One of comicdom’s longest-raging debates is surely “Who is Spider-Man’s greatest villain: Doctor Octopus or the Green Goblin?”, but we’re sorry to say this one isn’t about you, Otto…
Sure, Ock’s met some latter-day acclaim taking the axiom “If you can’t be ‘em, join ‘em” to weird metaphysical places in varying forays as the Superior Spider-Man, but if we’re talking sheer adversarial opposition to all that power and responsibility? It’s uncontestedly Norman Osborn all the way.
Despite their age differences, Otto is easily more relatable as a darker version of Peter Parker in their Revenge of the Nerds commonalities, while the Goblin is outright a villain of a different variety: Science Monster. In this, Norman probably has more in keeping with the Incredible Hulk- especially the whole “Jekyll and Hyde”-type mental schism.
True, there have been others to assume the mantle and transform the brand but it always seems to come back to Norman Osborn. Maybe it’s because nobody’s ever really unlocked the secret of his truly fascinating signature hair style. Who can say?
Also, gotta give points up to Norman for having his iconic Goblin-y likeness adorn the hood of the menacing semi truck in Stephen King’s Maximum Overdrive loooong before superhero movies became popular.
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In any event, (pumpkin) bombs away as we dive into the whole twisted history of the extended Goblin family!
Begin The Goblin: The Silver Age!
Arguably almost a “Johnny come lately” to the rogues gallery, the Green Goblin is by far Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s greatest value-add character creation to debut within the second year of Amazing Spider-Man‘s publication (sorry, Kraven The Hunter). However, ol’ Gobby arrives less than fully-formed as the arch-fiend he ascends to become.
The pointy jester boots and long stocking cap are firm out-of-the-box fixtures, as is the super-eery masked perma-grin. So, big checks on these classic attributes but the ride isn’t exactly “final form”- it’s not until the second appearance that Norman upgrades to the more-familiar Goblin Glider, forgoing the thematically off-target “flying broomstick”.
Indeed, it’s also curious that Lee and Ditko choose to juxtapose one of their most outrageous character designs and ensconce the Goblin so firmly in the all-too-real gritty organized crime elements within the expanding Spider-mythos. Typically, it’s a world that sees a more “gentlemanly” villain- guys in three-piece suits and fedoras. Maybe a face mask of some kind. But now here comes a guy wearing an electrified full freakin’ body stocking to the sitdown. Nothing says “shut up and listen” like over the top!
Furthermore, the Goblin maintains an air of mystery with a shocking slow-burn identity reveal that finally comes a full two years after his first appearance. It’s a distinction no other “classic era” Spidey villain can truly claim as most of the others have their origins spelled out quite plainly on the page in the course of meeting them.
Complicating matters (because, of course, comics), there’s also the mutual discovery of secret identities between the Goblin and Spider-Man. In a big, fiery showdown Norman forgets everything- even his own being the Green Goblin. It doesn’t make things any less tense and awkward for Peter going forward, though, as his chummy new classmate at Empire State University is the wealthy industrialist’s son, Harry Osborn!
It’s here that the “soap opera” of Spider-Man kind of begins in earnest but a lot of that may be due to the romance comic predilections of incoming artist “Jazzy” John Romita setting a whole new standard on Amazing at this juncture.
A few years later, Lee and Romita revive Norman as the Goblin after some time as a peripheral supporting cast member (because having one stern, disapproving father figure in J. Jonah just wasn’t enough?). It’s also the focal-point of an expanded storyline mostly notable for launching the short-run, magazine-size Spectacular Spider-Man specials of 1968.
Amazing Spider-Man Masterworks Vol. 2
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #11-19, Amazing Spider-Man Annual (1964) #1
The saga of the Green Goblin begins in Issue #14- also featuring special guest-star, The Incredible Hulk!
Amazing Spider-Man Masterworks Vol. 3
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #20-30, Amazing Spider-Man Annual (1964) #2
More Lee/Ditko amazingness as Spidey gets in the middle of the Goblin’s organized crime dealings!
