Frederick Foswell was a short, slight, timid reporter for the Daily Bugle. Tired being subservient to J. Jonah Jameson, Foswell created the masked identity of the Big Man, using built-up shoes, a padded jacket and an amplifier to disguise his voice. He then used his reporter's skills and contacts to join with the trio known as the Enforcers and unite all the New York City mobs. His disguise was so effective that even Spider-Man never figured out who the Big Man really was, but it was the web-slinger's intervention that tipped the police off to Foswell's secret and led to his arrest.
While in prison, Foswell was the cellmate of Professor Mendel Stromm. Released and vowing to go straight, Foswell was rehired by J. Jonah Jameson. Initially suspected by Spider-Man of being either the Green Goblin or the Crime Master, Foswell was actually frequenting underworld hangouts wearing a latex mask of a man with an eye patch, allowing him to create a whole new identity: the stoolie known as Patch. In his capacity as reporter and stoolie, Foswell deduced the Crime Master's identity and tipped off the police, resulting in the Crime Master's death in a shootout. He also worked with police against the Cat Burglar and told Spider-Man about a planned robbery by the Master Planner's men. He became such a trustworthy reporter that Spider-Man began tipping him off to his fights. As Patch, he became one of the first to discover that Peter Parker was Spider-Man, though he was outwitted - by a fake conversation between Peter and Spidey followed by the departure of a web-slinging web-dummy - into thinking the super hero and photographer had a secret working relationship instead.
Later, when it seemed that Spider-Man had quit and the Kingpin of Crime was reorganizing the underworld, Foswell reverted to his criminal ways. Failing to regain his place at the head of the mobs, he settled for becoming the Kingpin's first lieutenant. But when the Kingpin's men tried to kill J. Jonah Jameson, Foswell could not stand by and let his benefactor come to harm. He was gunned down by the Kingpin's men while protecting Jameson and died a hero.
The identity of the Big Man was later used by Foswell's daughter Janice, but she was tragically killed by her fiancé, the new Crime Master.