|First appearance||The Amazing Spider-Man #238 (March 1983)|
|Created by||Roger Stern|
John Romita Jr.
|Alter ego||Roderick Kingsley|
|Abilities||Superhuman strength, speed, stamina, durability, reflexes and senses|
Using goblin-themed weapons and a Goblin Glider which has a variety of offensive weapons as paraphernalia
The Hobgoblin is the alias of several fictional supervillains appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, commonly depicted as enemies of Spider-Man. He is inspired by his predecessor, the Green Goblin, and utilizes similar equipment. The Hobgoblin was created by Roger Stern and John Romita Jr. and the first use of the Hobgoblin identity by Roderick Kingsley happened in The Amazing Spider-Man #238 (March 1983) where only his secret hideout was revealed, and not his secret identity. The Hobgoblin alias was then carried on exclusively by Jason Macendale during the late 1980s and most of the 1990s. Another character to assume the alias was Phil Urich.
The character has been substantially adapted from the comics into various forms of media, including animated series and video games. In 2009, the Hobgoblin was ranked by IGN as the 57th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time.
The Hobgoblin was created by writer Roger Stern and artist John Romita Jr. for The Amazing Spider-Man #238 (March 1983). Like other writers, Stern found himself under pressure to have Spider-Man fight the Green Goblin again, but did not wish to bring Norman Osborn or Bart Hamilton back from the dead, have Harry Osborn be the Green Goblin again, or create yet another Green Goblin. Stern instead created a new concept as heir to the Goblin legacy and developed the Hobgoblin. Stern recounts that he directed Romita to base the costume on the Green Goblin's but to make it "a little more medieval-looking", while Romita asserts that he was given no direction beyond using the Green Goblin as a basis. Both agree, however, that the costume was chiefly Romita's design.
The Hobgoblin's identity was not initially revealed, generating one of the longest-running mysteries in the Spider-Man comics. According to Stern, "I plotted that first story with no strong idea of who the Hobgoblin was. As I was scripting those gorgeous pages from JR [John Romita, Jr.], particularly the last third of the book, and developing the Hobgoblin’s speech pattern, I realized who he was. It was Roderick Kingsley, that sunuvabitch corporate leader I had introduced in my first issue of [The] Spectacular [Spider-Man]." A handful of readers deduced that Kingsley was the Hobgoblin almost immediately. In order to throw off the scent and in the same stroke provide a retroactive explanation for his inconsistent characterization of Kingsley in his early appearances, Stern came up with the idea of Kingsley having his brother Daniel Kingsley sometimes impersonate him, sealing the deception by having the Hobgoblin conspicuously appear in the same room as Kingsley in Amazing Spider-Man #249.
Stern's original plan was to have the Hobgoblin's mystery identity run exactly one issue longer than that of the Green Goblin's identity, meaning the truth would be revealed in The Amazing Spider-Man #264. However, Stern left after The Amazing Spider-Man #251, and editor Tom DeFalco took his place. Wanting to resolve the mystery in a manner that would do justice to Stern's stories, DeFalco asked Stern who the Hobgoblin was, but objected when Stern said it was Kingsley. DeFalco argued that the "twin brother" scheme was cheating the readers since there had been no hint that Roderick even had a brother (aside from a single thought bubble), much less one who could serve as a body double. Stern disagreed but said that DeFalco should feel free to choose whoever DeFalco wanted for the Hobgoblin's secret identity, reasoning that "I knew that whomever Tom chose, he would make it work." Upon reviewing the clues, DeFalco decided that the Hobgoblin was Richard Fisk. Moreover, he decided that the Hobgoblin's mystery should be prolonged as long as possible, since it was the chief element that made the Hobgoblin interesting. Through both Stern and DeFalco's runs, mystery answer was continuously teased on the cover art, with the covers of Amazing Spider-Man #245, 251, and 276 all showing Spider-Man unmasking the Hobgoblin.
