Hudak was a research chemist who fell into trouble and couldn’t get himself out of it. He was wrongly blamed for embezzlement within the company, and his world crumbled around him. Hoping for revenge, he created an armored suit with flame-throwing equipment, attacking his former company as the Scorcher. He was opposed by a young Spider-Man in one of his first outings, defeated and left for the police to imprison.
It was later revealed that the Scorcher was operating as an agent of the corrupt industrialist Norman Osborn (who would later become the Green Goblin). The Scorcher escaped prison to pursue his arsonist crimes by creating a protection racket, but he was again defeated by Spider-Man. Once, he was seen attacking patrons laden with Christmas gifts, but he was easily defeated by Spider-Man (Ben Reilly) who was passing by.
At some point, he was invited to join the Crimson Cowl's Masters of Evil, and he accepted, hoping to get rich through the Masters' blackmail scheme using global weather control. The team was defeated and apprehended by the Thunderbolts, and the Scorcher was among those remanded to custody.
The Scorcher returned as a contract criminal, accepting the job to kill Matt Murdock, whose secret identity of Daredevil became known to the public despite his attempts to deny it. He and a new Diamondback hoped to confront Murdock but were scared off by Spider-Man and Daredevil. He immediately was forced by Lucia von Bardas to band together with other supervillains who used technology she helped provide in their equipment. The villains began a massive attack against SHIELD and dozens of New York’s heroes, and the Scorcher was taken down by Daredevil. The Scorcher, distraught, continued to profess his unwillingness in it all. The battle turned out to be part of von Bardas’ ploy to assemble the heroes in one place. She triggered a device common to all the villains in the technology they used, and she and the villains were linked together in a giant bomb over the city. SHIELD agent Daisy Johnson was able to kill von Bardas, defusing the bomb, and the villains were remanded to custody.
While in SHIELD custody, Hudak admitted to his inteviewer that he wanted to start a new life and offered his services to SHIELD. He revealed that he had an ex-wife, Kali, and son, and he was in contact with them, urging them to flee the city because he knew about von Bardas’ plan. In a letter to Kali, he promised to reform and leave the criminal life he always felt forced to be in.