Behind the Scenes of the Hobgoblin Odyssey


HobbySpidey“It’s the most insane project I’ve ever been involved with…”

Mark Ginocchio has written a very detailed behind the scenes look at the Hobgoblin at CBR. In the first of a two-part story Ginocchio goes into detail on the whos, whats, whys, whens and hows regarding all things Hobby & Roddy and how the plans for the character changed between Roger Stern, Tom DeFalco & Ron Frenz, Jim “Priest” Owsley and Peter David.

It gives a nice look into the background and development of one of Spider-Man’s most celebrated villains. Here’s a tidbit going into Peter David’s end of the story:

“There was a Lot of chaos and confusion, and I just wanted to get past that as quickly as I could,” (ASM Editor Jim) Salicrup recalled. “I probably didn’t handle (the Hobgoblin reveal) the best possible way.”

David pitched the idea that was eventually used for the issue to his new editor: In ASM #289, published in June 1987, the Kingpin would tell Spider-Man that Ned was the Hobgoblin, and that he was killed by the Foreigner’s men in Germany while he was on assignment for the Daily Bugle. When Peter walked in and found Ned dead in “Spider-Man vs. Wolverine,” he was witnessing the aftermath of the Hobgoblin’s murder. Meanwhile, Macendale ditched the Jack O’Lantern persona and co-opted the identity of his rival and started gliding around New York City as the new Hobgoblin.

“I was satisfied with what I wrote, because I was thrust into a situation that I absolutely could not win. It’s the most insane project I’ve ever been involved with,” David said. “It was a story that I did because there was absolutely no other way to do it. “

Ginocchio offers a lot to soak up, good and bad, for Spidey fans – and especially Hobgoblin fans. Part Two will be up within the week. And while you’re absorbing all this Friday Hobgoblin goodness, be sure to check out our very own J.R. Fettinger’s five-part study of the Hobgoblin, ‘Squandered Legacy – The Rise & Fall of the Hobgoblin.’

–George Berryman!

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(11) Comments

  1. hornacek

    That Spider-Man vs. Wolverine special is awesome. IIRC that's the issue where Wolverine learns Spidey's identity.

  2. Fisk

    Say what you want but that Spider-man vs. Wolverine story is an all-time classic. More characterization of Peter and Logan than in the whole Bendis-run of the Avengers. And saying that Priest is a hack, while DeFalco is one of the best writers ever is just strange. They are completely different writers: TomD writes fun, olds-school super hero comics, while Priest is not afraid to dig into heavier, more mature stuff and IMO never ever wrote 'classic' superhero stories. I encourage everyone to read Priest's POW on his web site about his time as editor on the Spidey-books: he does not seem at all arrogant, he is honest and has self-criticism, he seems to me just a too young guy who got himself manipulated and realized (too late) that he was put in a position that he ultimately could not control.

  3. Jeff Flannigain

    @666andahalf: (IMO, Peter David’s issue is well written overall, just the Ned decision and the way it was done had serious flaws.) Fortunately for all of us, Peter David's one of those gifted writers that can turn lead into at least silver most of the time, if not gold. His Hulk run to me is the stuff of legend. His work on SSM and even his Star Trek novels is terrific. I'd love to see him get a crack at ASM for a year or two.

  4. Jeff Flannigain

    Having lived through the time when those issues came out, it was truly a mystery that kept you interested, though it did seem to drag out for a little too long (and all this behind the scenes info explains why to a degree). This was obviously way before the internet or forums or that, so my friends and I would speculate endlessly on who he really was. I had always thought Hobby actually really being Flash would have been a nice twist--they used him as a red herring--but the lead-up didn't really fit Flash's profile. Or Ned Leeds, which is why that always felt flat to me. Ned Leeds, reporter, is really a scientific genius on par with Osborn, etc. Then again, being able to become a super-villain at the drop of a dime seems to be a requirement on being employed at the Daily Bugle. I did like the Hobgoblin Lives mini-series that retroactively tied up the loose ends, but I haven't been real impressed with what they've done with Kingsley since then. I wasn't a big fan of Osborn being brought back to life to dig Marvel out of the hole they dug themselves in with the Clone Saga, but I have liked (mostly) what they've done with Osborn since they brought him back. Except for the whole creepy sleeping with Gwen and fathering two kids thing. Blech.

  5. hornacek

    I'm just glad that when Stern returned to do Hobgoblin Lives and he reviewed the Spidey issues since he left, nothing had been done to discount his original idea of the identity (i.e. Kingsley being killed off randomly or revealed to be a different super-villain). It was fate.

  6. Bill

    George, feel free to delete that comment if you like. I wrote it when I was freshly ticked off. After rereading, it does read a little harsh.

  7. 666andahalf

    @3 - I love the Kingsley reveal in that it actually worked really well in retrospect, with the way Defalco continued to write the character after Stern. JR's article did a good job showing it too. Even though I didn't start reading until the 90s, when the ASM DVDs came out, I devoured the 80s issues with the Hobgoblin. Such great stuff, even with all the nonsense behind the scenes. I know a lot of people hated the jerking around with Hobby's identity, but if you read it all the way through without the months/years waiting, it actually reads better. (IMO, Peter David's issue is well written overall, just the Ned decision and the way it was done had serious flaws.) It'd be great if Marvel did a major Hobgoblin omnibus that collected the appearances from his first appearance, through Goblins at the Gate.

  8. George Berryman - Post author

    @1 - "Well now we know the reason – It’s because Chris Priest is an immature, unprofessional a-hole. Nice." Let's not resort to name calling. Disagree with the direction, sure, or the way he did things but we're not going to name call anyone here. That's a first warning. Play nice, Crawlspacers. @2 - I am sure I will enjoy it! You know all things considered, and I say this as a *huge* Hobgoblin fan, I am actually fine with the end result of Roderick Kingsley being the Hobgoblin. I loved the idea that the often effete fashion guy was actually a costumed criminal. And I always really enjoyed that where the Green Goblin was crazy the Hobgoblin was more calculating and cold. It really upped the menace factor with him. Really looking forward to Part II!

  9. Chasing Amazing

    As the author of the article, I just want to thank you guys for linking to it and for being so enthused by it. The Hobgoblin saga is certainly not "breaking" news by any stretch, but it's good one to resurrect and add to for each subsequent generation, especially with the character being a semi-mainstay in the books again, as I think it remains one of the most bizarre character developments in Spidey, and maybe Marvel history. Anyway, hope you all enjoy part II when it runs.

  10. Bill

    Wow! That link actually made me very angry. I would have loved to see DeFalco's Hobgoblin story brought to it's ultimate conclusion. But instead we got the convoluted mess created by Christopher Priest. The Hobgoblin debacle is a perfect example why no-talent hacks like Christopher (Jim Owsly) Priest should leave the people with real talent alone and let them do their thing. The DeFalco / Frenz era is my all-time favorite run of Amazing Spider-Man, and Priest is the one responsible for ruining it. And it seems he simply did it out of spite and jealously because he is obviously a small minded petty little jerk. I didn't remember that he wrote Spider-Man vs. Wolverine, but that explains why I always hated it. Spider-Man was portrayed woefully out of character in that story, and the whole thing just seemed off to me. I also always thought it was weird that Ned Leeds was suddenly killed off out of the blue for no apparent reason. Well now we know the reason - It's because Chris Priest is an immature, unprofessional a-hole. Nice. Can't wait to read Part 2.

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