Cobwebs #33: Villain Profile – Bart Hamilton


Everyone is into the Hamilton craze lately, and the Crawlspace is too!  I’m chomping at the bit to see a musical on the third Green Goblin.  So here’s the background on Hamilton – Bart Hamilton A.K.A. Green Goblin III!

Editor’s Note – Hamilton is a musical that inaccurately depicts the historical figure Alexander Hamilton and has little to do with Bart Hamilton.  -Debunkin’ Douglas!

The story of Bart Hamilton as a character begins in issue #167.  For all issues between #167 and #175, we get one-page interruptions about Harry Lyman Osborn and his engagement to Liz.  They often work in Flash and MJ into these little episodes.  Some of them bring in Bart Hamilton, Harry’s psychologist.  These are all stories told by Len Wein and drawn by Ross Andru (if you haven’t read about Andru in the latest Tangled Webs post, make sure you do (after you finish this post, natch!)).

Here is his first appearance:

Right off the bat, you know this guy has to be bad.  He’s got a goatee! Plus, I’m sure he just broke all sorts of doctor/patient confidentiality rules by calling Harry out in front of his friends for getting therapy.  Spidey’s too busy fighting Will-O’-the-Wisp and a JJJ Spider Slayer (a Marla Madison version) in the next issue, but in ASM #169, we get another Bart Hamilton appearance.  This time we get a much nicer, innocent view of him where is he seen as a caring professional and concerned for Harry’s well-being.  For several issues, he doesn’t appear, although he’ll get mention by Harry from time to time.  The ground work is being laid for Harry’s break down and return to the green garbed goblin, especially when the Molten Man kidnaps Liz.  On top of that, Liz runs away (because that is what she used to do when things got tough (well, before she became a ruthless business tycoon) leaving Harry in a terribly unstable state.  In #174, we get to see Hamilton again, but while the story shows a kind, caring professional, the art gives us a creepy mask on his wall.

Only Goblins decorate their walls with creepy masks.  Well, Goblins and J.R., most likely.

Finally, in ASM 175, we get the final piece in the lead up to the Goblin story.

Andru does a great job here making the art look misleading.  Obviously Harry beat the crap out of his doctor and is ready to be the Goblin again.  Right?

By the way, in all of these, but especially #170, we get some real ground work laid for the Peter Parker/MJ relationship.  We also get several clone story references – the original clone story, that is – including the photos that JJJ have that show Spider-Man dropping a Peter Parker body down a smoke stack.

Starting with issue #176, the Green Goblin story really takes center stage.

You can read these stories for yourself on Marvel Unlimited:

Want to know why George’s Pick-the-Real-Title questions were so hard in the last SpiderJeopardy?  I’ll give you a chance to try it out for yourselves.  We’ll spin it a little – which of these titles is NOT one of the Bart Hamilton Goblin stories?

A. He Who Laughs Last…!

B. Goblin in the Middle

C. Green Grows the Goblin!

D. Bring Back My Goblin to Me!

E. The Goblin’s Always Green

F. Who Was That Goblin I Saw You With?

And don’t say that George only gave answer choices to E, so this isn’t fair, because he gave me answer choices to W!  Do you have your answer?  Is it your final choice?  O.K., I’ll reveal the answer….. at the bottom of the article.  Read on, friends!

We begin by laying the background story that will drive the urgency in Peter Parker’s life – Aunt May has yet another heart attack.  This one is brought on by her attacking a police officer.

Peter Parker about loses it and chucks the police officer across the square before getting May to the hospital where MJ takes over as lead care giver.  Aunt May continues to work her Team MJ angle even though she is on her death bed.  All throughout this story arc, Aunt May will be at death’s door, putting Peter in an awkward position about how much time he should be spending at the hospital with her and how much time he should be out trying to save/stop his best friend Harry.  All the while, the relationship between MJ and Peter grow into something so much more than the Gwen/Peter relationship ever was.

Peter goes to talk to Harry’s psychiatrist because in the 616 universe, psychiatrists often tell other people all about the mental health issues of their patients (just wait until we get to Deb Whitman!).  However, all he sees is an office that has been ransacked and a police officer that spills case information to a complete stranger.  Peter is sure that Harry attacked and kidnapped Hamilton.  Meanwhile, the Green Goblin attacks Flash Thompson.  When Spider-Man appears, Wein takes no pains to avoid beating the reader over the head with the fact that this is Harry Osborn as the Goblin.  Spider-Man constantly refers to him as Harry (much like everyone called the Jackal Warren in the latest Clone Conspiracy arc).

