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Comic Book Legends Revealed #277

Welcome to the two-hundred and seventy-seventh in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous two hundred and seventy-six.

Comic Book Legends Revealed is part of the larger Legends Revealed series, where I look into legends about the worlds of entertainment and sports, which you can check out here, at legendsrevealed.com. I’d especially recommend you check out this installment of Soccer/Football Legends Revealed to learn if is true that the Queen of England awarded a special golden whistle to the linesman who called the controversial (and ultimately winning) goal of the 1966 World Cup Final between England and Germany!

Follow Comics Should Be Good on Twitter and on Facebook (also, feel free to share Comic Book Legends Revealed on your Facebook page!). As I’ve promised, at 2,000 Twitter followers I’ll do a BONUS edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed during the week we hit 2,000. So go follow us (here‘s the link to our Twitter page again)! Not only will you get updates when new blog posts show up on both Twitter and Facebook, but you’ll get original content from me, as well!

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: When he left Amazing Spider-Man, Roger Stern did not tell incoming writer Tom DeFalco who the Hobgoblin really was, so DeFalco had to come up with his own answer.

STATUS: False

There are few comic book “mysteries” that appear as unsolvable as the truth behind the reveal that Ned Leeds was the Hobgoblin. The simple matter of fact is that the three men most deeply involved in the reveal, Tom DeFalco, Peter David and Christopher Priest (then Spider-Man editor Jim Owsley) plus Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter all disagree about lots of information that is fundamental to the story. Glenn Greenberg recently did a wonderful collection of everyone’s take on the situation in an issue of Back Issue (#35), and that effectively confirmed what I thought – everyone is too far apart on the issue of Ned Leeds becoming Hobgoblin that I don’t think we’ll ever get something that I’m willing to say “True” or “False” about.

However, Greenberg’s piece did address another aspect of the legend that I’ve heard a lot over the years, that Roger Stern did not tell incoming writer Tom DeFalco who Stern planned as Hobgoblin’s secret identity.

Reader Dave asked me about it a couple of years back:

I remember hearing from a few different sources that when Roger Stern introduced the HobGoblin in Amazing Spider-Man, that he did so without informing his editor of the HobGoblin’s true identity beforehand. The way I hear it, when Stern left the book, he refused to reveal HobGoblin’s identity to Tom DeFalco, so DeFalco was forced to use the clues presented to figure out who the HobGoblin was supposed to be. Is there any truth to this? It seems odd that an editor would approve a story without knowing all the pertinent information, but I’ve heard this more than once.

As it turns out, the way Dave heard it was PARTIALLY correct, in that Tom DeFalco did NOT know who Stern was planning to reveal as the Hobgoblin’s identity back when DeFalco was editing the title. DeFalco presumably just trusted Stern to reveal it in his due course. However, when DeFalco stopped editing the title and instead came on to be the writer of the title, he and Stern DID talk, and Stern told him that he intended it to be Roderick Kingsley, a supporting character Stern had brought over to Amazing Spider-Man from his run on Spectacular Spider-Man.

However, DeFalco felt that Roderick Kingsley could NOT be the Hobgoblin, as in Amazing Spider-Man #249, Kingsley appeared in the same room as Hobgoblin (as did a bunch of other folks, including J. Jonah Jameson).

Stern countered that his plan was that that was NOT Roderick Kingsley, but his younger brother Daniel PRETENDING to be Roderick. You can tell in the next issue, #250, Stern is definitely trying to set up the whole “imposter” angle.

While it does make sense, it was only just begun, so it’s not like Stern had made anything explicit yet, and DeFalco did not like this angle, as he thought the idea of an “evil twin” would not be playing fair with the reader (one difference between Stern and DeFalco is that Stern does not recall ever saying “evil twin,” especially since they’re not twins, and Daniel is actually the “good” one of the two brothers – most likely when DeFalco says “evil twin,” he’s referring to the way that the idea comes off, and not a literal “evil twin”).

DeFalco never got to make his choice for the Hobgoblin come true (he was thinking Richard Fisk, son of the Kingpin), and in amusing fashion, he was going to reveal that Kingsley was the mysterious Rose. The Rose instead ended up being revealed as Richard Fisk!

And Kingsley?

Well, years later, Stern came back to Marvel and wrote a mini-series where he revealed that Kingsley WAS, in fact, the Hobgoblin, and he first officially revealed the brother/double relationship and Daniel Kingsley made his first appearance AS Daniel Kingsley.

Thanks to Dave for the suggestion, thanks to Roger Stern and Tom DeFalco for the information, and thanks to Glenn Greenberg for one excellent article (go buy the issue, people! It’s available at twomorrows.com!)

COMIC LEGEND: Superboy and Supergirl were going to depart the Legion of Super-Heroes years before they eventually did, but DC backed out mid-story.

STATUS: True

1966’s Adventure Comics #350 was a bold issue for fans of the feature. Writer E. Nelson Bridwell (also assistant to Mort Weisinger, editor of the title at the time) featured Superboy and Supergirl both forced to resign from the Legion due to a cloud of green Kryptonite in the future.

The issue and the next brought back a lot of former Legionnaires and it definitely seemed as though the book was being set up for a brand-new, Superboy/Supergirl-less, status quo.

Which is really pretty impressive, as the characters had only gotten their regular feature 50 issues earlier.

However, in the very next issue, the Kryptonite cloud that had “forever barred” Superboy and Supergirl from visiting the Legion (and which Element Lad could not use his powers to change) was suddenly turned blue by Substitute Legionnaire the Color Kid!! Everything was now okay (blue kryptonite is harmful to Bizarros but is fine for Kryptonians)!!!

Sounds like a pretty abrupt turn of events, eh?

As it turns out, the story was changed IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STORY!

