Goblins a Go-Go, Part 3 (Mania.com)

By:Arnold T. Blumberg
Date: Monday, April 29, 2002

Last time we looked at the beginning of the Hobgoblin saga, and how the true Hobby created his persona based on the technology and costume of the Green Goblin. Now we'll examine his strategy of duping other parties into donning the Hobgoblin gear in order to conceal his identity from Spider-Man and the rest of the world. And then it will be time to unveil the one true Hobgoblin once again, so if you don't know the secret yet (and where have you been?), you will before this final installment is over. The end is near...

It had to happen. The two Goblins square off in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #312.

Hobgoblin IV - Jason Macendale: Macendale had been operating in the Marvel Universe for some time as the Jack O'Lantern, a third-rate Goblin wanna-be who tussled with Machine Man and Spidey (in PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #56). Never a very successful criminal, Macendale had a rivalry with the Hobgoblin and was therefore quite happy to have him killed (but remember, that was Ned). He then assumed the mantle of the Hobgoblin for himself, immediately kicking up his criminal cache several notches. But even with the new costume, new name, and a host of new enemies he hadn't counted on, Macendale was inept at the super-villain game, and even a temporary demonic possession and later cyborg enhancements didn't help him all that much. Eventually he too was offed, this time by the real Hobgoblin, who decided that the one thing he didn't like was a cheap imitation. But long before Macendale and Leeds, there was still another poor sap who wore the Hobgoblin guise for his manipulative master...

Is this the end of the Hobgoblin? Of course not! Cover to AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #251.

Hobgoblin II - Lefty Donovan: In the first major twist in the Hobgoblin saga, readers believed they had finally learned the true identity of Spider-Man's new foe when in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #245, Lefty was unmasked as Hobby. But he was merely one of the real Hobgoblin's middle men, a petty thug who performed one significant task for the Hobgoblin facilitating the new villain's acquisition of the Goblin formula that gave Norman Osborn super strength (and sent him spiraling into madness). When Donovan mixed up the formula under the real Hobby's guidance and it blew up, scarring Donovan's face, he then donned the Hobgoblin suit under a pre-arranged hypnotic suggestion and went to confront Spider-Man. He died just before telling Spidey the name of his boss, which brings us to...

Hobgoblin I - (?): It's very rare for a creator to have the opportunity to return years after a story has already been laid to rest and unearth the past in order to set things right. Roger Stern had a plan in mind for the Hobgoblin all along, but circumstances derailed that train of thought and led to the Ned Leeds revelation after Stern's departure. Thankfully, Marvel saw the light and eventually invited Stern back to reveal the true identity of the Hobgoblin in the three-issue mini-series, SPIDER-MAN: HOBGOBLIN LIVES, in 1997.

In the mini-series, Macendale tells everyone during his trial that Ned Leeds was the Hobgoblin, but the real McCoy just can't take this anymore. It's an ego thing, you see. And lo and behold, after all this time, the one true Hobgoblin emerges from the shadows and a very restful retirement (who says super-villains always have to keep turning up for one grudge match after another?) to reclaim his rightful position as the greatest arch-enemy Spider-Man never knew. Unmasked at last, the original Hobgoblin was actually fashion designer Roderick Kingsley (who first appeared in the Spider-mythos way back in PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #43). Kingsley was one of the top suspects back in the day, but of course the Ned Leeds business threw everyone off for some time.

Jason Macendale first tangled with Spidey as Jack O'Lantern in PETER PARKER #56.

Kingsley had been bored with his millionaire lifestyle and decided to venture into criminal enterprise via the Hobgoblin identity, hoping to eliminate his competition and one-up the first Goblin, Norman Osborn himself. He wasn't too keen on getting his hands dirty, however, even after acquiring the Goblin's super-strength (in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #85), and hid behind a number of patsies (see above) rather than getting into Spider-scuffles every day. Later, after taking care of the unpredictable Leeds through Macendale and the Foreigner, Kingsley just gave up entirely and went away to Europe (unknowingly mirroring the same retreat that his Goblin predecessor, Osborn, had taken earlier following Norman's apparent death). But Macendale was even more annoying, and when he dared to "reveal" the truth about the Hobgoblin's identity, Kingsley couldn't take the blow to his ego.

Back from retirement, Kingsley killed Macendale and took up his old Hobby (heh heh), but when Spider-Man finally captured him and put him behind bars, Kingsley decided to break out by goading the now resurrected Norman Osborn into springing him from the hoosegow. In the event, he was actually helped by a Goblin substitute (Norman also played the patsy game), but he did confront the original Green Goblin and live to tell the tale. Kingsley has once more retreated into exile, but who knows? Now that the Green Goblin is making such a ruckus again these days, his upstart replacement may just get the urge to return and make life even more miserable for our favorite wall-crawler. For truly, the Hobgoblin Lives!