Prowler (comics)

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Prowler (Marvel Comics).jpg
Artwork for the cover of Prowler vol. 2, 1 (October, 2016 Marvel Comics). Art by Mike Deodato. (Variant cover art)
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance The Amazing Spider-Man #78 (November 1969)
Created by Stan Lee (writer)
John Buscema (artist)
Jim Mooney (artist)
In-story information
Alter ego Hobie Brown (first incarnation)
Unnamed cat burglar (second incarnation)
Rick Lawson (third incarnation)
Team affiliations Defenders
The Outlaws
Wild Pack
Notable aliases Spider-Man
Abilities Technological genius
Skilled hand-to-hand combatant
Use of hypnotic aids and conventional hand-held weapons
Battle suit grants:
Wall crawling
Gliding via cape
Titanium-laced claws
Gauntlets capable of shooting compressed air blasts, sleeping pellets and other projectiles

The Prowler is a fictional character, a superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer-editor Stan Lee, John Buscema and Jim Mooney, Prowler made his first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #78. While several other characters have also taken up the character's identity, the first version developed a high-tech battle suit in order to start a life of crime until Spider-Man convinces him to turn his life around.

Publication history[edit]

The original Prowler character was criminal-turned-superhero Hobie Brown. He debuted in The Amazing Spider-Man #78 (November 1969). He was created by Stan Lee, John Buscema and Jim Mooney[1] after a "suggestion" by a young John Romita, Jr.[2][3] He eventually appeared in his own solo comic The Prowler.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Hobie Brown[edit]

The Prowler's (Hobbie Brown) debut. Cover of Amazing Spider-Man vol. 1, 78 (November, 1969 Marvel Comics). Art by John Romita Sr..

Hobie Brown was born in the Bronx, New York. He was a bright but angry teenage African-American who got fired from his window washer job. Intending to use his engineering skills for personal profit, he devised a plan to steal items while disguised as a supervillain and then return them as Hobie.

Donning his green and purple "Prowler" costume for the first time, Hobie set out to rob the payroll office of the Daily Bugle, figuring that that would garner him quick publicity. However, he was caught in the act by Peter Parker. While struggling with Peter, he drew the attention of editor J. Jonah Jameson. Parker, with no way to defeat Prowler without giving away his own secret identity, contrived to get thrown through a window during the struggle, and used his spider-powers to save himself once outside. Traumatized by the events, a shaken Hobie made his escape to the roof of the building, only to be confronted by Spider-Man. Spider-Man vanquished and unmasked Hobie, but realizing he was just a misunderstood kid (much like the web-slinger himself), Spider-Man gave him advice not to throw his life away as a criminal and to redeem himself.[4] 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'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.[5] Hobie became convinced that Spider-Man was involved somehow in police Captain George Stacy's death, and unsuccessfully tried to bring Spider-Man to justice.[6] Hobie eventually married his love, Mindy S. McPherson, and settled down into a career as a construction worker.[volume & issue needed]

Brown 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 (Hector Ayala) was responsible and attempted to bring White Tiger to justice.[7] 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.[8] However, Brown's Prowler equipment is later stolen by the "Cat Burglar" to commit crimes for fashion criminal Bella Donna. 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 second Prowler had committed a felony murder. When the second Prowler was subsequently defeated by Spider-Man, the stolen equipment was returned to Brown.[9]

Prowler later appeared in California during Peter's "Webs" book deal.[10] He is first seen attacking the Black Fox (Raul Chalmers) 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 his 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.[11]

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).[12] His safety designs were stolen by Justin Hammer. Hobie proved the designs flaws during an encounter with Hammer's hirelings.[13] Hobie fought his brother Abe Brown (member of the Sons of the Tiger) as an initiation test for Silver Sable.[14] Prowler joined with Spider-Man and the Outlaws against the Avengers and the Space Phantom.[15] Prowler was hired along with the Outlaws to retrieve a Symkarian nuclear device in England.[16] Prowler then formally joined the Outlaws to rescue the kidnapped daughter of a Canadian official.[17]

