|The Green Goblin|
Green Goblin drawn by Luke Ross.
|First appearance||(As Green Goblin) Amazing Spider-Man #14 (July 1964); (As Norman Osborn, unnamed) Amazing Spider-Man #23 (April 1965); (named) Amazing Spider-Man #37 (June 1966); (As Iron Patriot) Dark Avengers #1 (March 2009)|
|Created by||Stan Lee
|Alter ego||Norman Virgil Osborn|
|Team affiliations||Dark Avengers
Commission on Superhuman Activities
|Notable aliases||Iron Patriot, Goblin Lord, Overlord, the Goblin, "Gobby", Scrier|
The Green Goblin is a fictional character, a supervillain that appears in stories published by Marvel Comics.The character first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #14 (July 1964), and was created by writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko. Although there have been many people who have taken up this mantle, the most well-known is the original Green Goblin, Norman Osborn. He is one of Spider-Man's most persistent foes, and is considered one of the archenemies of Spider-Man. Having been directly responsible for numerous tragedies in Spider-Man's life, such as the death of Gwen Stacy and masterminding the entire Clone Saga. He is also the lead protagonist of the Dark Reign series. After a serum enhanced industrialist Norman Osborn's physical abilities and intellect it also drove him insane, he adopted a Halloween-themed appearance, dressing in a goblin costume and using an arsenal of high-tech weapons, notably grenade-like "Pumpkin Bombs" while riding on a bat-shaped "Goblin Glider" to terrorize New York City The character was ranked number 19 on Wizard Magazine's Top 100 Greatest Villains Ever list and 27th greatest comic book character on Wizard's top 200 comic book characters. In 2009, Norman Osborn was also ranked as IGN's 13th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time, with a sidenote that they may rate him higher after the Dark Reign arc finishes. He also placed #11 on GuysNation's Top Villains of All Time. Comics journalist and historian Mike Conroy writes of the character: "Of all the costumed villains who've plagued Spider-Man over the years, the most flat-out unhinged and terrifying of them all is the Green Goblin."
According to Steve Ditko, the Green Goblin, as we know him, was entirely his creation. He claims:
|“||Stan's synopsis for the Green Goblin had a movie crew, on location, finding an Egyptian-like sarcophagus. Inside was an ancient, mythological demon, the Green Goblin. He naturally came to life. On my own, I changed Stan's mythological demon into a human villain.||”|
The Green Goblin first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #14. His true identity was unknown. He proved popular and reappeared in later issues which made a point of his secret identity. Apparently, Lee and Ditko disagreed on who he should be. According to one theory, Lee always wanted him to be someone Peter Parker knew, while Ditko wanted him to be a stranger, feeling this was closer to real life. Ditko seems to have refuted this rumor, however, claiming:
|“||So I had to have some definite ideas: who he was, his profession and how he fit into the Spider-Man story world. I was even going to use an earlier, planted character associated with J. Jonah Jameson: he [was to] be [revealed as] the Green Goblin. It was like a subplot working its way until it was ready to play an active role.||”|
Ditko left the series before he could reveal the Goblin's identity and Lee decided in #39 to identify him as Norman Osborn, a character who had been introduced only two issues earlier, the father of Harry Osborn, introduced in #31. John Romita, Sr., who replaced Ditko as the title's artist, recalls:
|“||Stan wouldn’t have been able to stand it if Ditko did the story and didn’t reveal that the Green Goblin was Norman Osborn. I didn't know there was any doubt about Osborn being the Goblin. I didn't know that Ditko had just been setting Osborn up as a straw dog. I just accepted the fact that it was going to be Norman Osborn when we plotted it. I had been following the last couple of issues and didn't think there was really much mystery about it. Looking back, I doubt the Goblin's identity would have been revealed in Amazing #39 if Ditko had stayed on.||”|
After the Green Goblin killed Peter Parker's girlfriend Gwen Stacy writer Gerry Conway decided that the Goblin had to pay a heavy price. After he died writers have used others using his identity such as Harry Osborn. Also writer Roger Stern decided to create a new goblin and introduced the Hobgoblin to replace the Green Goblin as Spider-Man's archenemy.
During the Clone Saga, the Spider-Man writers were met with a massive outcry from many readers after the decision to replace Peter with his clone Ben Reilly as the regular, true Spider-Man. Eventually, the writers decided to reveal that one of Spider-Man's arch-enemies had been manipulating events from behind the scenes. The initial plan was to have Mephisto but it was felt a more down-to-earth character was needed. It was suggested that Harry Osborn, who was killed off in Spectacular Spider-Man #200, would be revealed to be the semi-zombified cyborg known as "Gaunt". Gaunt was a late entry to the controversial storyline, created mainly as a plot device to return Harry to life, as the plan for the character included Harry regaining his humanity, taking credit for tricking Peter Parker into thinking he was a clone, and resuming his identity as the Green Goblin full-time. However, the plotline was nixed by newly promoted editor in chief Bob Harras, who disliked the Harry Osborn character and instead had Norman be the mastermind and revealing Gaunt as Mendel Stromm.
