The Hobgoblin is one of Spider-Man’s greatest foes, but now Marvel is admitting there may be one too many Hobgoblins flying around.
Warning: contains spoilers for The Amazing Spider-Man #87!
The Hobgoblin is one of Spider-Man’s greatest foes, but now Marvel has admitted there are too many of them. While undergoing therapy in The Amazing Spider-Man #87, Ben Reilly cracks an unintentional joke about how many people have taken the name Hobgoblin. The issue, chapter thirteen of The Beyond Saga, is on sale now in print and digital.
To date, there have been eight people who have, at some point, been the Hobgoblin. The initial concept for the character originated with writer Roger Stern and artist John Romita Jr. during their Amazing Spider-Man run in the early 1980s. Stern, unwilling to use the Green Goblin yet again, created the Hobgoblin as a replacement; Stern also intended for Roderick Kingsley, a character he introduced in his Spectacular Spider-Man run, to be the Hobgoblin. The character debuted in 1983’s The Amazing Spider-Man #238, with Stern planning to tease out the mystery of the Hobgoblin’s identity as long as possible. However, due to Stern’s departure from the title, as well as subsequent editorial influence, the identity of the Hobgoblin became muddled. Numerous people, such as Jason Macendale, Phil Ulrich and longtime Spider-Man friend Ned Leeds, took turns as the Hobgoblin. Now, Marvel gently pokes fun at this revolving door of Hobgoblins in The Amazing Spider-Man #87. The issue is written by Jed MacKay, illustrated by Carlos Gomez, colored by Bryan Valenza and lettered by Joe Caramagna.
Ben Reilly, the current Spider-Man, was recently the victim of a psychic attack, and as part of his recovery, must undergo a battery of tests. One such test shows him a picture of one of his villains, and he has to name them. The first picture he is shown is the Hobgoblin. He correctly identifies the villain but says he cannot tell which one it is. The therapist shrugs it off, simply content that Reilly knew it was the Hobgoblin.
Reilly’s remark about not knowing which Hobgoblin he was looking at was unintentionally funny, especially considering there have been eight Hobgoblins to date. Some, such as Macendale, Leeds and Kingsley, are better known but some, such as Lefty Donovan and Roderick Kinglsey’s twin brother Daniel, have faded into obscurity. Reilly’s quip is also a slight jab at the behind the scenes drama that was the Hobgoblin’s identity. Numerous writers and artists had their own ideas on who the Hobgoblin was going to be, each with their own reasoning; Stern laid numerous clues that the Hobgoblin was Roderick Kingsley, but DeFalco steered the ship in a different direction, a direction that was later mired by editorial influence.
Over the years, the Hobgoblin has attained a reputation as one of Spider-Man’s greatest villains, a worthy successor to the Green Goblin. There have been many Hobgoblins over the years, and now Marvel is admitting there might be just one too many.
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