The mystery was further complicated after James Owsley came on as editor of the Spider-Man titles. Owsley's relationship with DeFalco and artist Ron Frenz was strained from the beginning. When Owsley asked who the Hobgoblin was at a creators conference, DeFalco lied and said the man in question was Ned Leeds. Owsley then wrote the one-shot Spider-Man vs Wolverine in which Leeds is killed off (though the actual death is not shown), and instructed The Spectacular Spider-Man writer Peter David to reveal the Hobgoblin's identity as the Foreigner. David objected and argued that the only person who fit the clues was Leeds; having been present at the Spider-Man creator's conference, David also thought that Leeds was who DeFalco intended it to be. Because Spider-Man vs. Wolverine had already been drawn, however, it was too late to undo Leeds's death. Thus, the Hobgoblin's identity was revealed posthumously in The Amazing Spider-Man #289 (a double-sized issue). With Spider-Man's archenemy now dead, a new storyline was created from Jason Macendale's hatred of the Hobgoblin. Though the Hobgoblin's posthumous unmasking as Leeds was unpopular with fans, David said in a 2009 interview of still being proud of the story, arguing that the Hobgoblin being unmasked in a climactic battle with Spider-Man was the sort of tale readers had already seen countless times before, whereas having an archvillain unmasked in a flashback after having been brutally killed by nameless assassins was unprecedented and shocking. From 1987 to 1997, Macendale initially wielded only the Hobgoblin's weaponry but the 1988-1989 Inferno crossover writer Gerry Conway had Macendale imbued with demonic powers by N'astirh. In addition to power over hellfire and increased strength and speed to far greater than that of the original Hobgoblin, these powers also disfigure Macendale so that his head is even more grotesque than the Hobgoblin mask, and ultimately alters his mind so that he was deluded into thinking that his appearance is normal. Several years later, Macendale succeeds in purging himself of his demonic powers and was later revamped again with cybernetic implants.
Stern was unhappy with the Hobgoblin's civilian identity revelation was Leeds and wrote the three-issue miniseries Spider-Man: Hobgoblin Lives in 1997, with the retcon that Kingsley was the original Hobgoblin while Leeds was brainwashed into serving as a fall guy, Macendale is killed off, and Kingsley returned. According to Stern, initially he had not known how to resolve the situation of having two Hobgoblins, and it was at the suggestion of the editorial staff that Kingsley kill Macendale and return to operating as the Hobgoblin.
Fictional character biography
Roderick Kingsley is an egotistical socialite and billionaire fashion designer. He decided to create a name criminal for himself by altering Norman Osborn's Goblin formula and improve the Goblin costume/equipment in order to be the original Hobgoblin. Kingsley then frames Ned Leeds as a decoy for his crimes, and later murders his successor Jason Macendale. When his villainous identity is finally exposed by Spider-Man and Betty Brant, he flees to the Caribbean to hide from both the law and his enemies. After his twin brother is murdered by Phil Urich, Roderick returns to New York and dons his old Hobgoblin costume.
Arnold Samuel "Lefty" Donovan was a petty thug. Similar to Osborn, Donovan was a test subject mix the two vital chemicals that were mixed into the Goblin formula, disfiguring Donovan's face and granting superhuman abilities. Donovan is taken to a hospital. Brainwashed by Gerhard Winkler's device, Donovan eventually escapes the hospital and follows preprogrammed instructions to go to a hidden cache of Goblin weapons and dress up as the Hobgoblin. Donovan (impersonating the Hobgoblin) attacks New York City but Spider-Man eventually confronts and unmasks him. Spider-Man sees his (scarred) face and recognizes Lefty. As Donovan is able to shake off some of his programing and starts talking, his "boss" programmed the Goblin glider to crash into the side of a building, killing Lefty with the falling rubble.
Edward "Ned" Leeds was a reporter working for the Daily Bugle. He was brainwashed to act as a stand-in on many occasions and fool the underworld into thinking that he was the Hobgoblin, and was later murdered by the Foreigner after the actual supervillain was decided that he was no longer needed.
Jason Philip Macendale Jr. was a mercenary who had been trained by the CIA (and various para-military organizations). He first appeared as the supervillain Jack O'Lantern before eventually adopting the Hobgoblin identity.
Daniel Kingsley is Roderick Kingsley's twin brother. He would act as a body double until being exposed by Betty Brant while the true Hobgoblin gets unmasked by Spider-Man. Now in protective custody, Daniel was unknowingly used by Roderick to blackmail Norman Osborn, resulting in the Hobgoblin to swoop in to collect Daniel. Spider-Man defends Daniel but is drugged while Daniel passes out and both are taken to Osborn. As Kingsley and Osborn furiously fight each other, Daniel gets rescued by Spider-Man. Kingsley later returned to New York, posing as his twin brother as the Hobgoblin. Kingsley investigated an old lair at OsCorp which had a flaming energy sword, but discovers Phil Urich trying to retrieve the same gear. Kingsley gets stunned by Urich's "Lunatic Laugh" long enough for Urich to kill him using his own sword, allowing his killer to claim the Hobgoblin mantle.