Bridwell recalled the event in the 1970s in the pages of The Legion Outpost (the famed Legion fanzine)…

“[Adventure Comics No. 351] fixed things up for a lot of the Legionnaires… Mort [Weisinger] and I sort of plotted as we went. In Part 1 [Adventure Comics No. 350], we wrote Superboy and Supergirl out of the Legion and intended to leave them out… Then, when the time came for a sequel, we had orders from the bosses to get Superboy back. Changing the color of the kryptonite cloud surrounding Earth from green to blue was a bit far out, but it was the only solution we could come up with, since we’d established that Element Lad couldn’t do the job.”

Obviously, years later, the Legion DID move past having to have Superboy around, but it’s interesting to note that Weisinger wanted to try it many years before it actually went down (and, of course, it’s interesting to note that DC quickly squelched the idea)!

Thanks to the great Legion Chronology website for the information (and, of course, thanks to the Legion Outpost and Bridwell)

COMIC LEGEND: Nearly a week’s worth of Get Fuzzy was censored by a number of newspapers across the country because of jokes about marijuana.

STATUS: True

Last week’s column involved a question of newspapers censoring comic strips, specifically an old Elzie Segar Thimble Theatre strip that newspapers were given to do what they felt with (censor or run it as it was).

You’d be surprised by how much odd censorship goes on to this day in the world of comic strips. A particularly strange circumstance involved a series of strips from the comic strip Get Fuzzy by Darby Conley.

In January of 2007, the strip (which stars a man and his two anthropomorphic pets – the friendly dog Satchel Pooch and the irritating cat Bucky Katt) had the character Bucky Katt come up with some slogans for a possible presidential campaign for the 2008 election. The slogans, however, do not come out the way Bucky intended them…

The strip did not attract much controversy, and later it was discovered why – the strip was not even RUN in many major newspapers!! Such major papers as the Washington Post, the Boston Globe and the Arizona Republic just ran re-runs of old strips rather than running these new ones.

I realize that it is drug humor, but these are some pretty tame jokes. It seems hard to believe that we’re still seeing stuff like this in 2007.

Thanks to the nifty comic book artist, Ben Towle, for “breaking” this story at the time. Check Ben’s site out here!

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comics Database for this week’s covers! And thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!

As you likely know by now, in April of last year my book came out!

Here is the cover by artist Mickey Duzyj. I think he did a very nice job (click to enlarge)…

If you’d like to order it, you can use the following code if you’d like to send me a bit of a referral fee…

Was Superman a Spy?: And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed

See you all next week!

79 Comments

That’s weird. I first met Roger Stern at the Kubert School in 1996-97, right before the Hobgoblin Lives mini came out, and I could’ve sworn he told my class that he did NOT tell DeFalco who the Hobgoblin was.

So Tom Defalco had a problem with Kingsley being the Hobgoblin because Kingsley was in the same room as a robot who is not the Hobgoblin?

1) That whole Hobgoblin/Rose mystery was very frustrating to me as a young reader, I think I abandoned caring after awhile.

2) I like Get Fuzzy in general, and those ‘banned’ strips are pretty amusing.

That legion story was one of the first I ever read, in reprint form thanks to the 100-page super-spectaculars from the early 70’s. Dream Girl and Star Boy got back on the team, posing as “Miss Terious and Sir Prize”.

Awesome stuff.

Minor spelling correction: Jim Owsley, not Owlsley.

Good stuff as always!

I love Get Fuzzy.

So what does blue kryptonite do?

The thing that bugged me back when the Hobgoblin was a new character is that his internal monologues frequently suggested he had considerable personal experience with Norman Osborn. Leeds didn’t fit that, but neither did a new character like Kingsley. I thought that Mendel Stromm, Osborn’s original business partner, was a brilliant fit for the character–there had been a brief story featuring him transferring his mind into a robot or some such just before the Hobgoblin appeared, but any comic book writer could find a way around that. That’s the kind of thing that works really well in comics–when you reach back to the origin of a character and find a named character with a significant role in that origin, then repurpose or reuse that seemingly peripheral player in a central way. The Leeds idea was so transparently bad that everyone rejected it, but Kingsley wasn’t much better.

Moral: don’t make a big mystery out of a character’s identity when you don’t have a really really cool idea about who the character is. That goes for soap operas and comics and really any kind of serial fiction.

comixkid2099: The pages above don’t make it all that clear, but right after the robot reveal, the page next shown, although the text suggests is from a future issue, is actually a continuation of that scene. The “real” Hobogoblin (i.e. not a robot) shows up, and Kingsley is still in the room.

Of course, there is nothing to say that this Hobgoblin is not also a robot, or an impostor of some sort.

Wilbur, blue kryptonite is to Bizarros what green K is to Kryptonians.

Hmm. This has never occurred to me before: is green kryptonite deadly to Kryptonians under a red sun? I think I’d guess so, but I don’t recall the matter ever coming up.

Hey Omar, what happened to your super-power?

What I don’t get is if the Hobgoblin is so awesome as to be able to create a custom robot of himself just for the purposes of being annoying at an auction then why doesn’t he just make a business of creating awesome animatronics?

Thanks, Lee. I see what happened. I thought I had five total pages from #249 and #250 (3 from 249 and 2 from 250), when I actually had six (4 and 2). So the pages should make sense now!

Minor spelling correction: Jim Owsley, not Owlsley.

Good stuff as always!

Thanks, Thad, I fixed it!

Wow, I could see a newspaper wanting to censor Get Fuzzy for its lack of humor, but come on!

And the funny this is, by doing it this way, a lot of people did not even know that it was going on. For all they knew, Conley was on vacation!

The resolution of the Legion story has always struck me as pretty ridiculous, even for Silver Age DC. It makes so much sense that it was a late-game change-up.

As inane as the original Hobgoblin storyline became, even more ridiculous is that Slott’s apparently planning to re-hash it all in his new Spider-Man run. Are new ideas really that hard to come by?

It seems being an inveterate coward is a prerequisite for employment as a newspaper comics page editor.

Craig – no, regular Kryptonite is not deadly to Kryptonians under a red sun.

