Howard "Howie" Groote was a nerdy student attending Hamilton Hill High School.
Howard had excellent learning skills, but poor social ones. When his parents went on a vacation to Madrid, he decided to host a party at his house, thinking it would grant him the popularity he so desperately craved. Howard set off to invite popular kids like Nelson Nash, Blade, and Chelsea Cunningham, only to be spurned by them.
Howard was friends with Terry McGinnis, Dana Tan, and Maxine Gibson, who tried their best to warn him about the frivolity of his pursuits. However, Howard adamantly equated popularity with importance, and thought that a popular girlfriend would make him a "somebody". One day after class, Howard tagged along with Terry, who had to pick up a special order for Bruce Wayne in a synthoids factory. There, he met Louie, an illicit employee that designed synthetic girlfriends for forlorn clients. Howard jumped at the chance to get the perfect girlfriend. He specified his requirements ― red hair, green eyes, and undivided devotion ― and used his parents' credit cards to make the purchase.
The synthoid, named Cynthia, immediately caused a sensation at school, and consequently Howard became very popular. At his well-attended fête, Howard observed that Cynthia's program made her too possessive, as she started shoving Chelsea and Max out of jealousy. He took her to a bedroom and tried to contact Louie for some technical support. When Howard tried to break up with her, Cynthia went haywire and raised a ruckus. After she and Batman trashed his place, Howard naively tried to temper Cynthia by telling her they could still be friends. However, this had the opposite effect, causing the scorned robot to explode.
At that point, Howard's parents arrived from their cut short vacation, because Howard had maxed out their credit card. Despite the aggravation and almost certain punishment, this event earned Howard the popularity he sought for so long. He kept a friendship with Terry, Dana, and Max, with whom he sporadically hung out.
Howard was one of Hamilton Hill High top-tier students, and his skills seemed to extend to the most various subjects. He was once paired with Dana for a Family Studies class project which involved taking care of an Eggbaby. Howard displayed remarkable concern and commitment in his parental role. He named his Eggbaby "Little Howie" and even claimed it had said "papa". Howard and Dana did a fairly good job taking care of their baby, but much to his dismay, the top grade went to Terry, who accomplished in fully stimulating his Eggbaby.
Howard was a teenager comfortable in his time. Consequently, he wasn't too keen on antiquated culture. One night he, Terry, Dana, and Max went to see the classic movie Casablanca and Howard wasn't at all impressed. On another occasion, they went to visit Gotham Public Library and he displayed some skepticism about its utility. Howard argued that such a resource was obsolete, seeing as any kind of information could easily be accessed on the Web.
- Howard is voiced by Max Brooks, the son of well-known comic actor and director Mel Brooks. On the commentary to "The Eggbaby", Andrea Romano recounted a story of how Max was cast; after auditioning, he emerged from the studio just in time to hear Bruce Timm saying (in reference to a recently released film) "terrible, horrible, etc". The producers called Max two weeks later to offer him the part, and were surprised and dismayed to hear that he thought they were talking about his audition.
- Howard is visually modeled on a young Paul Dini.