Phillip Benjamin "Phil" Urich (who once used the Green Goblin identity to operate as a superhero) took on the Hobgoblin identity himself as a supervillain with some new gear (new body armor, a winged jetpack, a flaming energy sword, and sonic scream).
Norman Osborn briefly impersonated the original Hobgoblin.
Claude was Roderick's butler who was sent in place and to talk like his master to distract the Goblin Nation. He fought against the Goblin King and was killed in battle. The Goblin Knight discovered who the Hobgoblin that killed was and destroyed Claude's body to keep the Goblin King from finding out who was impersonating Hobgoblin.
Powers, abilities, and equipment
As the Hobgoblin, Roderick Kingsley wears bulletproof mail with an overlapping tunic, cape, and cowl. A computerized system cybernetically causes the finger-blasters to randomly vary their attack vectors when trained on a particular target. He uses a Goblin glider, a one-man miniature turbo-fan-powered vertical thrust, cybernetically-controlled vehicle. It can reach high velocities and is extremely maneuverable. He uses concussion and incendiary Jack O'Lanterns, wraith-shaped smoke and gas-emitting bombs, bat shaped razor-edged throwing blades, and gloves woven with micro-circuited power conducting filaments which channel pulsed discharges of electricity. He wore a shoulder bag to carry his small, portable weaponry.
While brainwashed, Ned Leeds wore the Hobgoblin's uniform and used the Goblin glider and equipment which included Jack O'Lantern bombs, razor bats and electrical shock gloves. However, he had no healing factor or superhuman strength.
As the Hobgoblin, Phil Urich wears an orange Hobgoblin costume with wings on the back that allow him to fly without the use of a Goblin glider and he took the Hobgoblin mask as his own. He uses the traditional Pumpkin Bombs all Green Goblins and Hobgoblins before him have used, but he also has a new flaming sword. He still retains his "Lunatic Laugh" and he also has superhuman strength, speed, durability, stamina, reflexes and senses, and enhanced intellect. For unknown reasons, he no longer needs his Goblin mask to activate this power. With the help of Reverbium, his "Lunatic Laugh" was able to cause a building to collapse.
|First appearance||Spider-Man 2099 Meets Spider-Man|
|Created by||Peter David|
|Alter ego||Robin Bourne|
|Abilities||Superhuman strength, speed, agility, stamina, durability and reflexes|
Use of goblin-themed weapons and paraphernalia
Hobgoblin 2211 first appears in Spider-Man 2099 Meets Spider-Man. While her costume sports the twentieth-century Green Goblins' green-and-purple color scheme, she boasted that she was the Hobgoblin of 2211. Her identity was not revealed to readers (or to the visiting Spider-Men of previous eras) at the time, but her later reappearance in Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man (also written by David) revealed her true identity and origin.
Hobgoblin 2211 is Robin "Hobby"/"Hob" Bourne, Spider-Man's daughter. Her father always seemed to put his superhero career before raising his own daughter. She wanted to save the universes from 'intersecting'; in other words, having other parallel universes merge with the existing one, causing it to override. She was later arrested by her father for something that she would have done in future: unauthorized time travel, chronal displacement, jumping the tracks to other realities. She was held in a virtual reality prison where she lives a benign and trouble-free existence in what appears to be Kansas. Her boyfriend attempts to free her by uploading a virus into the prison, but inadvertently causes her to be driven insane. She attacked her father with a 'retcon bomb' (a variation on the original Goblins' pumpkin bombs) but it hit her boyfriend instead, erasing (or 'retconning') him from existence.
Now suited up as the Hobgoblin, Robin managed to time-travel to the current year, attacking the current Spider-Man in his reality and derailing an Uncle Ben from another reality into the present one causing a time paradox. Later, in a confrontation with her father, she threw a 'retcon bomb' at him. Spider-Man, believing it to be no more harmful than a regular pumpkin bomb, caught it with his web and threw it back to Robin, unwittingly erasing her from existence.
In this continuity, Hobgoblin is an unidentified criminal who found a stash of Green Goblin's weaponry because he had forgotten to leave the entrance locked. Delighted at his new technological power he challenges Green Goblin to a confrontation. Spider-Man defeats them both.