His costume and equipment were stolen by Nightcreeper, and Prowler then battled Nightcreeper and the Vulture (Adrian Toomes).[18]

Later, Hobie was paralyzed during the Great Game.[19] In follow-up appearances,[20] 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.[21] While recovering, Brown provided Spidey with a jetpack used when assuming the new Hornet identity during the Identity Crisis storyline.[22]

Prowler was captured by S.H.I.E.L.D. in Ms. Marvel's Civil War tie-in.[23]

Escaping incarceration, he attended the wake for Stilt-Man, along with many other villains and former villains. Prowler narrowly escaped injury as Spider-Man and Puma escorted him from the wake shortly before it was bombed by the Punisher.[24]

When Peter Parker elevated Parker Industries into a global franchise with Spider-Man officially acting as his "bodyguard" as part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel branding, he hired Hobie Brown to act as Spider-Man in situations where the public would expect to see Peter and Spider-Man in the same place. Following the fight against Zodiac's Pisces Sect, Peter tells Hobie to change into his Prowler costume and that they'll retrieve the Webware together before Zodiac undoes his encryption.[25]

Before The Clone Conspiracy storyline and crossover, wanting to know more about New U Technologies, Peter Parker sent Prowler to infiltrate it. He ended up encountering the late Maxwell Dillon's revived girlfriend Francine Frye who is now the new Electro. Prowler was chased around by Electro and was accidentally killed.[26] In the aftermath, Doctor Rita Clarkson took Spider-Man to where some people that were subjected to the New U Technologies treatment were being held. The Prowler was among those people as it turned out that he was not killed by Electro.[27]

Unnamed cat burglar[edit]

Bella Donna (Narda Ravanna) stole Hobie Brown's costume and equipment and hired the cat burglar whom Spider-Man originally fought in The Amazing Spider-Man #30 to be the second incarnation of Prowler. The criminal, wearing a simpler Prowler costume, accidentally killed a guard during one of his crimes. The second Prowler's silhouetted profile confused witnesses enough to have Spider-Man implicated in the murder. Eventually, Spider-Man captured both Bella Donna and her accomplice, cleared the original Prowler's name, and returned the stolen equipment to Brown.[9][28] This Prowler was later seen at the "Bar With No Name" attending Stilt-Man's wake, identifying himself as the "Cat Burglar". He had a brief fight with the original Prowler at Stilt-Man's funeral. Sometime after the original Prowler left, Punisher poisoned the guests' drinks and blew the place up.[29] It was later mentioned that "they all had to get their stomachs pumped and be treated for third-degree burns”.[30]

Rick Lawson[edit]

The third incarnation of Prowler was Rick Lawson, a medical intern that stole a Prowler costume when Hobie Brown 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. Having found Hobie's address from the medical files, Lawson stole another Prowler costume, using his new tech to both rob 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, rejuvenated and attempting to kill all who knew him as an old man, the Vulture mistaking this Prowler for the original and unconcerned about the mistake. The Vulture managed to badly injure Prowler by slashing him across the chest with his wings, but was unable to kill him when Spider-Man interrupted the fight. As Spider-Man defeated Vulture, Rick was taken to the hospital and the Prowler costume was returned to Hobie (recovering from his paralysis).[31]

Clone of Hobie Brown[edit]

Jackal apparently revived Prowler with his memories intact. While learning about Jackal's mission, Prowler ended up becoming loyal to him and started acting as his spy to find out what Parker Industries is up to.[26] It is revealed that the revived Prowler is a clone that Jackal had gathered to grow clones with false memories that span all the way to their deaths.[32]

