|First appearance||The Amazing Spider-Man #238 (March 1983)|
|Created by||Roger Stern|
John Romita Jr.
|Alter ego||Roderick Kingsley|
The Hobgoblin is the alias of several fictional supervillains appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, commonly depicted as enemies of Spider-Man. The first Hobgoblin, Roderick Kingsley, first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #238, and was created by Roger Stern and John Romita Jr. During the late 1980s and most of the 1990s, the Hobgoblin identity was carried exclusively by Jason Macendale instead. In 2009 the Hobgoblin was ranked by IGN as the 57th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time.
- 1 Publication history
- 2 Fictional character biography
- 3 Other Hobgoblins
- 4 Other versions
- 5 In other media
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The Hobgoblin was created by writer Roger Stern and artist John Romita Jr. for The Amazing Spider-Man #238 (March 1983). Like other writers Stern found himself under pressure to have Spider-Man fight the Green Goblin again, but did not wish to bring Norman Osborn or Bart Hamilton back from the dead, have Harry Osborn become the Green Goblin again, or create yet another Green Goblin. Instead he created a new goblin as heir to the Green Goblin's legacy and developed the Hobgoblin. Stern recounts that he directed Romita to base the costume on the Green Goblin's but to make it "a little more medieval-looking", while Romita asserts that he was given no direction beyond using the Green Goblin as a basis. Both agree, however, that the costume was chiefly Romita's design.
The character's identity was not initially revealed, generating one of the longest-running mysteries in the Spider-Man comics. According to Stern, "I plotted that first story with no strong idea of who the Hobgoblin was. As I was scripting those gorgeous pages from JR [John Romita, Jr.], particularly the last third of the book, and developing the Hobgoblin’s speech pattern, I realized who he was. It was Roderick Kingsley, that sunuvabitch corporate leader I had introduced in my first issue of [The] Spectacular [Spider-Man]." A handful of readers deduced that Kingsley was the Hobgoblin almost immediately. In order to throw them off the scent, and in the same stroke provide a retroactive explanation for his inconsistent characterization of Kingsley in his early appearances, Stern came up with the idea of Kingsley having a brother named Daniel who sometimes impersonates him, sealing the deception by having the Hobgoblin conspicuously appear in the same room as Daniel Kingsley in Amazing Spider-Man #249.
Stern's original plan was to have the mystery of the Hobgoblin's identity run exactly one issue longer than that of the Green Goblin's identity, meaning the truth would be revealed in The Amazing Spider-Man #264. However, Stern left the series after The Amazing Spider-Man #251. Editor Tom DeFalco took his place. Wanting to resolve the mystery in a manner that would do justice to Stern's stories, he asked Stern who the Hobgoblin was, but objected when Stern told him it was Kingsley. DeFalco argued that the "twin brother" scheme was cheating the readers since, aside from a single thought bubble, there had been no hint that Roderick even had a brother, much less one who could serve as a double for him. Stern disagreed but said that DeFalco should feel free to choose whoever he wanted for the Hobgoblin's secret identity, reasoning that "I knew that whomever Tom chose, he would make it work." Upon reviewing the clues, DeFalco decided that the Hobgoblin was Richard Fisk. Moreover, he decided that the mystery of his identity should be prolonged as long as possible, since it was the chief element that made the Hobgoblin interesting. Through both Stern and DeFalco's runs, the answer to the mystery was continuously teased on the cover art, with the covers of Amazing Spider-Man #245, 251, and 276 all showing Spider-Man unmasking the Hobgoblin.
