Hobie Brown was a talented kid to whom no one would listen. Despite his obvious talent at design and invention, people looked down on him whenever he suggested something new and innovative. Instead of getting work where his talents were useful, he was a window washer. Finally, to prove his ability, he turned to crime. He designed a costume with a number of tricks and went out to steal the payroll of The Daily Bugle as the Prowler. His plan was to return the money as Hobie Brown, to become a hero, and most important of all, to impress his girlfriend, Mindy.
The Prowler's foray into the criminal world was a disaster. He was caught stealing the payroll by Peter Parker. During the confrontation, Parker was accidentally sent hurtling through a window. Although he used his spider powers to save himself, Hobie was left in anguish, thinking that he was a murderer. In order to redeem himself, the Prowler lured Spider-Man to a fight at a jewelry store, hoping to defeat him. When he failed, Spider-Man unmasked him and heard Hobie's story. Spider-Man let him go, believing that the Prowler was through with crime.
Later, Spider-Man sought out Hobie to ask for a favor. He asked Hobie to pose as Spider-Man in order to deliver a message to Peter Parker. Hobie agreed and used his special equipment to complete the impersonation, unaware that Parker had accidentally revealed his secret identity when suffering the effects of a fever, and this was part of his plan to convince his friends otherwise.
When Spider-Man was implicated in the death of Captain George Stacy, Hobie assumed the Prowler identity in hopes of bringing Spider-Man to justice. However, Spider-Man quickly overpowered him, and at the conclusion of the battle, saved him from falling down an elevator shaft. Hobie remained convinced that Spider-Man was not a murderer and gave up pursuing him.
Hobie eventually married his love, Mindy, and settled down into a career as a construction worker. He did not entirely abandoned the Prowler identity, however; he became the Prowler when his "little brother" of the Big Brother program was reportedly killed by the original White Tiger. Desperate for justice, the two fought each other until discovering the true killer was a night watchman who tried to break up a gang fight. The two even applied for membership with the Defenders, but were outclassed. This prompted Hobie to abandon his Prowler identity for a time.
The criminal called simply the Cat (Cat Burglar) discovered Hobie's hidden costume and weapons, using them to become the Prowler and commit crimes on behalf of the original Belladonna. The two were soon apprehended by Spider-Man, though.
When his wife Mindy took a new job as a bookkeeper for a subsidiary of Justin Hammer, she was set up to take the fall for some suspicious stock deals. The Prowler tracked evidence that could clear his wife to Los Angeles, where he teamed up with Spider-Man to retrieve the evidence. Mindy was cleared of all charges.
Later, Spider-Man was accused of theft by The Daily Bugle during efforts to incriminate criminal recluse Winston Walker by the international mercenary Silver Sable. Prowler teamed up with the Rocket Racer to exonerate Spider-Man, and ended up in battle against the Sandman. The battle was finally cut short by Spider-Man, and as the truth came to light, Silver Sable offered Prowler freelance work with her mercenary organization. Hobie agreed, and helped Silver Sable on occasion, teaming up with Sandman, Rocket Racer, and others as the team called the Outlaws.
Hobie found an engineering job at a company who was interested in his pneumatic technology. However, a new vigilante appeared on the streets of New York with a costume and weapons nearly identical to the Prowler's. Hobie investigated as the Prowler, clashing with the Nightcreeper, who turned out to have stolen the weapons from Hobie's company. The Nightcreeper's vendetta stemmed from his daughter's death as a result of a drive-by shooting, and he was committed that all criminals should pay. At the same time, both vigilantes were accosted by the Vulture (Adrian Toomes), who had bought out the company in his attempts to pursue more white-collar crime. The Vulture attacked both, leaving Nightcreeper hospitalized and the Prowler only a little worse off. Ultimately, though, the Prowler was able to drive the Vulture off and expose his plans. Mindy, his wife, had discovered the truth of her husband's identity during this time, and although she was upset, she remained tolerant of her husband's activities.
Desperate for some extra cash, Hobie and Rocket Racer became involved in the Great Game, a competition played by wealthy sponsors who would wager that their superhuman agents would defeat specific targets. However, the Game may have proved too high-stakes, as the Prowler broke his back in the final rumble, becoming paralyzed.
During his hospitalization, a new Prowler appeared, committing crimes for petty cash. He was immediately targeted for revenge by the Vulture and was barely saved by Spider-Man. It was in fact a hospital worker, Rick Lawson, who learned of Hobie’s identity and stole his costume. He planned on robbing victims’ homes while they were in the hospital. The Vulture returned to nearly eviscerate Rick Lawson, and only the timely arrival of Spider-Man helped save him.
Hobie recovered from his injury, but never again assumed the Prowler identity. When Spider-Man was framed for murder and increased pressure was placed on capturing him, he turned to Hobie for help in creating a new crime-fighting identity in order to investigate the fraudulent claims. Hobie provided Spider-Man with a cybernetic jet-pack, which was used in creating the Hornet costume. During the superhuman Civil War|civil war Hobie went unregistered and was able to evade capture thanks to tips from Arachne (Julia Carpenter) but was eventually brought in by Ms. Marvel. In Custody, S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives threatened to accuse his wife of being an unauthorized adventurer unless he would inform them of the double agent in their ranks. The Prowler escaped during a massive prison breakout and is still unregistered. He attended Stilt-Man's wake and revealed that the Stilt-Man had inspired him to invent his Prowler costume. Puma escorted him out before the Punisher bombed the wake. It's unrevealed if Hobie was poisoned by the drinks the Punisher served at the wake.