The decision to resurrect the original Green Goblin was also very controversial; his death was part of "The Death of Gwen Stacy" storyline that was widely considered a classic, but it was deemed necessary by Marvel's then editor in chief. Osborn's return led to a brief stint in his original "evil" businessman role, minimizing his Goblin identity and leading to "The Final Chapter," which closed out the first volume of Amazing Spider-Man.
Following Civil War, Warren Ellis took over writing duties on Thunderbolts, and Osborn was brought into the title, as the team director, as he was one of the characters offered to Ellis, and was picked because, according to Thunderbolts editor Molly Lazer, "[t]here was something about Norman, his instability, and his fixation with Spider-Man that Warren liked, so he’s in the book!" However, Ellis admitted to not being that familiar with the character "all I remember of the Norman Osborn character was from the Spider-Man reprints my parents used to buy me when I was very young, and Norman Osborn was this guy with a weird rippled crewcut who was always sweating and his eyes were always bulging out of his head. That guy as a Donald Rumsfeld-like public governmental figure... [Joe Quesada] talked me into writing the book while I was still laughing." Lazer confirmed that the new team was answerable to the Commission on Superhuman Activities, giving him the opportunity to do what he wanted: "He's a free man with a lot of power .... And his agenda, well, it's not that secret. He wants to get Spider-Man." and Osborn became director of the team.
Writer Christos Gage would then take over for the Secret Invasion tie-in stories, which ended with Osborn taking credit for the defeat of the Skrulls. This allowed the character to be moved up into an influential position in the aftermath, Dark Reign. Although the dark turn at the end was always part of the plan for the storyline, Brian Michael Bendis, Secret Invasion's writer, says that Osborn was picked for the leading role because of the changes implemented by Ellis: "While I was putting it together, Warren [Ellis]'s Thunderbolts run made it very clear that if one would choose to do so, Norman was on track to head toward this kind of storyline, very organically, very in-character, and very much within the realm of what was going on.
Writer Bendis stated "Norman's team is made up of people who are outstanding at what they do. These are bad-ass, hardcore get-it-done types. They'll close the door and take care of business and he's dressing them up to make them something that the people want". Meanwhile, Andy Diggle, writer of The Losers, took over the writing of the Thunderbolts and introduced a new team drawing on characters with abilities that make the Thunderbolts into Osborn's black ops team, saying that "Norman selected agents with stealth, infiltration and assassination skills rather than overt flying-and-fighting type powers" and "now that he's reached a higher level, he's reconfiguring the Thunderbolts into something much more covert and much more lethal: his own personal hit squad". Diggle's Osborn is still mad: "To quote the movie 'Speed,' he's 'crazy, not stupid.' He's clearly fiercely intelligent and a natural born leader, with the ego and competitive drive to succeed against all odds. He also just happens to be crazy as a shithouse rat," going on to describe his take on Osborn: "I think the secret to understanding Norman is that he doesn't realize he's the villain. He thinks he's the hero. He truly believes that he deserves public adulation, and it bugs the hell out of him that so-called 'superheroes' are getting it instead of him."
The chemical solution devised by Norman Osborn from a formula originally conceived by Professor Mendel Stromm, turned Norman Osborn into the Green Goblin. In the process, he gained superhuman agility, strength, speed, stamina, and dexterity. Additionally, Osborn has gained a "healing factor" allowing him to quickly heal from lethal bodily damage (for example: being stabbed through the chest by large blades or have several pumpkin bombs strapped to his stomach). Aside from his physical advantages, the serum also greatly enhanced Norman's already above average intellect, making him a bona fide genius capable of making progress in advanced areas of genetics, robotics, engineering, physics and applied chemistry. The Goblin formula is also said to have driven Osborn mentally insane; defects in his personality were strongly augmented by the serum, resulting in dangerous mood-swings and hallucinations.
The Green Goblin is armed with a variety of bizarre devices. He travels on his bat-shaped "Goblin Glider", an incredibly fast and maneuverable rocket glider. The goblin glider is armed with heat-seeking missiles, machine guns, and retractable blades. Other weapons the Goblin uses are incendiary Pumpkin Bombs capable of melting through 3 inches (76 mm) of battleship steel, smoke and gas-emitting bombs with an appearance like a ghost, razor-edged bat-shaped boomerangs (similar to Batman's batarangs), and gloves woven with micro-circuited filaments which channel pulsed discharges of electricity at nearly 1,000 volts. He wears bulletproof chainmail with an overlapping tunic and cape. His mask has a built-in gas filter to keep himself safe from his own gasses.
Goblin Glider: The Goblin Glider's controls and microprocessor are located behind the head of the glider. The pilot is attached to the glider via electromagnetic clasps on the wings of the glider. It has great maneuverability and is steered mostly by leaning, but manual controls are available behind the head of the glider (the Green Goblin later added radio-linked voice controls in to his mask). It has a top speed of 90 miles per hour (140 km/h) and can support about 400 lb (180 kg), but could lift far more for brief moments of time. Flying at top speed with a full load and a full fuel tank would deplete its fuel supply in about an hour. The Goblin Glider traditionally resembles a bat.
