The Hobgoblin is a fictional character, a supervillain appearing in the Marvel Comics universe as an enemy of Spider-Man who uses a variant of the persona of the Green Goblin. Although there have technically been five characters to take up the Hobgoblin guise in the mainstream Marvel Universe, only three of them did so without being manipulated into the role.
Roderick Kingsley The original Hobgoblin, Roderick Kingsley, was an enemy of Spider-Man and for a large portion of his criminal career, he initially had no superhuman powers, though he did acquire them later. Of all of Spider-Man's enemies who tried to adopt Norman Osborn's legacy, only Kingsley came as close to being as threatening and dangerous as the original Green Goblin. He wore a variant of the Green Goblin's costume distinguished by a hood, cape and a different color scheme.
Character biography Roderick Kingsley started out as a fashion designer and millionaire, who had criminal underworld connections and had come about his wealth through unethical business practices and corporate raiding. Coincidentally, he was also the employer of Mary Jane Watson for a time. As a means of avoiding the drill of day to day appearances, he had his timid identical twin brother Daniel pose as him to run his corporation day-by-day. Daniel would become just as terrified of Roderick's alter ego as anybody else. An associate of his, George Hill, discovered the secret lair of Norman Osborn. Although the hoodlum had no idea what he had found, he reported his discovery to Kingsley in hopes of earning a reward. Kingsley rewarded Hill by killing him to make sure that no one else got wind of the discovery.
Upon examining the lair and gleaning the secrets within it, Kingsley decided to adopt the legacy of the Green Goblin almost in its entirety. Using the Green Goblin's equipment, Kingsley adopted the identity of the Hobgoblin. His activities included using some of Norman Osborn's files on prominent figures to blackmail them, and attempting to buy Osborn's old corporation and merge it with his own. These antics inevitably brought him into conflict with Spider-Man. Kingsley perceived Spider-Man as a nuisance and sought to eliminate him almost as an afterthought, rather than a principal goal. Kingsley also found among Norman's notes incomplete remnants of the strength enhancing potion of Norman Osborn. He became obsessed with finding the complete formula or perfecting the incomplete notes. In his various criminal activities Kingsley repeatedly lost to the web-slinger, as he lacked the raw physical power of Spider-Man.
Persistent and extremely intelligent, Kingsley eventually recovered the strength-enhancing potion he sought. Being well aware that the formula had driven Osborn insane, Kingsley was not about to try it until he had tested it on someone else. He tricked a small-time hood in his employ, Lefty Donovan, into administering the formula and then used mind control to force Donovan to fight Spider-Man in the Hobgoblin costume. From a distance, Kingsley carefully monitored Donovan's vital signs and behavior. When Spider-Man overwhelmed and unmasked Donovan, and his brainwashing begin to fail, Kingsley acted quickly to protect his identity by programming Donovan's glider to crash, instantly killing Lefty. Though his tenure as a Hobgoblin was brief, he is considered a second Hobgoblin. Judging that the experiment was a success, Kingsley then immersed himself in his completed derivative of the Goblin formula and gained slightly greater strength than even the original Green Goblin.
Now that he had become a physical match for Spider-Man, the Hobgoblin became more ambitious in his villainy. Despite his increased abilities, he was still narrowly defeated by Spider-Man. Worse still, he seemed to have attracted the attention of powerful criminal interests who perceived him as a threat, among these the infamous Kingpin. After a bitter encounter with Spider-Man, Kingsley discovered he had been followed by Daily Bugle reporter Ned Leeds, who had discovered his lair. Kingsley carefully brainwashed Ned Leeds with hypnosis and hallucinogenics into becoming the third Hobgoblin, who acted in concert with Kingsley. Though Leeds lacked superhuman strength, he was effective in his role due to his investigative skills (in fact, he was more effective than the Hobgoblin IV after he had acquired superhuman abilities). Kingsley also discovered that Leeds had been working with the Kingpin's son, Richard Fisk, on a plan to bring down the Kingpin and his empire. Fisk had now adopted the identity of the Rose and posed as a crimelord. Kingsley used Leeds to handle some of the negotiations, fooling many into believing that Leeds was the Hobgoblin. He hoped to use the Kingpin's downfall as an opportunity to advance his own interests.