Amazing Spider-Man Masterworks Vol. 4
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #31-40
Things are never the same when Lee/Ditko becomes Lee/Romita and the Goblin’s true identity as the father of Spidey’s new BFF, Harry, is revealed!
Amazing Spider-Man Masterworks Vol. 7
Collects: Spectacular Spider-Man (1968) #1-2, Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #62-67, Amazing Spider-Man Annual (1964) #5
Lee and Romita return Norman Osborn to his Goblin-y madness in this classic late Silver Age saga!
The “Death” of Norman, Harry’s Revenge, His Crook Therapist and More: Bring on the Bronze Age!
As his time on Amazing draws to a close, Stan offers up one final landmark story- this one famously seeing publication without the puritanically outmoded Comics Code Authority’s seal of approval for its frank depictions of drug abuse.
In it, Harry Osborn is the “problem friend” who succumbs to an illicit substance in this After School Special-esque scenario. Needless to say, the stress of the situation once again triggers a reversion in Norman to his Goblin persona.
Even as Harry struggles with the demons of his physical recovery, Norman has a full-blown Goblin attack. What’s worse is that he also has complete recall of Spidey’s real identity!
In another milestone for the title, Stan’s successor (and subsequent Punisher creator), Gerry Conway, fashions one of the most impactful one-two punches ever committed to the medium- bringing years of status quo to an end with both the murder of Peter Parker’s longtime girlfriend, Gwen Stacy, and the accidental death of the Green Goblin himself at the jagged prongs of his own Glider!
Distraught, Harry, of course, blames Spider-Man and briefly becomes the Goblin himself to avenge his father’s death shortly thereafter. Thankfully, it proves more of a “working through the five stages of grief” thing than any protracted vendetta.
Harry even tries to do the right thing and get some help by talking to someone. Unfortunately, his therapist, Dr. Bart Hamilton, is also something of a criminal dirtbag and uses their sessions to hypnotize Harry, getting all the dirt on Norman’s old safehouses. In a four-part story from 1978 by Len Wein and Ross Andru, Bart Hamilton also assumes the Goblin identity to fight Spider-Man but it ultimately comes down to Harry suiting up and taking back the family legacy (for what it’s worth). The incident also results in Hamilton’s death.
Amazing Spider-Man Masterworks Vol. 10
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #88-99
Stan, John Romita and Gil Kane usher in Spidey’s Bronze Age with the Osborns at the epicenter of the controversially drug-themed “No Comics Code” trilogy in Issues #96-98!
Amazing Spider-Man Masterworks Vol. 13
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #121-131
Featuring the classic two-parter “The Night Gwen Stacy Died!” and “The Goblin’s Last Stand!” by Kane, Romita and new writer, Gerry Conway!
Amazing Spider-Man Masterworks Vol. 14
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #132-142, Giant-Size Super-Heroes (1974) #1
Harry’s first turn as a vengeful Green Goblin occurs in Issue #136!
Amazing Spider-Man Masterworks Vol. 17
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #169-180, Amazing Spider-Man Annual (1964) #11, Nova (1976) #12, Marvel Treasury Edition (1974) #14
A new Green Goblin emerges in Issue #176 and it’s up to Harry to put the family legacy right!
Hobgoblin: The Totally ’80s Remix!
After not encountering any sort of impishly-themed adversary for nearly half a decade, a new kind of cackling, glider-based villain arrives on the scene in the early 1980s: The Hobgoblin.
Like Hamilton before, criminal twin brothers, Roderick and Daniel Kingsley, discover one of Norman Osborn’s old safehouses and tweak his gear with a more modernized, dayglo slant.
Naturally, because there are two of them and it’s never explicitly spelled out on paper, the whole “Who’s really the Hobgoblin?” angle is a subplot that gets no shortage of play throughout the Spider-titles of the mid-80s.
Further muddying the waters, at one point, longtime Daily Bugle support cast member Ned Leeds is fatally introduced into the mix as an unwitting pawn, throwing all scents off the Kingsleys.
