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The Human Target is the name of two fictional comic book characters that have appeared in books published by DC Comics. The first is Fred Venable, who appears in Detective Comics #201 (November 1953), by Edmond Hamilton and Sheldon Moldoff.
The second, Christopher Chance, first appears in Action Comics #419 (December 1972), and was created by Len Wein and Carmine Infantino. This character, a private investigator and bodyguard who assumes the identities of clients targeted by assassins and other dangerous criminals, has appeared in numerous books published throughout the decades, and has appeared in television adaptations.
Raised in modest circumstances by his widowed father, who worked for the IRS, Christopher Chance was a normal, happy youngster until the night he and his dad were returning home from a basketball game and were confronted by a killer know only as Dancer. Forced by their assailant into a nearby alley, Chris learned that his dad had borrowed money from a local loan shark in the hope of being able to give him and his son a better life. Unfortunately, Philip Chance had lost the money on the stock market and, unable to repay the loan shark, was now going to be made an example of.
As Dancer prepared to shoot him, the man pleaded for his life. Fear held the young Chris Chance rooted to the spot, unable to move as he witnessed his father's degradation. As Dancer prepared to shoot, Chris suddenly hurled himself between the two men. The Dancer swiftly brushed Chris aside and completed his assignment, killing Philip Chance.
Enraged, Chris Chance threw himself at Dancer, trying to strangle the now startled killer. Before Dancer could shoot Chris as well, the sound of police sirens sent him running for the shadows.
Discovering that his father was just alive, Chris turned to comfort him. With his last breath, Philip Chance made his son promise that he'd make a success of himself, so that Chris would not meet the same end he had. Standing over his father's dead body, Christopher Chance vowed that as long as he lived, no one would ever have to live with the kind of fear his father knew, or would have to face that humiliation. Chris had tried to be a target for his father and had failed, but he swore he would never fail again.