Prowler versus the Vulture, art by Bill Reinhold
|First appearance||The Amazing Spider-Man v1 #78 (November 1969)|
|Created by||Stan Lee
|Alter ego||Hobie Brown|
The Prowler is a fictional character, a superhero that appears in comics published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by writer-editor Stan Lee and John Buscesma. He made his first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #78.
The first Prowler (Hobie Brown) developed a high-tech battle suit in order to start a life of crime, until Spider-Man convinces him to turn his life around. Several other characters have also taken up the identity of The Prowler.
Publication history 
The original Prowler character was a criminal-turned-superhero named Hobie Brown. He debuted in The Amazing Spider-Man #78 (November 1969). Hobie Brown was created by Stan Lee, John Buscema and Jim Mooney, following a "suggestion" by a young John Romita, Jr. He eventually appeared in his own solo comic The Prowler Issue #1 Approaching Dusk
Fictional character biography 
Hobie Brown 
Hobie Brown was born in the Bronx, New York. He was a bright but angry teenage African-American who got fired from his job as a window washer. Intending to use his engineering skills for personal profit, he devised a plan to steal items while disguised as a supervillain and bring them back to his home as Hobie Brown.
However, when he donned his green and purple "Prowler" costume for the first time, he crossed paths with Spider-Man. Spider-Man vanquished and unmasked the Prowler, but realizing he was just a misunderstood kid (much like himself), he gave him advice to not throw his life away as a criminal and to redeem himself. Hobie took this advice to heart and has since become a model citizen. Hobie later impersonated Spider-Man at the hero's request - Spider-Man wearing a webbing mask - to convince Peter Parker's friends that he was not Spider-Man after Peter 'confessed' the truth while suffering delirium due to the flu, thus creating the impression that Peter had merely been confused. Hobie became convinced that Spider-Man was involved somehow in the death of police Captain George Stacy, and unsuccessfully tried to bring Spider-Man to justice. Hobie eventually married his love, Mindy S. McPherson, and settled down into a career as a construction worker.[volume & issue needed]
Hobie began to look after his "little brother", Manuel "Manny" Lopez, as a part of the Big Brother Program. When Manny was murdered, Prowler believed the original White Tiger was responsible, and attempted to bring the White Tiger to justice. Prowler attempted to join the super-hero group the Defenders, only to be tossed into the harbor by Valkyrie, at which point he decided to retire his identity. The Prowler equipment was later stolen by the "Cat Burglar", who became the Prowler II to commit crimes for the fashion criminal Belladona. Brown was eager to join the search for the thieves, but Spider-Man insisted that he stay home so he would not get into trouble since the new Prowler had committed a felony murder. The second Prowler was subsequently defeated by Spider-Man and the stolen equipment was returned to Brown.
Prowler later appeared in California during Peter Parker's "Webs" book deal. He is first seen attacking the Black Fox for possession of a chalice, to keep his wife, Mindy, out of prison. Mindy accepted a bookkeeping job at Transcorp New York. The company was caught in some shady stock deals and Mindy was set up and blamed for the crimes. Seeing only way to clear her name, Hobie re-donned the Prowler costume and found the books which Mindy had been blamed for stealing. He hid the books on an information chip and put the information chip on the chalice, where no one would look for it. Prowler and Spider-Man team up to take on the Black Fox in order to re-gain possession of the chalice. Hobie vindicated his wife of stock fraud charges with the help of Spider-Man and the Black Fox.
The Prowler later attempted to vindicate Spider-Man of a crime, and first encountered Silver Sable and The Outlaws (including rehabilitated villains like Sandman, Rocket Racer and Puma). His safety designs were stolen by Justin Hammer; Hobie proved the flaws in the designs during an encounter with Hammer's hirelings. Hobie fought his brother Abe Brown (member of the Sons of the Tiger) as an initiation test for Silver Sable. Prowler joined with Spider-Man and the Outlaws against the Avengers and the Space Phantom. Prowler was hired along with the Outlaws to retrieve a Symkarian nuclear device in England. Prowler then formally joined the Outlaws, to rescue the kidnapped daughter of a Canadian official.
His costume and equipment were stolen by Nightcreeper, and the Prowler then battled Nightcreeper and the Vulture.
Later, Hobie was paralyzed during the Great Game. In follow-up appearances, he began regaining movement of his paralyzed limbs- evidence suggests that his paralysis was more a result of mental rather than physical damage, as he was feeling frustrated over the recent theft of his costume, eventually regaining full mobility. While recovering, he provided Spider-Man with a jetpack that he used when assuming the new identity of the Hornet during the Identity Crisis storyline,[volume & issue needed] and later appeared, in costume, at a poker game hosted by the Thing.