In the wake of the Leeds “reveal” (read: murder frame), a new Hobgoblin assumes the identity. This time it’s mercenary Jason Macendale- hitherto known as a similarly Halloween horror-based villain, the flaming pumpkin-headed Jack O’ Lantern.
Macendale thinks he’s upgrading but little does he suspect how many successors are to fill the vacuum, following in the wake of his abandoned guise- at one point even spinning it from Jack O’ Lantern into “Mad Jack” (we’re not going into all that here, you’re welcome…).
In late 1988, the mutant-centric Inferno event spills into pretty much every other title in Marvel’s line. During which, Macendale is further transformed- taking on a more lizard-y demon look that isn’t a mask anymore. Given the general weirdness of the crisis and looking to protect his own wife and son, Harry also decides to come out of retirement but this time as a kinda Spidey sidekick.
Spider-Man: Origin of the Hobgoblin
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #238-239, 244-245 & 249-251, Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man (1976) #43, 47-48 & 85
Collecting the earliest appearances of Spidey’s 1980s goblin-themed villain!
Amazing Spider-Man Epic Collection: Ghosts Of The Past
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #259-272, Amazing Spider-Man Annual (1964) #18-19, Web Of Spider-Man (1985) #1 & 6
Hobgoblin recurringly works the organized crime angle with Spider-villain, the Rose, throughout this collection by Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz and company!
Amazing Spider-Man Epic Collection: Kraven’s Last Hunt
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #289-294, Amazing Spider-Man Annual (1964) #20-21, Spider-Man Vs. Wolverine (1987) #1, Web Of Spider-Man (1985) #29-32, Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man (1976) #131-132
The Hobgoblin saga takes a pivotal turn here with a murder and identity hand-off! Featuring the cult classic “Spider-Man Vs. Wolverine” one-shot!
Collects: Avengers (1963) #298-300, Fantastic Four (1961) #322-324, Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #311-313, Spectacular Spider-Man (1976) #146-148, Web Of Spider-Man (1985) #47-48, Daredevil (1964) #262-263 & 265
Featuring Harry Osborn as a heroic Green Goblin and the new Hobgoblin gets a demonic makeover!
The More Is More ‘90s: Hobgoblins, Demogoblins and Green Goblins, Oh My!
This distorted version of Macendale continues to be the lead Goblin flavor at the dawn of the ‘90s but looks don’t get him down as he joins a reunion of the Sinister Six and even tries menacing heroes who aren’t Spider-Man, including Darkhawk and Ghost Rider Danny Ketch.
Eventually, the demonic portion of Hobgoblin splits off into its own fully autonomous self: Demogoblin. Macendale goes back to being a mercenary but incorporates a kind of mishmash pirate cyborg look. Not long thereafter, Roderick Kingsley returns, killing Macendale and properly takes back his role.
Demogoblin goes on to greater notoriety as an adoptive “family” member of symbiotic psycho Carnage as their crew embarks upon a murder spree across Manhattan in the now-classic Maximum Carnage crossover.
Harry also dies in an early-90s Spectacular Spider-Man storyline, which is uncollected as of this writing. However, his costumed identity doesn’t go vacant for long as another hero soon appears. This time, it’s Phil Urich- the youthful nephew of grizzled old Daily Bugle reporter Ben Urich. Phil even stars in his own solo title for a time.
Amazing Spider-Man Epic Collection: Return of the Sinister Six
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #334-350, Spider-Man: Spirits Of The Earth Graphic Novel (1990)
Hobgoblin joins a new Sinister Six for the 1990s!
Collects: Spider-Man (1990) #6-7, 13-14 & 16, X-Force (1991) #4
Featuring a Spidey/Ghost Rider team-up against Hobby by Todd McFarlane!
Collects: Darkhawk (1991) #1-9
Hobby takes on the new armored hero!
