Whether he was part of the Masters of Menace, the Circus of Crime or trying to make a go of it on his own, Eliot Franklin's clown-themed villainy simply could not contend with heroes such as Spider-Man (Peter Parker), Ghost Rider (Daniel Ketch) and especially the Hulk (Bruce Banner). Franklin even tried leading the Circus of Crime during the Ringmaster (Maynard Tidbolt)'s absence, but his exploits were unsuccessful. Franklin failed horribly as a criminal, so he went straight for a short time before returning as a professional assassin – again donning the clown suit – and was eventually locked up once more.
While incarcerated he was visited by General John Ryker, who wanted to recruit the former Clown into a group powerful enough to settle Ryker's personal vendetta against the Hulk, the Gamma Corps. Eager for his own revenge, Franklin agreed to subject himself to Ryker's Harpy experiments and became Griffin. The Corps' initial assault on the Hulk resulted in their field leader, Grey, snapping the Hulk's neck, but this came at a time when Hulk was angrier than he had ever been; waging war against Earth's heroes who he blamed for his wife Caiera's death. Hulk recovered and found the Corps' base, hidden within the Staten Island dump. Griffin attacked Hulk, but once Hulk got a firm grasp on him, he broke several of Griffin's bones. Franklin healed and stayed with the Corps who, after hearing the truth behind their creation, decided Hulk was not the real enemy. Abandoning Ryker, the Corps found new targets in the members of the Illuminati.
Franklin became a fugitive from the US government, but when Corps' member Prodigy (Timothy Wilkerson) inadvertently led Iron Patriot (Norman Osborn) to their doorstep, he was presented with another opportunity for a clean slate. Osborn offered the Gamma Corps employment as bounty hunters, retrieving any Civil War|unregistered super powered individual, and Franklin signed up with the rest.