Which is why they later had to establish that the type of Kryptonite that Argo City was sitting on (while rotating a red sun, with a big deal made out of the lead shielding to protect the city’s residents from the Kryptonite) was a rare alternate version.

Futher proof that people in AZ (my home state) are timid little babies.

I recall reading the Legion story back when it first came out, and even at ten yo I had a hard time swallowing the fact that a color change would alter the cloud! Still, I was ten, and this was comic books, and Supergirl would be back!
Ahh, fond memories.

I remember they explained it in a later comic as the result of kryptonite having a very unstable molecular structure (yes, not much of an improvement). Still, a fun story, squeezing in almost the entire legion, plus the subs, plus the super-pets, introducing White Witch and more.

The Get Fuzzy strips? I cannot believe those didn’t fly. Talk about CYA.

There’s a fantastic article about the Hobgoblin in BACK ISSUE MAGAZINE from twomorrows. It goes into even greater details, and it’s a comic book behind-the-scenes saga for the ages…. especially concerning a certain editor who (according to Stern and Frenz) sabataged their efforts… it’s an awesome story….

Those Get Fuzzy strips are collected in Conley’s DumbHeart collection….

Thx for filling in the gaps about the Hobgoblin story. I had been wondering about that story for years.

Between The Legion, Superman, X-Men and Spider-Man, I think Legends Revealed could write an encyclopedia

@BillWalko: would that be the Back Issue magazine that’s mentioned in the article?

I prefer the Ned Leeds as Hobgoblin. The retconing in Stern’s original plans with the Lives! series basically means that Rose, Kingpin, and the Foreigner were all idiots for thinking Leeds was it.

Scavenger, yes. I saw the note… what I meant was the BACK ISSUE article goes into even greater detail (it’s several pages long). Brian hits some of the big points, but the blow-by-blow recollections by the players involved is fascinating reading. I suggest Hobgoblin fans check it out….

It shows how Hobgoblin went from Roderick Kingsley to the Rose to Ned Leeds to Roderick Kingsley again. And if you ever wondered why sometimes serial storytelling seems messed up, just read this– so much behind the scenes stuff…..

As frustrating as it is to once again re-visit the fiasco that became the Hobgoblin saga, I gotta admit it’s great to see some of those old Stern/JrJr AMS issues. This was the run that made me fall in love with Spidey, and quite frankly I don’t think the title has been as good since Stern and JrJr ended that run (though I think AMS has had flashes of brilliance since BND).

It’s funny, but I always just took it as gospel that a Roderick Kingsley “reveal” as Hobgoblin would have been so much more brilliant than the groaner that was the Ned Leeds reveal. However, some of the commentors make a good point that Roderick really isn’t that great as a reveal either – he was a comparatively minor character who didn’t really consitute an impressive quasi-villian figure to begin with. I guess I always took it to be a much better reveal because 1.) let’s face it, the Leeds reveal was so bad that Hobby could have been revealed to be Dr. Ruth in a much more impressive fashion; and 2.) I just had such faith in Stern as a writer that I always assumed he could pull off the Kingsley reveal in impressive fashion had he had the chance.

Hobgoblin Lives! was small consolation for not having Stern finish the Hobgoblin story the way he originally planned back during his AMS run, but at least since Hobgoblin Lives! has been out, the Hobby mythology has settled into a satisfying place where Hobgoblin is the more cerebral, opportunistic villian that contrasts nicely to the bombastic, physical craziness of his greener counterpart(s). I’m satisfied with where the Hobby legend finally came to rest (God spare me from the Jason Macendale days), and I’m mildly optimistic that Slott will be able to do the first good stuff with him since the Stern days.

Still, I always wonder what Stern would have ultimately done with him back in the day. I was really excited about the Hobgoblin saga when he first appeared, and that was the first time I could say that about an AMS ongoing story in a long time. Let’s face it, AMS has had good/great moments throughout it’s long history, but there were a lot of lean years between Lee/Ditko and Stern/JrJr (and many more since, as we all know . . .).

I remember that Marvel was going to reveal Hobgoblin’s identity in Peter Parker 85. They were trying to have the Spidey books more innertwined.

I do admit I thought it was kind of cool how they killed Ned in the Spder-Man/Wolverine one-shot and then weny back to explain his death as him being Hobgoblin and nothing to do with the one-shot.

I also agree w/Scavenger, I found nothing wrong w/Ned Leeds being the Hobgoblin. I remember feeling pissed when it was revealed some no-name background character was in fact Hobbie all along.

Romita, jr was so much better back then. He went downhill fast after he switched to the X-Men and his art got really sketchy. I don’t think he’s been very good since then.

I read Peter David’s account of the Hobgoblin situation once. DeFalco had put in so many hints that it was Leeds (apparently as a red herring) that David felt he was the only real choice. I can certainly see why he decided that, but it was still a lousy idea.
When I first found out Kingsley was the real Hobgoblin (and I only found out a couple of years ago since I wasn’t reading any comics when the story actually appeared), I did think he was a better fit, but a big problem did occur to me. A few issues before the story you show here the Hobgoblin was shown without a shirt and he was very muscular (and this was just BEFORE he took the Goblin Formula). But when Kingsley first appeared, it made a big deal over how scrawny he was. Spidey even commented that he was skinnier than he’d ever been.

This reminds me of the other column you did today, about the ‘second billing’ debuts. Kingsley first appeared as an apparently minor character in a story that also introduced a more important villain called Belladonna. She only appeared in one other story that I know of, though (three issues alltogether). It turned out that her only motive was revenge against Kingsley, so that kind of limited her possibilities as a villain. I really liked her, though.

I don’t think the gripe most people had with the Ned Leeds “reveal” was that it was Ned Leeds per se, but rather how it incompetently it was executed. I believe that the decision at Marvel to make Ned Leeds the Hobgoblin occured either right at the same time or just after the Spidey/Wolverine one-shot came out. Naturally, that caused big problems for editorial, because the guy you’ve decided should be the Hobgoblin was just wasted in your recent best-selling one-shot. Thus, they had to do some serious after-the-fact explaining as to how Ned was the Hobgoblin, and was killed due to the “hit” that Jason Macendale put on him through (I believe) the Foreigner.