Escaping incarceration, he attended the wake for Stilt-Man, along with many other villains and former villains. The Prowler narrowly escaped injury as Spider-Man and Puma escorted him from the wake shortly before it was bombed by the Punisher.
Other characters have taken over the role of The Prowler; in a story arc around The Spectacular Spider-Man #47 (1980), Bella Donna stole Brown's costume and equipment and hired, to become a new Prowler, the cat burglar whom Spider-Man originally fought in The Amazing Spider-Man #30. That criminal, who wore a simpler version of Brown's costume, accidentally killed a guard during one of his crimes. That Prowler's silhouetted profile confused witnesses enough to have Spider-Man implicated in the murder. Eventually, Spider-Man captured both Belladonna and her accomplice, cleared his name, and returned the stolen equipment to Brown.
He appeared in Punisher War Journal #4, where he was seen at the "Bar With No Name" attending Stilt-Man's wake, identifying himself as the "Cat Burglar". He had a brief fight with Hobie, who was also attending Stilt-Man's funeral. Sometime after the Prowler left, the Punisher poisoned the guests' drinks and blew the place up.[volume & issue needed] It was later mentioned in She-Hulk (volume 2) #17 that "they all had to get their stomachs pumped and be treated for third-degree burns.”[volume & issue needed]
In The Sensational Spider-Man #16-18, a medical intern named Rick Lawson stole the Prowler costume when Hobie was brought in with a back injury; when he was brought into hospital, his costume was partly cut away to conceal his superhero identity, but his friends were unwilling to risk moving him due to his back injury and so a portion of the costume was left that tipped Rick off. With this costume, Rick both robbed patients in the ICU and get revenge on those who had 'wronged' him in the past, such as a construction foreman who fired him when he needed the job to complete medical school. He ran into the Vulture, who was rejuvenated and attempting to kill all who knew him as an old man; he mistook Rick for Hobie and was unconcerned about the mistake. He managed to badly injure Rick by slashing him across the chest with his wings, but was unable to kill Rick when Spider-Man interrupted the fight. As Spider-Man defeated the Vulture, Rick was taken to the hospital and the Prowler costume was returned to Hobie, who began to recover from his paralysis.[volume & issue needed]
Powers and abilities 
Prowler has no superhuman powers, but is naturally inventive, especially in the field of pneumatics, although he has no formal education in that science. He relies on a suite of technical gimmicks that he has created. The Prowler wears modified coveralls interwoven with denim and stretch fabric, equipped with gas cartridge bracelets and anklets capable of propelling projectiles at high velocity. His arsenal of projectiles include steel darts ("flechettes"), gas pellets, small explosives, magnesium flares and cleaning fluid. Prowler has been known to use hypnotic aids and conventional hand-held weapons. He wears steel-tipped gauntlets for scaling walls, and shock absorbent foam rubber insulated boots. He also wears a cape which contains a network of pneumatic filaments which expand with air to give it a rigid structure, allowing him to glide for short distances.
A technological genius, he also designed the cybernetically-controlled wing harness used by Peter Parker in the alter ego of the Hornet during Identity Crisis, although he himself was unable to use it due to the weight.
Hobie is a skilled hand-to-hand combatant, possessing a green belt in taekwondo.
Other versions 
House of M 
Marvel Zombies 
A zombified Prowler is seen in "Dead Days",[volume & issue needed] during The Ultimate Fantastic Four.[volume & issue needed] He is depicted in a scene standing near the side of Tigra on the two page layout of the zombies.
Ultimate Marvel 
The Ultimate Marvel version of Prowler is Aaron Davis, the uncle of Miles Morales, the second Ultimate Spider-Man. His brother, Miles' father, Jefferson, and he used to be partners in crime. Whereas Jefferson reformed when he became a father, Aaron continued his criminal activities and became estranged from his brother. After breaking into the lab to steal a small red box from a safe, a genetically altered spider crawled into the Prowler's duffel bag without his knowledge. Miles, while visiting his uncle Aaron's apartment, is bitten by the spider. Miles briefly passes out, and after regaining consciousness, his father appears and confronts his brother, forbidding him from spending time with Miles, on account of the life that Aaron leads. Miles flees, after which he discovers that he has superhuman abilities.. Aaron eventually learns that Miles is the new Spider-Man and confronts Miles with this knowledge, while Miles learns that Aaron is the Prowler.