In his defense, he constantly tells anyone who will listen that he is not “that simpering Harry Osborn” but instead the Green Goblin, which just makes it seems more and more like Harry has split personalities rather than the Goblin telling the truth.  Then we get one of the NOT-LIKE-GWEN moments that constantly plague the ‘70s stories.

Anyone who grew up in the ‘80s remembers the movie Gremlins.  In it, there is a character named Murray Futterman who is famous for yelling stuff like “Don’t mess with Murray Futterman!”  It seems that maybe Chris Columbus was reading ASM back then, because Murray Futterman makes his first appearance here:

Gremlins doesn’t come out until 1984, but two Murray Fetterman’s who seems to be at the end of their ropes and not afraid of people/things that they should be afraid of?  Could be a coincidence, but….

Old Gobby returns to his apartment where he has his captive wearing a hood so that he doesn’t have to look at him (neither do we), but it is so obviously Hamilton since we’ve been told countless times that the Goblin is Harry.  The art doesn’t help and apparently the Goblin redressed his captive since the captive is wearing a dark green suit while Hamilton was wearing grey and Osborn was wearing brown at the time of the office attack.

Crime boss… Yeah that’s original…

Fortunately for both the Green Goblin and Spider-Man, Silvermane (before he got his head attached to a remote control car) is sending out party invitations to all the crime gangs in order to consolidate the criminal underground.

Meanwhile, Aunt May’s recovery isn’t going as well as she had hoped it would…

and our younger readers get a glimpse of life before cell phones.

The criminal gala gets going strong as Silvermane comes in with his Doc Brown hair do.  The strange thing about this story arc is just how powerful is the Goblin?  For all we know, Hamilton does not have the goblin formula, yet he throws around Flash Thompson and goons with ease and is apparently very quick.

To be fair, the whole idea of a goblin formula wasn’t introduced until much later, during Stern’s run, I believe, so we are reading into Hamilton’s abilities with a lens that contemporary readers would not have.

In order to prove himself to his new friends, the Green Goblin promises to bring in Spider-Man since he knows Spider-Man’s secret identity.  Silvermane, sure that the Goblin will not be able to deliver on his promise, starts to go about making plans to be sure it doesn’t, just in case.

Then there is more convincing us that it is Harry beneath the mask and Hamilton tied up.

Wein gives a glimpse into JJJ’s softer side.

This is nice because in all the lead up issues, JJJ has been a Jerk Jerk Jerk.  He even tried to pull Peter’s face off.  Literally.

Eventually, MJ reaches Peter and lets him know that he has to sign some consent forms or the hospital is just going to let Aunt May croak (curse those lawyers!).  Not caring any more about the Green Goblin, he races to the hospital only to run into…

It is at this point, when Peter is not holding back in order to avoid hurting his friend that we realize something is wrong with this Goblin.

The Goblin is not finished, though.  He still has a few tricks up his sleeve like this ghost which I do not remember ever seeing before or after this issue.  Curious if any readers remember another appearance.

The ghost turns into a net that is made of a polymer plastic that is as strong as steel.  I know because they use the phrase polymer plastic several times.  And yes, plastic can be as strong as steel.  I looked it up. So now the Goblin is riding around New York carrying Spider-Man in what looks to be a large plastic grocery bag while Spidey laments not being able to save Aunt May and commenting frequently on the strength of that plastic bag.

Remember Silvermane?  Well, he has his men stationed all over town just looking for the Goblin to prevent him from delivering on his promise of bringing in Spider-Man.  While they take a few shots at him, Spidey decides that being held in a plastic bag is stupid no matter how strong it is and breaks out of it, falling quite a distance.  A few spare goons pick up the unconscious webbed wonder and throw him into their car with dreams of being the ones who bring in Spidey. They feel pretty safe because they’ve put handcuffs on him.  Poor fools! They don’t realize that he just broke out of a polymer plastic bag that is as strong as steel! Of course, Spider-Man thanks them properly for rescuing him.