The mystery became further complicated after James Owsley came on as editor of the Spider-Man titles. Owsley's relationship with DeFalco and artist Ron Frenz was strained from the beginning, and so when Owsley asked who the Hobgoblin was at a Spider-Man creators conference, DeFalco lied and said it was Ned Leeds. Owsley then wrote the one-shot Spider-Man vs Wolverine in which Ned Leeds is killed off (though the actual death is not shown), and instructed The Spectacular Spider-Man writer Peter David to reveal the Hobgoblin as the Foreigner. David objected and argued that the only person who fit the clues was Leeds (having been present at the Spider-Man creator's conference, David also thought that Leeds was who DeFalco intended it to be). Because Spider-Man vs. Wolverine had already been drawn, however, it was too late to undo Leeds's death. Thus, the Hobgoblin's identity was revealed posthumously in The Amazing Spider-Man #289, a double-sized issue. With Spider-Man's then-archenemy now dead, a new Hobgoblin was created from the storyline of Jason Macendale's hatred of the Hobgoblin. Though the posthumous unmasking of the Hobgoblin as Leeds was unpopular with fans, in a 2009 interview David said that he is still proud of the story, arguing that the Hobgoblin being unmasked in a climactic battle with Spider-Man was the sort of tale readers had already seen countless times before, whereas having an archvillain unmasked in a flashback after having been brutally killed by nameless assassins was unprecedented and shocking.
Macendale supplanted the original Hobgoblin for a decade (1987-1997). Initially he wielded only the weaponry of his predecessor, but during the 1988-89 Inferno crossover writer Gerry Conway had him imbued with demonic powers by N'astirh. In addition to giving him power over hellfire and increasing his strength and speed to far greater than that of the original Hobgoblin, these powers also disfigure Macendale so that his head is even more grotesque than his Hobgoblin mask, and ultimately alters his mind so that he is deluded into thinking that his appearance is normal. Several years later, in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man, Macendale succeeds in purging himself of his demonic powers. Towards the end of Macendale's run as the Hobgoblin he was revamped again, this time with cybernetic implants.
Stern was unhappy with the revelation that his character's civilian identity was Ned Leeds, and in 1997 he wrote a three-issue miniseries, Spider-Man: Hobgoblin Lives, with the retcon that Roderick Kingsley was the original Hobgoblin, and had brainwashed Leeds into serving as a fall guy. Macendale is killed off in this miniseries, and Kingsley is returned to operating as the Hobgoblin. According to Stern, initially he had not known how to resolve the situation of having two Hobgoblins, and it was at the suggestion of the editorial staff that he had Kingsley kill Macendale and take his place.
Fictional character biography
Amoral billionaire fashion designer Roderick Kingsley was obsessed with Norman Osborn, the original Green Goblin, after discovering locations of his various hideouts. Decided to create a name criminal himself instead of just being another Green Goblin, he altered the formula, the costume and improved the Goblin equipment in order to become the Hobgoblin. Kingsley then frames Ned Leeds for his crimes, and murders his successor Jason Macendale years later. Kingsley's villainous identity is finally exposed by Spider-Man and Leeds' wife, Betty Brant, and he flees to the Caribbean to hide from both the law and his enemies. Roderick's brother and accomplice Daniel later poses as him, attempts to take the Hobgoblin identity and is murdered by Phil Urich, who takes up the mantle himself. Donning his old costume, Roderick returns to New York and battles Urich, but ends up agreeing to let him continue in the role as long as Kingsley gets his share of the profits.
Arnold Samuel "Lefty" Donovan was a petty thug working for Roderick Kingsley until he was exposed to the Goblin Formula as a test subject. Similar to how Norman Osborn got exposed to the formula, Kingsley has Donovan mix the two vital chemicals that were mixed to create the formula. The formula explodes, disfiguring Donovan's face and granting him its power. Donovan is taken to a hospital. Kingsley uses the Winkler process in order to brainwash Donovan. Donovan eventually escapes the hospital and follows preprogrammed instructions to go to a hidden cache of goblin weapons and dress up as the Hobgoblin.
Donovan impersonates the Hobgoblin and attacks the city. Spider-Man eventually confronts and unmasks him. Seeing his face (even though it was scarred), Spider-Man recognizes Lefty. Donovan is able to shake off some of the Kingsley programing and starts talking about his boss. Kingsley programs the Goblin glider to crash into the side of a building, killing Lefty with the falling rubble.