So what really had people down on this reveal was the fact that what was supposed to be a big-shot supervillian was killed, off-panel, by something as lame as a “hit” that was put on him by even lamer-ass Jason Macendale. Spidey never had a role in his “defeat” or otherwise had a chance to take him down once and for all in some cool ass climatic showdown (actually, Spidey had had a few climatic show downs with Hobby by this point, but Marvel editorial kept wanting to milk the Hobgoblin storyline out a “little bit more”, watering down the character and making us all half sick of him by the end).

As someone who was a regular reader when Hobgoblin was first introduced, I have to tell you that this was an incredibly disappointing (though overdue) end for a character that had everybody talking about him when he first came out. Again, the disappointment was not so much the fact that it was Ned Leeds, but just the incredibly lame-ass, bumbling way it was executed. I think most editors have learned by now that if you identify a character to be the secret identity of a mysterious, big time supervillian, that you shouldn’t have him unceremoniously knocked-off, off panel, in a completely unrelated one-shot. This is the first great Editorial Truth learned from the Hobgoblin. (Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem most editors have learned to not milk-out what was once an exciting and interesting character until your audience is oversaturated with him and just doesn’t care about him anymore – which is the second great Editorial Truth of the Hobgoblin).

DeFalco ruined Hobgoblin on purpose then.

[…] ’80s, a spin-off, if you will, of the classic Green Goblin character. Comic Book Resources’ Legends Revealed column this week looks at The Hobgoblin, and includes this amazing […]

See, I wasn’t following Spider-Man at all at the time.

I got the Spider-Man/Wolverine Special cuz I was an X-Man fan. I didn’t know who Ned was, but I can remember being just shocked when Peter finds him dead.

And then they billed the Hoboblin ASM/Web issues as follow ups to it, so I got those, which then had the Hobgoblin reveal, the Rose back story, and the Foreigner as this amazingly cool character.

Not having read the “hobgoblin saga” leading up to that, I couldn’t say if it the Ned reveal was bad or disapointing, but if you just read those issues, it was really cool.

That Spider-Man wasn’t involved in his enemies’ downfall, I find, brilliant. That’s drama. One of the big points in a lot of that was that Peter was in a world he couldn’t control, and things happen outside his scope..just like the real world :)

I always hated it at the end of the original Spectacular Spider-man that they didn’t reveal who the new Green Goblin was. I undertand it was supposed to be a brain-washed Ben Urich. I’m not old enough to remember the original GreenGoblin stuff and didn’t read SPider-man stuff, but then they ended the series and that was the last time Spider-man was that good to me.

In reference to the new ‘Hobgoblin’ stories I can’t read Spider-man again. It’s just terrible the things ‘they’ did to that book and that character. It’s just completely idiotic. He doesn’t seem like the Peter Parker that I read in AMazing 320 or even 4000. He’s like a new, terrible character. They want people to read it like it’s old Spider-man in the new time, but I read a few issues of three-times- a-month stuff and it reads like a washed-out new character who doesn’t know anything. Factor in that amazingly insulting Unmasking, the Other, OMD, and all that other mess that was a stupid idea to begin with. Is that quality story telling to Joe Quesada?

How are peopel supposed to enjoy this new simple stuff when they were promised the biggest thing in Spider-man’s history and it was almost immediatly evident they weren’t going to do that story? It’s like they didn’t care. Spider-man books are not what fans ARE going to get, they are about what they AREN’T going to get. We aren’t going to get anything new, that’s for sure.

Where a lot of surprise reveals seem forced, I think Kingsley worked well. Reading about the whole thing on Spidey Kicks Butt and checking out Stern’s Spider-Man stories, I think it’s a shame that he wasn’t in total control.

Few things make me happier than reading the original Hobgoblin stories. Just a few thoughts reading the comments section:

What I don’t get is if the Hobgoblin is so awesome as to be able to create a custom robot of himself just for the purposes of being annoying at an auction then why doesn’t he just make a business of creating awesome animatronics?

@Squasha: As far as I know, that robot only sits in a chair, stands up, and speaks through a speaker box, presumably without moving his mouth. Probably wouldn’t be a very desirable commodity. Also, in the Marvel Universe, you have to imagine that competition would drive down the price of custom robots and things of that nature to almost nothing, seeing as everyone and their grandmother is an expert in them.

@Ed: Where can I purchase these Amazing Man-Spider (AMS) comics? They seem remarkably similar to Amazing Spider-Man (ASM), so I think I would enjoy them. :p

I think big mystery villain reveals are destined to fall flat the majority of the time in serialized fiction. Most of the ones I can remember are pretty lame. Erik the Red as a random alien (why was he dressed up as an old X-Men villain again?), all three Jeph Loeb Batman reveals (yes T, I know why they’re lame), the last issue of Batman RIP, none of the Hobgoblin unmaskings were particularly satisfying, and I don’t know if people realize this, but Norman Osborn was a pretty weak reveal as the Green Goblin at the time those comics were published. Mystery villains are probably pretty tough to write because the fans and the editors will be upset if you “ruin” too important a character by unmasking him/her as the evil mastermind, but at the same time, if the mystery villain is too inconsequential a character, like Roderick Kingsley I would argue, the reveal doesn’t have much impact. Even if you do settle on a good character, it’s still tough to maintain a balance between giving away the answer and leaving enough hints so that the reader will be able to say “Aha, that’s why X, Y, and Z! It all makes sense now.” I think if I ever wrote stories involving an established property in comics, I would stay far away from mystery villains.

