Hobie Brown as Prowler. Art by Bill Reinhold.
|First appearance||(Hobie Brown)|
The Amazing Spider-Man #78 (November 1969)
Sensational Spider-Man #16 (May 1997)
|Created by||(Hobie Brown)|
John Romita Jr.
|Alter ego||Hobart "Hobie" Brown|
|Team affiliations||(Hobie Brown)|
|Notable aliases||(Hobie Brown)|
Skilled hand-to-hand combatant
Use of hypnotic aids and conventional hand-held weapons
Battle suit grants:
The Prowler is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Several characters (such as the anti-hero Hobart "Hobie" Brown and the career criminal Aaron Davis) have taken up the Prowler identity all while being an acquaintance to Spider-Man.
- 1 Publication history
- 2 Fictional character biography
- 3 Powers and abilities
- 4 Other versions
- 5 In other media
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The original and most well-known iteration (Hobie Brown) debuted in The Amazing Spider-Man #78 (November 1969), and was created by Stan Lee (writer) and John Buscema and Jim Mooney (artists) after a "suggestion" by John Romita, Jr. The character eventually appeared in his own solo comic The Prowler.
Several other characters have taken up the Prowler identity as well: The second version first appeared in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #47 (October 1980), and was created by Stan Lee (writer) and Steve Ditko (artist). The third version (Rick Lawson) first appeared in Sensational Spider-Man #16 (May 1997), and was created by Todd DeZago (writer) and Mike Wieringo (artist).
Fictional character biography
Hobie Brown is the original iteration of Prowler. 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, the 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 realized he was just a misunderstood kid (much like Peter) to which the web-slinger gave him advice not to throw his life away as a criminal and to redeem himself. 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 Parker 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. 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. 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. 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. However, Brown's Prowler equipment is later stolen by a 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.
Prowler later appeared in California during Peter's "Webs" book deal. He is first seen attacking the Black Fox (Raul Chalmers) for possession of a chalice in order to keep 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 it as the only way to clear Mindy's 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 then teamed up to take on the Black Fox in order to regain possession of the chalice. Hobie vindicated his wife of stock fraud charges with the help of Spider-Man and the Black Fox.
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). His safety designs were stolen by Justin Hammer. Hobie proved the design flaws during an encounter with Hammer's hirelings. Hobie fought his brother Abe Brown (a.k.a. Black Tiger of the Sons of the Tiger) as an initiation test for Silver Sable. Prowler joined with Spider-Man and the Outlaws against the Avengers and the Space Phantom. Prowler was hired along with the Outlaws to retrieve a Symkarian nuclear device in England. Prowler then formally joined the Outlaws to rescue the kidnapped daughter of a Canadian official.
His costume and equipment were stolen by Nightcreeper and Prowler then battled Nightcreeper and the Vulture (Adrian Toomes). It was also revealed in this story that Prowler's brother is Abraham Brown.
Later, Hobie was paralyzed during the Great Game. In follow-up appearances, 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. While recovering, Brown provided Spidey with a jetpack used when assuming the Hornet identity during the Identity Crisis storyline.
Escaping incarceration, he attended the wake for Stilt-Man (Wilbur Day), 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.
When Peter Parker elevated Parker Industries into a global franchise with Spider-Man officially acting as a "bodyguard" as part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel branding, Hobie Brown is hired 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 will retrieve the Webware together before Zodiac undoes his encryption.
Before The Clone Conspiracy storyline and crossover, wanting to know more about New U Technologies, Peter sent Prowler to infiltrate it. He ended up encountering Electro (Francine Frye). Prowler was chased around by Electro and was accidentally killed. 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. Julia Carpenter later talks to the real Prowler, who just emerged from cryo-sleep, and tells him about his clone's actions. Hobie is then seen talking to Peter about his future, wondering which direction he will take. He then heads home, where he is last seen conflicted about his own identity.
Bella Donna (Narda Ravanna) stole Hobie Brown's costume and equipment and hired the cat burglar that Spider-Man had originally fought long ago. As the second incarnation of Prowler, the criminal wears a simpler Prowler costume. He accidentally killed a guard during one of his crimes. This Prowler's silhouetted profile confused witnesses enough to have Spider-Man implicated in the murder. Eventually, Spider-Man captured both Bella Donna and this Prowler, cleared the original Prowler's name, and returned the stolen equipment to Brown. This Prowler was later seen at the "Bar With No Name" attending Stilt-Man's wake, identifying himself as the "Second Prowler". 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. It was later mentioned that "they all had to get their stomachs pumped and be treated for third-degree burns".