Edward "Ned" Leeds was a reporter working for the Daily Bugle. Kingsley brainwashes Leeds to act as a stand-in on many occasions and fool the underworld into thinking that Leeds is the Hobgoblin. He is later murdered by the Foreigner after Kingsley decides that he is no longer needed.
Around the time when the Rose and Hobgoblin's plan got out of hand, Kingsley wanted to escape from his identity. He was looking for a way out and decided to target Flash Thompson, a vocal advocate of Spider-Man who had insulted the Hobgoblin on national television that had incurred Kingsley's wrath. Kingsley attempted to frame Thompson as the Hobgoblin, so that his criminal enemies might target him instead. The plan was foiled through intervention of Jason Philip Macendale Jr., who subsequently broke Thompson out of jail, thinking he was doing the Hobgoblin a favor. Macendale was a mercenary who had been trained by the CIA and various para-military organizations, and was known in his costumed identity as Jack O'Lantern. When Macendale discovered that Thompson was not the Hobgoblin, Kingsley grew furious, as he had planned to operate "under the radar" while Thompson was in custody; this began a long-running feud between Kingsley and Macendale when the two battled for the first time. Thompson was ultimately exonerated and released.
When the Kingpin temporarily abdicated his role at the head of organized crime on the eastern seaboard, the resulting gang war tore New York City apart. During the conflict the Hobgoblin and the Rose had a falling out, with the latter ordering the former's assassination as he had become too dangerous. The Hobgoblin sold the Rose's identity to the Kingpin in exchange for information that would aid Leeds in a story, thus reinforcing the illusion of the latter's identity. Also, during the conflict both Hobgoblin and Jack O' Lantern were badly injured and forced to separately retreat. Shaken by the battle, Jack O' Lantern felt he needed to seek another way to destroy his enemy.
The Hobgoblin took one more attempt at killing Harry Osborn, and poisoned both Osborn and Spider-Man.
Hoping to give another try at escaping from his identity, Kingsley leaked word to the underworld that Leeds was the Hobgoblin. Taking this information, Macendale paid the supervillain known as the Foreigner to take Leeds out. On an overseas assignment with Peter Parker, Leeds was murdered in his hotel room. As Spider-Man, Peter was later told by the Kingpin that Leeds had been the Hobgoblin and shown a series of photos of the assassination. Although known in parts of the underworld, this information did not become public until many years later when Macendale revealed it at the end of his trial. For many years Leeds was considered to be the original Hobgoblin.
Kingsley's plan had worked: his enemies thought they had killed the Hobgoblin and now he could take his ill-gotten gains and retire to Belize. This paved the way for Macendale to take up the role, an unforeseen development that eventually forced Kingsley to come out of retirement and kill Macendale in order to protect his secret identity, as Macendale had enough information to possibly lead the authorities to discover the true identity of the original Hobgoblin.
With Roderick Kingsley having relocated to Ecuador, his brother Daniel Kingsley returned to New York, posing as Roderick with the intention of becoming the new Hobgoblin. However, when investigating Roderick's old lair at OsCorp to find that Norman Osborn had been working on some new goblin gear, including new body armor, a winged jetpack in place of a glider, and a flaming energy sword. Kingsley also discovers Phil Urich trying to retrieve some of the gear to show Norah at the Daily Bugle. Urich uses his "Lunatic Laugh" to stun Kingsley long enough for Urich to decapitate him using his own sword, which allows Urich to claim the mantle of Hobgoblin.
When Daniel Kingsley attempts to assume his brother's role as the Hobgoblin in New York, he encounters Phil Urich, who once used the Green Goblin identity to operate as a hero. Kingsley is on the verge of murdering him until Urich uses his "Lunatic Laugh", stunning Kingsley. Urich then kills Kingsley in self-defense and takes on the Hobgoblin identity himself, as a supervillain. As the new Hobgoblin, Phil becomes one of Kingpin's agents. The Kingpin's criminal empire is destroyed and Urich's identity is exposed by The Superior Spider-Man. He is taken down by Spider-Man and arrested until the Green Goblin frees him from his prison transport in exchange for his full loyalty. The Green Goblin then gives Urich updated Goblin armor and crowns him his "Goblin Knight." Urich later replaces the Green Goblin as the new Goblin King.