Yea I agree with what Scavenger said that Leeds was fine as the Hobgoblin. It works even better if the guy that was Hobgoblin is assassinated. It makes it an interesting tragic story. And then various individuals are taking over the identity for their own gains. I also read that when Stern left everybody had agreed on Leeds as being Hobby but then Editor Jim Owsley wrote the one-shot himself where Leeds was killed and Defalco’s jaw was on the floor. Owsley was universaly hated during that time. Stern may have had the Kinsley Bros in mind, but at the end of the day, nobody cared. I know some writers have fetish characters that they always go back to but they end up pet characters that only those writers really care about. It doesn’t work pushing them your audience’s throat. Norman Osborn as GG now THAT was a shocking satisfying great reveal and it has continued to work. Kinsley as Hobby though, you might as well say Hobby was some alley cat that was walking in a panel.

Wait a minute…if Kingsley was retconned into being Hobby the whole time, then what was Ned doing in the goblin duds when he was killed (in the one shot)? Or was he just another dude trying to utilize the Hobgoblin name for his own motives..?

I guess I could just wiki this, but I’m lazy like that.

Brian, FYI in the Hobgoblin Lives trade paperback, there is a text piece, either a foreword or an afterword, that backs up your account here…that Roger Stern did tell DeFalco his plan on the way out and DeFalco decided to take it his own way.

Oh, I forgot to mention, the text piece from the trade was written by Roger Stern himself

Man oh man were the DeFalco years of Spider-Man dire. Up there with the worst runs I’ve ever read from any writer.

Just wanted to say that I’m glad you liked my Hobgoblin article, Brian. It was a lot of fun to write–and a very eye-opening experience!

As for the Hobgoblin himself, I believe he’s still where Roger Stern and I left him in 1998, at the end of our “Goblins at the Gate” 3-parter, from SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #’s 259-261. I don’t know what Dan Slott has in mind for the character, but I certainly hope it involves taking the character FORWARD, instead of tinkering with his past all over again. Roger did a wonderful job on HOBGOBLIN LIVES, on which I was one of the editors, and I’d hate to see that story mucked with.

Here’s Peter David’s article on how he came to be the writer of ASM #289, which revealed that Ned Leeds was the Hobgoblin:

http://www.peterdavid.net/index.php/2004/11/18/foolish-consistencies-and/

@dannywetts:

Supposedly Ned was brainwashed by Kingsley using a machine (I believe it’s Winkler’s machine) to think he was the Hobgoblin. Kingsley also did this to Lefty Donovan (ASM #245) and possibly to Flash Thompson as well.

What’s interesting/odd about the ‘Ned being killed in his Hobgoblin costume’ scenes is that they are retcons. The original Spiderman vs Wolverine one-shot has Ned tied to a chair and his throat slit — and Peter finds him dead in his street clothes. The ASM and WoSM followup issues depict pictures of Ned’s execution, where he is dressed in costume and they beat him badly and break his arms.

So we are to believe that:

a) The Foreigner’s men (and not the Soviet Agents who were after Charlemange) broke into Ned’s hotel room and dressed him up in his Hobgoblin costume and beat him to death, while someone takes pictures.

b) The same men then remove the Hobgoblin costume, dress Ned in regular clothes, tie him to a chair and make it look like his throat was cut.

c) It took Peter Parker the marvel universe time equivalent of nearly FIVE YEARS to realize that if Ned was the Hobgoblin that he should have wiped the floor with the Foreigner’s goon squad.

dannywetts: Kingsley brainwashed Leeds into acting as the Hobgoblin for a time; if memory serves Kingsley used a machinen previously used by Osborn to accomplish this. So technically Leeds was *a* Hobgoblin, just not *the* Hobgoblin, even though even he believed otherwise. Sadly for him he didn’t have Kingsley’s superhuman strength and thus was no match when the Foreigner’s men came calling.

Heh, looks like Rob just beat me to the punch.

I happen to work for a newspaper in a variety of roles, one of which is to download all our comic strips and games from the various syndicates every week.

I do remember that week of Get Fuzzy strips in particular, because I remember there being a warning on that syndicate’s site about them. Subscribers (like my paper) were offered the option of replacement comics that were re-runs, right on the site!

I wonder how many papers ran the replacements without even looking at the originals. If I remember correctly, I just downloaded the original strips after determining that they were pretty tame, as Brian said, and they ran in the paper without a single dissenting voice.

Did Maths read the same DeFalco stories I did? I thought they were amoung the best Spider-Man stories ever. (And definitely the best stuff DeFalco ever wrote– he’s usually not that good.) There was the whole Black Costume story, Mary Jane revealing that she knew his identity, the introductions of the Rose, the Black Fox, the Puma, and Silver Sable, all within the space of one year. His writing slipped a bit for the next year, but it was still pretty good.

Ocelot– If I remember correctly (and I’m not digging my copy out to look it up), the Foreigner’s men didn’t take any pictures. Spider-Man simply read the report the Kingpin had, and then the pictures it showed were just from his ‘mind’s eye’. And Leeds was already in his Hobgoblin suit when they arrived, so they didn’t dress him up.
It is true that he was in street clothes when Peter found him. My best guess is that they changed him after killing him, so they could deliver the costume and all the equipment to the Foreigner, who then gave it to Macendale.
This still doesn’t explain why they bothered to tie him up afterwards. Maybe it was just to alter the evidence to keep it from being traced back to the Foreigner.

And here are some quotes from Tom DeFalco on the subject:

(All these quotes are from the SPIDER-GIRL message board at comicboards.com

:::Did you know that Roger Stern wanted Kingsley to be the Hobgoblin?:::

Yes, but I didn’t agree since we had already seen Kingsley in the same room as the Hobgoblin. Roger’s idea of Kingsley’s “evil twin” scenario didn’t really appeal to me…so the twin had never been established or mentioned.

………………………………………

Ned was only a red herring. I actually intended the Hobgoblin to be Richard Fisk, the Kingpin’s son. (I was also going to reveal that Roderick Kingsley was the Rose.)

………………………………………….

