Artie Gruber was a professional Aeroball player until he was accidentally almost killed while competing against John 'Giant' Clay of the Harlem Heroes. Resurrected as a cyborg by the Heroes' then sponsor Ulysses Cord (who was actually out to destroy them) Gruber was now motivated solely by a need to kill Clay, whom he blamed for turning him into a monster. Used as a pawn by several of Clay's enemies, Gruber attacked the Harlem Heroes three times (including once after they renamed themselves the Harlem Hellcats). His last clash with them ended with him plunging into a river wearing a burning jetpack, ironically the same way his first 'life' had ended.
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Gruber later resurfaced to battle the second Harlem Heroes, but it is uncertain whether this strip exists in the same continuity as the original or should be considered apocryphal. See Harlem Heroes.