An unidentified Hobgoblin was introduced in the series Secret War. With very little to know about him (including his true identity), the only thing to know is that he received his equipment from the Tinkerer. He was sent along with Lady Octopus to attack Captain America in his civilian identity by the terrorist-elements wound into the events of the Secret War. Chatter from the Goblin indicated he'd been in contact with other members of Spider-Man's rogues gallery, who'd warned him about Spider-Man's constant and inane joking. This Hobgoblin is jailed along with the various defeated villains after the conclusion of the "War".
After escaping the hospice, Deadpool was hired by the Wizard to bomb a hangar, dressed as the Hobgoblin. Deadpool mentioned he disliked the costume and after having bombed the wrong hangar, he never wore it again.
Claude was Roderick Kingsley's butler who Kingsley sent in his place and to talk like him so that he can distract the Goblin Underground. He fought against the Goblin King and was killed in battle. Phil Urich in his Goblin Knight alias discovered that the Hobgoblin killed was not Roderick Kingsley and destroyed the body to keep the Goblin King from finding out who was actually in the Hobgoblin costume.
Hobgoblin 2211 and her father, Spider-Man 2211
|First appearance||Spider-Man 2099 Meets Spider-Man|
|Created by||Peter David|
|Alter ego||Robin Bourne|
|Abilities||Superhuman strength, speed, agility, stamina, durability and reflexes|
Use of goblin-themed weapons and paraphernalia
Hobgoblin 2211 first appears in Spider-Man 2099 Meets Spider-Man. While her costume sports the green-and-purple color scheme of the twentieth-century Green Goblin, she boasted that she was the Hobgoblin of the year 2211. Her identity was not revealed to readers (or to the visiting Spider-Men of previous eras) at the time, but her later reappearance in Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man (also written by David) revealed her true identity and origin.
Hobgoblin 2211 is Spider-Man 2211's daughter named Robin "Hobby"/"Hob" Bourne. Her father always seemed to put his superhero career before raising his own daughter. She wanted to save the universes from 'intersecting'; in other words, having other parallel universes merge with the existing one, causing it to override. She was later arrested by her father for something that she would have done in future: unauthorized time travel, chronal displacement, jumping the tracks to other realities. She was held in a virtual reality prison where she lives a benign and trouble-free existence in what appears to be Kansas. Her boyfriend attempts to free her by uploading a virus into the prison, but inadvertently causes her to be driven insane. She attacked her father with a 'retcon bomb' (a variation on the original Goblins' pumpkin bombs) but it hit her boyfriend instead, erasing (or 'retconning') him from existence.
Now suited up as the Hobgoblin, Robin managed to time-travel to the current year, attacking the current Spider-Man in his reality and derailing an Uncle Ben from another reality into the present one causing a time paradox. Later, in a confrontation with her father, she threw a 'retcon bomb' at him. Spider-Man, believing it to be no more harmful than a regular pumpkin bomb, caught it with his web and threw it back to Robin, unwittingly erasing her from existence.
In this continuity, Hobgoblin is an unidentified criminal who found a stash of Green Goblin's weaponry because he had forgotten to leave the entrance locked. Delighted at his new technological power he challenges Green Goblin to a confrontation. Spider-Man defeats them both.
The original Hobgoblin made his MC2 debut in Spider-Girl #97, as a hired assassin to kill many of the Spider-Girl characters, including Normie Osborn, Spider-Girl, and Peter Parker. After a fight against both Spider-Girl and her father, he came close to victory, but at the end his only success lay in killing the Venom symbiote, and also in escaping without a trace. He attempted a complex plot to become the new kingpin of crime, but was undone due to an act of treachery by his partner, the Mindworm. Killing the Mindworm, and deciding the New York underworld had become too "hot" for him at the moment, he chose to return to the Caribbean, but vowed someday to come back and finish off Spider-Girl. He is later revealed to be the instigator of a mob war against the Black Tarantula, returning to New York to finish the job. He defeated American Dream and the New Warriors. He then dropped them from a great height, planning to kill Spider-Girl as she tried to save them. However, he himself was then killed by Mayhem, Spider-Girl's half-symbiote clone.
