Amazing Spider-Man #238-239
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man #238, Amazing Spider-Man #239
The hood brings his boss to the lair. The hood is of course killed for his trouble, and the boss modifies the equipment somewhat and takes on the identity of the Hobgoblin.
With Osborn's old notes, the Hobgoblin starts raiding other Green Goblin safehouses, acquiring more equipment and more notes.
Spider-Man takes notice of the types of places being raided (which were unknown to the current owners of the buildings), and figures out what's going on. Actually, it turns out that the trade paperback i have that reprints these issues is cheating me. When i went to get the screenshots for this entry using my PDF files, i found that in the original issue, Spidey visits Madame Web in the hospital. She's supposedly lost her powers and memories...
...but she just happens to turn on the radio while the news is reporting on the break-ins. Pretty annoying that this (and other subplots, like a scene focusing on problems between Lance Bannon and Amy Powell) were cut from the trade.
After stalking a few of the Green Goblin's old lairs, he eventually runs into the new Goblin.
The fight is inconclusive.
The Hobgoblin escapes, but it's clear that while the Hobgoblin has the equipment, he doesn't have the original Goblin's super-strength and endurance.
As always, fantastic work by Stern/JRJR. These issues just have somewhat more of a historical interest due to the introduction of a new villain that became quite popular in the 80s and 90s. With the Green Goblin having been dead for some time, and substitutes like Harry Osborn and Harry Osborn's psychiatrist not really doing the trick, it was a brilliant move to introduce a new Goblin character that built on the legacy of the original.
If you limit yourself exclusively to Roger Stern's work on Spider-Man, both Amazing and Spectacular, it's possible to pick up on a clue that the Hobgoblin is in fact Roderick Kingsely, the criminal fashion designer, due to the fact that the main modification that the new Goblin made to the original's equipment was that he personally modified and dyed the costume. Not something anyone would be expected to pick up on in real time. Unfortunately, Stern's way-too-subtle clues would cause a lot of confusion after he left the book and later writers tried to reveal the Hobgoblin's identity.
There's a scene in the beginning focusing on Aunt May's constant worrying about Peter, and in a thought bubble there's reference to her having lost a child.
Never referenced before (or after, as far as a i know), but it's kind of funny to think she might be referring to Linda Brown.
Quality Rating: A-
Chronological Placement Considerations: The plots of Amazing and Spectacular seem to have been planned out very well during this period. This takes place while the Black Cat is in the hospital, between Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #76 & 77. Thanks to Captain America's appearance in Marvel Team-Up #127 & 128, these issues need to take place before Captain America #281.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Amazing Spider-Man: The Origin of the Hobgoblin TPB
Inbound References (4): show
The Overstreet Price Guide, for a number of years, assigned the greatest price value to copies of this book which still had a "tattooz" insert. Since that insert was also in other, less expensive books that Marvel published that same month, collectors would pry apart the staples, remove the insert, and stick it inside copies that were missing the insert. The Price Guide responded to this by just dumping the difference in price, which is an excellent example of just how arbitrary comic pricing can be.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 18, 2011 7:16 PM
On page 2 of #238, a certificate on a wall is signed "A. Mushynsky". Andy Mushynsky was a Marvel artist about this time, but I don't know if he worked on this issue at all.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 11, 2012 6:05 PM
It was explained in Spider-Man Family 7 that May had a miscarriage.
Posted by: Michael | August 25, 2012 4:46 PM
Michael, don't give aid and comfort to the anti-mermaid conspiracy.
Posted by: fnord12 | August 25, 2012 4:49 PM
#239 was the subject of a practical joke that editor Tom DeFalco played on comics newszines in late 1982. He stated that a Spider-Man mirror was being merchandised and that this issue would be printed backwards to promote it. Amazingly, all the newszines printed it as honest truth except for the Comics Journal.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | October 27, 2012 8:01 PM
In Back Issue #35, Roger Stern mentions that when he plotted Amazing Spider-Man #238, he did not know who the Hobgoblin really was, but as he started scripting the dialogue over Romita, Jr.'s pencils, he realized that the Hobgoblin had to be Roderick Kingsley. Tom DeFalco claims that he asked Stern to have the Hobgoblin's identity be a secret when they first discussed the character.
As a long-time mystery fan, I thought that Stern played fair with the readers with his hints and clues, and if editorial politics had not interfered, I suspect he could have developed the reveal quite well approximately 41 issues later, which was his plan when he came up with the character.
Posted by: Aaron Malchow | August 18, 2015 8:29 PM
Just a minor correction, Aaron. Stern intended to keep the mystery of Hobgoblin going for at least one issue longer than Stan Lee kept the Green Goblin's identity hidden. While Norman Osborn was revealed as the Green Goblin in ASM #39, the villain was actually introduced in ASM #14. So, that would make it ~26 issues, not 41.
Posted by: irh13 | October 16, 2015 8:34 PM
Irh13, thanks for the correction. I should have caught that.