Aaron initially convinces Miles to assist him in his work, but after defeating the crime boss, Scorpion, Miles comes to realize that Aaron is exploiting him. When Miles decides to sever their relationship, Aaron attacks the boy with Shocker weapons, leading to a fight that results in Aaron's equipment exploding, killing him.
In other media 
The Amazing Spider-Man newspaper comic strip 
Hobie Brown made an appearance in an early story in the comic strip, "The Prowler." This version's gauntlets weaponry were restricted to compressed air blasts. 
- Hobie Brown appeared in the Spider-Man episode "The Prowler" voiced by Tim Russ. He first appeared working for a crime lord called Iceberg (voiced by Lawrence Mandley) and was feeling he wasn't earning his fair cut for the work he was doing. When Iceberg discovered that Hobie was stealing from him, he had his boys attempt to kill Hobie. After narrowly escaping that fate and discovering that his girlfriend had fallen in love with someone else, he knew he needed to get out of town. He stole a passerby's purse in order to fund his new trip. It turned out to be Mary Jane's purse when she and Peter Parker are in the process of apartment hunting. Brown was stopped by Spider-Man and sent to jail for violating his parole. While in jail, he saves Richard Fisk from an attempt on his life. As payment, Kingpin arranges for a hot shot lawyer to enable Hobie's release and gives him a special battle-suit. He took the battle-suit on a trial run and had a run-in with Spider-Man whom he managed to evade. He used the battle-suit to get revenge on Iceberg and overthrow him. There are strings attached however as Hobie finds that a shock occurs in his suit when Kingpin contacts him and says that he'll fix the suit if Prowler keeps working for Kingpin. Prowler sought out Peter Parker and told him his story since Peter knows how to get through to Spider-Man. It was discovered by Spider-Man that the Kingpin has wired the suit to shock him if he disobeys and the suit's belt will detonate if he tampers with it. He and Spider-Man team up against the Kingpin and destroyed the controls to the belt so it wouldn't detonate and Prowler's suit is recharged. Hobie gave up crime so he can have a chance at returning to a normal 'good' life.
- Hobie Brown appears in The Spectacular Spider-Man series as one of Peter's classmates. He, along with Pete and Harry Osborn try out for the school's football team, and makes the cut. A recurring joke in the series has him not having a speaking role, and is usually interrupted when trying to speak. Charles Duckworth voices Hobie when he has his first speaking role in the episode "Opening Night". He did not appear as Prowler in the series as the series was cancelled before any plans for the Prowler to appear were made.
Video games 
- Prowler made his video game debut in Spider-Man: Friend or Foe voiced by Chris Gardner. He is one of the many characters to help Spider-Man in fighting the invasion. He is one of the featured characters to join S.H.I.E.L.D. before Spider-Man. In this game, he did not wear a cape, but still used canister barrages.
- The Amazing Spider-Man #79 - inside front cover
- The Amazing Spider-Man #78-79 (1969)
- The Amazing Spider-Man #87
- The Amazing Spider-Man #93
- Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #21
- Defenders #62-64
- Spectacular Spider-Man #47-48
- story-arc around The Amazing Spider-Man #304, 1988
- The Amazing Spider-Man #305
- Web of Spider-Man #50
- Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #9
- Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #10
- Spectacular Spider-Man #47
- Excalibur #36
- The Amazing Spider-Man #25, Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #11, Web of Spider-Man #7
- Prowler limited series #1-4, 1995
- Spider-Man Unlimited #16
- The Sensational Spider-Man #16-18 (1997)
- The Sensational Spider-Man #25 (1997)
- The Thing #8 (2005)
- Ms. Marvel #6 (2006)
- Punisher War Journal #4 (2006)
- Spectacular Spider-Man #47-48
- Cat at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- House of M: Avengers #1-5
- Ultimate Fantastic Four #25
- Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man Vol. 2 #1
- Bendis, Brian Michael (w), Pichelli, Sara (a). Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man Vol. 2 #6-8. Marvel Comics. March - June 2012.
- Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man Vol. 2 #9-11
- Bendis, Brian Michael (w), Pichelli, Sara (a), Marquez, David (p), Ponsor, Justin (i). Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man Vol. 2 #12-13. Marvel Comics. September - October 2012.
- Lee, Stan, Romita Sr., John (8 Oct 1979 - 23 Dec 1979). The Prowler. Register and Tribune Syndicate.