Hobgoblin (comics)

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The Hobgoblin is a comic book supervillain appearing in the Marvel Comics universe as an enemy of Spider-Man who uses a variant of the persona of the Green Goblin. There have been two major characters to take up this identity.

Contents

Character Biographies

Roderick Kingsley

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Kingsley.png
Roderick Kingsley is revealed to be the Hobgoblin. Art by Ron Frenz.

One day, while fleeing the police, a minor criminal named Georgie Hill discovered an abandoned secret lair of Norman Osborn, alias the supervillain the Green Goblin. At the time the Goblin - and Osborn - had been presumed dead for years. Realizing the importance of this discovery, Georgie ran to get "a dude [he] just knew would be interested" and show him the lair. While it was not revealed for many years, the man proved to be Roderick Kingsley, a fashion designer and less than scrupulous millionaire (he was also the employer of Mary Jane Watson for a time). Realizing that the hidden lair was an important find indeed, Kingsley murdered Georgie to ensure his silence.

Using the Green Goblin's equipment, Kingsley adopted the identity of the Hobgoblin and set out to continue the legacy of the Green Goblin, planning to eliminate Spider-Man almost as an afterthought. His activities included using some of Norman Osborn's files on prominent figures to blackmail them, such as J. Jonah Jameson about his creation of the Scorpion. These antics inevitably brought him into direct contact with Spider-Man, and Kingsley repeatedly lost to the web-slinger, as he lacked superhuman strength.

Kingsley eventually found the formula for the Green Goblin's strength-enhancing potion, but was reluctant to try it on himself, as the formula had driven Norman Osborn mad. Kingsley instead abducted a small-time hood named Lefty Donovan, subjected him to the Goblin Formula, and then forced Donovan, under mind control, to battle Spider-Man in a Hobgoblin costume on a remote-controlled Goblin Glider. Monitoring Donovan's vital signs, Kingsley determined that the formula had indeed increased his strength without affecting his sanity. Donovan now expendable, Kingsley programmed the glider to crash into a wall, killing the phoney Goblin. Kingsley then ingested the Goblin Formula himself, gaining superhuman strength. Now a physical match for Spider-Man, the Hobgoblin became more ambitious in his villainy. In order to avoid casting suspicion on himself, Kingsley had his identical twin brother Daniel pose as him to run his corporation day-by-day. Far more timid than his brother, Daniel was just as terrified of Roderick's alter ego as anybody else.

Despite this, Kingsley's repeated defeats at the hands of Spider-Man, as well as some other powerful enemies taking interest in him (particularly the Kingpin), broke his spirit. He decided to retire from being the Hobgoblin. At first he framed Flash Thompson as the Hobgoblin as revenge for Thompson insulting the Hobgoblin on television, but Spider-Man saw through the ruse. Kingsley saw the perfect scapegoat when Peter Parker's friend and co-worker Ned Leeds discovered his lair while investigating. Kingsley captured Leeds, and subjugated his will with hypnosis and hallucinogenics. Leeds then became a puppet Hobgoblin, albeit without super strength.

Leeds as the Hobgoblin eventually formed an alliance with the mysterious figure known as The Rose, and the two plotted to oust the Kingpin. The resulting gang war tore New York City apart, and the increasingly unstable Leeds made an enemy out of Jason Philip Macendale Jr., a mercenary who had been trained by the CIA and various para-military organizations and was known in his costumed identity as Jack O'Lantern. Macendale paid the supervillain known as The Foreigner to take Leeds out. On an overseas assignment with Peter Parker, Leeds was murdered in his hotel room while in his Hobgoblin costume. For many years Leeds was considered to be the original Hobgoblin. Kingsley, fearing scandal if his ties to the Hobgoblin were discovered, moved to Belize for several years. This left the way open for Macendale to become the new Hobgoblin.

Jason Macendale

Macendale lacked super powers, and was very intent upon finding the secret formula of super human strength of the original Green Goblin. However, only Kingsley knew where the secret journals were, and Macendale, after being beaten repeatedly by Spider-Man (and his clone, Ben Reilly), sought other avenues to increase his strength. During a demonic incursion on New York City, the Hobgoblin attempted to make a deal with demons from Limbo, selling his soul in exchange for the abilities of the original Green Goblin. He was tricked and transformed into a literal hobgoblin, with his equipment replaced by mystical equivalents. Macendale went insane as a result of this transformation, and became convinced that he was appointed by God to kill sinners. It was in this state that the Hobgoblin joined the temporarily reassembled Sinister Six. Shortly thereafter, the demonic presence physically separated itself from Macendale and continued its purge of the city, calling itself the Demogoblin. The Demogoblin also wanted to destroy Macendale, and Spider-Man found himself in the middle of the two clashing Goblins. In a final battle in a cathedral, the Demogoblin was destroyed when it moved to protect a child, which it deemed an innocent, and was crushed by a falling pillar.