Ghost Rider: Danny Ketch Classic Vol. 2
Collects: Ghost Rider (1990) #11-20
Issues #16 and 17 feature another early ’90s Ghost Rider/Spider-Man team-up against Hobgoblin!
Spider-Man: Revenge of the Sinister Six
Collects: Spider-Man (1990) #15 & 18-23
Hobby reunites with the Sinister Six. Also featuring guest-stars Hulk, Ghost Rider and Deathlok!
Spirits of Vengeance: Rise of the Midnight Sons
Collects: Ghost Rider (1990) #28 & 31, Ghost Rider/Blaze: Spirits of Vengeance (1992) #1-6, Morbius: The Living Vampire (1992) #1, Darkhold: Pages From the Book of The Dead (1992) #1. Nightstalkers (1992) #1, Web Of Spider-Man (1985) #95-96, Material from Mignight Sons Unlimited (1993) #1
Hobgoblin and Demogoblin are now two separate entities in the “Spirits of Venom” storyline!
Collects: Spider-Man Unlimited (1993) #1-2, Web Of Spider-Man (1985) #101-103, Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #378-380, Spider-Man (1990) #35-37, Spectacular Spider-Man (1976) #201-203
Demogoblin becomes part of Carnage’s murderous “family”!
Collects: Venom: Funeral Pyre (1993) #1-3, Venom: The Madness (1993) #1-3, Venom: The Enemy Within (1994) #1-3, Incredible Hulk Vs. Venom (1994) #1
It’s Demogoblin versus everyone’s favorite brain-eating Lethal Protector in “The Enemy Within”- also featuring Michael Morbius, the Living Vampire!
Collects: Spider-Man: The Mutant Agenda (1994) #0-3, Marvel Team-Up (1972) #90
Hobgoblin returns to his mercenary roots in this mid-90s Spidey and the X-Men team-up!
Green Goblin: A Lighter Shade Of Green
Collects: Web Of Spider-Man (1985) #125, Spectacular Spider-Man (1976) #225, Green Goblin (1995) #1-13, Amazing Scarlet Spider (1995) #2
Phil Urich debuts as the all-new heroic Green Goblin!
The biggest shocker of the decade, though, is the surprise return of Norman Osborn- not dead thanks to regenerative properties in his Goblin serum and back from playing it low key in Europe since 1973! This revelation comes about at the finale of the infamous Spider-Man “Clone Saga” wherein Norman claims full responsibility for the whole protracted affair. Talk about playing the long game…
Spider-Man: The Complete Ben Reilly Epic Vol. 6
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #417-418, Sensational Spider-Man (1996) #11, Spectacular Spider-Man (1976) #240-241, Spider-Man (1990) #73-75, Spider-Man Team-Up (1995) #5, Spider-Man Unlimited (1993) #14, Spider-Man: 101 Ways To End The Clone Saga (1997) #1, Material from Spider-Man: Revelations (1997) #1, Spider-Man: The Osborn Journal (1997) #1
Norman Osborn is revealed to be alive and the grand architect of the entire ordeal as the 1990s Clone Saga reaches its conclusion!
Collects: Sensational Spider-Man (1996) #25-26, Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #432-433, Spider-Man (1990) #88-90, Spectacular Spider-Man (1976) #254-256
When Spider-Man is framed for murder, Norman uses a lab-created Green Goblin to pursue his arch-foe!
Collects: Spider-Man: Hobgoblin Lives (1997) #1-3, Spectacular Spider-Man (1976) #259-261
Original Hobgoblin takes the name back from Jason Macendale!
Spider-Man: The Next Chapter Vol. 3
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #13-19, Amazing Spider-Man Annual (2000) #1, Peter Parker: Spider-Man (1999) #13-19, Spider-Woman (1999) #9
The saga of the Grown-In-A-Lab Goblin concludes!
The Early 2000s
Norman doesn’t exactly pick right up where he left off but instead uses his vast resources to create a literal science monster- an artificial Green Goblin!
