Ned Leeds

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Ned Leeds
Ned Leeds as Hobgoblin.jpg
Ned Leeds brainwashed as Hobgoblin from The Amazing Spider-Man #289 (June 1987).
Art by Alan Kupperberg.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceThe Amazing Spider-Man #18 (November 1964)
Created byStan Lee
Steve Ditko
In-story information
Full nameEdward "Ned" Leeds
Place of originEarth-616
Team affiliationsDaily Bugle
Supporting character ofSpider-Man
Notable aliasesHobgoblin
AbilitiesVeteran 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 Daily Bugle by the 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 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.[3]

Wanting to find out about the Kingpin, Ned approaches Richard Fisk. Discovering that Richard hates the Kingpin, Leeds helps Richard create a secret identity 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 with Betty 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 the 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 Hobgoblin.[5] The Kingpin presents to Spider-Man photos of Ned in the Hobgoblin costume, which was had obtained via the Foreigner.[6]

Years later, when the original Hobgoblin returns to eliminate Macendale, 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. Spider-Man and Betty subsequently provoked the Hobgoblin into confessing to 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] 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, and while still unaware of his survival, feels that he is proud of Betty's accomplishments.[9] 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.[10]

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]

The Ultimate Marvel version of Ned Leeds is a reporter for the Daily Bugle and an alcoholic with an antagonistic relationship with Betty Brant.[11]

Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane[edit]

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.[12]

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.
  • 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 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.


Video games[edit]

Ned Leeds is mentoned in Spider-Man: Web of Shadows. One of the questions Wolverine 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.

Theme park[edit]

Ned Leeds as the Hobgoblin can be seen in the Islands of Adventure ride The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. This version 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. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man Vol 5 #15
  11. ^ Ultimate Spider-Man #121. Marvel Comics.
  12. ^ Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane #6-7. Marvel Comics.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ 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.

External links[edit]