Powerless once more, Macendale finally was able to replicate the Goblin Formula and had himself outfitted with cybernetic implants, but he still was unable to best Spider-Man and was incarcerated.

Kingsley Lives

Finally, after a retirement of several years, Kingsley returned to New York. He killed Macendale in his jail cell, declaring that he alone deserved the mantle of the Hobgoblin. Kingsley kidnapped Betty Brant and set a trap for Spider-Man. In the final fracas, Daniel Kingsley was captured and the Hobgoblin was unmasked, clearing Ned Leeds' name. Roderick Kingsley was taken to prison.

Not long after Kingsley's arrest, he took up the mantle of the Hobgoblin once more. Furious at the now returned Norman Osborn's denial of being the Green Goblin, Kingsley decided to spread rumours that there existed a secret journal of Osborn's that proved beyond a doubt that he was the Green Goblin (although this was a ruse; Kingsley himself had destroyed all of the journals years before), and barter for his freedom with this information with the District Attorney. Osborn, deciding to make a deal with Kingsley, broke him out of prison, where he was confronted by both Osborn and the mysterious fifth Green Goblin. Osborn provided Kingsley with new Hobgoblin equipment, and both Goblins swooped in to collect Daniel Kingsley, now in protective custody, whom Roderick claimed knew the location of the final journal. Spider-Man tried to defend Daniel, but was drugged, and both men were taken back to Norman Osborn.

It was then that Osborn revealed the truth... he knew that Kingsley was lying about the journal. Furthermore, he had completely bought Kingsley's company out from underneath him. Furious, Kingsley attacked, and a titanic battle between Osborn, the Green Goblin and the Hobgoblin took place. The building began to burn down as a result, and Spider-Man was barely able to safely escape with Daniel Kingsley. All three of the villains managed to escape as well, but Norman Osborn had clearly won the day. But Kingsley still had several million dollars hidden away in foreign bank accounts, and quietly moved to a small island on the South Seas to enjoy his retirement. And yet, he wonders whether the world has truly seen the last of the Hobgoblin...

In the series Secret War, a character in a new variation of the costume appeared, identified as the Hobgoblin, but it appears to be someone new to Goblinhood.

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Ultsm73.jpg
Cover to Ultimate Spider-Man #73, featuring Spider-Man, Harry Osborn, and the Hobgoblin. Art by Mark Bagley.

Ultimate Hobgoblin

In Ultimate Spider-Man, a re-imagining of the Spider-Man mythos (see Ultimate Marvel), the Hobgoblin is Harry Osborn, son of Norman Osborn. Harry blames Peter for stealing his girlfriend Mary Jane Watson and killing his father. Shaw, Osborn's lackey, takes Harry to an OsCorp bunker in New Jersey, where there are reserves of the Oz Serum, which gave both Spider-Man and the Green Goblin their powers. (It also appears that the bunker has a copy of Doctor Octopus's mechanical arms and all three versions of the Green Goblin face). Later, Spider-Man (Peter) confronts Harry, demanding to know why he had told Mary Jane that he killed his father. Shaw then provokes Harry to unleash his hidden abilities and issue 75 ends on a cliffhanger with Harry lighting on fire as if he were about to transform. In Issue #76, Harry transforms into the Hobgoblin very much like his father, only with an orange hue instead of green. During much of Issues #75-76, it is revealed that Harry was caught in the same accident that created both The Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus, with Norman grabbing him by the throat and genetically transferring his goblin abilities into him as the businessman transformed. Also revealed is that Mr. Shaw is another personality within Harry's unstable psychosis, where Harry is nothing like his father while Mr. Shaw is very much like the monstrous Norman. It is this Mr. Shaw persona that influences the Hobgoblin, and nearly gets him killed by the hands of Spider-Man and S.H.I.E.L.D.

Other Media

The only dramatic appearance of the character is in the 1990s animated Spider-Man series. In that series, the Hobgoblin (Jason Macendale) voiced by Mark Hamill, appears first with his equipment supplied by Norman Osborn. Osborn became the Green Goblin later in the series leading to some confusion between the two criminals.

Links

Squandered Legacy: The Rise and Fall of the Hobgoblin (http://www.spideykicksbutt.com/SquanderedLegacy/SquanderedLegacyTitle.html) A five part series of articles on the HobGoblin in all of his incarnations and identities

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