Professor Gregson Gilbert was a scientist and teacher at State University who had worked on a giant creature he called the Dragon Man; a creature that would have amazing powers, able to outclass even the Fantastic Four. When that very same group came to State U to give a lecture they were introduced to Gilbert and his work. The Thing later helped him move a giant rock, which he claimed had come from outer space. But when the alchemist Diablo broke out of his melted, stone prison, he traveled to America and met with Professor Gilbert to offer him the secret to animating inanimate matter. Though Gilbert meant his Dragon Man to be used only for research and study, Diablo helped him to animate him using his potions and the outer space rock, and turned the Dragon Man against the Fantastic Four.
The Thing was the first to fight Gilbert’s Dragon Man, as he burst into the lab where Gilbert and Diablo had just animated him, but soon the rest of the Fantastic Four battled the monster. The Dragon Man used his breath and his flight to fight them off until the Invisible Girl pinned him with her powers and tried to comfort him as a friend. But before it could fully respond to her touch, Diablo returned and attacked the four, escaping to Dead Man’s Lake with Gilbert and his creation. There, Gilbert bemoaned the use his creation was put to though he was powerless to stop Diablo. But the creature itself turned on Diablo and stopped him from destroying the Fantastic Four with a freezing pellet, accidentally freezing the lake instead. Then the creature chased Diablo across the lake until they both fell into the freezing waters.
Afterwards, Professor Gilbert vowed to stay at State University and guard the lake in case the Dragon Man ever resurfaced, so that he could undo the harm his creation had done.