|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|
|Notable aliases||Hobgoblin (unwillingly; while brainwashed)|
As the Hobgoblin:
Edward "Ned" Leeds is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. A supporting character in stories featuring the superhero Spider-Man, he has been 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, and subsequently killed before he could reveal who had framed him.
Jacob Batalon portrays Ned in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, appearing in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Avengers: Endgame (2019), Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019), and the upcoming sequel Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021).
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 Spider-Man's double identity. 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, Ned is captured and brainwashed 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. The Hobgoblin manipulates Ned to remove the Kingpin from the scene. Ned's regular brainwashing 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 events are staged so Flash is revealed as the enigmatic villain, Ned and Richard reach a disagreement and Ned decides to turn in the Rose to the Kingpin, and thus Ned is no longer needed as Hobgoblin. After Flash is cleared of being framed, the New York underworld empire is known 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 Hobgoblin. The Kingpin presents photos of Ned in the Hobgoblin costume (which was obtained via the Foreigner) to Spider-Man in an attempt to get Spider-Man to go after the Foreigner.
Peter reflected on Ned's death years later, believing Ned must have been framed as Hobgoblin as the Foreigner's non-superhuman operatives would never have been able to defeat the real Hobgoblin. Around this time, the original Hobgoblin returns to eliminate Macendale, revealing the deception of Leeds being a stand-in. Spider-Man and Betty subsequently provoked Roderick Kingsley into confessing to Ned's framing 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 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's 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.
By the time Spider-Man meets Kindred in person during the "Last Remains" arc, he finds that Kindred had dug up the bodies of Ned Leeds, Ben Parker, George Stacy, Gwen Stacy, Jean DeWolff, and Marla Jameson and sat them around a dinner table.
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. While brainwashed, Ned wore the Hobgoblin's uniform and used the glider and equipment which included Jack O'Lantern bombs, razor bats and electrical shock gloves. However, 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 Spider-Man: The Animated Series, voiced by Bob Bergen. This version was primarily a reporter for the Daily Bugle.
- A character based on Ned Leeds, named Ned Lee, appears in The Spectacular Spider-Man animated series, voiced by Andrew Kishino. This version is Korean-American, but still works as a reporter for the Daily Bugle. He is convinced that he can uncover Spider-Man's secret identity and that the Green Goblin is connected. He also displays an attraction to his co-worker Betty Brant. He primarily makes minor appearances wherein he investigates leads on Spider-Man's identity, most notably determining it cannot be Peter Parker after Venom outed the hero's identity.
- A variation of Ned Leeds appears in live-action films set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, portrayed by Jacob Batalon. This version of the character is an amalgamation of his mainstream counterpart, Harry Osborn, and Ultimate Marvel's Ganke Lee.
- Leeds is introduced in Spider-Man: Homecoming, as Peter Parker's best friend who is initially unaware of his friend's secret identity before shortly finding out and supporting him as Spider-Man.
- In Avengers: Infinity War, Leeds aids Parker by distracting their classmates so Parker can leave and help the Avengers.
- In Avengers: Endgame, Leeds shares an emotional reunion with Parker following their return from the Blip.
- In Spider-Man: Far From Home, Leeds becomes romantically involved with classmate Betty Brant, despite his initial claims of being a single bachelor throughout a school field trip to Europe and supports Parker's feelings for MJ. Following the end of the trip however, Leeds and Brant mutually break up and remain friends.
- Leeds will return in Spider-Man: No Way Home.
The Ned Leeds incarnation of the Hobgoblin appears in the Islands of Adventure ride The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, voiced by Pat Fraley. This version is a member of Doctor Octopus' Sinister Syndicate. He attacks guests with a pumpkin bomb, but Spider-Man intervenes and fends off the Hobgoblin. Later in the ride, the latter and Scream grab Spider-Man and travel through the city with him before the ride vehicle crashes into the Hobgoblin's 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.
- Cowsill, Alan; Manning, Matthew K. (2012). Spider-Man Chronicle: Celebrating 50 Years of Web-Slinging. DK Publishing. p. 161. ISBN 978-0756692360.
- The Amazing Spider-Man #289. 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.
- Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 5 #50. 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.
- "Spider-Man 3's Jacob Batalon Reveals New Look For Ned Leeds". ScreenRant. 2020-10-30. Retrieved 2021-01-29.