The heir to his family's California silver mining company, Esteban Rodrigo Suarez Hidalgo was more interested in the adventures of his circus performer uncle than in continuing the family business. But Hidalgo was nevertheless forced to upon his parents' and uncle's deaths in a plane crash.
He lived in Europe for a time, but eventually returned to Los Angeles as it was his home, where he tried to help rebuild the community which had started to decay physically and morally. He wanted to do something more then just throw money at the problems and decided to become El Hombre as a role model to the youths in the barrio.
By the early 1960s he found himself a member of the Honor Guard after having helped them on a case. But the duties of being with the team took him away from his community and he started losing the love of his life, Maria Alvarado, to another activist in the community, Ramon Vega. In the eyes of the barrio youths, El Hombre became seen as a status quo-enabling sell out. Finally, he decided to rededicate himself. He began spending more time in the community again and picked up a ward and protege in Bravo.
However, after Maria married Vega, El Hombre came to see his life as empty and a joke. When he found out he was the least popular member of Honor Guard (and worse for him, found out he was someone shallow enough to care), he convinced the Assemblyman to create a robot to terrorize the people of Los Angeles, intending to save them and win their adoration. However, Assemblyman double-crossed him, and El Hombre was unable to stop the robot. Instead, it went on a rampage, killing civilians and destroying property, until it was eventually defeated by Honor Guard.
In the ensuing investigation, El Hombre's plan was discovered. Hunted by the law, he and his sidekick, Bravo (who had nothing to with any of it), were publicly disgraced. Bravo left Los Angeles for Astro City and went on to form the Astro City Irregulars. As El Hombre's secret identity was unknown, he was able to retire, moving to Astro City to watch Bravo's triumphs from a distance.
El Hombre wielded a special titanium steel whip that contained technology enabling it to catch bullets and stun its victims. He was highly skilled in its usage, as well as in acrobatics.