One Goblin stands out above the rest to a certain generation of Spider-Man fans. Not Norman Osborn, though. Not Harry Osborn, actually. It’s not even a Green Goblin, in all honesty. It’s the Hobgoblin, the scene-stealer who enthralled fans of The Amazing Spider-Man in the 1980s and 1990s with his enigmatic true identity, unpredictable and violent behavior (but then again, aren’t Goblins all violent?), and eerie clothing.
Despite not being as prominent in recent years as you might imagine, his appearance on the 90s animated cartoon classic Spider-Man: The Animated Series helped fans see him as a timeless villain on par with Doctor Octopus or the rebellious Osborn family members.
Perhaps this is so because the legacy of the Osborn family and the original Green Goblin just grew to be too significant to ignore when Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy hit theatres. In the Marvel Universe, there are only so many different Goblins that may be present at once, isn’t that right? Although it seems like many Hobgoblins are prepared to make a scene and give Peter Parker a migraine, recent issues of The Amazing Spider-Man would seem to undermine that notion.
Hobgoblin’s attraction as a villain, according to Amazing Spider-Man writer Zeb Wells, is that he’s a touch raucous. He is a little bit less consistent. He is somewhat erratic.
The Hobgoblin was brought back to life in Zeb Wells and John Romita, Jr.’s The Amazing Spider-Man#11 for a brand-new narrative. In an effort to atone for his previous mistakes, Norman Osborn has made Roderick Kingsley, an original/former Hobgoblin, whole by returning what he stole from him.
Wells claims that because Norman was the Green Goblin, it’s entertaining to watch him interact with the Hobgoblin. Playing off of those two characters was enjoyable.
Wells is collaborating with Romita, the co-creator of the first Hobgoblin, as an added amusement. Johnny was the first person to draw [Hobgoblin], which I had forgotten. Since he has been there since the beginning, it has been fascinating to watch him re-enter Hobgoblin territory.
Ned Leeds, another former Hobgoblin (not the amusing one from the MCU), has reportedly been reverting to his old costumed ways in the meantime. Meanwhile, a Hobgoblin is causing mischief in NYC. Then, at the end of The Amazing Spider-Man#12, BOTH Hobgoblins appear together to make things even rowdier. If all of this seems excessive, it is in line with the tone of Hobgoblin’s early stories.
According to Wells, the [original] Hobgoblin plot dragged on for so long that new authors and editors were brought in. It’s somewhat of a complicated tale. This offers us the chance to revisit that material, read it all again, take it all in, and see if we can condense it into a brief three-issue plot that will affect the second year of the book. The story does not end there. It won’t take five years to figure out the solution, but if readers appreciated the Hobgoblin mystery, it will be explored and demonstrated in the three issues.