The original Hobgoblin made his MC2 debut as a hired assassin to kill many of the Spider-Girl characters, including Normie Osborn, Spider-Girl, and Peter Parker. After a fight against both Spider-Girl and her father, he came close to victory, but at the end his only success lay in killing the Venom symbiote, and also in escaping without a trace. He attempted a complex plot to become the new kingpin of crime, but was undone due to an act of treachery by his partner, the Mindworm. Killing the Mindworm, and deciding the New York underworld had become too "hot" for him at the moment, he chose to return to the Caribbean, but vowed someday to come back and finish off Spider-Girl. He is later revealed to be the instigator of a mob war against the Black Tarantula, returning to New York to finish the job. He defeated American Dream and the New Warriors. He then dropped them from a great height, planning to kill Spider-Girl as she tried to save them. However, he himself was then killed by Mayhem, Spider-Girl's half-symbiote clone.
In the 2007 Spider-Man/Red Sonja mini-series, the Hobgoblin was one of several supervillains who was transformed into a sword-and-sorcery version of themselves due to the spell cast by Kulan Gath. It was never specified which Hobgoblin it was.
Overwhelmed with rage over the death of Gwen Stacy, the Earth-21205 version of Peter Parker, as Spider-Man, murdered the Green Goblin and later retired his Spider-Man identity. He soon after became "the Goblin", a villain similar in costume to the Hobgoblin. This character was later targeted by Verna of the Inheritors (alongside the Hounds Scorpion and Rhino) as a Spider-Totem. The Spider-Woman of Earth-65 attempted to recruit him into a growing army of Spiders to protect him from the Inheritors, but he initially turned the offer down. When Spider-Woman revealed herself to be an alternate version of Gwen, he sacrificed himself to save her as atonement for failing to do so in his own dimension.
The Earth-001 version of Hobgoblin appeared as a member of Verna's Hounds alongside the multiple Green Goblins. Hobgoblin and the other goblin-themed Hounds attacked Silk, Spider-Woman of Earth-65, and Black Widow of Earth-1610. He is killed by Superior Spider-Man, Assassin Spider-Man, and Spider-Punk.
In the Spider-Geddon event on Earth-11580, a version of Hobgoblin is seen alongside Green Goblin, Jack O'Lantern and Demogoblin during the Goblin Night. Under the orders of the Goblin Queen, they try to kill Gwen Stacy, but Spiders-Man arrives and defeats the Goblins.
In "The Amazing Spider-Man" newspaper strip by Stan Lee and Larry Leiber, Harry Osborn as the Hobgoblin has repeatedly attacked Spider-Man, seeking vengeance for his father's death. After trying to kill both Spider-Man and Black Widow after, under hypnotic influence of psychiatrist "Dr. Stone" (actually spy-assassin Dimitri Gregorin who has killed friends of the Black Widow in the past), Harry, seeing Spider-Man's heroism, realizes that Spider-Man is a hero, his father was a murderer, and vows to never assume the Hobgoblin identity again.
In other media
- An amalgamated incarnation of the Hobgoblin appeared in Spider-Man: The Animated Series, voiced by Mark Hamill. This depiction, under the alias of "Jason Philips", is a composite character of Roderick Kingsley's criminal ambitions and likeness, Jason Macendale's mercenary status, and Lefty Donovan's criminal background as a former petty crook. Additionally, his identity and weapons were developed by Norman Osborn. In his two-part, self-titled episode, the Hobgoblin tries to kill the Kingpin. After the assassination is foiled by "both" Peter Parker and Spider-Man, the Hobgoblin demands Osborn pay for another chance, but the latter fires him. In response, the Hobgoblin seeks out a partnership with the Kingpin and kidnaps Harry Osborn. However, the Kingpin refuses to pay immediately, so the mercenary returns to Osborn. Receiving an improved glider and weapons, the Hobgoblin battles Spider-Man across New York before the web-slinger is forced to work with Osborn and the Kingpin to stop the mercenary from taking over Kingpin's criminal empire. In the end, the Hobgoblin crashes into a nearby river while trying to kill the Osborns. In "The Mutant Agenda" and "Mutant's Revenge", the Hobgoblin resurfaces after learning Dr. Herbert Landon was planning to exterminate mutants and blackmailed the scientist. The mercenary comes into conflict with Spider-Man and the X-Men, but he escapes with discs outlining Landon's master plan and mutates the scientist into a monster to keep the heroes busy. In "Rocket Racer" and "The Spot", his identity is revealed to be Jason Philips, Felicia Hardy's fiancé. In "Goblin War!", the Hobgoblin obtains the portal-creating time dilation accelerator, confronting Spider-Man and clashing with the Green Goblin as well. Once his identity is revealed, the Hobgoblin and Felicia are kidnapped by the Goblin, who steals the machine and arranges for the engaged couple to be killed in an acid pool. Spider-Man saves the Hobgoblin and Felicia, who end their relationship before he is taken into custody afterward. In "I Really, Really Hate Clones", an alternate reality Hobgoblin appeared as an enemy of the Scarlet Spider.
