Ned Leeds

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Ned Leeds
Ned Leeds brainwashed as Hobgoblin, from The Amazing Spider-Man #289 (June 1987).
Art by Alan Kupperberg.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance The Amazing Spider-Man #18 (November 1964)
Created by Stan Lee (writer)
Steve Ditko (artist)
In-story information
Full name Edward "Ned" Leeds
Species Human
Place of origin Earth-616
Team affiliations Daily Bugle
Supporting character of Spider-Man
Notable aliases Hobgoblin
Abilities Veteran reporter
Master deductive reasoner and investigator
Brainwashed as Hobgoblin:
Use of goblin-theme weapons and paraphernalia

Edward "Ned" Leeds is a fictional character, a supporting character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. A supporting character of Spider-Man, he was a reporter for the Daily Bugle, and the husband of Betty Brant. He was also the third character to take on the Hobgoblin mantle after being brainwashed as a stand in.

Publication history[edit]

Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, the character made his first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #18 (November 1964)]

Leeds is killed off in the 1986 one-shot Spider-Man vs. Wolverine, written by then Spider-Man editor Jim Owsley. Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz, and Peter David (of the creative teams on the ongoing Spider-Man books) found this objectionable, saying that Owsley gave them no warning that he was going to kill Leeds, then a regular cast member in the Spider-Man books. Frenz remarked:

"Owsley let Tom [DeFalco] and I continue with our plans without telling us in advance that he was going to kill Ned. We had no heads up until Spider-Man vs. Wolverine came out that Ned Leeds was killed in that story. I can’t speak to why he did it, but I can speak to the way he did it. He kept it a big secret until we felt screwed."[1]

Fictional character biography[edit]

Ned Leeds was a reporter for the Daily Bugle. He and Peter Parker compete for the affections of Daily Bugle secretary Betty Brant, but Parker drops out of the running due to realizing that Brant won't be able to accept the double identity as Spider-Man.[2] He would win outright when Betty went into stress infused shock after J. Jonah Jameson was attacked at the Bugle by Scorpion. Leeds and Brant are married shortly after. However, the couple's marriage is often strained.[volume & issue needed]

When Spider-Man battles the Hobgoblin, Ned follows Hobgoblin to his hideout. When the Hobgoblin realizes Ned is present, Roderick Kingsley (the true identity of the Hobgoblin) captures and brainwashes him as a scapegoat in case of being unmasked.[3]

Wanting to find out about the Kingpin, Ned approaches Richard Fisk. Discovering that Richard hates his father, Leeds helps Richard create a secret identity as the crime boss known as the Rose. Kingsley, wanting to become the new crime leader, wants Ned to remove the Kingpin from the scene.[4]

Ned's regular brainwashings by Kingsley cause his marriage and professional relationships to fall apart. Increasingly mentally unstable, Ned drives Betty to seek solace in Flash Thompson.[volume & issue needed] Flash makes statements about Hobgoblin, and Kingsley stages events so Flash is revealed as the enigmatic villain. Meanwhile, Ned and Richard reach a disagreement and Ned decides to turn in Richard's identity as the Rose to The Kingpin, and Kingsley decides in turn that Ned is no longer needed as Hobgoblin. After Flash is cleared of being Hobgoblin, Kingsley lets the New York underworld empire know that Ned is actually Hobgoblin and that he would soon be traveling to Berlin.[volume & issue needed]

Ned and Peter go on an assignment in Berlin, and Leeds is murdered by the Foreigner at Jason Macendale's request as a replacement as the Hobgoblin.[5] The Kingpin presents to Spider-Man photos of Ned in the Hobgoblin costume, which he had obtained via the Foreigner.[6]

Years later, when the original Hobgoblin returns to eliminate Macendale, Peter reflected on Ned's death and that he must have been framed as Hobgoblin, as the Foreigner's non-superhuman operatives would never have been able to defeat a fully powered Hobgoblin. Spider-Man and Betty subsequently provoked Hobgoblin into confessing in framing Ned on tape.[7]

During the Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy storyline, a clone of Ned Leeds is created by Ben Reilly (posing as Jackal) and is seen in New U Technologies' facility area called Haven.[8]

In The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #42, Ned is revealed to be alive, disguised as a hobo as he watches Betty and Spider-Man solve a case involving the biggest gathering of criminals. It is shown that Betty still cares for Ned, and while still unaware of his survival, feels that he is proud of her accomplishments.[9]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Ned was a normal man who engaged in regular exercise, which increased to more intensive levels after assuming the role of the Hobgoblin. When brainwashed, he wore the Hobgoblin's uniform and used his glider and equipment. Hobgoblin's equipment includes Jack O'Lantern bombs, razor bats and electrical shock gloves. Since Ned Leeds did not take the Goblin Formula as Kingsley did, he had no healing factor or superhuman strength.