It also possesses a wide array of armaments including; heat-seeking and smart missiles, machine guns, extending blades, a gun that shoots instantaneously crystallizing goo (only in The Spectacular Spider-Man) and a pumpkin bomb dispenser/launcher.
Pumpkin Bomb: A grenade used by the Green Goblin. A Pumpkin Bomb looks like a miniature Jack-o'-lantern and when thrown, ignites almost soundlessly and produce enough heat to melt through a 3-inch (76 mm) thick sheet of steel. The goblin holds these and a variety of other grenades in a shoulder bag he calls his "Bag Of Tricks". The Green Goblin has a range of other "Pumpkin Bombs" at his disposal. These include smoke and gas-emitting bombs. Some release hallucinogenic gases, while others emit a specially created mixture that neutralizes Spider-Man's Spider Sense for a limited period of time. All of these are covered in a light plastic mantle that flutter like a wraith when thrown.
Due to the events of the "Dark Reign" Osborn has created the new identity of the Iron Patriot (an amalgam of Captain America and Iron Man) to cement his standing as a hero. He now utilizes (aside from his organic abilities) a version of Iron Man's Extremis Armor. The armor grants superhuman strength, enhanced durability (via a pliable crystalline material with a molecular structure that can collimate into super-hard planes upon the application of an electrical field), a flight system, magnetic impact blasts, heat seeking missiles, miniaturized lasers, flamethrowers and a communications system housed in his helmet which allows interface with any U.S. controlled satellite or computer network. While the Iron Man armor that Osborn based his suit on used repulsor technology, Osborn's does not. Stark destroyed all but one repulsor, and stated that "Oz is too stupid" to make his own repulsor-based weapons system.
Norman Osborn has consistently been depicted with several unusual weaknesses related to his psychosis and to his personality. He suffers from manic depression. He has a pronounced superiority complex and, in some depictions, multiple-personality disorder. Finally, he is highly sadistic and shows disregard for the lives of innocent people who stand between himself and his objectives. These weaknesses have often been referenced in stories featuring him and exploited by his enemies.
In the pages of the Thunderbolts it is revealed that Norman Osborn is severely manic depressive. This has been referenced several times in a myriad of Spider-Man stories. When he is not under the direction of a psychiatrist and taking medication, he has dangerous mood swings and at the apex of his mania is paranoid, delusional, and suffers from visual and auditory hallucinations (such as hearing the voice of his Green Goblin persona and seeing its face in the mirror, rather than his own). As a consequence of Norman Osborn's incredible arrogance, he does not submit to psychiatric treatment unless forced because mental illness is an imperfection in his view and therefore he will not admit he is mentally ill. Not since the formation of the Thunderbolts, has Norman Osborn ever been seen as remotely emotionally stable and even this is tenuous. It has recently been revealed in his conversations with the mentally ill Sentry that Norman has come to accept his own mental illness.
There are many examples of Norman Osborn's highly pronounced superiority complex. He generally views other people as dim-witted pests, lacking in creative vision, who are unworthy to be graced by his presence. He goes out of his way to remind others of their personal failures and shortcomings, and tends to remind those in close relationships with him, such as his son, that they are incapable of measuring up to his achievements. These attributes have consistently been shown in stories featuring this character. For example, when he first learned Spider-Man's identity, he claimed that when Spider-Man previously had defeated him, it did not count because Spider-Man had only beaten his lackeys or been rescued by the intervention of other super powered beings such as the Human Torch. He also missed the opportunity to lead the original Sinister Six because he felt joining the group would be admitting that he needed the help of others to rid himself of Spider-Man.
Osborn has demonstrated that he is highly sadistic. While in prison, a guard once asked for his advice in helping his critically ill wife — Osborn's advice led her to a quicker and more agonizing death. As director of the Avengers, he allowed Bullseye to continue to function as a member of the Avengers, even after Bullseye allowed over 30 innocent bystanders to be killed during a skirmish with a supervillain. As director of H.A.M.M.E.R. he directed his officers to shoot down an airplane full of innocent people just to see if his enemy, Pepper Potts, was powerful enough to rescue the passengers with her variant of the Iron Man armor. Such actions threaten the hero persona he has carefully crafted with the media as some reporters have started to see him for what he really is, and many of his highly credible former enemies have spoken out against him. His Goblin persona is vying for control of his body, which, during the Dark Reign run in the January 2010 issue of Dark Avengers, after being "ordered" by his second in command, Ms. Hand, to get a psychiatric evaluation, once she leaves his lab, he is seen writhing on the floor and imploring, apparently to himself, "Why won't this face come off...?".
Though suppressing his Goblin persona, Osborn has proven to be evil and cruel without it, often in vastly far reaching and far more complicated and intricate ways than his alter-ego, due to his power and influence as director of H.A.M.M.E.R..
While Norman was long assumed to be dead, several villains and one hero take up the mantle of the Green Goblin.
As a fictional character, the Green Goblin has appeared in a number of media, from comic books to films and television series. Each version of the work typically establishes its own continuity, within parallel universes, to the point where distinct differences in the portrayal of the character can be identified. Various versions of the Goblin are depicted in works such as Marvel Comics Ultimate line and Earth X.