Walking home from his shop one night, an elderly tailor was mugged by a group of young men. Awakening from his severe beating in a hospital bed, the tailor discovered that he has lost the use of one eye (and apparently has become mute). Strangely, the tailor also found that the event has triggered a latent power: he can paralyze people through his gaze. With his tailor shop having languished in his absence, the old man decided to adopt the identity of the Needle and exact his revenge on the younger generation. Armed with a sharp, three-foot-long needle, the Needle accosted young men who made the mistake of walking at night in the vicinity of the former tailor's shop. Petrifying them with his gaze, the Needle would proceed to sew their mouths shut. Interrupted by S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Jerry Hunt during one such attack, the Needle turned on Hunt, paralyzed him, and sewed his mouth shut as well. This brought him to the attention of Spider-Woman, who was in a relationship with Hunt at the time. Somewhat resistant to the Needle's power, Spider-Woman incapacitated him and he was captured by the police.
Years later, the Needle was contacted by the Shroud to form his organization, the Night Shift. Presumably, the Needle agreed as the Night Shift often battled other criminals and criminal organizations, stealing from them, vigilante-style. The Needle has appeared with the Night Shift in all their collective appearances, such as aiding Captain America in contending with the Power Broker and later battling the Avengers' West Coast team.