Spider-Man Hobgoblin Saga: Essential Issues

The Original Spider-Man Hobgoblin Saga

When Roger Stern took over the writing duties of Amazing Spider-Man, he introduced a new villain from the ashes of the Green Goblin in order to keep things fresh. Along with this new villain came the mystery of characters true identity, which lasted for more than a decade. The main suspects of the Spider-Man Hobgoblin mystery throughout the series were:

  • Flash Thompson, Peter Parker’s childhood nemesis-turned-friend
  • Ned Leeds, Daily Bugle reporter with his marriage to Betty Brant on the rocks. First appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #18 (BUY).
  • Lance Bannon, Peter’s rival photographer at the Daily Bugle.  First appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #208 (BUY).
  • Roderick Kingsley, Fashion and business magnate. First appeared in Spectacular Spider-Man #43 (BUY).
  • Richard Fisk, son of Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin. First appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #83 (BUY).

Added into this mystery is the Rose, another character whose identity was a mystery, and who came into an alliance with the Hobgoblin.  As Stern left, Tom DeFalco picked up the writing duties, but also left just prior to revealing the Hobgoblin’s identity.  Peter David then wrote the grand reveal of both Hobgoblin and the Rose’s identities, which inadvertently turned out to be the reverse identities of what  DeFalco had planned.

Most of this storyline took place in the what could be called Spider-Man’s Copper Age, of which the Spider-Man Hobgoblin Saga played an important role, appearing throughout as its mystery hung over the nearly the entire “Age”.

These are the essential issues need to get the original Hobgoblin Saga.

First Appearance of the Hobgoblin

spider-man hobgoblin
A small-time crook discovers Norman Osborn’s secret Green Goblin lair, and tips off an unknown individual, who keeps the equipment to himself to become the Hobgoblin. The first Spider-Man Hobgoblin battle ensues.

Spider-Man Hobgoblin Saga Essential Issues:
Amazing Spider-Man #238 (BUY)
Amazing Spider-Man #239 (BUY)

Spider-Man Hobgoblin Battle during Search for Osborn’s Formula

spider-man hobgoblin
As the Hobgoblin searches for the Green Goblin’s formula, Spider-Man enters the picture. Lefty Donovan is killed impersonating the Hobgoblin, covering the tracks of the original.

Spider-Man Hobgoblin Saga Essential Issues:
Amazing Spider-Man #244 (BUY)
Amazing Spider-Man #245 (BUY)

Hobgoblin Gains Super-Powers

spider-man hobgoblin
The Hobgoblin uses the formula to gain the same powers as the Green Goblin.

Spider-Man Hobgoblin Saga Essential Issues:
Spectacular Spider-Man #85 (BUY)

Hobgoblin Holds Businessmen for Ransom

spider-man hobgoblin

The Spider-Man Hobgoblin mystery deepens, as the Hobgoblin holds many businessmen for ransom, such as Kingsley, Harry Osborn (through the existence of his father’s journals) and J. Jonah Jameison (through proof of his role in the creation of the Scorpion). This meeting sets up many of the possible candidates for the Hobgoblin’s true identity.

Spider-Man Hobgoblin Saga Essential Issues:
Amazing Spider-Man #249 (BUY)
Amazing Spider-Man #250 (BUY)
Amazing Spider-Man #251 (BUY)

Hobgoblin Joins With the Rose

spider-man hobgoblin
The Hobgoblin makes an alliance with the the Rose, another unidentified masked villain, as they take over many activities in the criminal underworld. He then kidnaps MJ and a pregnant Liz Osborn in his attempt to find more of the Green Goblin’s journals. Harry helps Spider-Man save them.

Spider-Man Hobgoblin Saga Essential Issues:
Amazing Spider-Man #259 (BUY)
Amazing Spider-Man #260 (BUY)
Amazing Spider-Man #261 (BUY)

Flash Thompson Set Up as the Hobgoblin

spider-man hobgoblin
The Hobgoblin sets up another individual to be revealed in his costume, in this case, Flash Thompson. As Flash is crossed off the list of suspects, Ned Leeds increasingly becomes the prime candidate, as he has a major beef with Flash who has been getting closer to his estranged wife, Betty Leeds.

Spider-Man Hobgoblin Saga Essential Issues:
Amazing Spider-Man #275 (BUY)
Amazing Spider-Man #276 (BUY)
Amazing Spider-Man #277 (BUY)

Flash Thompson Escapes Prison

Jack O’Lantern breaks Flash Thompson out of prison, further complicating his predicament.

Spider-Man Hobgoblin Saga Essential Issues:
Amazing Spider-Man #279 (BUY)

Gang War sets up the penultimate Spider-Man Hobgoblin battle

spider-man hobgoblin
As the Kingpin is absent from the New York gang scene, a territorial war heats up, which includes the Hobgoblin and the Rose. Richard Fisk is strongly hinted at being the Rose.

Spider-Man Hobgoblin Saga Essential Issues:
Amazing Spider-Man #284 (BUY)
Amazing Spider-Man #285 (BUY)
Amazing Spider-Man #286 (BUY)
Amazing Spider-Man #287 (BUY)
Amazing Spider-Man #288 (BUY)

Hobgoblin Revealed as Ned Leeds, Rose as Richard Fisk

spider-man hobgoblin
Ned Leeds is killed in Berlin, and is then revealed posthumously to have been the Hobgoblin. Jason Macendale, AKA Jack O’Lantern, is the assassin and takes over the mantle of the Hobgoblin. Richard Fisk reveals how he and Ned set about their plans to take over the gangs of New York.

Spider-Man Hobgoblin Saga Essential Issues:
Spider-Man vs. Wolverine #1 – Ned Leeds is killed (BUY)
Amazing Spider-Man #289 – Ned Leeds revealed as Hobgoblin (BUY)
Web of Spider-Man #29 (BUY)
Web of Spider-Man #30 – The secret of the Rose (BUY)

Hobgoblin Lives Again, Kingsley Revealed

spider-man hobgoblin
The mystery of the Hobgoblin is revisited. Roderick Kingsley in revealed to have been the Hobgoblin all along, having orchestrated Ned Leeds being revealed as the Hobgoblin, just like he did with Lefty Donovan and Flash Thompson.

Spider-Man Hobgoblin Saga Essential Issues:
Spider-Man Hobgoblin Lives miniseries #1-3 (BUY)

Green Goblin versus Hobgoblin

As Norman Osborn returns to the land of the living, he seeks out the Hobgoblin. Kingsley escapes jail, but has his company bought out from under him by Osborn. Kingsley escapes to the Caribbean, and is never seen from again.  Roderick returns much later, but never in such a role as he had in the past.

Spider-Man Hobgoblin Saga Essential Issues:
Spectacular Spider-Man #259 (BUY)
Spectacular Spider-Man #260 (BUY)
Spectacular Spider-Man #261 (BUY)

If you liked this list of essential Spider-Man Hobgoblin Issues, check out the Essential Issues category on this blog

or our

simple, searchable Spider-Man reading order.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *