The character first appeared in Avengers Vol. 1 #165 (November 1977) and was created by Jim Shooter and George Pérez.
Henry Gyrich is the first person to be given the title of U.S. Government Liaison to the Avengers by the National Security Agency later by the National Security Council. With his status, Gyrich is one of only two people (the other being the President of the United States) who could affect the Avengers in many difficult ways. During his tenure, Gyrich revokes the Avengers' priority status after taking issue. The Avengers have to accept Gyrich's "suggestions" or have their Quinjets and other sensitive equipment taken away. He limits the Avengers’ active membership to seven members, forces the Falcon to join unwillingly to fill an affirmative action quota he sets and installs various security measures for the team. Gyrich oversees the Avengers' activities for the next several months without incident, until he forbids the team to go on a mission to help Quicksilver. The next incident involves a security leak. Gyrich takes part in a Senate investigation involving the Avengers which claims the team are threats to national security. When the investigation ends, the Senate committee gives the Avengers new guidelines to follow; they also name Raymond Sikorski as his successor.
Writer Peter David has indicated that Shooter based Gyrich on himself. David attempted to humanize him by giving him some backstory in The Incredible Hulk (vol. 2) #456 (August 1997), which touched upon Gyrich's family life. After Betty Banner criticizes Gyrich for appearing callous and unfeeling when mentioning the pain of her own father dying, Gyrich cuts Banner off, saying "My father died of Alzheimer's, [Betty]. I took a year’s leave to care for him so he wouldn’t be watched over by strangers that my crummy salary couldn’t even afford. I cleaned up after him, tended to him, and his last words as I cradled his dying body were, 'Who in heck are you?'". As a result, it is revealed in Avengers: The Initiative that Gyrich’s greatest fear is contracting the same disease that killed his father. After a confrontation with Iron Man, Gyrich is apparently fired from his Initiative position, as he later makes a statement claiming at a press conference that he had decided to "retire" to spend time with his family. When a reporter points out that Gyrich has no living family, he declines to elaborate.
Prior to his involvement with the Avengers, Gyrich was NSA Liaison to Canada's Department H. While there, he met and had repeated issues with their chief agent Wolverine.
Gyrich becomes a member of the Commission on Superhuman Activities, the oversight body on superhuman activities in the United States; there he's part of the team that forces Captain America to resign. Gyrich also takes part as a special consultant in a covert government designed to deal with the problems concerning mutants in the United States. The project is instrumental in creating a team of mutants to counter the threat of foreign mutants.
Henry Gyrich is later involved in war efforts against the alien Dire Wraiths. This time, he works alongside Forge, a mutant who works as a weapons maker for the U.S. government and S.H.I.E.L.D.. Gyrich takes Forge's specially designed superhuman power-neutralizing gun to capture the mutant Rogue for breaking into a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility. In an encounter with Rogue, Storm and government forces, Gyrich accidentally shoots Storm. This specialized weapon strips Storm's powers and abilities as a mutant which Storm regains some time later. Gyrich continues attempting to use Forge’s own version of Spaceknight Rom’s Neutralizer, planning to use an orbital version to wipe out all superpowers on Earth. Rom and Forge stop him, however, and he can only watch, tied up, as Rom banishes Wraithworld (the Dire Wraith's home world) instead of destroying all the heroes and villains. Gyrich is also involved in hunting the Hulk after the events of Onslaught.
Henry Gyrich is targeted for assassination by the current form of the Mutant Liberation Front, led by the energy-casting Reignfire. His lack of gratitude for being rescued is part of what led the mutant Feral to defect from X-Force to the MLF. Gyrich is a key player in Bastion's program. He is a faithful believer in the operation until he himself becomes a target of Prime Sentinels. After being rescued by Spider-Man, Marrow and Callisto, Gyrich demands the program be shut down.
Gyrich is promoted to succeed Valerie Cooper as the head of the Commission on Superhuman Activities. While there, Baron Wolfgang von Strucker secretly places Gyrich under the control of nanites. Gyrich uses Commission resources and remolds the vigilante Nomad into the assassin Scourge and attempts to live out his “fantasy” of killing all the world's superhumans, before being stopped by the Thunderbolts.
Following that incident, he is reassigned to the U.S. State Department and is made the liaison for the Black Panther as well as the Avengers’ new liaison to the United Nations (by Captain America’s suggestion). During this time, he redeems himself in the eyes of the team when he refuses to deliver information on the Avengers to the Red Skull (disguised as the Secretary of Defense Dell Rusk). He never breaks, even under severe torture, which impresses the others. Now a faithful liaison officer to the Avengers, Gyrich’s job comes to an end after the United Nations ends their relationship with the Avengers.
Following the Civil War storyline, Gyrich is the Secretary of the Superhuman Armed Forces. His base of operations is the superhuman training facility in Stamford, Connecticut. It is under his orders that the Gauntlet is drafted as the facility’s Drill Instructor. This comes after Gauntlet saves him from a HYDRA attack in Iraq. Gyrich gives orders to cover up the death of MVP. He makes arrangements to provide a special tutor to Trauma through his old friend Hank McCoy. The tutor is revealed to be depowered mutant Dani Moonstar. They don't get along well and Gyrich fires Moonstar for training Trauma to use powers to help people with debilitating phobias instead of using them as a weapon. After the KIA debacle, Gyrich was removed from the Initiative program completely by Iron Man after a heated argument between the two in which Gyrich throws out the line "You've got Captain America's blood on your hands!" during the inquiry into why the KIA disaster happened in the first place. At a press conference at the end of the issue, Gyrich claims he is retiring, and walks off.
Gyrich becomes the main antagonist for Kieron Gillen and Steven Sander's new series S.W.O.R.D.. He joins S.W.O.R.D. (Sentient World Observation and Response Department) under Norman Osborn's orders and becomes the co-leader alongside Abigail Brand.
In the first volume, Gyrich manages to kidnap several notable aliens including Noh-Varr, Adam X, Jazinda, Karolina Dean and Hepzibah, all in his desire to send aliens home. He also arrests both Brand and Lockheed. Gyrich survives an alien takeover of the installation simply by being too dosed on intruder-neutralization gas to be much of a threat. Brand, with the assistance of several super-powered beings, takes back the job and blackmails Gyrich into leaving S.W.O.R.D. alone.
It is unknown if he was brainwashed by HYDRA or it was by his own will, Gyrich worked along them to control Dennis Dunphy and turn into the new Scourge in order to kill criminals and "fix the system". After Captain America tended him a trap, he was captured by S.H.I.E.L.D.
During the Civil War II storyline, Henry Peter Gyrich represented the United States as a member of the Alpha Flight Space Program's Board of Governors.
In the “Age of Apocalypse” alternate timeline storyline, Gyrich is an anti-mutant suicide bomber who threatens to destroy Heaven, Angel’s club. He is defeated by the Bedlam Brothers. He was returned in the current "Age of Apocalypse" on-going, as a leader in the human resistance. He lost his legs, in "the offensive to blow the Seattle power core", confining him to a wheelchair, and is seen helping evaluate the now powerless Jean Grey.
In the Mutant X comic, Gyrich is the government’s liaison to the Avengers. In issue #26, he calls for the aid of the Six to search for Dracula after forces break the vampire out of the prison the Vault. In this continuity, he again has a serious problem with Captain America.
The Ultimate Marvel iteration of Henry Gyrich visually looks like his mainstream counterpart albeit with blond hair. Working for the CIA, he is trying to establish a check and balance system for Nick Fury and the Ultimates in case. When a rapidly aged clone that was led to believe into being Dr. Richard "Ray" Parker, the clone's backstory included to continue the Venom project for Gyrich. However, the real Gyrich make appearances at the end of the Clone Saga arc, working instead for the FBI leading a strike team to find Otto Octavius. During a battle between Doctor Octopus and Spider-Man, Fury distracts Gyrich by asking confusing questions and confronting him about the illegal "Spider-Clone" program that had been going on behind S.H.I.E.L.D.’s back.In one issue of What If...?, Gyrich is summoned by the U.S. President to disrupt a rally led by Mary Richards, the daughter of Reed and Susan Richards and a philanthropic healer and activist, because the President fears the mounting popularity for her cause. Gyrich attempts to do so by disguising himself as Captain America and hiding agitators in the crowd; he manages to approach Mary and stab her critically before he gets his hand broken by the Thing. But his plan severely backfires when Mary uses her healing powers to quell the outbreaking violence amongst the crowd and, after making a full recovery, subsequently instigates the dissolution of the existing government system. Following that, Gyrich receives a visit from Captain America, who is out for revenge for Gyrich's abuse of his name and ideals.
Henry Peter Gyrich appeared in 1990s X-Men animated series, voiced by Barry Flatman. He is against mutants and is first seen in the pilot "Night of the Sentinels" alongside Bolivar Trask, overseeing the Sentinel project. He seems to think mutants all work together as he pointlessly questioned Jubilee about the X-Men. After it was shut down, he resurfaced as part of a Genoshan Slave Camp as seen on "Slave Island". Henry and Trask are seen a few more times, typically on the run from Master Mold. In the series finale "Graduation Day", Henry speaks at an Anti-Mutant Summit detailing the various mutant attacks. As Professor Xavier appears trying to convince Henry that not all mutants are evil, Henry retaliates by attacking Professor X with a sonic gun which ends up putting Professor X near death and involuntarily causing Professor X to broadcast psychic waves, revealing that Professor X is a mutant to the world. As the X-Men present rush to Professor X's aid, Henry is dragged away by the security guards claiming that mutants are dangerous, apparently having gone insane.
Henry Peter Gyrich appears in Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes, voiced by Don Brown. He is seen in the episode Imperious Rex.
Henry Peter Gyrich appears in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, voiced by Jim Ward. In the episode "Welcome to the Kree Empire", Carol Danvers gives him a tour on Kang the Conqueror's ship Damocles that has been re-purposed as a base of S.W.O.R.D., and meets Abigail Brand. Just after Gyrich learns from Carol that S.W.O.R.D. has not captured any aliens, a Kree warship appears. He and Abigail are then attacked by Kree soldiers that beam onto Damocles. Gyrich helps Abigail and the S.W.O.R.D. agents reclaim Damocles and confiscate the Kree vessel. When he is asked by Abigail if he is going to include their victory in his report, Gyrich says that Abigail is not fired yet. The episode "Prisoner of War" has shown that the real Gyrich was replaced early by a Skrull as he is among the inmates to escape the Skrull mothership with Captain America. In the episode "Secret Invasion", Gyrich's Skrull imposter sets up a bomb in the S.W.O.R.D. base, but all its personnel manage to get out.
Matthew Sharp portrayed Henry Gyrich in the 2000 film X-Men. He appears as an assistant to Senator Robert Kelly and is impersonated by Mystique. The real Gyrich was implied to have been killed by Sabretooth as a news report mentions that Gyrich's corpse was apparently "mauled by a bear".