The Ultimate Marvel incarnation of Harry Osborn becomes the Hobgoblin after being taken into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody and his second personality Shaw begins to take control. Harry tries to stop himself during a battle with Spider-Man but Shaw takes over and is wounded by S.H.I.E.L.D. soldiers. He is once again used by S.H.I.E.L.D. to attract his father, but the two end up doing battle which leaves Harry dead.
In the 2007 Spider-Man/Red Sonja mini-series, the Hobgoblin was one of several supervillains who was transformed into a sword-and-sorcery version of themselves due to the spell cast by Kulan Gath. It was never specified which Hobgoblin it was.
- The Earth-21205 version of Hobgoblin is Peter Parker. Overwhelmed with rage over the death of Gwen Stacy, Spider-Man murdered the Green Goblin and later retired his Spider-Man identity. He soon after became the Hobgoblin and was later targeted by Verna of the Inheritors (alongside her Hounds Scorpion and Rhino) as a Spider-Totem. The Spider-Woman of Earth-65 attempted to recruit him into a growing army of Spiders to protect him from the Inheritors, but he initially turned the offer down. When the Spider-Woman of Earth-65 revealed herself to be an alternate Gwen Stacy, he sacrificed himself to save her as he wasn't able to do so in his own dimension.
- The Earth-001 version of Hobgoblin appeared as a member of Verna's Hounds alongside the multiple Green Goblins. Hobgoblin and the other goblin-themed Hounds attacked Silk, Spider-Woman of Earth-65, and Black Widow of Earth-1610. He is killed by Doctor Octopus, Assassin Spider-Man, and Spider Punk.
In "The Amazing Spider-Man" newspaper strip by Stan Lee and Larry Leiber, Harry Osborn has repeatedly attacked Spider-Man as the Hobgoblin seeking vengeance for his father, Norman the Green Goblin's, death. After trying to kill both Spider-Man and Black Widow after, under hypnotic influence of psychiatrist "Dr. Stone " (actually spy-assassin Dimitri Gregorin, who has killed friends of the Black Widow in the past), Harry, seeing Spider-Man's heroism, realizes that Spider-man is a hero, his father was a murderer, and vows to never assume the Hobgoblin identity again.
In other media
- The Jason Macendale incarnation of Hobgoblin appeared in the 1990s Spider-Man animated series (1994–1998), voiced by Mark Hamill. This version was one of Spider-Man's first enemies even before the Green Goblin, though Norman Osborn did supply the Hobgoblin's weapons and glider.
- The producers of The Spectacular Spider-Man animated series stated that Roderick Kingsley would have been the Hobgoblin had a third season continued the show.
- The Hobgoblin persona appears in the 2017 Spider-Man animated series. This version is an armored suit that was created by Norman Osborn. The armor is first seen in "Spider-Island Part 5" where its held in an underground laboratory at Oscorp. Following the incident with the Man-Spiders and the destruction of Osborn Academy caused by the Jackal, Norman presents Harry Osborn with the Hobgoblin armor and equipment, as part of a "graduation" at Osborn Academy. In the two-part episode "Hobgoblin", Harry dons the Hobgoblin armor as a crime-fighting hero, helping Spider-Man defeat the Sinister Five. When Harry refuses to kill Spider-Man, Norman dons a replica armor and tries to kill Spider-Man himself. Norman's plot was exposed to Harry during the fight which ended with some green chemicals hitting the fires that causes Norman to presumably perish in the explosion.
- The Roderick Kingsley incarnation of Hobgoblin appeared in Spider-Man and Captain America in Doctor Doom's Revenge allied with Doctor Doom.
- The Roderick Kingsley incarnation of Hobgoblin appeared as a boss in The Amazing Spider-Man for the Game Boy.