However, as time progressed, the Rose and Hobgoblin's plan got out of hand. Kingsley wanted to escape from his identity, looked for a way out and decided to target Flash Thompson, a vocal advocate of Spider-Man who had insulted the Hobgoblin on national television, incurring Kingsley's wrath. Kingsley attempted to frame Thompson as the Hobgoblin, so that his criminal enemies might target him instead. The plan was foiled through intervention of Jason Philip Macendale Jr., who subsequently broke Thompson out of jail. Jason Philip Macendale Jr. was a mercenary who had been trained by the CIA and various para-military organizations, and was known in his costumed identity as Jack O'Lantern (a cheap knock-off of the Green Goblin). When Macendale discovered that Thompson was not the Hobgoblin, the latter grew furious; he had planned to operate "under the radar" while Thompson was in jail. Thompson was ultimately exonerated legally.
When the Kingpin temporarily abdicated his role at the head of organized crime on the eastern seaboard, the resulting gang war tore New York City apart. During the conflict the Hobgoblin and the Rose had a falling out, with the latter ordering the former's assassination as he had become too dangerous. The Hobgoblin sold the Rose's identity to the Kingpin in exchange for information that would aid Leeds in a story, thus reinforcing the illusion of the latter's identity. Also, during the conflict the Hobgoblin fiercely defeated Jack O'Lantern, causing the latter to seek another way to destroy his enemy.
Macendale paid the supervillain known as the Foreigner to take Leeds out. On an overseas assignment with Peter Parker, Leeds was murdered in his hotel room. As Spider-Man, Peter was later told by the Kingpin that Leeds had been the Hobgoblin and shown a series of photos of the assassination. Although known in parts of the underworld, this information did not become public until many years later when Macendale revealed it at the end of his trial. For many years Leeds was considered to be the original Hobgoblin. Kingsley's plan had worked: his enemies thought they had killed the Hobgoblin and now he could take his ill-gotten gains and retire to Belize. This paved the way for Macendale to take up the role, an unforeseen development that would eventually force Kingsley out of retirement to protect his secret identity (Macendale had enough information to possibly lead the authorities to discover the true identity of the Hobgoblin).
After a retirement of several years, Kingsley returned to New York. He killed Macendale in his jail cell, declaring that he alone deserved the mantle of the Hobgoblin. However, this act was probably more motivated to protect his own identity (although Macendale had thoroughly soiled the Hobgoblin name). Had he then dropped the identity again, it is likely he never would have been caught. But being the Hobgoblin again proved to be too intoxicating. Kingsley kidnapped Betty Brant and set a trap for Spider-Man. In the final fracas, Daniel Kingsley was captured and the Hobgoblin was unmasked, clearing Ned Leeds' name. Roderick Kingsley was taken to prison.
Not long after Kingsley's arrest, he took up the mantle of the Hobgoblin once more. Furious at the now returned Norman Osborn's denial of being the Green Goblin, Kingsley decided to spread rumours that there existed a secret journal of Osborn's that proved beyond a doubt that he was the Green Goblin (although this was a ruse: Kingsley himself had destroyed all of the journals years before). He offered to barter for his freedom with this information with the District Attorney, guessing that Norman Osborn would try to get to him first. As he anticipated, Osborn, deciding to make a deal with Kingsley, broke him out of prison. Kingsley was then confronted by both Osborn and the mysterious fifth Green Goblin. Osborn provided Kingsley with new Hobgoblin equipment, and both Goblins swooped in to collect Daniel Kingsley, now in protective custody, whom Roderick claimed knew the location of the final journal. Spider-Man tried to defend Daniel, but was drugged, and both men were taken back to Norman Osborn.
It was then that Osborn revealed the truth. He explained that he knew that Kingsley was lying about the journal and that he had completely bought Kingsley's company out from underneath him. Furious, Kingsley attacked, and a titanic battle between Osborn, the Green Goblin and the Hobgoblin took place. The building began to burn down as a result, and Spider-Man was barely able to safely escape with Daniel Kingsley. All three of the villains managed to escape as well, but Norman Osborn appeared to emerge victorious from the ordeal. Yet, Kingsley still had several million dollars hidden away in foreign bank accounts, and quietly moved to a small island in the Caribbean to enjoy his retirement. Although he did wonder to himself, while sipping a martini, whether someday the Hobgoblin would return...
In the limited series Secret War, a character in a new variation of the costume appeared, identified as the Hobgoblin, but it appears to be someone new to the Goblinhood.
Powers and abilities In the beginning of his career Kingsley had no superhuman abilities, but possessed a keen analytical intellect with enough knowledge of chemistry and biology to understand the notes of Norman Osborn regarding the Green Goblin Formula and other inventions to the extent that Kingsley was eventually able to complete Norman's work and even improved many of Osborn's various inventions. He also had expertise in areas outside of the original Green Goblin's knowledge. Kingsley was a master of hypnosis and drug induced mind control. Kingsley was highly skilled in the management of both criminal organizations and legally run professional businesses. He was also a talented fashion designer.