Rick Lawson is the third incarnation of Prowler. A medical intern, he stole a Prowler costume when Hobie Brown was brought in with a back injury. When Brown was brought into the hospital, the costume was partly cut away to conceal Hobie's superhero identity, but friends were unwilling to risk moving Brown due to the 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 as an old man, 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 the 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 paralysis).
Hobie Brown (Clone)
The fourth iteration of Prowler is a clone of Hobie Brown. Jackal apparently revived Prowler with his memories intact. While learning about Jackal's mission, Prowler ended up becoming loyal and started acting as a spy to find out what Parker Industries is up to. It is revealed that this Prowler is a clone that Jackal had gathered to grow clones with false memories that span all the way to their deaths.
After stopping a bank robbery that a clone of Madame Web foresaw, Prowler returns to New U Technologies to stop a fight between 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. Hobie wakes up in a cell in Alcatraz and discovers that the hacker is 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 is 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. 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 taking him on her boat and heads towards New U Technologies to get his New U Pills.
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.
Julia helps Prowler break into New U Technologies and takes Prowler to his room to get his pills. 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. When the alarm goes off and all the clones start breaking down from clone degeneration, Prowler leaves Haven and tries to find whoever 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 with no choice but to fight back. She knocks him down as Prowler's body continues deteriorating.
The clone assists Jean DeWolff's clone in helping Spider-Man get away from the villains. Kaine Parker later told Spider-Man that the clones of Prowler and Jean died in battle against the villains.
During the final battle, Prowler and DeWolff battle the villains outside. Hobie's body is rapidly decaying, but the two receive assistance from Gwen Stacy of Earth-65 and Kaine. Gwen leaves Hobie in an alley when he proves too weak to continue and he is found by the murderous Electro. Julia arrives and fends Electro off as she tells Hobie that Spider-Man stabilized the human and clone cells. When Electro gets the upper hand on Julia, Prowler sacrifices himself to stop Electro and dies in Julia's arms.
Powers and abilities
The Prowler's various iterations have no superhuman powers, although Hobie Brown is naturally inventive, especially in the field of pneumatics despite no formal education in that science. Each one relies on a suite of technical gimmicks. Prowler wears modified coveralls interwoven with denim and stretch fabric, equipped with gas cartridge bracelets and anklets capable of propelling projectiles at high velocity. Their 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. Each 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.
House of M
A zombified version of Prowler (Hobie Brown) 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.
|First appearance||Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #1 (November 2011)|
|Created by||Brian Michael Bendis|
|Alter ego||Aaron Davis|
|Team affiliations||Roxxon Corporation|
Whereas Jefferson reformed by marrying Rio Morales, Aaron never came around and becomes the "Prowler", a cat burglar. 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. 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 Tinkerer (Elijah Stern) 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. Davis initially convinces Miles to assist him in defeating Scorpion, however, Spider-Man comes to the realization that his uncle is exploiting him. When Miles decides to sever their relationship, Aaron threatens to tell Jefferson and Rio 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 accusing his nephew of being just like him. A year later, Spider-Man discovers that Aaron was hired to break into Oscorp by Phillip Roxxon and was revealed to be a criminal acquaintance of Turk Barrett when he and Jefferson used to commit various crimes in their youth.
Sometime after the "Secret Wars" storyline, Davis is seen on Earth-616 alive and well. Equipped with a recolored Iron Spider armor, he formed his version of the Sinister Six (consisting of Bombshell (Lori Baumgartner), Electro (Francine Frye), Hobgoblin, Sandman and Spot) and manages to have a reunion with Spider-Man trying to stop him. Despite Spider-Man's attempts, the Sinister Six carried out Davis's heist and took off aboard a decommissioned S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier. When the Champions interrupted a meeting with Lucia von Bardas as a buyer, Spider-Man attempted to reason and convince his uncle that he could be better. Although the chaos resulted in his apparent death, Davis turned out to be alive, seemingly believing his nephew is right and indicating that he had given up a life of crime.
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 (Gwen Stacy) and were graffiti-spraying a billboard attacking Spider-Woman when Officer Ben Grimm tried to catch them. However, they witnessed as Officer Grimm gets attacked and abducted by Vulture.
Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows
In other media
- The Hobie Brown incarnation of Prowler appeared in the 1990s Spider-Man animated series, voiced by Tim Russ. This version worked for the crime lord Iceberg and was feeling he was not earning his fair cut for the work he was doing. When Iceberg discovered that Hobie was stealing, Iceberg's boys attempt to kill Hobie, narrowly escaping that fate but getting into an argument with his girlfriend Angela about Hobie's criminal life. Brown steals Mary Jane Watson's purse, but is 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. Taking his battle-suit on a trial run, the Prowler has a run-in with Spider-Man, whom he managed to evade, and then gets revenge on Iceberg. After making Iceberg a servant, the Prowler finds out there are strings attached, as his suit has to be 'recharged' if the Prowler keeps working for Kingpin. He also discovered that Angela had fallen in love with someone else, believing that Hobie would never change. In his self-titled episode "The Prowler", the Prowler sought out Peter Parker and told his story to him, since Peter knows how to get through to Spider-Man. Peter discovered that the Kingpin has wired the suit to shock him if he disobeys and the belt will detonate if tampered with. The Prowler and Spider-Man team up against Kingpin and destroy the controls to not detonate and the Prowler's suit is recharged. Having given up crime, Hobie can have a chance at a normal 'good' life with Angela.
- Hobie Brown appears in The Spectacular Spider-Man animated series, voiced by Charles Duckworth. A student at Midtown High, this incarnation experiences a recurring joke where he does not have a speaking role due to people usually interrupting him when he is 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.
- The Hobie Brown incarnation of Prowler appears in the 2010s Spider-Man animated series, voiced by Nathaniel J. Potvin. This version acquired his armor from his brother Abraham Brown. In the episode "Bring on the Bad Guys" Pt. 3, he is employed by Silvermane to help capture the bounty on Spider-Man after a botched robbery, with his failure resulting in Abraham being killed. Prowler attempts to defeat Spider-Man. Unsuccessful in the encounter, the two formed a reluctant alliance to save Abraham from Silvermane. While Abraham runs off to call the police, Spider-Man and Prowler fight Silvermane. After Silvermane's defeat, Prowler thanks Spider-Man, giving a battery essential to the latter's science project in the process.
- Aaron Davis appears in Spider-Man: Homecoming, portrayed by Donald Glover. This adaptation is depicted as a petty stick-up artist who has some morals. Herman Schultz and Jackson Brice were in the middle of selling advanced technology to him when interrupted by Spider-Man. The titular hero later confronts Davis as he is finishing his grocery shopping and webs his hand to the car, where Spider-Man questions him regarding the Vulture's plan. Davis gives information about a sale with a former acquaintance in order to keep these weapons off the streets and look out for his nephew. Spider-Man leaves to confront Vulture, while stating that the webbing he is in will dissolve in a couple of hours. A deleted post-credits scene shows Aaron trying to use his keys to get the webbing off his hand, without any success, and calling his nephew to report that he will miss an event.
- The Aaron Davis incarnation of Prowler appears in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, voiced by Mahershala Ali. This version encourages Miles Morales’s passion for graffiti and pursue a girl he knows as "Gwanda". As the Prowler, he works for the Kingpin and assists the Green Goblin in fighting Spider-Man. Miles later discovers that his uncle is Prowler. Davis accompanies Doctor Octopus, Scorpion and Tombstone in attacking May Parker's house. Aaron corners the new Spider-Man, but refuses to kill him when he learns that it is Miles. Kingpin kills Prowler for this and Jefferson mistakes the new Spider-Man for Aaron’s killer. The authorities eventually learn that Kingpin is both Aaron's and the original Spider-Man's murderer, leading to his arrest after Miles defeats him.
- The Hobie Brown incarnation of Prowler appears 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. The Prowler did not wear a cape, but still used canister barrages.
- Hobie Brown appears as a playable character in Spider-Man Unlimited as the Prowler and Spider-Punk.
- Aaron Davis appears as a playable character in Marvel Puzzle Quest as the Prowler.
- The Hobie Brown version of Prowler made an appearance in an early story in The Amazing Spider-Man comic strip story "The Prowler". This version's gauntlets weaponry were restricted to compressed air blasts.
- Hobie Brown is the Prowler's name in the mainstream Marvel universe while Hobart Brown is his Spider-Punk counterpart's name.
- 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.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
- 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.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
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