After stopping a bank robbery that a cloned Madame Web foresaw, Prowler returns to New U Technologies to stop a fight between reanimation clones of Jack O'Lantern, Kangaroo, Massacre, Mirage, Montana, and Tarantula. Jackal reminds Hobie that he brought Hobie back to keep the reanimated supervillains in line and that he wants Hobie to warn him when he leaves the building so his technology does not go out into the world. Knowing how annoying it is to be stuck in the same location, Jackal assigns Hobie to take care of a potential hacker in San Francisco. When Hobie goes to get more information on the hacker from Madame Web, she tells him that she sees buildings filled with agony that cannot escape. After confronting his killer Electro, Prowler figures out Madame Web's precognition and goes to Alcatraz where he sets off a trap and gets caught in the process.[33] Hobie wakes up in a cell in Alcatraz and discovers that the hacker is the current Madame Web Julia Carpenter who has been using leftover technology from the Shroud to investigate New U Technologies. Hobie angers Julia by severing the connection to stop her from looking more into New U Technologies. Back at the company, the villains are getting out of control, so Jackal sends Electro to find Prowler to put them under check again. Julia senses that Cassandra's alive from telepathic feedback resulting from Electro's attack. Prowler tells Julia what New U Technologies has accomplished and tries to get her to join them, but she refuses and escapes in a puff of black smoke. Prowler's body then starts failing, due to not taking his New U Pills for an extended period of time, as he questions what he is doing with his life. He is then confronted by Electro.[34] Prowler tries to escape Electro's wrath in Alcatraz, which proves difficult with her powers and his dying body. Using his weapons, the gift shop, and his strategic thinking, Prowler manages to defeat the simple-minded Electro. When he makes it outside, he is found by Julia, who takes him on her boat and heads towards New U Technologies to get his New U Pills.[35]

When Spider-Man and Spider-Woman of Earth-65 are escaping from New U Technologies, Prowler helped them out by diverting the cloned villains to another part of the city.[36]

Julia helps Prowler break into New U Technologies and takes Prowler to his room to get his pills.[37] When Jackal orders the villains in the "Haven" part of New U Technologies to kill Spider-Man, Prowler works with Spider-Man to fight them off.[38] When the alarm goes off and all the clones start breaking down from clone degeneration, Prowler leaves Haven and tries to find who set off the system that has been killing the clones. Prowler runs into Julia and accuses her of being the culprit. He tries to defeat her and Julia is left no choice but to fight back. She knocks him down as Prowler's body continues deteriorating.[37]

The Prowler clone assists the Jean DeWolff clone in helping Spider-Man get away from the villains. Kaine later told Spider-Man that the clones of Prowler and Jean DeWolff died in battle against the villains,[27] though it is later revealed that they were cured and still have a chance at living.

Powers and abilities[edit]

The 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. 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, Hobie Brown has also designed the cybernetically-controlled wing harness used by Hornet (Peter Parker during Identity Crisis) although he himself was unable to use it due to the weight. He is a skilled hand-to-hand combatant, possessing a green belt in taekwondo.

Other versions[edit]

House of M[edit]

In the altered timeline of the "House of M" storyline, Hobie Brown serves as a technician in Luke Cage's resistance.[39]

Marvel Zombies[edit]

A zombified version of Prowler is seen during the Ultimate Fantastic Four story "Crossover". He is depicted in a scene standing near the side of Tigra on the two page layout of the zombies.[40]