:::I think i can almost forgive you for what you did to the Hobgoblin (the late Ned Leeds? What were you thinking?):::

If you’ll go back and check, the Hobgoblin was revealed to be Ned Leeds in the SPIDERMAN VS WOLVERINE Bookshelf that was written by my then-editor Jim Owsley (who is now called Christopher Priest). He’s the one who said that the Hobgoblin was Ned Leeds…because that’s where he thought I was headed.

He was wrong…and so are you!

……………………………………

:::Actually, Ned Leeds was killed in SvW:::

A story written by Owsley…that showed Ned wearing Hobgoblin costume when he died.

:::and he was posthumously revealed as the Hobgoblin in ASM #289, written by Peter David. Owsley claims he never intended for Ned to be the Hobgoblin, and this was retconned in after he’d been booted as Spidey editor.:::

Go back and check! Owsley was Peter’s editor…so he (Owsley) is the one who approved the story where it was revealed that Ned was the Hobgoblin. (And that all happened after I was booted off Amazing.)

:::He says you originally told him that you’d spoken to Roger Stern, and you knew who Hobby was supposed to be (but you didn’t tell him), but everyone was agreed it wasn’t Ned, Ned was just a red herring.:::

I always considered Ned to be a red herring. I also didn’t like Roger’s “evil twin” idea so I had someone else picked out to be the Hobgoblin.

::: PAD’s version is that it was agreed by everyone (including Owsley) at a Spider-Man writers summit that Ned was to be the Hobgoblin.:::

The way I heard it–only Pete and Owsley were there!

:::So there’s a fun kinda Rashomon thing going on here ;\):::

Very true..but that’s how this biz works…especially years after the fact! To tell you the truth, I had actually forgotten all about the whole Hobgoblin mystery and had moved on…until I discovered my old Spider-Man notebook while I was moving house a few years ago. I reread all my old Hobgoblin notes and was reminded who I was planning to make the Hobgoblin…and who I had figured for the Rose. It was a nice walk down memory lane…which I shared with Ron Frenz.

My intentions are no longer important. When I was taken off Amazing, it was up to Owsley (and Pete who was hired to write the story) to decide who the Hobgoblin and Rose were. His decisions made it into print. Not mine.

Ned was never my choice…and I don’t like being blamed for him.

…………………………………………

:::all this hobgoblin stuff brings up the big question, why did the writers for amazing spider-man not make the hobgoblin roderick kingsley like roger stern originally planned (you can see small hints starting off in amazing spider-man #250):::

I can only speak for myself. I didn’t like Roger’s “evil twin” scenario…especially since Kingsley’s brother had never actually appeared in print at that point.

……………………………………

Owlsey revealed the Ned was the Hobgoblin in SPIDER-MAN VS. WOLVERINE…

:::::He didn’t. I have SP/W and, although Ned was killed there, the Hobgoblin wasn’t mentioned once in the course of the story.::::

I have never actually bothered to read SPIDER-MAN VS WOLVERINE…but I do have a copy.

I just checked it and…YOU’RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!

Since Owsley/Priest fired me the week before SPIDER-MAN VS WOLVERINE came out, I have always assumed that he did it because he knew I’d be angry when I heard that he killed Ned…who was my chief suspect for the Hobgoblin. (Yeah, I had a lot of clues pointing toward Ned…but I always knew that Ned wasn’t the Hobgoblin. He was just a red herring. And, YES, as the writer of AMAZING, I would have been angry that my editor had killed my chief suspect behind my back. I say “would have” because Owsley/Priest gave me plenty of other–and even better– reasons to be angry with him at the time.)

After I was fired from AMAZING, I stopped reading Spider-Man…and didn’t read another issue for at least the next two or three years…maybe even longer. I had heard that Owsley/Priest and Peter David had done a story that proved that Ned was the Hobgoblin…but I have never read the actual story.

I have seen the death of Ned in flashbacks…and he is always wearing a Hobgoblin costume in those flashbacks. Thus, I have always assumed that he was wearing that costume in SPIDER-MAN VS WOLVERINE. Looks like my assumption was wrong!

Like I said, I’m really confused now. If Owsley/Priest did not reveal that Ned was the Hobgoblin, I have no idea why he and Peter David did the story that “proved” Ned was the Hobgoblin.

I could have told them who I thought the Hobgoblin was…if they had only bothered to ask me. (Although I was very angry at Owsley/Priest at the time which is probably why he didn’t ask me.)

Oh, well! That’s the biz…

……………………………………………..

When I first created the Rose, I just planned for him to be a reoccuring middle management villain without a secret identity. At some point I learned that the readers where curious about his “real” identity…and that’s when I decided that Roderick Kingsley was the Rose.

@Mary Warner: I sure hope I read the same ones. I’d hate to think there are two times as many DeFalco Spider-Man stories out there as I first thought! I dunno, ranking DeFalco’s stuff seems counter-productive to me – I hope I have better things to do than work out whether I hated his Fantastic Four or his Spider-Man more. It’s all jumbled, badly characterised tripe to me.

One more little detail that hasn’t been mentioned– According to Peter David’s account (which I haven’t read lately, but I’m pretty sure this was what he said), Owsley had wanted the Hobgoblin to be the Foreigner, and that’s what he told Peter to reveal when he hired him to do the story. But Peter, who had created the Foreigner and was the only writer to use him up to that point, thought that would be completely out of character for the Foreigner (and I do think he was right about that). So the two of them then read through all the relevant issues and Owsley agreed with Peter that all the clues pointed to Ned, and that no other significant suspect would work. I don’t know if I agree with that, as I thought there would’ve been nothing wrong with using an obscure character (but I do understand most fans would’ve hated that). (And for the record, Kingsley was not an obscure character at the time. He’d continued to appear frequently after Stern left, had already been revealed to be working with the Rose and Hobgoblin, and had also been seen having secret meetings with Kris Keeting [whom Peter David later revealed to be the Foreigner in disguise– a revelation I hated]).
(Strangely enough, some time before the revelation there was a scene of the Hobgoblin changing into civilian clothes, stepping out onto the sidewalk (his face was obscured the whole time, obviously), and running into Mary Jane, who appeared to know him very well. This fits with the Leeds indentity, obviously, but it would also work for Kingsley, because Mary Jane was working for him at the time. She was also dating a guy named Alfredo at this time, who was soon revealed to be the best friend of Richard Fisk and was assisting him in his activities as the Rose. It seems that all sorts of characters were being thrown together in surprising ways at that time, but people only seem to remember the Ned Leeds/Hobgoblin thing.)

