Ned Leeds, in The Amazing Spider-Man vol. 1 #245 (October 1983)
Art by John Romita Jr.
|First appearance||The Amazing Spider-Man #18 (November 1964)|
|Created by||Stan Lee|
|Full name||Edward "Ned" Leeds|
|Place of origin||Huntington, New York|
|Team affiliations||Daily Bugle|
|Supporting character of||Spider-Man|
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.
Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, Ned Leeds made his first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #18 (November 1964). His character 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.
Fictional character biography
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. He would win outright when Betty went into stress induced shock after J. Jonah Jameson was attacked at the Daily Bugle by the Scorpion. Leeds and Brant are married shortly after. However, the couple's marriage is often strained.
When Spider-Man battles the Hobgoblin, Ned follows the Hobgoblin to a hideout. When the Hobgoblin realizes Ned is present, Roderick Kingsley captures and brainwashes him as a scapegoat in case of being unmasked. Wanting to find out about the Kingpin, Ned approaches Richard Fisk. Discovering that Richard hates the Kingpin, Leeds helps create Richard's secret identity as the Rose. Kingsley, wanting to be the new crime boss, wants Ned to remove the Kingpin from the scene. Ned's regular brainwashings by Kingsley cause his marriage with Betty and professional relationships to fall apart. Increasingly mentally unstable, Ned drives Betty to seek solace in Flash Thompson.[volume & issue needed] While Flash makes statements about the Hobgoblin and Kingsley stages events so Flash is revealed as the enigmatic villain, Ned and Richard reach a disagreement and Ned decides to turn in Richard's Rose identity to the Kingpin, and Kingsley decides in turn that Ned is no longer needed as Hobgoblin. After Flash is cleared of being framed, 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 Hobgoblin. The Kingpin presents to Spider-Man photos of Ned in the Hobgoblin costume, which was had obtained via the Foreigner.
Years later, Peter reflected on Ned's death and that Ned must have been framed as Hobgoblin as the Foreigner's non-superhuman operatives would never have been able to defeat the original as a fully powered Hobgoblin. Around this time, the original Hobgoblin returns to eliminate Macendale, and reveals to his successor of the deception of Leeds being the goblin before killing him. Spider-Man and Betty subsequently provoked the Hobgoblin into confessing to framing Ned on tape.
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. The clone is revealed to have survived the end of the event and disguised himself as a hobo to continue watching over Betty. It is shown that Betty still cares for Ned. While still unaware of his survival, Ned feels that he is proud of Betty's accomplishments. The clone later dies during a conflict between Spider-Man, Rhino, Taskmaster and Black Ant and tries to warn Spider-Man of something after Betty in the near future.
Powers and abilities
Ned Leeds had a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism, and was a master of deductive reasoning and investigation. He was a normal man who engaged in regular exercise, which increased to more intensive levels after assuming the Hobgoblin role. When brainwashed, Ned wore the Hobgoblin's uniform and used his glider and equipment. His equipment includes Jack O'Lantern bombs, razor bats and electrical shock gloves. Since Leeds did not take the Goblin Formula as Roderick Kingsley did, he had no healing factor or superhuman strength.
Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane
Ned Leeds appears in the dramatic comic book Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane. In this continuity, the characters are high school students, and Ned is Mary Jane's boyfriend, who breaks up with her to reunite with his ex-girlfriend Betty Brant.
In other media
- Ned Leeds appeared in several episodes of Spider-Man: The Animated Series, voiced by Bob Bergen. This version was mainly a reporter of the Daily Bugle and did not go through his comic depiction's background due to the fact the Hobgoblin's identity had already been revealed prior to his introduction.
- The character is renamed Ned Lee in The Spectacular Spider-Man animated series, voiced by Andrew Kishino. This iteration is Korean-American but still has a similar portrayal to his comic book 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 May Parker, the Connors family, Norman Osborn, Quentin Beck, Flash Thompson and Eddie Brock. He eventually concludes that Peter cannot be Spider-Man, since Peter wore Spider-Man's 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 Ned Leeds. This version of the character is an amalgamation of his mainstream counterpart, Harry Osborn and Ultimate Marvel's Ganke Lee.
- The character debuts in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017). He is Peter Parker's best friend who finds out that Peter is Spider-Man. Although Ned's surname was not listed in the credits of Spider-Man: Homecoming, cast and crew documentaries included with the home video release of the film confirm his surname to be Leeds.
- Batalon reprises his role in Avengers: Infinity War (2018). He provides a distraction while Peter changes into Spider-Man when the Children of Thanos invade New York. He disintegrates offscreen during the Snap.
- Batalon has a cameo appearance in Avengers: Endgame (2019). He shares an emotional reunion with Peter. It is revealed by his appearance and had not aged over five years as (like Peter) he was a victim of Thanos's Decimation.
- Batalon reprises his role in Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019). In an Audi tie-in commercial, Ned was referred to as "Mr. Leeds". He becomes romantically involved with Betty Brant, though the two claim to have broken up at the end, but they still remain friends.
Ned Leeds is mentioned in Spider-Man: Web of Shadows. One of Wolverine's questions asks the player to see if Spider-Man is controlled by the symbiote is "Whose killer did we track in Berlin?": Ned is the correct answer, with Spider-Man expressing frustration and grief at Wolverine bringing up such a painful memory.
The Ned Leeds version of Hobgoblin can be seen in the Islands of Adventure ride The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, voiced by Pat Fraley. This version appears as a member of Doctor Octopus's 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.
- Greenberg, Glenn (August 2009). "When Hobby Met Spidey". Back Issue!. TwoMorrows Publishing (35): 18.
- The Amazing Spider-Man #37-39. Marvel Comics.
- The Amazing Spider-Man #156. Marvel Comics.
- Hobgoblin Lives #3. Marvel Comics.
- The Amazing Spider-Man #253. Marvel Comics.
- Spider-Man versus Wolverine (February 1987). Marvel Comics.
- The Amazing Spider-Man #289. Marvel Comics.
- Spider-Man: Hobgoblin Lives #3. Marvel Comics.
- The Clone Conspiracy #4. Marvel Comics.
- The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #42. Marvel Comics.
- The Amazing Spider-Man Vol 5 #15. Marvel Comics.
- Ultimate Spider-Man #121. Marvel Comics.
- Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane #6-7. Marvel Comics.
- 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.
- 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.
- Allen, Ben (April 25, 2019). "All of the cameos in Avengers: Endgame". Radio Times. Archived from the original on April 27, 2019. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
- Alexander, Julia (October 5, 2017). "Peter Parker's best friend, Ned, may show up in an Avengers movie". Polygon. Archived from the original on October 5, 2017. Retrieved October 5, 2017.