After siccing his Green “Golem” on Spidey for a while, Norman finally gets back in there himself and adorns a questionably sort of cartoony update to the Goblin outfit. Maybe feeling a bit self-conscious, he doesn’t really recommit with his earlier intensity. Instead, Osborn makes a lateral move, harnessing his ruthlessness and business acumen to become a just-as-effective “corporate raider”-type villain. (Editorially, this also helps to steer clear of redundancies with Ultimate Spider-Man– effectively covering so much of the old ground in a contemporary setting…)
Meanwhile, Phi Urich joins a group of former heroes united by Marvel’s OG teen sidekick, Rick Jones. They’re called “Excelsior”- a loving homage to Stan Lee’s popular catchphrase.
Spider-Man: Revenge of the Green Goblin
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #20-29, Amazing Spider-Man Annual (2001) #1, Spider-Man: Revenge of the Green Goblin (2000) #1-3, Peter Parker: Spider-Man (1999) #25 & 29
Norman embarks on an insane plot to make Peter Parker his heir?!?!
Peter Parker, Spider-Man: Return of the Green Goblin
Collects: Peter Parker: Spider-Man (1999) #44-47
Norman fully returns to the Green Goblin identity by Paul Jenkins and Humberto Ramos!
Jessica Jones: The Pulse – The Complete Collection
Collects: Pulse (2004) #1-9 & 11-14, New Avengers Annual (2006) #1
Brian Michael Bendis first writes mainstream Marvel U Norman here as Jessica Jones uncovers a murder at Oscorp reporting for the Daily Bugle!
Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 8: Sins Past
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #509-514
Norman’s weirdly adult kids that he secretly had with Gwen Stacy back in the day come back to haunt Spidey. (Duh, duh, duh…) Comics, people!
Marvel Knights Spider-Man Vol. 3: The Last Stand
Collects: Marvel Knights Spider-Man (2004) #9-12
Norman organizes the Sinister Twelve!
Runaways Vol. 4: True Believers
Collects: Runaways (2005) #1-6
Ex-Goblin Phil Urich is part of a group of former teen heroes trying to scare The Runaways straight!
Everything’s Coming Up Norman: Civil War To Siege
As Marvel enters an era of perpetual event-based storytelling, Norman becomes an increasingly central figure.
Although peripheral to the hero-versus-hero action of Civil War itself, elements of Osborn’s side-tale prove integral to pro-registration forces and the unified Fifty State Initiative super-army.
In the aftermath, Norman is awarded directorship of his own specialty team- a repurposed iteration of the Thunderbolts that consists of nanotech-controlled villains operating as sanctioned US Marshals that round up unlicensed superhumans. They even have their own in-universe line of action figures.
When the Skrull Secret Invasion culminates in a superhuman throwdown in Central Park featuring everyone ever against the shapeshifting aliens, it’s Norman Osborn who Forrest Gump’s his way into getting the deciding killshot on Skrull Queen Veranke.
This scene very publicly plays around the world and, correspondingly, the optics of Tony Stark allowing for the catastrophe to happen in the first place as head of the massively-infiltrated SHIELD aren’t greater either.
Consequently, Osborn is given Tony’s job and a Dark Reign falls over the Marvel Universe for about a year-worth of publishing. (For a much more comprehensive look at all of Norman’s appearances during this time, check out CBH’s Complete Dark Reign Reading Order.)
Also notable in the late 2000s, Phil Ulrich’s group gets their own mini as The Loners and features the beginning of his villainous heel turn, which only escalates in the decade to follow…
Harry Osborn also experiences a fairly glossed-over revival when Spidey’s own life gets the Brand New Day reset. Apparently, just hanging around Europe for years on end without contacting the outside world is sort of an Osborn thing.
At one point, Norman does try to reach out to Harry but it’s only to coerce his estranged heir into joining the ranks as a new armored hero- the “American Son”.
Collects: Civil War: Front Line (2006) #1-6
Norman is at the center of a would-be assassination plot unfolding during the first superhuman civil war!