Nice column, as usual. I’ll have to ask Roger Stern about this at Ithacon in a couple weeks. (comicbookclub.org for details) One of the first comics I ever got (almost 20 years ago, gulp) was the Marvel Tales reprint of the first Hobgoblin appearance. Unfortunately I traded that away for some reason…

With the Superboy/Supergirl/Legion, I’m wondering why Mort and ENB decided to drop Superboy and Supergirl, and if they decided, why didn’t they have to run it by the bosses who eventually nixed the idea? And why didn’t they have to change the story sooner than right in the middle? It just seems odd. When were those Adventure issues from?

I read the Get Fuzzy strips in Dumbheart, and they were pretty good. There’s what, 2 or 3 more than what you show here? But the book also has a nice run where the Wilco house gets “taken over” by all the oddball cats and dogs in the neighborhood, and it builds up nicely. I love Get Fuzzy.

Our local paper ran the Get Fuzzy strips and thinking back on it, I never got the POT references at the time,but rereading them now I don’t see how I missed it. I’ll chalk that up to not really paying attention. Love the strip though.

There’s a fantastic article about the Hobgoblin in BACK ISSUE MAGAZINE from twomorrows. It goes into even greater details, and it’s a comic book behind-the-scenes saga for the ages…. especially concerning a certain editor who (according to Stern and Frenz) sabataged their efforts… it’s an awesome story….

Definitely, Bill. I only touch on the one part of the story here – Glenn goes into SO much detail in the piece. Really great read (also, for those people who don’t believe someone unless there are direct quotes, Glenn has pretty much ALL direct quotes).

ParanoidObsessive

September 11, 2010 at 1:28 pm

>>> I hope I have better things to do than work out whether I hated his Fantastic Four or his Spider-Man more. It’s all jumbled, badly characterised tripe to me.

Personally, I’d probably rank his work on Thor as being worse than either, but that’s mostly because it feels so incredibly jarring to go from what was possibly some of the best writing in the history of the title (Simonson’s epic mythological run) to the sort of cheesy 60-era throwback stories that DeFalco wrote.

I didn’t like DeFalco’s work until Thunderstrike, and then Spider-Girl. I went back to see if I’d misjudged his earlier stuff and nope, his Thor really was weak.

I never particularly cared who The Hobgoblin was. They took too long to reveal it and involved a lot of minor characters I hardly even knew about. (Though I did like the villain himself- and his demonic “good” version Demogoblin, even more!)

As for the Superboy/Supergirl thing- HAH! Wasn’t I saying the other day how Color Kid was MORE useful than Shadow Lass? :D Though yeah changing the color of the kryptonite without changing its atomic structure doesn’t make sense, unless you assume kryptonite radiation works by using visible light waves, which is even sillier.

I don’t think the Get Fuzzy strips were that offensive. Even as a kid, there were times I realized when someone was making jokes “aimed at grownups” because I didn’t understand what they were talking about, and I was OK with that. And by the time I DID get them, I was old enough not to be badly affected by them. Besides, those GF strips sound pretty clever. :D

“I’d hate to think there are two times as many DeFalco Spider-Man stories out there as I first thought!”

Probably. He did two runs in the series, you know.

I enjoyed his work in both (although on the second he was caught on the Clone mess like the other writers) – and time made it much better, since I read most of the crap that came later.

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

Yeah, I know the two runs. As long as there’s not four, I’m happy.

[…] Comic Book Legends Revealed #277 (goodcomics.comicbookresources.com) […]

The great irony with The Boston Globe refusing to print the Get Fuzzy strips is that the characters supposedly live in Boston and the following year Massachusetts would vote in rather overwhelming numbers to decriminalize marijuana.

All this talk about so-and-so being unmasked, and it being a major disappointment no matter who it’s revealed to be, reminds me of the letter pages in early issues of Savage Dragon, where people kept writing in with wild guesses as yo which obscure supporting character was going to turn out to be the Dragon’s arch enemy Overlord. Larsen kept insisting in his replies that, not, there wasn’t supposed to be any mystery about Overlord’s identity, and that being the crime boss of Chicago and head of the Vicious Circle was a full time occupation, not leaving Overlord any spare time to moonlight as, say, a cop or firefighter. And, indeed, when Overlord was finally defeated, it turned out he was an old gangster named Antonio Seghetti who we had never seen before. But because of stuff like the “Who is the Hobgoblin ?” mystery, many readers automatically expected something along those lines with Overlord.

This also reminds me of that Justice League animated series episode where the Flash and Lex Luthor accidentally swap bodies. Luthor, figuring he can really get one over on the League, heads for the nearest mirror and pulls off the Flash’s mask. And he is immediately disappointed, because he has never met Wally West before, so he has no clue whose face he’s looking at in the mirror.

Well before Hobgoblin or Savage Dragon, Steve Ditko and Stan Lee had the Crime Master unmasked as nobody we’d ever heard of.

I’ve read Glenn Greenberg’s article and liked it a lot. It really leaves you with that Rashomon feeling.
Unfortunatly it seems to me like there are a lot of big egos clashing at Marvel at that time. And some of the people interviewed are trying to paint Jim Owlsley (Christopher Priest) as the bad guy. Owlsley did a lot of childish things back then, but he is the first to admit it. You can read his point of view here

http://www.digital-priest.com/comics/adventures/spidey.htm

The way I see it, the people involved in the Hobgoblin mess are misguided by vanity, but nothing more.