Due to the green chemical that he bathed in, Kingsley possesses superhuman strength similar to that of Spider-Man. His reflexes, speed, and stamina are also enhanced to superhuman levels, as well as his intelligence, but at an extraordinary level. He was actually physically stronger than the original Green Goblin in the beginning, because of longer exposure to the formula. The derivative of the Green Goblin formula Kingsley used did not apparently drive him insane as the original formula did to Norman Osborn, thanks to some certain modifications, though both Kingsley and his brother did at times worry that he had indeed developed insanity.
He is armed with a variety of bizarre incendiary devices and uses a Goblin Glider as a personal transport. It can reach velocities of well over 300 miles per hour and is extremely maneuverable.
Jason Macendale The next Hobgoblin, Jason Macendale, was an enemy of Spider-Man formerly known as Jack'O'Lantern. Originally, he had no superhuman powers, then later gained them at the cost of his sanity, lost them, and then gained different superhuman powers only to be assassinated in prison by Roderick Kingsley.
Macendale was obsessed with finding the secret formula of super human strength of the original Green Goblin. However, he did not have the scientific expertise of the Green Goblin or the original Hobgoblin to recreate or complete the formula, whilst his attempts to steal it from Harry Osborn failed as the latter did not have it at the time. After Osborn had donned the identity of the Green Goblin and beaten Macendale in a fight, the latter sought alternative means to gain similar abilities. During a demonic incursion on New York City, Macendale foolishly offered to sell his soul to N'astirh in exchange for the power of a demon. Although N'astirh stood to profit nothing from such a deal and could easily have disintegrated Macendale he thought it would be funnier to graft a demon onto him.
Macendale went insane as a result of this transformation, and became convinced that he was appointed by God to kill sinners. It was in this state that the Hobgoblin joined the temporarily reassembled Sinister Six. However, the two identities of Macendale and the demon fought fiercely over control of the body. Shortly thereafter, the demonic presence physically separated itself from Macendale and continued its purge of the city, calling itself the Demogoblin. The Demogoblin also wanted to destroy Macendale, and Spider-Man found himself in the middle of the two clashing Goblins. In a final battle in a cathedral, the Demogoblin was destroyed when it moved to protect a child, which it deemed an innocent, and was crushed by a falling pillar.
Powerless once more, Macendale obtained the strength formula of Kraven the Hunter. Subsequently, he had himself outfitted with cybernetic implants, but he still was unable to best Spider-Man and was incarcerated. While in prison he was apparently murdered by the original Hobgoblin, but has more recently appeared in his Jack O'Lantern guise, as a prisoner of S.H.I.E.L.D., his interrogation being one of the first events leading to the Secret War (however, it is believed this interrogation took place sometime in the past, when he was still operating as the Jack O'Lantern).
Powers and abilities Hobgoblin IV possessed essentially the same powers and paraphernalia as Kraven the Hunter 1, but at a higher level because of the anomalies in his bloodstream that came from Demogoblin which interacted with the serum. After his attempts to force Harry to give him the Goblin formula which at the time Harry didn't have, he did make a deal with a demon during Inferno that turned him into a demon with super strength, speed, and agility, as well as hellfire powers, but the human and demon later split into two beings. Later he managed to acquire the performance enhancing formula of Kraven the Hunter instead, which enhanced his athletic abilities and senses, but the serum may have soon worn off like with Kraven. He later had his body augmented cybernetically.
Macendale did have superior military training in hand-to-hand combat, espionage, and knowledge of conventional weaponry than any other individual to bear the goblin mantle. He used conventional military weapons more often than his predecessor. He was able to make improvements to the maneuverability to the goblin glider also. Macendale had a masters degree in mechanical engineering and physics.
Behind the Scenes Controversy The Hobgoblin was created by writer Roger Stern when he was writing the Amazing Spider-Man in the early 1980s. Like other writers Stern found himself under pressure to have Spider-Man fight the Green Goblin again but did not wish to bring Norman Osborn or Bart Hamilton back from the dead, have Harry Osborn become the Green Goblin again or create yet another Green Goblin. Instead he decided to create a new character as heir to the Goblin's legacy and developed the Hobgoblin.