Collects: Civil War: Front Line (2006) #7-11
Reporters Ben Urich and Sally Floyd uncover the truth behind the nanotechnology controlling Norman! But is it a story too big to break??
Thunderbolts by Warren Ellis Vol. 1: Faith in Monsters
Collects: Thunderbolts (2006) #110-115
Norman is named Director of US Marshals Super-Team Thunderbolts- featuring such “upstanding” field agents as Venom and Bullseye!
Thunderbolts by Warren Ellis Vol. 2: Caged Angels
Collects: Thunderbolts (2006) #116-121
Director Osborn’s Goblin persona re-emerges with explosive results in Thunderbolt Mountain!
Loners: The Secret Lives of Super-Heroes
Collects: Loners (2007) #1-6
Phil’s group of ex-heroes star in their own mini. Also featuring Phil’s slide into villainy!
Spider-Man: Brand New Day – The Complete Collection Vol. 1
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #546-564, Material from Spider-Man: Swing Shift Director’s Cut (2008) #1
In the “surprise, not actually dead all this time!” category, Harry Osborn returns as a recurring support character during Spidey’s Brand New Day status quo!
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #568-573
Spidey versus Norman’s Thunderbolts! ‘Nuff Said!
Collects: Secret Invasion (2008) #1-8
Norman takes on a surprisingly pivotal 11th hour role in this years-in-the-making eventacular!
Collects: Dark Avengers (2009) #1-6
Norman becomes the Iron Patriot and is rewarded with his own team of Dark Reign-era “Avengers”!
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #595-599
Norman tries to use his new super-hero “clout” to recruit son Harry to the cause while siccing his Dark Avengers on Spidey!
Collects: Uncanny X-Men (1963) #513-514, X-Men Legacy (2008) #226-227, Dark Avengers/X-Men: Exodus (2009) #1, Dark Avengers/X-Men: Utopia (2009) #1, Dark Avengers (2009) #7-8, Dark X-Men: The Beginning (2009) #1-3, Dark X-Men: The Confession (2009) #1
Matt Fraction spearheads this crossover as Norman’s Dark Reign reaches its crescendo!
Collects: Dark Reign: The List – Avengers (2009) #1, Dark Reign: The List – Secret Warriors (2009) #1, Dark Reign: The List – Daredevil (2009) #1, Dark Reign: The List – Amazing Spider-Man (2009) #1, Dark Reign: The List – Hulk (2009) #1, Dark Reign: The List – X-Men (2009) #1, Dark Reign: The List – Punisher (2009) #1, Dark Reign: The List – Wolverine (2009) #1
In the wake of the stand-off with the X-Men, Norman puts together a list targeting various heroes. It doesn’t all go to plan…
Dark Avengers Vol. 2: Molecule Man
Collects: Dark Avengers (2009) #9-12
It’s the beginning of the end for Norman’s team when they’re called upon to take on an old Fantastic Four villain!
Collects: Siege (2010) #1-4, Siege: The Cabal (2010) #1
Norman’s Dark Reign concludes with a botched invasion of Asgard and the reunion of the real Avengers!
Spider-Man: The Osborn Identity
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man Presents: American Son (2010) #1-4, Material from Age of Heroes (2010) #2
Harry Osborn takes the lead in his own mini!
Spider-Man: Origin of the Species
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #642-647
Spidey gets caught in the middle when the “Goblin Stork” delivers a brand-new Osborn baby and a who’s who of super-villains all try to get at the little guy!
Spider-Man: Big Time: The Complete Collection Vol. 1
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #648-662 & 654.1
Phil Urich returns as an all-new, all-deadly Hobgoblin!
Collects: Osborn (2010) #1-5
Kelly Sue DeConnick and company chronicle Norman’s time behind bars post-Siege!
New (Osborn) Identities in the 2010s: The Goblin King, Red Goblin and… Carnage?!
Following an unsanctioned and ill-advised Siege of Asgard, Osborn is imprisoned and a renewed Heroic Age falls across the Marvel titles. Even Spidey feels like he’s on a winning streak with the “Big Time” phase of his own book.
