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Comic Books, Film
In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of Spider-Man, we’re doing four straight months of polls having to do with Spider-Man, culminating with the release of the Amazing Spider-Man film in July. Future installments will deal with Spider-Man creators and Spider-Man stories, but this month will be about Spider-Man’s supporting cast and his villains.
You all voted, now here are the results! Bring on the bad guys! For the first day of the villains, we’ll open with ten characters and the installments will get smaller as we countdown to #1.
25. Mister Negative
One of the more recent additions to Spider-Man’s Rogues Gallery, Mister Negative was a gang member who was experimented on by the Maggia. The result was two powerful beings trapped in one body. Martin Li, a kindhearted man who has some sort of healing powers and Mister Negative, a sadistic gangleader who has the ability to corrupt others (turn them into dark versions of themselves).
Mister Negative has used these abilities to take control of the Chinatown mob and has fought Spider-Man on many occasions, even corrupting him once…
In his Martin Li persona, he runs the F.E.A.S.T. Project (Food, Emergency Aid, Shelter and Training), a shelter and food kitchen that Aunt May volunteers at. The extent of Li’s complicity in Negative’s actions is still unknown.
24. Hobgoblin/Jack O’Lantern (Jason Macendale)
Jason Macendale was a difficult villain to write during his day. As part of the big reveal of who the Hobgoblin was, it was revealed that the original Hobgoblin had actually been KILLED a few months earlier and that there was now a new Hobgoblin. So the Spider-writers had to figure out who the new Hobgoblin would be and it was determined that it would be his old rival, the costumed villain known as Jack O’Lantern.
Now that he was the new Hobgoblin, Macendale did not exactly have much of a hook. He was just a typical mercenary supervillain, so Gerry Conway came up with the idea of having Macendale become an ACTUAL goblin!
This was his status quo for most of the 1990s. Once cured, he had a brief resurgence as a cyber-aided villain (during Ben Reilly’s time as Spider-Man) but when the original Hobgoblin returned (Surprise! The guy Macendale thought was the Hobgoblin was wrong!), he was killed off.
Juggernaut and Spider-Man have not fought that many times over the years, but here is a case where quality definitely surpasses quantity, as the classic fight they had in Amazing Spider-Man #229 and #230 (by Roger Stern, John Romita Jr. and Jim Mooney) still lives on in Marvel lore…
Not really much else to say about ol’ Juggs. That story is the key.
22. Hobgoblin (Phil Urich)
Daily Bugle intern Phil Urich (nephew to star reporter Ben Urich) was a short-lived costumed superhero known as the Green Goblin (using a storage facility he found of the Goblin’s gear including the Goblin formula – think the original Hobgoblin’s origin only used for good).
When he quit as the Goblin (after his equipment became damaged), he helped start a support group for former superheroes. However, he suffered a mental breakdown and fought against his fellow former heroes. He then made his way to New York where he worked for his uncle again. His mental instability came into play once again as he went looking for another Goblin stash to impress Norah Winters, a reporter at his uncle’s paper who was working on so-called “Goblin cults” that worshiped the Green Goblin. While there, he came across the original Hobgoblin, Roderick Kingsley, who mocked Phil as being a “Goblin knock-off.” This just broke Phil’s mind (as remember who was telling him this), so Phil exhibited a paralyzing “lunatic laugh” that he had used as the Green Goblin (a side effect of the formula) to freeze Kingsley in his place. Phil then decapitated Kingsley and took over as the new Hobgoblin.
As the new Hobgoblin, Phil is quite mentally disturbed…
In addition, he uses information about himself as the Hobgoblin to get close to Norah so that she would be romantically interested in him. So far it has begun to work.
21. The Burglar
Little is known of the man who broke into the Parkers’ Queens home after escaping from a TV station (where newly minted minor celebrity Spider-Man allowed him to escape) and murdered Ben Parker, but what is known is that the impact of his actions have played a major role in the creation (and the sustained efforts) of Spider-Man.
