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50 Greatest Friends and Foes of Spider-Man: Villains #6-4

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! We continue with Spider-Man’s villains #6-4…

Here is a master list of all the characters revealed so far.


6. Kingpin

While Kingpin today is mostly known for being the arch-nemesis of Daredevil, it was not until Frank Miller began drawing Daredevil in the late 1970s that that became the case. The Kingpin debuted in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man and was exclusively a Spider-Man villain for quite a few years.

Even after the Kingpin became a Daredevil villain, he continued to cause problems for Spider-Man, especially since everything the Kingpin does affects the New York gang world which, in turn, affects crime which, in turn, affects Spider-Man.

Most notably, though, was Kingpin’s revenge upon Spider-Man during the brief period where Spider-Man’s secret identity was public knowledge (said information has since been magically wiped away by Doctor Strange). Kingpin sent assassins after Spider-Man and his family, and after Spidey instinctively avoided a sniper shot, the bullet instead hit Aunt May! Spidey, as you imagine, did not take this well and confronted the Kingpin (who was at the time incarcerated)…

They’ve tangled with each other a number of times since then. The Kingpin currently employs the new Hobgoblin as his enforcer.

5. Hobgoblin (Roderick Kingsley)

One of the few great additions to Spider-Man’s Rogues Gallery in the 1980s, the mysterious Hobgoblin became a sensation after Roger Stern and John Romita Jr. introduced him a mysterious stranger who took control of Norman Osborn’s Goblin legacy for awhile.

Even after Stern left the book (and with him, so too was the information about who the Hobgoblin was), the Hobgoblin was an important part of Tom DeFalco’s run…

As the mystery of his identity began to get 50 issues or so long, the novelty began to wear off. He was revealed to be Ned Leeds who had already been killed off! A new guy took over and the Hobgoblin fell into the area of “decent villain” instead of “great villain.”

Stern was allowed to return to the character in the 1990s to reveal who HE was going to have be the Hobgoblin, Roderick Kingsley, a supporting character in Amazing Spider-Man (and Stern’s earlier Spectacular Spider-Man run). Kingsley returned as the Hobgoblin and killed the guy who took over from him.

However, when Norman Osborn returned, Kingsley was sort of put out to pasture. He tried to make a comeback recently but was killed by the NEW Hobgoblin, Phil Urich. Time will tell if he is really dead or just mostly dead (decapitation would suggest really dead, but clones do exist!)

4. Kraven the Hunter

Like many classic Spider-Man villains, Kraven the Hunter (the world’s greatest big game hunter) began to fall a bit into the realm of repetitiveness over the years.

Then writer J.M. DeMatteis did one of the most successful “new takes” on a super-villain ever, paving the way for a number of similar style stories for Spider-Man’s other villains (none as good as the story that soon became known as Kraven’s Last Hunt).

Kraven is beginning to go insane from his continued lack of success against Spider-Man, until he finally decides he will hunt Spider-Man one last time, only his approach will be quite different…

It just gets darker from there and it ends with Kraven’s death.

He eventually was resurrected (see, Roderick, there is still hope!) and continues to hunt Spider-Man to this day, only know with his own Marvel family-esque Kraven family.


I voted for all these guys (I didn’t specify which Hobgoblin, but this is the one I meant). Even though I voted for him, I’m quite amazed at how high Kraven is. Just shows the power of one classic storyline, I guess (great page chosen for his entry, by the way).

If I had to vote again, I probably wouldn’t have voted so predictably for all the classics, but would’ve gone with my heart and chosen some more B- and C-listers: I have a soft spot for the Tarantula, Swarm and especially the Fly (the saddest casualty of the great Scourge storyline for me).

Kraven Last Hunt was what got me back into comics. Definitely one on Spidey’s best stories. Zeck’s artwork was unmatched for drawing Kraven.

A Kraven Family? Like Mary Kraven and Uncle Kraven and Mr. Tawky Kraven?

Well, Uncle Kraven doesn’t participate in hunts much when his Kravenbango’s acting up.

Both of the non-Goblins here were on my list. For my money Kingpin’s the second-best Spidey villain, after Doc Ock. That said, I’m pretty sure Norman will take the top spot in this poll, even though he’s not on my list at all.

That Kingpin scene where he puts the “chump” in his place is brilliant, and wildly deserved for the chump in question. Which issue is that scene from?

Ed (A Different One)

April 30, 2012 at 1:25 pm

I think the Roderick Kinglsey Hobgoblin is just so loved (by those of us who do) because it just embodies that great Roger Stern run. It’s hard to look back at the character now, through the lens of DeFalco’s using the character to death and the Ned Leeds fiasco and Jason Macendale’s lameness, etc., and really percieve how cool the character was back when Stern was just introducing him. It was really a cool new take on an old villian’s idea. He was more than just an Osbourne knock-off. It was the manner in which the original Hobby differed from his Green predecessor that made the character so cool (differences which were based in realty at first, but over time existed only in Hobby’s perception of himself). If you didn’t read Stern’s run on the character when it was coming out, I’d imagine that it would be really hard to understand the character’s “draw” at the time. Just a cool idea executed adroitly by one of comic’s most skillful writers.

Slott killing him off was one of the few elements of Big Time that I really didn’t like. It’s hard. I can understand why folks don’t “get” the character at this late date, but Kingsley just symbolizes so much of what we loved about Stern’s run that killing him off (and by a career loser like Urich no less), just felt like a shot right to my Stern-loving heart.

My first exposure to Hobgoblin was in the DeFalco issues, and I loved him too (especially Ron Frenz’s depiction of him) so I don’t think you have be exclusively a Stern fan to find him appealing (DeFalco was still exploiting the mystery identity angle, too, which was an aspect I enjoyed a lot). I do agree that once he was replaced by the Jack O’Lantern there wasn’t much of interest there.

Oz the Malefic

April 30, 2012 at 4:56 pm

It may be due to the fact that it was right when I returned to comics, but I loved that Back in Black storyline with the showdown between Parker and Kingpin.

Because in the end, that’s what it was, Spider-Man stepped out of it and Parker stepped up.

So many stories that could have come out of the unmasking, such a shame.

Oz the Malefic

April 30, 2012 at 5:21 pm

HammerHeart – It would be Amazing Spider-Man 542

I think the Kingsley Hobgoblin is a hard character for writers to pull off. He’s deadly not just because of his abilities, which are considerable, but it can be argued that he’s also smarter in combat than Osborn, Osborn’s smarts being more in business. While I agree that he’s pretty much the symbol of Stern’s run, I think other writers could do him well; they just need to ask what a highly intelligent person with his abilities might do.

It’s also interesting to try to figure out when his real first appearance was. I think it’s safe to assume his earliest appearances as Kingsley were actually his brother Daniel. So when is the first story, as Hobgoblin or not, that can be definitely attributed to Roderick?

Ed (A Different One)

I didn’t care for Hobgoblin when he appeared, the knock-off quality really worked against him for me.

It was only when I was rereading those stories on the 40 Years Of The Amazing Spider-Man CD-ROMs that I realized that there was a really good character under the “knock-off” style.

Heck, when I made my list of best Spidey villains Hobgoblin was number 3 on my list.

Thanks, Oz!

On whether you’re seeing Roderick or twin brother Daniel, this website does an incredibly in-depth look at many parts of Spider-man history.

Here, in part 4 of his 5 part Hobgoblin series of articles, he spots how to differentiate:

“Oh, ghod!”

Has there ever been a poll of the best Spider-Man writers? Are Stern and DeMatteis #s 2 and 3 or #’s 1 or 2?

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