Adrian Chase was a New York district attorney whose family was killed by mobsters. This caused Chase to seek justice in his own way as the Vigilante. The character was one of the first amoral characters in American comic books, influenced by the Punisher from Marvel Comics and The Executioner series of novels.
After his initial appearance in the 1983 New Teen Titans Annual #2 he gained his own ongoing series, initially written by Marv Wolfman, and later included writers such as Alan Moore and Paul Kupperberg. In the early issues of the series, it was shown that Adrian took pains to make sure he did not kill his enemies (unlike the Punisher) - he would regularly use non-lethal weaponry to disable his opponents. However, in issue 37, Vigilante allowed a police officer to die as a direct result of his actions. Vigilante then became more violent and cared less about who was caught in the crossfire.