Since Aunt May’s life is on the line, he just leaves the Goblin behind, prolonging the story for another issue.

Don’t worry, readers, he gets to the hospital just in time to sign the paperwork and get Aunt May the care she needs.  Of course, Mary Jane gives him the what-for for not being there, but some villains come in and he tosses them and her some Hostess Fruit Pies and all ends well.

Editor’s Note – the fruit pies was an ad, not part of the story.  -Debunkin’ Douglas!

O.K., I may have adjusted the dialogue to conform with Amazing Grace.

The Goblin returns to his hide out to smack around our mystery hooded victim before going off to claim leadership of the mob even though he failed to deliver on his promise.  Finally, the victim is revealed, not to be Bart Hamilton but (cue soap opera organ music)

And Harry is so angry that he is breaking the panel walls.  So he decides the only way to get even on Green Goblin III is to become Green Goblin II and since Hamilton was kind enough to leave a spare glider and costume lying about, Harry has no problems doing so.

Hamilton isn’t waiting around for Harry to show his sorry hide.  He’s busy.  He kills Silverman (he gets better, but the injuries he gets here are the beginning of his long journey to head on truck). He also nearly kills Spidey with the infamous sonic frog!

Spidey could sure use one of these when fighting Venom!

Spidey is so out of it, that Hamilton nearly threw him down the smoke stack that Ben was dropped down.  Oh no!  An electro-bat and a smiley moon!

I tell you what, if Slott doesn’t use the ghost, frog, electro-bat, or smiley moon, I’m going to be right pissed.

Well, Harry or not, eventually Spider-Man gets tired of being a punching bag and this is what happens:

What????  Hamilton???? Oh my gosh!  I never saw that coming!  It would be a better reveal if we hadn’t already found out that it was Harry who was kidnapped, but hey, reveals like this work today.

Except today, we would have a whole other issue just to tell us the backstory of Hamilton and how he came to be the goblin.  Here it just takes a few pages.  It seems that listening to all the crazy things Harry told Hamilton in their sessions got him doubting it was true, so he had Harry reveal where the equipment was stored.  Once he found it, he got power hungry and practiced until he was ready to go.  He sucked everything he could get from Harry except the formula for goblin strength.  He also made Harry do some bad things while under hypnosis.

Then Harry strikes!  It is a crazy battle of Goblin versus Goblin until finally, sensing he was way outmatched, pulls out a ball point pen bomb to kill everyone.  Luckily for Harry Goblin and Spidey, Hamilton’s an idiot and he falls backwards and the bomb blows killing only him (he’s not exactly the Evil  Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight).

What’s going on with those lines around his head?

Harry got hit just enough to give him… you guessed it, amnesia.  All’s well that ends well.  Oh, and Liz comes back.

And that’s the end.  He’s dead.  He had no powers.  Nobody ever really mentioned him again.

Well…. During the Hobgoblin arc, he did come back, but it turned out to only be Kingsley in disguise (supposedly – I could not find the actual issue, just a reference to it on a not so reputable web site – if you know it, share that information in the comments section).

That brings us to modern day.  J.R., the Spider-Yoda himself, wrote, “The fact that no one has bothered to resurrect Hamilton in any way, shape, or form illustrates his lack of effectiveness.”  So the question now is, is Hamilton more effective now that Slott brought him back in Clone Conspiracy?

Yep, that Green Goblin we see here is Bart Hamilton brought back from the dead.  Why? Who knows.  I just better see a sonic frog or something from him before he inevitably goes away again.

 

Back to our Spider-Jeopardy question –

Which is the correct title answer:

The correct answer is… D. Bring Back My Goblin to Me.  See how hard they are?  How were supposed to answer those?!

Sources:

Fettinger, J.R. “The Goblin’s Legacy – Or – Why the Original Green Goblin Is Spider-Man’s Greatest Enemy.” Spidey Kicks Butt. n.p., 2007. Web. 9 Jan. 2017. <http://www.spideykicksbutt.com/GreenwithEvil/goblinlegacy.html>.

Fichera, Mike. “Green Goblin (Bart Hamilton).” Marvel Universe Wiki. Marvel, 2017. Web. 9 Jan. 2017. <http://marvel.com/universe/Green_Goblin_(Bart_Hamilton)>.