Ned had a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism, and was a master of deductive reasoning and investigation.

Other versions[edit]

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

In the Ultimate Marvel universe, Ned Leeds is a reporter for the Daily Bugle just like his mainstream version. Here, he is a drunk and he and Betty Brant cannot stand each other.[10]

Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane[edit]

Ned Leeds also appeared briefly in the comic book drama Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane issues #6 and #7. In this continuity, Ned was a senior who dated Mary Jane when she was a junior and she soon began to think he was "the one". Although, ironically, after she confessed this, Ned broke up with her in favor of his old girlfriend Betty Brant. This break-up sent Mary Jane into a deep depression, which only ended upon seeing the real grief Peter Parker went through after the death of his uncle.[volume & issue needed]

In other media[edit]


  • Ned Leeds appeared in several episodes of Spider-Man: The Animated Series, voiced by Bob Bergen. This version is mainly a Daily Bugle reporter, as the series did not go into his background from the comics due to the fact the Hobgoblin's identity had already been revealed prior to his introduction, and Betty Brant did not appear in the series.
  • Ned Leeds appears in The Spectacular Spider-Man animated series, voiced by Andrew Kishino. This iteration was renamed Ned Lee and is Korean-American in this continuity, but still has a similar portrayal to his comic counterpart as a reporter for the Daily Bugle. He is convinced that he can crack Spider-Man's mystery identity, and that the Green Goblin is connected. J. Jonah Jameson thinks he's wasting his time and nearly hands the assignment to Frederick Foswell, but Robbie Robertson tells him to "run with it". When Venom outs Spider-Man's true identity, Ned interviews people that Peter Parker and Spider-Man both know, like Aunt May, the Connors family, Norman Osborn, Quentin Beck, Flash Thompson and Eddie Brock. He eventually concludes that Peter cannot be Spider-Man, since Peter wore the costume unmasked on Halloween night, a risky move the real Spider-Man would not make, and continues with his investigation. He is also shown to have an attraction to his co-worker Betty Brant whom he asks on a date while interviewing about Peter.


Jacob Batalon portrays a supporting character named Ned in Spider-Man: Homecoming. He is Peter Parker's best friend who finds out that Peter is Spider-Man. The character, who does not have a last name in the film and is not necessarily guaranteed to be Ned Leeds, was inspired by him and is an amalgamation of various Spider-Man characters.[11] Batalon will reprise his role as Ned in Avengers: Infinity War.[12]

Video games[edit]

  • In Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, one of the questions Wolverine will ask the player to see if Spider-Man is controlled by the symbiote is "Whose killer did we track in Berlin?". The correct answer is Ned Leeds with Spider-Man expressing frustration and grief at Wolverine bringing up such a painful memory.

Theme park[edit]

Ned Leeds as the Hobgoblin can be seen in the Islands of Adventure ride The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. He appears as a member of Doctor Octopus' Sinister Syndicate. A wanted poster for him may be seen during the waiting period of the ride, which identifies him by his full name, Edward Leeds. At one point in the ride, he attacks guests with a pumpkin bomb that almost hits them, but stops thanks to the intervention of Spider-Man, who attacks Hobgoblin and stops him from further hurting guests. During the climax, he and Scream grab onto Spider-Man, who was webbing onto guests, and sends them through the city, before he is defeated when the ride vehicle crashes into his glider. He is last seen webbed up with the rest of the Syndicate.


  1. ^ Greenberg, Glenn (August 2009). "When Hobby Met Spidey". Back Issue!. TwoMorrows Publishing (35): 18. 
  2. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #37-39
  3. ^ Hobgoblin Lives #3
  4. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #253
  5. ^ Spider-Man versus Wolverine (February 1987)
  6. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #289
  7. ^ Spider-Man: Hobgoblin Lives #3
  8. ^ The Clone Conspiracy #4
  9. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #42
  10. ^ Ultimate Spider-Man #121
  11. ^ Collura, Scott (April 3, 2017). "17 Things We Learned On The Set Of Spider-Man: Homecoming Page 2 of 2". IGN. Archived from the original on April 4, 2017. Retrieved April 3, 2017. 
  12. ^ Francisco, Eric (October 9, 2017). "'Spider-Man: Homecoming' Star Wants Ned to Become a Villain". Inverse. Archived from the original on October 10, 2017. Retrieved October 9, 2017. 

External links[edit]