As it says in the comic, he is a constant reminder that with great power comes responsibility.
Oh, and he also returned to the Parkers’ home to steal some gold or something later on and Spider-Man scared him to death.
Morlun has an interesting place in Spider-Man history in that he is a bit difficult to use again, as he is so tied in with the idea that Spider-Man gained his powers from a magical spider that just happened to ALSO be doused with radiation. It is a hard sell when so many people are used to the famous version of the origin. And you see, Morlun’s whole purpose is that he hunts down and lives off of the energy force from people who GET powers from mystical animals (“totems”). Still, if you get past that stuff, he was one devastating villain, especially his eerie calmness…
Imagine a villain who could track Spider-Man while he is out of the costume? Imagine a villain with no moral qualms about just attacking civilians if Spider-Man won’t come out and fight him? Imagine a villain who really seems like he can’t be stopped? That’s Morlun.
Morlun also ate Spider-Man’s eye one time (perhaps it is best you don’t ask about that story).
Michael Morbius’ origins were much like Doctor Curt Connors, in that he tried to find a cure for a health problem he had (a rare blood disease) and ended up giving himself something much, much worse. He transformed himself into a pseudo-vampire. A pseudo-vampire still means he feeds on blood, which is not good for other people…
Over the years, though, Morbius’ role as a villain has mostly been driven by his obsession with finding a cure for his condition. Essentially, he’s willing to go to extremes to find a cure for his condition. And if that means doing some unethical things at times, he’ll do it.
When NOT obsessed with a cure, however, he’s actually a pretty decent guy. He and Spider-Man have been allies almost as frequently as they have been enemies.
The very first costumed super-villain that Spider-Man ever fought, the Chameleon holds a special place in Spider-Man history. Not such a special place that he wasn’t used as a solo villain for another 79 issues. Heck, when he next took on Spider-Man solo, they could not even remember what issue he debuted in…
Over the years, his relationship with Kraven the Hunter became the primary aspect of his usage (Chameleon’s sole appearance between #1 and #80 was in #15 where he thinks to bring in his old friend Kraven the Hunter to hunt down Spider-Man). His initial friendship was later expanded into being half-brothers with Kraven. And when Kraven died, he became obsessed with punishing Spider-Man in Kraven’s name. This led to a deal with the Green Goblin (Harry Osborn) to trick Peter Parker into thinking that Richard and Mary Parker were still alive (but in actuality, they were robots created by Chameleon to get Peter to reveal that he was Spider-Man).
After a series of mental breakdowns, Chameleon popped back on to the scene claiming that the mental problems were all a ruse to make people forget about him as a capable villain so they’d never expect him. He has popped up a few times since Brand New Day as a traditional super-villain, including working with Doctor Octopus’ Sinister Six.
When he made his return in the incredible Mark Waid/Marcos Martin story “Unscheduled Stop,” where he shows up to kill a subway car full of jurors (a subway car Spider-Man happened to be on), the Shocker even makes a bit of fun at his own expense at how that is the type of villain he is – the dependable type who is there to do a job and he is not going to bring a ton of drama with him.
I think that is a major part of Shocker’s appeal. That, and John Romita (as is his wont) made him one heck of a costume.
16. Green Goblin (Harry Osborn)
While a bunch of characters got votes for both lists (including a few characters already revealed to you, like Morbius), only Harry Osborn showed up on both of them (unless you count Curt Connors and the Lizard as the same person). I think this is because Harry genuinely always seemed as though his villainy was a side-effect of his mental problems. While other villains have had that issue, as well, everyone had already gotten to know Harry for quite a long time before he succumbed to the so-called “Osborn legacy.”
Writer J.M. DeMatteis did a lot of great work with Harry’s descent into madness in the pages of Spectacular Spider-Man…
Chilling stuff. Luckily, once they returned his father to the land of the living, Harry was able to return to the side of the good.
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