“Amazing Spider-Man #176-180.” Marvel’s Comics Chronology. SuperMegaMonkey, n.d. Web. 9 Jan. 2017. <http://www.supermegamonkey.net/chronocomic/entries/amazing_spider-man_176-180.shtml>.

Paloheimo, Markus. “How Strong Is Plastic Really?” Plastic Prop.  Sytite, 14 Dec. 2015. Web. 9 Jan. 2017. <http://www.plasticprop.com/articles/how-strong-plastic-really>.

“The Green Goblin: Bart Hamilton.” The Goblin Is Always Greener. n.p., n.d. Web. 9 Jan. 2017. <http://www.oocities.org/spidey_villains/goblin3/goblin3.html>.

Images:

All scans are from Marvel Unlimited

Clone Conspiracy

Credible Hulk

 

 

‘Nuff Said! 

(14) Comments

  1. DPFW

    @Mark Alford - lol. It was one of those things that was just buried somewhere deep in my brain. I had to do a little research to remember where it appeared, I just remembered that it had appeared at some point....

  2. Mark Alford

    @ DPFW - ASM #17? That's awesome! Good memory, man! You are right about the hair, too! I need to run my next article by you before posting it!

  3. Mark Alford

    @ hornacek - I did a little research and found that tasers were invented in 1976, but this New York police cop looks old school to me and probably wouldn't have been walking around with one of those sissy electric rifles.

  4. DPFW

    Also, it seems they couldn't quite agree on what color Hamilton's hair should be. Has anyone else noticed that It alternates between a light brown and very dark brown (or even black- especially in that final confrontation it seems to be black)?

  5. DPFW

    I LOVED this saga for bringing back some of the goblin's original weapons. The moon, ghost, and frog/toad were introduced way back in Amazing #17 (see this review of #17: "He dumps the contents of his bag of tricks on a table and looks it over. There are two pumpkin bombs and one of each of weapons shaped like a ghost, a frog, a bat, and a crescent moon with a smiling face on it." http://www.spiderfan.org/comics/reviews/spiderman_amazing/017.html)

  6. hornacek

    @Mark "In a panel I did not show, Peter threw him across the square. The officer pulled him gun and was going to lay Peter out until another officer talked him down." I vaguely remember that sequence. In reality, Peter would have been severely beaten and arrested. Did police have tasers in the 70s? "That invitation was the stupidest and yet the most awesome thing I've ever seen in comics." I'm surprised it didn't have a "Please R.S.V.P." at the end. "Who's the first? Simpson?" Hamilton's car should have had a BORT licence plate.

  7. Mark Alford

    @ Jack - don't hold your breath! @ Adam S. - I saw the name and didn't register it as the actor who played Uncle Ben. Once you pointed it out, I looked it up and that movie being advertised, even though the title is obscured, is titled _Obsession_. I'm sure that was done intentionally! Good eyes! @ Frontier - I always assumed that in the Marvel Universe masks always distort the voice too much, much like in the DC universe eye masks can stick the face with fastening device. If it was a voice changer, I want this new tech Peter to create a device that can reprogram it and then he can just push a button on his belt and make the GG talk like Aunt May or Darth Vader or something.