- The Hobgoblin was set to appear in The Spectacular Spider-Man animated series before the show was cancelled, though Roderick Kingsley appeared in the episode "Accomplices".
- An amalgamated depiction of the Hobgoblin appears in the animated series Marvel's Spider-Man, voiced by Max Mittelman. This version is based on the Ultimate Marvel Harry Osborn incarnation, wields Phil Urich's flaming energy sword and sonic scream, and operates as a superhero. Additionally, Norman Osborn briefly dons replica Hobgoblin technology while trying to kill Spider-Man.
- The Roderick Kingsley incarnation of the Hobgoblin appears in the Marvel Super Hero Adventures animated series, voiced by Andrew Francis.
- The Roderick Kingsley incarnation of the Hobgoblin appeared in Spider-Man and Captain America in Doctor Doom's Revenge.
- The Roderick Kingsley incarnation of the Hobgoblin appeared as a boss in The Amazing Spider-Man for the Game Boy.
- The Roderick Kingsley incarnation of the Hobgoblin appeared in Spider-Man: The Video Game, voiced by David Hadinger.
- The Roderick Kingsley incarnation of the Hobgoblin appeared as a boss in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
- The Jason Macendale incarnation of the Hobgoblin appeared as a boss in Spider-Man: Return of the Sinister Six.
- The Jason Macendale incarnation of the Hobgoblin appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin.
- The Roderick Kingsley incarnation of the Hobgoblin appeared as an assist character in the PSP and PS2 versions of Spider-Man: Web of Shadows.
- The Roderick Kingsley incarnation of the Hobgoblin appears as an alternate costume for the Green Goblin in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2.
- An exclusive Marvel 2099 incarnation of the Hobgoblin appears in Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, voiced by Steve Blum. Implied to be a hybrid clone of previous Goblin-themed villains created by his time's Doctor Octopus, this version is a mercenary hired by Alchemax with hybrid nanofiber bio-organic circuitry wings bonded to his back and "psy-powers". After obtaining a fragment of the Tablet of Order and Chaos, the Hobgoblin ambushes Spider-Man 2099 and has the web-slinger pursue him as he wreaks havoc. After Spider-Man corners him, the Hobgoblin uses the fragment to increase his psy-powers and torment the web-slinger with a hellish hallucination of gargoyle-like monsters. Ultimately, Spider-Man defeats the Hobgoblin and retrieves his tablet fragment before examining his wings and deducing Alchemax's involvement.
- The Roderick Kingsley incarnation of the Hobgoblin appears as a playable character in Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2.
- The Earth-21205 version of Peter Parker / Hobgoblin appears as a playable character in Spider-Man Unlimited.
Toys and collectibles
- The Hobgoblin first received a toy in the Secret Wars toy line produced by Mattel.
- The Hobgoblin was prominently featured in the 1990s Spider-Man: The Animated Series toyline. A total of five figures were produced, including the standard 5" figure with "missile firing" goblin glider, a 10" version of the series 1 figure, a talking Hobgoblin with sound effects from the show, a 7" figure featuring an illuminated projector embedded into the chest, and an action pose figure including a motorized battle glider.
- Two incarnations of Hobgoblin received figures in the Spider-Man Classics. The first (Series 2) was similar to that of the demonic Jason Macendale incarnation while the more recent one (Series 17) is similar to that of the original Roderick Kingsley incarnation.
- The Jason Macendale incarnation was reused twice. The first time, it was repainted and given a newly sculpted Green Goblin head for the Spider-Man vs. The Sinister Six box set in the Marvel Legends toy line. The second time, it was repainted and renamed Demogoblin in the Spider-Man: Origins toy line produced by Hasbro.
- A Hobgoblin Minimate was released in late 2007 exclusively at select f.y.e., Suncoast, and Sam Goody stores in a 2-pack including a Scarlet Spider figure.
- Bowen Designs released a Hobgoblin bust in 2005 of the Roderick Kingsley version.
- In 2009, Hasbro released a 33⁄4 inch Hobgoblin bust for their Marvel Universe toyline, with the packaging information signifying the character as the Roderick Kingsley incarnation.
- In 2015, Hasbro made Hobgoblin the Build-a-Figure for the Marvel Legends Infinite Series Spider-Man line-up.
- In 2016, the first officially licensed Hobgoblin Lego minifigure was included with set 76058 (Spider-Man: Ghost Rider Team-up).
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