Jackson Arvad was the chief scientist for electromagnetic research at the Brand Corporation until a laboratory accident shattered the "magno-chamber" in whose vicinity Arvad was working. The disaster thrust Arvad's body into the magno-chamber's electromagnetic field. This caused the molecules of Arvad's body to gradually disperse, and he was left there to die by his superior, James Melvin. However, Arvad did not die and he soon discovered that he possessed a certain degree of mental control over his body's molecules. Each time he relaxed control over his molecular structure, it became more difficult for him to resume a solid state. Fearing that his body's molecules would drift apart and he would be unable to reintegrate them, he contacted criminal scientist Dr. Jonah Harrow. Pretending to help him, Harrow implanted a tiny receptor in Arvad’s skull so that he could disrupt the Wisp's mental control over his molecules. Harrow then forced the Will-O'-The-Wisp to carry out certain criminal activities to advance Harrow's plans. During this crime spree, the Wisp encountered Spider-Man , who later tried to persuade him to resist the man controlling him. Will O' The Wisp finally decided to turn against Harrow, but upon realizing the Wisp's intent, Harrow activated the device in the Wisp's skull and dissipated him. Regardless of his disintegration, Will O' The Wisp's intelligence remained whole, and he eventually developed a way to reintegrate himself. Taking control of the battle suit of the criminal Killer Shrike, the Wisp forced him to kidnap scientist Dr. Maria Madison and bring her to the laboratory where he was originally transformed. There he was restored to physical form. The Wisp then destroyed the laboratory and fled into the night, plotting his revenge on James Melvin and Jonas Harrow.
Will-O'-The-Wisp eventually got his opportunity for revenge against Melvin, but his better judgment stopped him from killing him. Turning Melvin over to the authorities, the Wisp forced him to expose some of Brand's illegal activities to the news media. This exposure, brought about with the aid of Spider-Man, caused the shutdown of Brand's major plant in Long Island. Will-O' –The-Wisp departed after that incident to contemplate what to do with his powers.
Eventually, the Brand Corporation hired another costumed criminal in the Tarantula to kill Spider-Man. In an attempt to give him powers like Spider-Man, he was injected with a mutagenic serum and placed in an electrolyte bath. Unfortunately for Tarantula, Will-O'-The-Wisp disrupted the mutagenic process, causing Tarantula to start transforming into an actual giant tarantula. After fighting with both Spider-man and the Wisp, the Tarantula, horrified at what he’d become, leapt to his death off a tall building.
Arvad would later team up with other reformed criminals such as Sandman, Puma, Rocket Racer, and Prowler when he thought Spider-Man had turned to a life of crime. After some fighting within the group, they eventually formed a shaky truce which later led the Wisp to become employed by Silver Sable to save the life of a foreign diplomat’s daughter. This was when Will-O’-The-Wisp became a member of the Outlaws. Since then the Outlaws and Will-O’-The-Wisp’s current whereabouts remain unknown.
With no explanation whatsoever Will-O'-The-Wisp attacks Peter as part of the chameleons gang after the former unmasks on live television.