  8. Mark Alford

    @ hornacek "An article this long and entertaining deserves lots of comments." Well, it is long. I don't know about entertaining. I didn't think it would be this long when I started it, but it just seemed to keep going and going like the Energizer Bunny. Thankfully, we had a snow here in NC which meant everything shut down, so I had time to spare. "That fight between Harry and Bart during the session makes no sense in retrospect. At At the end of the story we're told that Bart found Harry's Goblin gear and became obsessed with it, but in this scene he seems to be genuinely trying to help Harry, and scared and shocked when Harry attacks him. If that's Bart in the final panel, did this personality transformation take place in just 2 panels?" I had the same take on that. My thought is that maybe the GG personality is a separate one. Bart might not have even known that side was in him. Maybe we'll get that information when Slott devotes a whole ASM to his background story. "Issues #177 and #180 weren't part of the MARVEL COMICS GROUP? What happened with these issues? Did they offend the MCG and get temporarily kicked out?" Didn't even notice that. Rats! I should have looked into it. "I side with the police officer in that Aunt May confrontation. She attacked him with that sign, and even though it probably felt like a feather with her strength and age, he doesn't know that, and police officers have to react to any threat as if it's 100% legitimate. She deserved what she got (the old bat)." Yeah, she had it coming. That was just stupid to go and start smacking him. In a panel I did not show, Peter threw him across the square. The officer pulled him gun and was going to lay Peter out until another officer talked him down. "I like that mobsters will provide refreshments at their gatherings." That invitation was the stupidest and yet the most awesome thing I've ever seen in comics. "When MJ tells Jonah that Aunt May might die, he's thinking 'Not my future step-mother!'" Ha! "Who is 'Silverman'? And where was the editor for that typo? (eating fruit pies, likely)" Well, you see, Silverman was the original name chosen by Ditko and he... Oh, forget it. That blunder was all my own. Oh wait, the editor, yeah! Let's blame it on my editor! "He also nearly kills Spidey with the infamous sonic frog!" Even before I scrolled down to see the graphic I was saying "Wait a minute, it's not a sonic *frog* ..." Eh, Toad, Frog, tomato, tomato. I like the frog better. :) "That smiley moon reminds me of the McDonald's "Mack the Knife" commercials from the 80s (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-rGjELIBoE). Man, that was creepy." Oh gosh, I remember that... What was Andru thinking there? "And so ends the saga of the second-most famous Bart I've ever heard of." Who's the first? Simpson?

  9. Frontier

    @hornacek: I always assumed that all the Goblin masks have voice-changers that mimic the same voice so you can never tell who's under the mask and Kingsley can employ patsy's to masquerade as him.

  10. Adam S.

    Nice little Cliff Robertson Easter egg in that first image. I want to say that the ghost things first appeared in the Green Goblin's arsenal during the Ditko run, but I'm not totally sure.

  11. hornacek

    An article this long and entertaining deserves lots of comments. That fight between Harry and Bart during the session makes no sense in retrospect. At At the end of the story we're told that Bart found Harry's Goblin gear and became obsessed with it, but in this scene he seems to be genuinely trying to help Harry, and scared and shocked when Harry attacks him. If that's Bart in the final panel, did this personality transformation take place in just 2 panels? Issues #177 and #180 weren't part of the MARVEL COMICS GROUP? What happened with these issues? Did they offend the MCG and get temporarily kicked out? I side with the police officer in that Aunt May confrontation. She attacked him with that sign, and even though it probably felt like a feather with her strength and age, he doesn't know that, and police officers have to react to any threat as if it's 100% legitimate. She deserved what she got (the old bat). I guess this settles once and for all that the Goblin mask makes your voice unrecognizable, since Spidey isn't able to tell that it's not Harry speaking. I like that mobsters will provide refreshments at their gatherings. "For all we know, Hamilton does not have the goblin formula, yet he throws around Flash Thompson and goons with ease and is apparently very quick." "the whole idea of a goblin formula wasn’t introduced until much later, during Stern’s run" In the early days, it was very wonky as to whether the Goblin had actual super-powers, and if he did, whether they came from the suit or the man. We see Norman out of his costume almost crushing Peter's hand in the SSM #2 magazine story, but other early issues don't show the Goblin using any super-powers, just his glider and his gadgets. When MJ tells Jonah that Aunt May might die, he's thinking "Not my future step-mother!" That ghost is no Sonic Toad (TM). (NOTE: when I wrote that comment I didn't remember that the ST appears in this story or that it was mentioned later in the article) I like the editorial notes. Amazing Grace foreshadowing! Who is "Silverman"? And where was the editor for that typo? (eating fruit pies, likely) "He also nearly kills Spidey with the infamous sonic frog!" Even before I scrolled down to see the graphic I was saying "Wait a minute, it's not a sonic *frog* ..." That smiley moon reminds me of the McDonald's "Mack the Knife" commercials from the 80s (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-rGjELIBoE). Man, that was creepy. And so ends the saga of the second-most famous Bart I've ever heard of.

  12. Jack

    GG' s crazy Halloween themed gadjets are half of his charm. I ntoice also that there's no Joker-esquer tee-hee talk coming out of either GG's mouths. Slott ought to review GG dialogue a bit before he writes him again.

  13. Evan

    Wow, with the frogs and ghosts and smiley moons and pens, there should be a Bart Hamilton cereal. SKWA-FOOM!

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