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

The Ultimate Marvel incarnation of Prowler is Aaron Davis, the uncle of Spider-Man (Miles Morales). He and his brother Jefferson Davis used to be partners in crime. Whereas Jefferson becomes reformed with a marriage to Rio Morales, Aaron's criminal activities continue and becomes the cat burglar known as the "Prowler". Prowler breaks into an abandoned Oscorp lab to steal a small red box and other rare items from a safe but OsCorp's genetically altered spider crawled into his duffel bag without his knowledge. Miles later visits his uncle's apartment and is bitten by the spider. After Miles passes out and regains consciousness, Jefferson forbids Aaron to spend time with Miles on account of his criminal life.[41] During a visit to Mexico City, Aaron fights off the Mexican crime boss Scorpion. When his deal with Scorpion goes bad, he is detained by Mexican authorities. Returning to New York, Prowler interrogates the Tinkerer about Norman Osborn. Realizing his nephew was bitten by an Oscorp spider, Prowler kills Tinkerer to keep this a secret. He then claims Tinkerer's various tech for himself: an electric suit, a winged suit and electric gauntlets. Davis uses his winged suit in a vain attempt to kill Scorpion. The next day, Davis confronts his nephew about being the new Spider-Man.[42] Davis initially convinces Miles to assist him defeat Scorpion, however, Spider-Man comes to realize of his uncle's exploition.[43] When Miles decides to sever their relationship, Aaron threatens to tell Miles's parents of his nephew's secret identity. Spider-Man ultimately gets into a fight with Aaron that results in Aaron's gauntlets exploding, killing him but not before telling his nephew of being just like him.[44] A year after Prowler's death, Spider-Man discovers that his uncle was hired to break into OsCorp by Philip R. Roxxon,[45] and Jefferson also blames Spider-Man for his brother's death.[46]


During the Spider-Verse storyline, the Spider-Man of Earth-138 was revealed to be Hobart "Hobie" Brown. In this reality, he was a homeless teenager transformed by a spider that was irradiated as part of President Ozzy Osborn's toxic waste dumping. He becomes the punk-rock inspired Spider-Man, leading the downtrodden people of New York against Osborn's V.E.N.O.M. troops. Originally operating as Spider-Punk, Hobie managed to kill Osborn during a riot by bashing the President with his guitar. After President Osborn's death, Spider-Punk unmasked himself to the viewing crowd as their savior.[47] Spider-Punk was later recruited by to join the Superior Spider-Man's army of Spider-Men.[48]


In the pages of Spider-Gwen which take place on Earth-65, Hobie Brown is a member of the Yancy Street Gang. He and the Yancy Street Gang rooted for Spider-Woman and were graffiti-spraying a billboard attacking Spider-Woman when Officer Ben Grimm tried to catch them. However, they witnessed as Officer Grimm was attacked and abducted by Vulture.[49]

In other media[edit]


Prowler on the Spider-Man animated series.
  • The Hobie Brown incarnation of Prowler appeared in the Spider-Man animated series, voiced by Tim Russ.[citation needed] In the episode "The Prowler", Hobie Brown works for the crime lord Iceberg (voiced by Lawrence Mandley) and was feeling he was not earning his fair cut for the work he was doing. When Iceberg discovered that Hobie was stealing from the crime lord, Iceberg's 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 Mary Jane Watson's purse in order to fund his trip while Mary Jane was 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, the Kingpin arranges for a hot shot lawyer to enable Brown's release then 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 the crime lord. There are strings attached, however, as Brown finds that a shock occurs in his suit when Kingpin contacts him and says that the suit will be fixed 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 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 Kingpin and destroyed the controls to the belt so it would not detonate and Prowler's suit is recharged. Brown gave up crime so he can have a chance at returning to a normal 'good' life.
  • Hobie Brown appears in The Spectacular Spider-Man, voiced by Charles Duckworth.[citation needed] A student at Midtown High, this incarnation experiences a recurring joke where he doesn't have a speaking role due to people usually interrupting him when trying to speak. Hobie's sole speaking role comes in the episode "Opening Night" when he takes the role of Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream in lieu of Harry Osborn's absence.
  • Hobie Brown's Spider-Punk counterpart has a cameo appearance in Ultimate Spider-Man vs. The Sinister 6, voiced by Drake Bell in a Cockney accent.[50] In the episode "Return to the Spider-Verse" Pt. 4, he is among the alternate-reality Spider-Men held hostage by Wolf Spider in a plot to drain their life-force.