Posted by: Aaron Malchow | October 16, 2015 10:21 PM
you know, looking back, I think we often forget what a bad villain the Green Goblin was and what a good villain the Hobgoblin was. The Green Goblin was a rather silly villain with his goofy mask and long purple hat. The only reason he was remembered was because he got the honour of killing Gwen. If you replaced GG with say, Doc Ock, in that story then we wouldnt consider GG Spidey's main antagonist.
Posted by: kveto | August 12, 2016 3:51 PM
The Hobgoblin was a better villain than the Green Goblin. But that is basically because the amnesia angle (and knowing Spider-Man's real identitiy) Stan Lee saddled him with made his fights with Spidey post-Ditko very predictable, much like how the Lizard stories became. It had to end in only one way, and it quickly bogged the character down. The only way out was to kill him, and the only way to make to make his death monumental was for him to take out an important member of the supporting cast.
The main reason for Hobgoblin's superiority is that he never fell into the dramatic rut or trap. He could keep creating new kind of plots and stories. Just seeing Hobby survive t he first encounter, become superpowered, fight Spidey as an equal, ally with the Rose, and then seek a final battle brought a real dynamic to the fight. When Marvel brought back Osborn (a bonehead move up there with resurrecting Jean Grey in terms of havoc it wrought on the mythos), it never worked in my opinion.
I actually like the goofy mask and long purple hat, but I much prefer the Ditko version to the Romita one. The juxtaposition of the cute Ditko goblin and his murderous intent was unsettling.
The Hobgoblin worked because Stern moved the ball and upped the ante. He took what worked with Osborn and gave it a new twist, creating a far superior villain to any of the subsequent Green Goblins and who surpassed the villain who inspired him.
Posted by: Chris | August 12, 2016 10:56 PM
The Hobgoblin was always going to have an uphill struggle, though, since he was pretty much *defined* as "successor to the Green Goblin." Eventually, someone was gonna come along and say, "if the successor villain is good, what about the original, the guy in all those *classic* stories?" and have the GG displace Hobby.
But yes, Hobgoblin has a better angle, a better codename, and a better visual. What he lacks, at least in Stern's conception, is something that would make him a genuinely personal foe for Spider-Man and complicate their conflicts. That was something built into the Norman and Harry versions of the Goblin.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | August 13, 2016 8:16 AM
I hate to say this, but the "clue" that Hobgoblin modified and dyed the costume, so he must be skilled with clothes, i.e. a fashion designer, kind of falls apart when looked at the scope of Marvel Universe characters' propensity for making their costumes.
Peter Parker designed and sewed his Spider-Man costume, despite being a science major who wasn't shown to possess sewing skills previously. Likewise, Daredevil.
Guys like Vulture, Electro, Mysterio, the original Green Goblin, the Shocker, heck, even the Looter of all people apparently made their own costumes.
So while it could eventually be interpreted as a clue once you know Roderick Kingsley is Hobby, in the context of the Marvel Universe it doesn't really stand out.
Posted by: mikrolik | August 13, 2016 12:50 PM
The clue isn't that he modified the costume, the clue is that he did that FIRST before trying to modify or improve any of the other more important stuff like the weaponry or glider.
Posted by: Thanos6 | August 13, 2016 4:58 PM
I agree with milkrolik. It's a pretty lame clue if every hero and villain in the MU makes their own costume. It's not like anyone read that scene and went "Aha! Roderick Kingsley! It must be!" any more than they thought it was the Gladiator.
Posted by: kveto | August 14, 2016 2:54 AM
To be fair, this was just the start of the Hobgoblin mystery, so any clues should be subtle. You don't want anyone guessing Roderick Kingsley right off the bat.
And if the clothes modification was too subtle a clue, it's not like the only one Stern dropped in this set of issues: (1) the man behind the mask claims he knows how to wield power, implying he already has some; (2) he has underworld connections; (3) he has no personal grudge against Spider-Man, at least not yet (Spider-Man is mentioned only as an after-thought; this should be enough of a clue to eliminate any of his older enemies); (4) seems to be a public figure of some sort (his thoughts as Spider-Man approaches to unmask him: "He mustn't discover who I am! The disgrace would be too great!" Granted, anyone might think this, but it sure seemed like a clue the man was some sort of celebrity); (5) has the capacity to murder someone in cold blood (sorry, but that's not you Ned Leeds).
As fnord indicates above, though, you had to have read Stern's run on PPTSM to even begin to guess Roderick since he hadn't made any appearances in Amazing yet.
Posted by: ira13 | August 22, 2016 7:58 PM
Very minor correction, fnord: inker for ASM #238 was John Romita Sr, not Jr.
Posted by: ira13 | August 23, 2016 9:30 PM
Posted by: fnord12 | August 24, 2016 10:33 AM
Hobby should have been Pete's clone.
Posted by: MindlessOne | April 25, 2017 10:17 PM
"it's possible to pick up on a clue that the Hobgoblin is in fact Roderick Kingsely...due to the fact that...he personally modified and dyed the costume."
Considering how many superheroes and -villains just so happen to have enough knowledge of clothes-making to make and repair their own costumes, does that even really count as a clue?
Posted by: Morgan Wick | April 29, 2017 2:11 AM
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