Ken Hale was a scholar and explorer of the 1950's who was obsessed with the idea of immortality. He learned of the legendary "Gorilla Man," a half-man, half-animal monster in a remote area of Africa. If one were to kill the beast, the legend said, he would never die. Finally leaving his wife and kids to seek out the Gorilla Man, Hale ultimately couldn't kill the creature, as it was too much like a human. However, in losing his way back, he was forced to kill the monster when it came for him. As one Gorilla Man died, another was reborn-- Hale was transformed by a strange curse into a new Gorilla Man. Repulsed and ashamed, Hale elected to stay in the jungle rather than return and face the public or his family.
Later that same decade, the Gorilla Man was sought out by the heroes Marvel Boy and Jann the Jungle Girl, on behalf of FBI agent Jimmy Woo. After Marvel Boy's promise to find a cure for Hale's curse through advanced science, Hale agreed to join Jimmy Woo and his allies in freeing President Eisenhower from the clutches of the Yellow Claw. These "G-Men" operated for another six months, until the government decreed that the country wasn't ready to learn of such a super-team and its exploits.
In more recent years, Ken Hale was recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D. to join their Howling Commandos unit, a strikeforce squad of supernatural creatures. (He was recommended by Woo himself, now a member of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Directorate.) The squad took down the terrorist Lords of the Living Lightning and defended the Commandos’ Area 13 headquarters by an invasion of monsters led by Merlin.
When Jimmy Woo was nearly killed in tracking down the Atlas Foundation, S.H.I.E.L.D. consulted Ken since Woo had kept his investigation hidden from them. Hale was just as mystified, but secretly contacted M-11, the Human Robot, one of his allies in the 50s. The two recovered Woo's body in a daring rescue, bringing him to Marvel Boy's flying saucer, where he was revived (at least to the state Marvel Boy last remembered him-- 1959.) Jimmy Woo and his allies began the search for the Atlas Foundation anew. The trail led to Mr. Lao, a literal dragon working on behalf of the Yellow Claw. The Claw revealed that Jimmy was a true descendant of Genghis Khan, and he revealed that he became Jimmy's greatest enemy in order to help him build a legend worthy of his lineage. In fact, Jimmy's adventures with his allies had been set up by the Claw and Mr. Lao from the very beginning, ever since the 1950s! For example, it was Mr. Lao (in human form) who first introduced the legend of the Gorilla Man to Ken Hale and set him on the course to Africa.
Jimmy Woo took control of the Atlas Foundation. However, he professed his determination to use such resources for the betterment of the world. He, Gorilla Man, and the other Agents of Atlas would become a clandestine force for good.