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in French folklore, small household spirit, similar to the Celtic brownie. Goblins perform household tasks but also can make mischief, such as pulling the covers off sleepers. They like wine and pretty children.
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Calculating, cackling, and cold-blooded, the Hobgoblin, a familiar yet dangerously different threat to the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man vol. 1 #238 (1983). When escaping bank robber George Hill discovers one of the Green Goblin's abandoned lairs, complete with a cache of the Goblin's weapons— electrical blast-firing gloves, goblin grenades, exploding jack-o-lanterns, batwinged aerial Goblin Gliders, and a strength-enhancing formula—he calls an unidentified crime associate to whom he intends to sell this equipment. Hill's mystery contact kills him, keeping the arsenal for himself, modifying the supervillain's uniform to become the Hobgoblin, Spider- Man's newest challenge. The Hobgoblin challenged Marvel Comics readers as well. The character's co-creator, writer Roger Stern, countered the expectations to introduce a new Green Goblin to follow the original, Norman Osborn, and his successors, his son Harry Osborn and Bart Hamilton, by inventing an all-new character. As Stan Lee and Steve Ditko did two decades earlier with the identity of the Green Goblin, Stern and penciler Ron Frenz kept Hobgoblin's true identity a secret, tantalizing fans who speculated over the libertine's alter ego. Hobgoblin's identity had yet to be disclosed when Stern vacated the title in 1984. Over the course of several years and in the hands of several writers, unmasked and/or revealed as the Hobgoblin were financier Roderick Kingsley, goon-for-hire Arnold “Lefty” Donovan, Daily Bugle reporter Ned Leeds (whose body was found in a Hobgoblin uniform, leaving readers assuming for some time that he was the villain), and the former Jack O'Lantern Jason Macendale (the incarnation of the Hobgoblin that appeared on the 1994–1998 Spider-Man animated television cartoon, voiced by Mark Hamill); even long-time Spider- Man supporting-cast member Flash Thompson was discovered doped up and dressed as Hobgoblin. Confusing matters even more were the introductions of the Demogoblin in Web of Spider-Man #86 (1992)—N'Astirh, an otherwordly fiend that at first used Macendale's body as an earthly host then split into a separate Demogoblin form—and a fourth, superhero Green Goblin, Phil Urich, in 1995. What had originally seemed like a good idea had spiraled out of control with too many twists and red herrings, and Stern and Frenz reunited for the miniseries Spider-Man: Hobgoblin Lives (1997) to establish that Kingsley, Stern's original choice, was the real Hobgoblin. In the “Goblins at the Gate” storyline in Spectacular Spider-Man #259–#261 (1998), the original Green Goblin, Norman Osborn, who had recently returned from the dead, clashed with Hobgoblin. Kingsley retreated to the Caribbean, and the Hobgoblin has since remained in retirement, other than an occasional appearance as a collector-targeted mini-bust or action figure. The Ultimate Hobgoblin was part of the Ultimate Spider-Man's (2000–present) reimagining of the web-slinger. In this continuity, instead of succeeding his father as Green Goblin II, Norman Osborn's son Harry underwent a fiery transformation into a monstrous Hobgoblin, beginning in Ultimate Spider-Man #75–#76 (2005).
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
1. an evil or mischievous goblin
2. a bogey; bugbear
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005