Video games[edit]

  • The Hobie Brown incarnation of Prowler made his video game debut in Spider-Man: Friend or Foe, voiced by Chris Gardner. This version is one of the many characters to help Spider-Man in fighting the invasion, and is one of the featured characters to join S.H.I.E.L.D. before Spider-Man. In this game, Prowler did not wear a cape but still used canister barrages.

Comic strip[edit]

  • Hobie Brown made an appearance in an early story in the The Amazing Spider-Man comic strip story "The Prowler". This version's gauntlets weaponry were restricted to compressed air blasts.[51]


  1. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2012). "1960s". Spider-Man Chronicle Celebrating 50 Years of Web-Slinging. Dorling Kindersley. p. 49. ISBN 978-0756692360. In this tale written by [Stan] Lee and drawn by the team of John Buscema and Jim Mooney, window washer Hobie Brown became fed up with his dead-end job and used his inventive mind to craft the identity and weapons of the Prowler. 
  2. ^ DeFalco, Tom; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2008). "1960s". Marvel Chronicle A Year by Year History. Dorling Kindersley. p. 139. ISBN 978-0756641238. Future Marvel artist John Romita, Jr. - who was thirteen years old at the time- came up with a character called the Prowler and sent a drawing to Stan Lee. 
  3. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #79 - inside front cover
  4. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #78-79 (1969)
  5. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #87
  6. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #93
  7. ^ Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #21
  8. ^ Defenders #62-64
  9. ^ a b Spectacular Spider-Man #47-48
  10. ^ story-arc around The Amazing Spider-Man #304, 1988
  11. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #305
  12. ^ Web of Spider-Man #50
  13. ^ Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #9
  14. ^ Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #10
  15. ^ Spectacular Spider-Man #47
  16. ^ Excalibur #36
  17. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #25, Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #11, Web of Spider-Man #7
  18. ^ Prowler limited series #1-4, 1995
  19. ^ Spider-Man Unlimited #16
  20. ^ The Sensational Spider-Man #16-18 (1997)
  21. ^ The Sensational Spider-Man #25 (1997)
  22. ^ The Sensational Spider-Man #27
  23. ^ Ms. Marvel #6 (2006)
  24. ^ Punisher War Journal #4 (2006)
  25. ^ Amazing Spider-Man vol. 4 #1
  26. ^ a b Amazing Spider-Man vol. 4 #17
  27. ^ a b The Clone Conspiracy #5
  28. ^ Cat at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
  29. ^ Punisher War Journal #4
  30. ^ She-Hulk Vol. 2 #17
  31. ^ The Sensational Spider-Man #16-18
  32. ^ The Clone Conspiracy #1
  33. ^ Prowler vol. 2 #1
  34. ^ Prowler vol. 2 #2
  35. ^ Prowler vol. 2 #3
  36. ^ The Clone Conspiracy #3
  37. ^ a b Prowler vol. 2 #4
  38. ^ The Clone Conspiracy #4
  39. ^ House of M: Avengers #1-5
  40. ^ Ultimate Fantastic Four #25
  41. ^ Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #1
  42. ^ Bendis, Brian Michael (w), Pichelli, Sara (a). Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #6-8. Marvel Comics. March - June 2012.
  43. ^ Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #9-11
  44. ^ Bendis, Brian Michael (w), Pichelli, Sara (a), Marquez, David (p), Ponsor, Justin (i). Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #12-13. Marvel Comics. September - October 2012.
  45. ^ Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #28
  46. ^ Cataclysm: The Ultimates' Last Stand #3
  47. ^ Spider-Verse #2
  48. ^ Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 3 #10
  49. ^ Spider-Gwen #1
  50. ^ "Return to the Spider-Verse Pt. 4". Ultimate Spider-Man. Season 4. Episode 19. September 17, 2016. Disney XD. 
  51. ^ Lee, Stan, Romita Sr., John (October–December 1979). The Prowler. Register and Tribune Syndicate. 

External links[edit]