Tuesday, July 24, 2007

"Real" Hobgoblin Appearances

The following message was posted on the ever-awesome Spider-Man Message Board, and it deserved a good answer:

> I just yesterday found the out of print Origin of the Hobgoblin trade, which stops at #251, right before Secret Wars 1 and Saga of the Alien Costume. What are the other important issues that I should get?
> I already have the Saga of the Alien Costume paperback(which continues the Hob arc)and Amazing #260-#261, which directly follow it, and Spider-Man Vs. Wolverine #1, which I know is important to the Hob arc. Should I pick up anything else, like Amazing #277 and/or Gany Gang War?
> Thanks.

Well, if you want the "real" Hobgoblin (Roderick Kingsley) and those most closely manipulated by him, these are the issues I'd argue you really need:
  • Amazing Spider-Man 238, 239, 244, 245, 249-251, 259-261
  • Peter Parker, Spectacular #85 (Goblin formula used, +Black Cat) - only if not in the "Origin of the Hobgoblin" TPB
  • Amazing 275-278 (revealing Flash Thompson to be "the Hobgoblin" and some fall out there)
  • Gang War arc (which ran ASM 284-288, but has the Ned as Hobby reveal in 289)
  • Web of Spidey 29 (a bit of a Spidey/Wolverine sequel) and 30 (the Leeds/Rose connection "explained"
  • Web of Spidey 38 (It's Macendale, so who cares, but it's a favorite amusing issue of mine)
  • Hobgoblin Lives! 1-3 or TPB
Everything else is Macendale or this mysterious Hobgoblin V from the [sarcasm]awesome[/sarcasm] Secret War mini, and once they turned Macendale into a demon, Hobgoblin sucked for many, many years. Everything up there, except for Web 38, which is just funny, is pure-D Kingsley-Hobgoblin or his direct machinations.

BTW, the list above was compiled with the help of Spider-Fan.org's excellent characters list. I use it every chance I get.



Anonymous said...

I always thought Macendale fusing with a demon was actually a darkly amusing twist on the standard villain-sells-his-soul-for-power schtick: the demon Nastir'h finds Macendale's pathetic soul to be worthless, and so he lets Hobby keep it, but fuses him with a demon anyway, just for kicks.

Of course, a loser is still a loser no matter how many fancy tricks he has.

Great site-I'm really enjoying the reviews.


Eric Teall said...

I don't disagree--it was a good twist. Unfortunately (and this seems to be the case at Marvel today, as well), a good TWIST does not a good STORY make.

Besides, who was ever cooler than Kingsley? I honestly like him better than Norman.


Anonymous said...

I'm too young to remember Kingsley (born in 1982, didn't start reading until Macendale stole the mantle), but I've heard nothing but good things about him.

What made him such a good character?


Eric Teall said...

Oh, boy. That's a big question. I guess there's several different partial answers.

1) For me, a big part of it is that strange feeling one gets from comics or TV shows as they're produced that one is part of something larger. I was about 7 when you were born, and I really started reading comics when I was 8. ASM 251 was the first issue of my first subscription. "Who Is The Hobgoblin?" pretty much summed up the best of my early comics reading.

2) I just like Kingsley. I wouldn't argue (on some kind of provable basis) that is IS the best Spidey villain ever, but he's my favorite. Personally, I think he's the best.

3) He actually had motivations (some revealed later) that made sense. The man who would become the Hobgoblin (shown in shadow long before anyone but Roger Stern knew who he was) didn't want to be a supervillain. He thought Norman Osborn was crazy, especially after reading his journals. But he was tempted by the power and the freedom of being the costumed criminal known as the Hobgoblin.

4) The Kingsley Goblin did things that made sense. He wanted to make money, so he blackmailed people. No attempts to "take over" the city or even the "rackets", no weird kidnappings and ransoms. He blackmailed people. He understood the power of secrets. The Kingsley Goblin USED the costume (at first) as a tool. The costume enabled theft, blackmail, murder, etc.

5) The early costume designs, usually drawn by Romita, Jr., were awesome and menacing. Perhaps too orange (!) but they were in line with the colors of the day and of the limited printing.

6) The Kingsley Goblin didn't want to fight (at first). Spider-Man was an inconvenience, an obstacle to be avoided or overcome. Then, as K's obsession with surpassing Osborn's abilities as the Goblin increased, Spider-Man became a measuring tool. ("If he could go toe-to-toe with Spidey, why can't I?") This made for an interesting relationship between Hobgoblin and Spider-Man, esp. at the beginning.

I don't know if that explains much or not. I'd heartily recommend picking up some old back issues (listed conveniently in the post!) or the "Origin of the Hobgoblin" trade. I think many of those issues have been reprinted in Marvel Tales (that may be the cheaper way to go). A quick check on mycomicshop.com reveals that one could get VF+ copies of Marvel Tales 257-261, 273-275, 283-286 for about $1-$1.50 per issue and pick up many of the Amazing issues listed in the post above.

Honestly, between that and the three issues of Hobgoblin Lives!, which go for $2.50 each, you'd have most of the best Hobgoblin stories. With all of those, only ASM 245 and PPSSM 85 are left in what I'd call the "Essential" Hobgoblin saga.

Hope that helps!


Eric Teall said...

Add Amazing Spider-Man 289 to that list, as it's the Ned "reveal", which is necessary for Hobgoblin Lives!.