However, it’s not all great as Harry discovers he’s a father once again- this time with kinda, sorta lady-goblin girlfriend, Menace! Once word of little Stanley hits the criminal element, they all want to get their greedy little hands on him for their own insane super-villain purposes.
Phil Urich returns to New York, kills Daniel Kingsley and becomes a new flaming sword-wielding Hobgoblin. He then asserts himself into the Daily Bugle ensemble as some bizarro-universe twist on Parker’s old shtick.
Norman makes some new friends while he’s on the inside and the iconicism of “The Goblin” takes on cultish “gang insignia” proportions as its own discernible mark. Eventually he breaks out, takes some of the inmates with and reforms the Dark Avengers as part of a larger plan to discredit and over-turn the actual, legit Avengers. (What’s that saying about the definition of “insanity” again?)
Things really integrate when Norman starts pulling the strings of his vast network of tattooed underlings- creating an organized crime “Goblin Nation” with a new title for himself: Goblin King! (Somewhere in the multiverse, David Bowie’s all like: “Hey, wait a minute…”)
Phil eventually falls into line as Goblin Knight but Roderick Kingsley cycles back into town and wants to exact some revenge on Kid Urich all the same. It becomes an ongoing rivalry.
At the conclusion of the initial Superior Spider-Man run, Peter Parker removes the Goblin Serum from Norman’s body but he just can’t fix the crazy. Seeing the impact of his Goblin Nation empire, Osborn instead turns his ability to weaponize a symbol into sewing global discord. Coincidentally, Spidey’s also now international courtesy of Otto fulfilling all of Peter’s potential and creating Parker Industries.
Harry is the CEO and has gone to using his mother’s maiden name of Lyman to further distance himself from his father.
As the wheels begin to come off Parker Industries, another cloned-based storyline unfolds. This one centers around long-dead Spidey cast members mysteriously returning to life in new bodies. Among them is once-upon-a-Goblin Bart Hamilton and tragic Hobgoblin dupe, Ned Leeds. Neither hangs around for very long but Ned does get a few nice redemptive story moments in subsequent arcs.
In his quest to regain powers, Osborn acquires Cletus Kasady’s Carnage symbiote. Bonding with it, he becomes the Red Goblin. He even infects his elder grandson with a piece and little Normie briefly becomes Goblin Childe. Oh, and let’s just say something “unfortunate” happens to Phil Urich along the way…
Herc: The Complete Series by Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente
Collects: Herc (2011) #1-10 & 6.1
In the opening story arc, Phil Urich antagonizes the Lion of Olympus!
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #666-673, Venom (2011) #6-9, Spider-Island: Deadly Foes (2011) #1, Spider-Island Spotlight (2011) #1
Hobgoblin is Kingpin’s right hand when arachnid shenanigans take over Manhattan!
New Avengers By Brian Michael Bendis Vol. 3
Collects: New Avengers (2010) #16.1 & 17-23
Look out, Luke Cage and company: Norman Osborn escapes from prison and reforms the Dark Avengers!
Avengers By Brian Michael Bendis Vol. 3
Collects: Avengers (2010) #18-24 & 24.1
Norman’s revenge scheme against the Avengers continues against the “Big Gun” team as well!
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #692-697, Avenging Spider-Man (2011) #11
It’s dualing Hobgoblins when the original- Roderick Kingsley- returns!
Superior Spider-Man: The Complete Collection Vol. 1
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #698-700, Superior Spider-Man (2013) #1-16
Goblins galore as Norman Osborn, Phil Urich and Roderick Kingsley all feature during Otto Octavius’s tenure as the Superior Spider-Man!
Superior Spider-Man: The Complete Collection Vol. 2
Collects: Superior Spider-Man (2013) #17-31, Superior Spider-Man Annual (2013) #1-2
Norman Osborn’s Goblin King empire becomes a full-blown “Goblin Nation” just as Peter Parker returns!