I think it would have been cooler for Lance Bannon (RIP) to be the Hobgoblin. When I reading those books at the time, he seemed to make sense.

Oh well.

@Sijo

Better question, how do you change something’s colour without changing any parts of it’s atomic structure?!

Random: is it possible that the underlying structure of our reality and silver-age Earth-One are not the same?

@Ian Thal

That would explain why our kryptonite isn’t green… or radioactive. ;)

I loved the Hobgoblin story…and hated how they ended it. Maybe it’s just because that’s when I got into modern Spiderman, but I just thought he was the coolest villain. A true successor to the Green Goblin (who may have never been brought back if they hadn’t screwed up the Hobgoblin so badly). And I have a bias to Stern’s take, because at the time I thought Kingsley made the most sense. Leeds was so obviously a red herring. Having him be the Kingpin’s son might have been an interesting dynamic, but truthfully his personality fit the Rose much better. For him to have been the Hobgoblin, he’d have to have been as crazy as Osborn…and the whole point he was the rational one.

Then they played games, and made a mess of it. Even if Leeds was going to be Hobgoblin, having him killed as he was may have made a great “gotcha” (as David saw it), but made zero sense. Hobgoblin was a bad ass, and a handful of assassins weren’t going to kill him. Even unarmed, at that point he was super powered. The Foreigner himself couldn’t have done it, no more his stooges. (And I liked the Foreigner…who ended up getting this lame hyp-mo-TIZE ability). It was immediately unbelievable.

And then they dug an even deeper whole, because while they got their SURPIRSE! moment, they had no plan for what to do with it after. (Seems pretty common in comics today). OK, you tricked us all..now what? You took your best villain, and made him a complete lame-O like Jack-O-Lantern who was such a beotch he had to hire out to take down his rival. How is anyone supposed to be scared of the character after that? Then to justify it being Leeds, and leads going out like a beotch himself, it was all “Leeds was just pretending to be bad…then got in too deep…and started liking it”, when from the characters very first thought bubbles he was all bad. It was like taking the Joker and replacing him with Bozo the clown.

The “funy” thing is, it’s from some great creators. Stern’s runs on various Marvel comics are regularly the best since the Silver age. DeFalco was probably at his best on Spider titles. (His Thor was weak, and FF pretty awful). David continues to write good stuff. And Spiderman-Wolverine is actually a great tale, if you remove anything about the Hobgoblin in it at all. The “gotcha” should have been that “hey, your top suspect just got killed…NOW who is it?”

I mean, Hobgoblin was the last great bad guy created for Spiderman, other than Venom, who has been completely neutered too. What is it with Marvel editorial and wanting to suck the life out of any Spidey bad guy not created by Stan Lee?

@ M-Wolverine

“I mean, Hobgoblin was the last great bad guy created for Spiderman, other than Venom, who has been completely neutered too. What is it with Marvel editorial and wanting to suck the life out of any Spidey bad guy not created by Stan Lee?”

I think it’s because so few impressive villains have been created since Stan the Man was on the book that when they stumble upon one, they milk them out for so long that they lose all the qualities that made them compelling to begin with. I firmly believe (and may have read somewhere) that Stern wanted the Hobby reveal to occur in issue #250, which I believe was his last issue on the title. But, no, Marvel editorial had to keep the character going for another couple dozen issues until they painted themselves into a corner with the Ned Leeds assassination – let alone the fact that, in the meantime, Hobby was getting puncked by lame, non-powered characters and was far from the badass he was originally portrayed as under Stern.

And Venom is an even better example. He went from a compelling, psychologically twisted character with a laser-like focus on killing Spider-man (or at least making his life miserable), to becoming the “Lethal Protector” whose main drive was “protecting innocents”. And don’t even ask me where the whole “I want to eat your brains” came from.

When Marvel gets a “cash cow” villian, so to speak, they don’t like to quit milking it until longer after the proverbial “teets” have fallen off . . . .

Anonymous has a point. I remember reading an account of the clone saga by the creators and one thing they kept bringing up is that if sales were good, marketing wanted to milk it: If Part One of a three-part story did well, it would get stretched out to six.
One thing I’ve noticed rereading Silver Age Green Lanterns is that John Broome would come up with a neat villain then not bother with him for three or four years–it was about that long between Dr. Polaris’ first and second appearance, for example. Sinestro dropped out of the book for close to 40 issues at one point (after having four or five stories over a short period). It’s hard to imagine that happening today with a big-name foe.

And Venom is an even better example. He went from a compelling, psychologically twisted character with a laser-like focus on killing Spider-man (or at least making his life miserable), to becoming the “Lethal Protector” whose main drive was “protecting innocents”. And don’t even ask me where the whole “I want to eat your brains” came from.

In fairness, Venom was never psychologically compelling as conceived by David Michilinie. The problem with Venom’s overexposure wasn’t that it took a psychologically compelling character and made it lame. The problem was that the overexposure after a while made it obvious how lame his psychological motivation always was. The more you read of Venom and the more you saw of his though process and motivations, the more you realized how poorly conceived his whole personality and motivation were. That was the case for me at least.

Once the coolness of the McFarlane design wore off, you basically had some guy whose whole reason for being Spider-Man’s archenemy was that Spider-Man indirectly made him lose his job.

The most recent Spider-Man cartoon did the best job with that, making Eddie a close friend of Pete’s who came to believe Pete had stabbed him in the back on multiple levels.

Yes Fraser, I saw that and it was much better done.

I suppose drug humor is by definition gross to those (myself included) who abhor the idea of recreational drugs.

Do you object to alcohol humor? Coffee humor? Food humor? Anything else you can be addicted to? And why the need to keep lecturing us on your views about it. It’s less about the article and more about your personal beliefs. No one cares.

I object to coffee humor. I take coffee very seriously and without milk.

I’m offended by your complete disregard for sugar.

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