Arthur Blackwood was born in Decatur, Illinois. He was a seminary student in Chicago who believed that the church should become more active in fighting paganism and godlessness in modern society. Dismissed from the seminary for getting into an altercation with a superior, Blackwood visited his family crypt to meditate on his life. There he had a religious vision of all of his ancestors who devoted their lives to serving God. In this vision he met the spirit of one of his ancestors who served in the Crusades. This spirit seemingly bequeathed to him the combined power of all his ancestors and dubbed him knight. When Blackwood awoke from this vision, he discovered a sword, shield, and knight's raiment had inexplicably materialized nearby. Blackwood decided to take up the sword and use his newfound power to destroy all pagans and infidels. As his first target, he chose the thunder god Thor, whose claims of godhood seemed blasphemous to him.
Calling himself the Crusader, Blackwood attacked Thor at a public assembly. Somehow the strength of his faith granted him sufficient power not only to hold his own in pitched battle with the Asgardian, but also to inflict upon Thor a seemingly mortal wound. When Thor reappeared a short time later, his wound fully healed by the power of Odin, the Crusader's belief in his own infallibility was shaken. The Crusader was unable to comprehend how a supposed agent of the devil like Thor could be superior to him, a self-styled messenger of the Lord. When Thor shattered the Crusader’s sword, the Crusader fled, filled with doubts about the righteousness of his cause.
Blackwood's doubt has often caused him to lose battles rather than win them. Luke Cage has also able to defeat Blackwood after breaking his sword and once again causing Blackwood to doubt his cause leading, in turn, to yet another defeat. His doubt also led him to defeat at the hands of Nate Grey, a.k.a. X-Man. After this, Blackwood seemingly disappeared from continuing his crusade.
Not too long after the disassembly of the Avenger, Electro conducted the breakout of many famous Marvel villains from The Raft, a prison island for super villains. Blackwood was held as a prisoner here but would soon escape along with many other prisoners. This escape once again inspired Blackwood to continue his crusade, starting with Doctor Strange. However, his newest crusade would also be last as Strange would use his powers to send Blackwood back to the Raft.
In Wolverine vol.3, #42 (July, 2006), it is revealed that the Crusader is still active and had organized a religious group of thugs for himself. After hijacking a plane filled with money and planning to bomb the headquarters of several super-heroes, the Crusader and his men are stopped by Wolverine after he hears about their operation. In the process, Wolverine gouges out the Crusader's right eye, while quoting the Bible with "An eye for an eye." However, Wolverine is unable to prevent the plane from crashing down into a cornfield. On impact, the plane suddenly explodes. Wolverine survives the crash, but whether or not the Crusader survived is initially unclear.
The Crusader has been hired by the Hood to take advantage of the split in the superhero community caused by the Superhuman Registration Act.