A key part of the character's appeal was that his identity was not initially revealed, generating one of the longest running mysteries in the Spider-Man comics. However Stern left the series after Amazing Spider-Man #252 and subsequent writers struggled with the question of the identity. Interviews and articles written by various writers, most notably Tom DeFalco and Peter David, artist Ron Frenz and editor James Owsley (now known as Christopher Priest) are all somewhat at odds with one another over many details about the course of events and what was agreed. However all sources agree that De Falco, who had taken over the writing chores on the title, was due to bring the storyline to a revelation when he suddenly departed the title. Owsley then wrote the one-shot Spider-Man vs Wolverine in which Leeds was killed off (though the actual death was not shown), fully intending that Leeds was not the Hobgoblin. Shortly afterwards Peter David (at the time the regular writer on Spectacular Spider-Man) was commissioned to write Amazing Spider-Man #289, a double sized issue in which the Hobgoblin's identity would be revealed. After examining the recent issues David came to the conclusion that the only person who fit the clues was Ned Leeds, and so wrote the unusual revelation issue in which a dead man was revealed as the villain. With Spider-Man's then-archenemy now dead, a new Hobgoblin was created from the storyline of Macendale's hatred of the Hobgoblin.
The revelations proved controversial and many fans felt that the Macendale Hobgoblin was subsequently treated poorly, often coming across as one of the weaker Spider-Man villains. Roger Stern pitched the idea for a Spider-Man story in which it would be revealed that Leeds had not been the Hobgoblin after all and the real identity would be revealed. Working on the basis that Leeds' death was implausible given the Hobgoblin's strength, the limited series Spider-Man: Hobgoblin Lives was commissioned in which Kingsley was revealed as the original Hobgoblin, ending the mystery after over thirteen years.
Ultimate Hobgoblin See: Ultimate Harry Osborn
Recently in Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man the Hobgoblin from the year 2211 has surfaced. Her connection, if any, to the original has yet to be explained. It seems she is killing Spider-Men from different realities. Her costume appears to be similar to the Green Goblin's rather than the Hobgoblin's.
Hobgoblin 2211 first appeared in Spider-Man 2099 Meets Spider-Man. She was created by Peter David.
[Spoiler warningSpoiler warning]: Plot and/or ending details follow. It was revealed in Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #8 that Hobgoblin 2211 is the daughter of Spider-Man 2211. Nicknamed "Hobby" and "Hob" as a child, her father always seemed to put his superhero career before raising his own daughter. As a result, she became a wanted fugitive, with her father on her trail.
Hobgoblin in MC2 The original Hobgoblin made his MC2 debut in Spider-Girl #97, as a hired assasin to kill many of the Spider-Girl characters, including Normie Osborn, Spider-Girl, and Peter Parker.
Hobgoblin in the 1990s Spider-Man series
Harry with a pumpkin bomb thrown at him in the Spider-Man 3 teaser trailer
The only dramatic appearance of the character is in the 1990s animated Spider-Man series. In that series, the Hobgoblin (Jason Macendale) was voiced by Mark Hamill. He appears first with his equipment supplied by Norman Osborn. Osborn became the Green Goblin later in the series leading to some confusion between the two criminals.
The Hobgoblin originally appeared as a criminal-turned-assassin hired by Norman Osborn to kill New York's most feared criminal mastermind, the Kingpin. Osborn was indebted to the Kingpin for various shady loans that resulted in Osborn being unable to repay. After the assassination is foiled by the appearance of Spider-Man and Peter Parker, Osborn refuses to pay the Hobgoblin because of his failure. This sets off a chain of events in which the Hobgoblin aligns with the Kingpin and kidnaps Harry Osborn in order for the elder Osborn to make good on his payment, but Hobgoblin eventually betrays the Kingpin because of his high aspirations. The story concludes with the Kingpin, Osborn, and Spider-Man all loosely allying themselves to defeat the Hobgoblin, who escapes after crash-landing into the water. In the end, Osborn sells 50% of his company to the Kingpin in order to repay his debt, Harry Osborn is returned safely, and the Kingpin rebuilds his headquarters.
Hogoblin went on to make two more appearances, first in crossover with the X-Men animated series, and later in the second "Green Goblin" story arc. He appeared in that story first in his civilian identity of Jason Macendale, in which he courted Felicia Hardy (known in the comics as the Black Cat. After his battle, as Hobgoblin, with Norman Osborn, his dual identity was revealed and his engagement with Felicia was called off and he was finally incarcerated.In Spider-Man 3, it is believed Harry Osborn will either become the Hobgoblin or the second Green Goblin to take on Spider-Man. While him becoming the second Green Goblin is thought to have been revealed in the teaser trailer, the teaser trailer also shows Harry having a pumpkin bomb thrown at him, hinting that someone with the Goblin equipment may be attacking him.