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Zartan's earliest memories are that of growing up homeless and on the streets of Los Angeles. He does not remember whom he is, or where he came from. Having no sense of his own identity, Zartan found himself being acting like a different person for everyone he met or came across. The ability to act like something your not came in handy as he grew into his teens, helping him get close to Nazi weapons caches and food supplies. Having no identity of his own, and not wanting to be just another face, Zartan began the process of tattooing his body, including his face and head. Tattoos were not allowed by Nazi law, and Zartan became a person of interest to the local Nazi regime, and was put on a watch list, as they feared he could cause trouble. He remained elusive though, until the summer of 2003.
A massive hurricane roared ashore and devastated a large portion of the area Zartan had been in operation. It left many homeless, and the area was declared a disaster zone, and the Nazi government sent in reinforcements in to clean up the mess. Many displaced people were taken into custody, and sent to various slave labor camps around the country.
Anyone not loyal to the Nazi's or deemed non-Aryan were packed up and shipped out, like animals to the slaughter. Among them, the nuisance known as Zartan.
Zartan was immediately pulled from the camp and it was decided that due to his less than stellar record, he would be sent the Florida Everglades to a research facility, where he was "volunteered" for new experiments the Nazi doctors had re-opened: long abandoned genetic manipulation tactics that were once known as Project: Neo. The original project was abandoned years prior, but certain aspects of it were being reopened and tested anew, with alarming new twists involving DNA splicing with humans and animals.
Zartan escaped only after his experiments had been completed.. and his escape was due to the experiments success, and he found himself with the ability to literally blend in to his surroundings and "disappear" like a chameleon. He left Florida and headed back to the area in which he called home, Los Angeles.
Upon returning, Zartan came into conflict with a lawless group of thugs with no direction, who had loyalties to neither the Nazi's or the American Underground movement known as Cobra. They represented neither the America that Cobra was fighting for, or the Dictatorship of the Nazi party, instead they represented the drifters, the hobo's and the outlaws of all societies. Zartan merged all of them into one small paramilitary strike group known as the Dreadnoks.
Always looking for allies, COBRA soon found that the hell raising Dreadnoks and their cunning leader Zartan made a perfect ally... for the right price.