can treat (but not cure) the aggression shown by those with ASPD. These medications include anti depressants, mood stabilizers and anti psychotics. However, there is also the chance of abusing these drugs. A clinician would have to weigh carefully if they want to treat Lincoln, as delaying his impulses is not one of his defining characteristics. (See: the time he threw an offending mob boss out a window for denying him a seat on the mafia council.) (Spectacular Spider-Man #206)