- The Roderick Kingsley incarnation of Hobgoblin again appeared as a boss in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Once he is defeated, Spider-Man uses his glider to pass a wall that he could not scale.
- The Jason Macendale incarnation of Hobgoblin appeared as a boss in Spider-Man: Return of the Sinister Six.
- The Jason Macendale incarnation of Hobgoblin appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin.
- Hobgoblin made another appearance in Spider-Man: The Video Game.
- The Roderick Kingsley incarnation of Hobgoblin appears in the PSP and PS2 versions of Spider-Man: Web of Shadows. He appears as an assist character who will throw a pumpkin bomb at any enemies. In the other versions, the first appearance of the glider-bound armored enemies called Tech Flyers has Spider-Man mercilessly mocking them for their lack of originality by saying things like, "You're not the Hobgoblin or the Green Goblin, you're just a cheap knock-off!"
- The Roderick Kingsley incarnation of Hobgoblin appears as the Green Goblin's alternate costume in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2.
- An exclusive Marvel 2099 incarnation of Hobgoblin appears in Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, voiced by Steven Blum. While his bio states that his origin is completely unknown, an in-game rumor implies that he's a hybrid clone of previous Goblin-based villains. Created by Alchemax scientist Dr. Serena Patel, this Hobgoblin is a mercenary with "Psy-powers" which when combined with a tablet fragment allowed him to plunge Spider-Man into a hellish hallucination. He was hired by Alchemax and paid off by having hybrid nanofiber bio-organic circuitry wings bonded to his back to kill Spider-Man as he ambushes him using the powers of the fragment. Spider-Man then goes after Hobgoblin which involves the Public Eye attacking Spider-Man during each fight. After the final fight, Hobgoblin's wings lead Spider-Man to the conclusion that Alchemax is his employer. During the credits, he is shown with several, wingless, multicoloured clones standing on the roof of a skyscraper.
- The Roderick Kingsley incarnation of Hobgoblin appears as a playable character in Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2.
- Hobgoblin first received a toy in the Secret Wars toy line produced by Mattel.
- Hobgoblin was prominently featured in the 1990s Spider-Man: The Animated Series toyline. A total of five figures were produced including the standard 5" figure with "missile firing" goblin glider, a 10" version of the series 1 figure, a talking Hobgoblin with sound effects from the show, a 7" figure featuring an illuminated projector embedded into the chest, and an action pose figure including a motorized battle glider.
- He received 2 toys in the Spider-Man Classics. The first (Series 2), was similar to that of the demonic Jason Macendale version, while the more recent one (Series 17) is similar to that of the original Roderick Kingsley version.
- The Jason Macendale version was reused twice. The first time, it was repainted and given a newly sculpted Green Goblin head for the Spider-Man vs. The Sinister Six box set in the Marvel Legends toy line. The second time, it was repainted and renamed Demogoblin in the Spider-Man: Origins toy line produced by Hasbro.
- A Hobgoblin Minimate was released in late 2007 exclusively at select f.y.e., Suncoast, and Sam Goody stores in a 2-pack including a Scarlet Spider figure.
- Bowen Designs released a Hobgoblin bust in 2005 of the Kingsley version.
- In 2009, Hasbro released a 33⁄4 inch Hobgoblin for their Marvel Universe toyline. The packaging information signifies that this is indeed the Roderick Kingsley version.
- In 2015, Hasbro made Hobgoblin the Build a Figure for the Marvel Legends Infinite Series Spider-Man line up.
- In 2016, the first officially licensed Hobgoblin Lego minifigure was included with set 76058 (Spider-Man: Ghost Rider Team-up).
Hobgoblin can be seen in the Islands of Adventure ride The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man voiced by Pat Fraley. He appears as one of the villains. A wanted poster for him may be seen during the waiting period of the ride, which identifies him as Edward Leeds. Outside the ride, in the main Marvel Super Hero Island area, a huge picture of the Hobgoblin on his glider is attached to a building and is one of the main pieces of decoration.
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