Electro, one of the earliest villains to haunt Spider-Man and one of his greatest enemies. But where did he come from? Let's explore the comic origin of your new favorite Spidey-adversary.
You've probably seen The Amazing Spider-Man 2 trailer by now. The movie has decided to tell the origin of Electro in a slightly different fashion than Stan "The Man" Lee had envisioned it in Spider-Man #9 (1964). Back then, origin stories were told in just a couple of panels. In all fairness, you just had about 24 pages in total to introduce your villain, care a little about the social life of Peter Parker, and show some action. Not much time for a background story.
In the early days of their creator-character relationship, Stan Lee and Peter Parker were still trying to find a good way to work together. The condensed storylines of Peter worrying about Aunt May (and vice versa), presenting Flash Thompson as a douche, and creating fast-paced action for the teenage reader is hardly comparable to any comic you see out today. A villain had to be on stage quickly.
That's it. Just show another guy in tights, have him state his name, and you had your villain introduced (and that's even more of an origin than the great Vulture received in his first appearance). Electro's name was Max Dillion from the beginning, but as you can see, he was a different color in both skin and costume than the updated version we're getting in the sequel.
Max was a electrical engineer and lineman - just like in the trailer - but his motives were purely selfish. He stole equipment (from Stark Industries, not Oscorp) to charge himself, cooperated with J.J. Jameson, and was part of the Sinister Six. He had nothing of the low confidence of the Max that we've seen in the trailer.
But in the end, like all villains, he didn't manage to keep up with Peter, ending up in jail (only to be back in issue #82, #187, #334, etc. - you get the point). He was one of the first and is one of the more important villains in the Spider-Man Universe. I'm glad to finally meet him on the big screen and can't wait for the movie.