Superior Spider-Man Team-Up Vol. 2: Superior Six
Collects: Superior Spider-Man Team-Up (2013) #5-12
“Goblin Nation” tie-ins in the final arc featuring guest-stars Daredevil and the Punisher!
Collects: Axis: Hobgoblin (2014) #1-3, Axis: Carnage (2014) #1-3
Learn more about Kingsley’s villain franchise business when goblins clash in this event tie-in three-parter!
Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 5: Spiral
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #16.1-20.1
Phil’s Goblin Nation is among the underworld denizens coming at Spidey by the legendary Gerry Conway!
Amazing Spider-Man: Worldwide Collection Vol. 1
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #1-11
Harry runs the day-to-day of Peter’s global Parker Industries while Norman also takes his brand of terror international!
Collects: Silk (2015B) #1-6, Material from Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #1
New Goblin King, Phil Urich, next runs into conflict with the Spider-adjacent Cindy Moon!
Amazing Spider-Man: The Clone Conspiracy
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #19-24, The Clone Conspiracy (2016) #1-5, The Clone Conspiracy: Omega (2017) #1, Silk (2015B) #14-17, Prowler (2016) #1-5, Material from Free Comic Book Day 2016 (Captain America) #1
One-time Green Goblin Bart Hamilton and Hobgoblin patsy Ned Leeds both return to “life” among other Spider-characters!
Spider-Woman: Shifting Gears Vol. 3: Scare Tactics
Collects: Spider-Woman (2015) #13-17
Hobgoblin Roderick Kingsley versus Jessica Drew!
Amazing Spider-Man: Worldwide Vol. 6
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #25-28
More tech-savvy, globe-trotting Spider-heroics against Norman’s goblin-themed terrorist network featuring guest-stars Mockingbird and Nick Fury!
In the conclusion of Dan Slott’s record-breaking Spider-tenure, Norman Osborn’s brain is so broken from the defeat that the Goblin truly believes that he himself is Cletus Kasady! The ramifications of this are now currently unfolding in the event series Absolute Carnage– also featuring the return of Demagoblin!
Speaking of comebacks, the giant, monstrous Green Goblin from the Ultimate Universe has also recently made an appearance in the Prime U. Moreso, Miles Morales is beginning to recall encountering this walking nightmare previously in their other world. What this means for Goblin variety going forward, though, remains to be seen…
Amazing Spider-Man: Worldwide Vol. 7
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #29-32, 789-791
Issue #32 is a full-length spotlight on Norman’s mad quest to once again regain his Goblin-ness!
Amazing Spider-Man: Worldwide Vol. 8
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #794-796, Amazing Spider-Man Annual (2018) #42, Material from Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #25
Norman’s latest mad scheme percolates as a sub-plot throughout the collection! Also featuring a story showcasing Ned Leeds in Annual #42!
Amazing Spider-Man: Worldwide Vol. 9
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #797-801
Norman becomes the Carnage-y Red Goblin! Also, the demise of Phil Urich!
Spider-Man: Miles Morales Vol. 4
Collects: Spider-Man (2016) #234-240
Hobgoblin joins the all-new Iron Spider’s Sinister Six in Brian Michael Bendis’s final Miles Morales story arc!
Amazing Spider-Man by Nick Spencer Vol. 3: Lifetime
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man (2018) #11-15
Ned Leeds dies once more in Issue #15.
Miles Morales Vol. 2: Bring on the Bad Guys
Collects: Miles Morales: Spider-Man (2018) #7-10, Free Comic Book Day 2019 Spider-Man/Venom #1 (Spider-Man Story)
The monstrous Ult U Goblin makes his mainstream debut appearance during Ultimate Spider-Man’s 250th anniversary issue!
Collects: Absolute Carnage (2019) #1-5
Norman now thinks he’s Carnage but that’s the least of it in this event by Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman! Also featuring the return of Demagoblin!
i NEED them to continue norman’s arc as cletus right now