The Hobgoblin is the alias of several fictional character that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #238, and was created by Roger Stern and John Romita, Jr. In 2009, the Hobgoblin was ranked by IGN as the 57th greatest comic book villain.
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 DeFalco, 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. (DeFalco has since stated that he had intended to reveal Richard Fisk, The Kingpin of Crime's son, as the Hobgoblin, and Roderick Kingsley as the Rose; the ultimate outcome was, in fact, the exact reverse.) 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 The 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 returned and pitched an 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 Roderick Kingsley (whom Stern had introduced in The Spectacular Spider-Man #43) was revealed as the original Hobgoblin, ending the mystery after over thirteen years.
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