Welcome one and all to the premiere edition of a new regular feature here at the Crawl Space – ‘Spidey Friday Night Fights.’ Each Friday afternoon we’ll take a look back into Spider-Man’s glorious past and highlight a particularly noteworthy fight, skirmish or brouhaha involving our favorite Wallcrawler. There will be hits, kicks, flips, thwipps – and pie.
What better way to kick off ‘Spidey Friday Night Fights’ than to zero in on the glorious days of the mid-1980’s? The 80’s were largely owned by one Spider-Man villain who all Spider-Fandom on its toes: The Hobgoblin. And pretty much all of the early match-ups between Spider-Man and the Hobgoblin were knockdown drag-out kick-you-in-the-teeth affairs. Luckily for us those early tales were brought forth by such ballyhooed storytellers as Roger Stern, Tom DeFalco, John Romita Jr. and Ron Frenz – and those guys really knew how to deliver.
And so we start with a look at Amazing Spider-Man #260 (‘The Challenge of the Hobgoblin’) and #261 (‘The Sins of My Father’) from January & February of 1985, as told by Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz!
We’re not going to waste time with reviewing these two excellent stories. Cause that’s not what this feature is about. You will get a one or two line sentence about the general story and then we’re going right into the rounds.
Our Story: The Hobgoblin, partnered with the Rose, is making a move on New York’s criminal underground – but he needs to replace Norman Osborn’s journals which were damaged in a fire. So he decides to bust up the Osborn Corporation to scare Harry Osborn into handing over replacements. Then Spidey shows up, and well… yeah, all Hell breaks loose.
Peter Benjamin Parker, aka ‘The Spider-Man’
Height & Weight: 5’10” / 165 lbs.
Powers: Proportionate strength, speed and agility of a spider.
Spider-Sense. Webshooters. True Grit.
And in the right corner…
Roderick Kingsley, aka ‘The Hobgoblin’
Height & Weight: 5’11 / 185 lbs.
Powers: Chemically induced strength. Weaponry. Relentless.
Fashionplate. Criminal mastermind.
Bit of a dandy.
ROUND ONE – DING!
Kingsley gets the party started in typical over-the-top, indulgent 80’s fashion style by flying directly through the massive window behind Harry Osborn as he sits in working in
his office. The impact is immediate and the drama works. You can almost smell Harry filling his pants. Kudos to Ron Frenz.
So as the Hobgoblin enters the ring let’s welcome our hero. He’s the pride of Forest Hills, the Spider-King of Queens, the Pwnz-You in Red & Blue… the Amaaazing Spider-Man! Spidey’s been waiting in the wings for the Hobgoblin and, as is usually the case, the Webhead’s entrance is made of 100% Grade A American Awesome. Watch the fear-laced hate in Kingsley’s eyes…
You just don’t mess with Spider-Man’s friends. Especially not the ones already teetering on nuttiness and with a history of substance abuse. Especially when their father was the insane clown whose shtick you’re stealing to tackle the underworld. Cause Spider-Man protects “me and mine,” baby.
ROUND TWO – DING!
Spidey quickly manages to get the Hobgoblin away from his intended target, taking Roderick on a happy-go-lucky brawl-a-rama through the lovely yet modest offices of Osborn Corporation.
Spidey quickly kicks (hehe) the game into high gear, sending Hobgoblin into a chandelier like a complete and total rookie, buying time for the innocent bystanders to make tracks.
ROUND THREE – DING!
Eventually the fighting spills out of the board room and into ‘The Necessary’ as our intrepid Wallcrawler seeks isolate his dangerous foe in the ol’ Poop Room. And here’s why I chose this particular fight and these particular issues as our premiere, folks. Spidey’s sense of humor and ability to throw his enemies off balance by taunting them is legendary. But here, Ron Frenz had Spidey working in rare form. As the Hobgoblin reaches for a pumpkin bomb, Spidey webs it to his hand – forcing Roderick to dunk his hand in the commode to diffuse the tricky situation. So it’s not enough for Spider-Man to beat the bad guy this time around. No – he’s got to completely humiliate him, too. And the whole world laughs at Kingsley.
Hobby swearing that Spidey will pay “for this indignity” probably loses steam as Hobby stares perilously down into the bowl and praying there’s not a floater. Well played, Spider-Man. Well played.
ROUND FOUR – DING!
Roderick manages to escape (he does that a lot) and the Rose’s men k
idnap Harry, Liz, Normie and Mary Jane in an effort to make Harry turn over his father’s journals. And in #261 Harry steps up to help Spider-Man put the kibosh on Roderick’s plan. While Harry helps his family and M.J. get to safety the following series of blows occurs. You know Spidey is in the zone when he’s beating the crap out of someone while getting reflective in his thought balloons…
Yeah yeah yeah, pal. We’ve heard it all before. You just had your butt kicked harder than the ’85 Patriots in Super Bowl XX. Take your chump lumps and plot your inevitable and futile revenge. And for God’s sake, man, wash that stinky glove. Ewww!
Alright, it’s a unanimous decision here – Spidey wins by a country mile, though not in a New York minute. For final analysis let’s go ringside to Shang-Chi and Benjamin J. Grimm.
“ Spider-Man is a good man to risk his life for his mentally-impaired, drug addict friend, and that is one of the most admirable qualities a man can possess in life.
When my father Fu Manchu was teaching me how to silently gut a man with my pinky fingernail from across a crowded room he never stopped to tell me that we must always look to our friends and loved ones as Spider-Man does.
However, I must protest Spider-Man’s tactics in the bathroom. Forcing Kingsley to thrust his hand into the toilet was not honorable.”
BenGrimm, aka ‘The Thing’:
“Heh. Yeah maybe it wasn’t honorable pal but it sure was funny! And honor’s overrated. Me, I prefer just plain ol’ makin’ sure I can walk away from a fight and leave whatever Bozo I was up against goin’ down like a reality TV star’s dignity. Ya do what ya gotta do, Shang. That’s the Marvel way. It ain’t like Spidey tore the guy’s clothes off or nothin’ revoltin’ like that!”
NEXT WEEK on ‘Spidey Friday Night Fights’: Spidey Tears A Guy’s Clothes Off!
If you have a suggestion for a ‘Spidey Friday Night Fight’ segment then drop into the Crawl Space forum’s ‘Spidey Friday Night Fights’ and let me know!