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Marvel Comics Green Goblin Spider-Man

Green Goblin

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The Green Goblin
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Amazing Spider-Man #14 (July 1964)
Created by Stan Lee
Steve Ditko
Real name Norman Osborn II
Status Active
Affiliations None
Previous affiliations The Cabal of Scrier, Sinister Twelve, the Crime-Master
Notable relatives Harry Osborn (son, deceased), Emily Osborn (wife, deceased), Liz Allan (daughter-in-law), Normie Osborn (grandson), Sarah Stacy (daughter), Gabriel Stacy (son), Gwen Stacy (mother of Gabriel and Sarah)
Notable powers Superhuman strength, regenerative healing factor, various weapons and Goblin paraphernalia, great intelligence

The Green Goblin is a Marvel Comics supervillain who is an enemy of Spider-Man. The Green Goblin dresses in a garish green and purple costume resembling a goblin and uses an arsenal of high-tech weapons, notably grenade-like "pumpkin bombs", and rides on a personal flying device often resembling a bat but originally resembling a broomstick. The Green Goblin was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in Amazing Spider-Man #14 (July 1964).

Character biography

Norman Osborn

The original Goblin was Norman Osborn, a ruthless industrialist who co-founded a major firm with Dr. Mendel Stromm. To seize total control, Osborn had Stromm framed for embezzlement and then searched his possessions, discovering an experimental strength/intelligence enhancement formula. When Osborn attempted to create the serum, it turned green and exploded in his face. The accident changed Osborn, greatly increasing his intelligence and strength, but also drove him insane.

Osborn adopted the bizarre identity of the Green Goblin with the goal of becoming the Boss of the city's organized crime. This was intended to be complemented by defeating Spider-Man, a relatively low-powered opponent whom he was confident he could defeat to enhance his reputation. To this end, Osborn created a personal flying device, which started in a broomstick-like shape and evolved into his Goblin Glider, and hand grenade-like explosive weapons resembling pumpkins, a number of thrown projectile weapons called Razor-Bats featuring sharp blades (much like a certain Batman's batarangs), and blaster equipped gloves which fired energy blasts from the finger tips. Thus equipped, Osborn set out to achieve his twin goals, only to be frustrated at every turn by Spider-Man.

Frustrated, Osborn decided to lie low until he was sure his enemy's guard was down. When he was ready, Osborn arranged to have Spider-Man exposed to a special gas designed to suppress his spider sense. With that done, Goblin shadowed him until he learned he was really Peter Parker, and then captured him. In turn, Osborn revealed his own identity to Peter and ranted about his origin and his intentions of killing his greatest enemy, before releasing Peter to do battle. Peter defeated Osborn, who lost his memory and had his costume destroyed by Spider-Man to eliminate his menace.

Harry Osborn becomes the new Green Goblin. Cover to Amazing Spider-Man #136. Art by Ross Andru.
Harry Osborn becomes the new Green Goblin. Cover to Amazing Spider-Man #136. Art by Ross Andru.

For a long while, the Goblin personality periodically re-emerged in Osborn to bedevil Spider-Man, only to be forced down in turn when he was defeated. Finally, the Goblin took control one final time and threatened the love of Spider-Man's life, Gwen Stacy, by kidnapping her and taking her to the top of a bridge in New York City. During the resulting battle, the Goblin committed one of his most brutal crimes, pushing Gwen from the bridge and Spider-Man's attempt to save her failed. With blood in his eyes, Spider-Man pursued The Goblin for revenge, but managed to control himself after defeating him in battle. In one final attempt to kill him, the Goblin tried to spear Spider-Man with his remote control glider, only to be himself impaled by the gilder's sharp points when Spider-Man avoided the attack. The Goblin was presumed dead for years. Indeed, at the time, he really was supposed to be dead, but thanks to some to retroactive continuity, he was brought back in 1996.

Harry Osborn

As it turned out, Harold "Harry" Osborn, Norman's son and Peter's friend, saw the battle and took pains to cover up his father's Goblin identity. Already mentally weakened due to an LSD overdose, he blamed Spider-Man for his father's death, and upon learning his secret identity, planned his revenge as the second Green Goblin. Peter managed to subdue Harry in battle that left him in police custody. Harry raved to the police that Peter was Spider-Man, but was dismissed as a lunatic.

Bart Hamilton

Harry was put under the medical care of Dr. Barton "Bart" Hamilton who managed to make Harry bury his vendetta and identity as the Goblin in his subconscious. Unfortunately, Dr. Hamilton wanted to use Harry's secrets to become the third Green Goblin. Eventually, the underpowered amateur was killed and the Goblin menace was buried yet again.


Later, fashion designer Roderick Kingsley discovered Norman Osborn's abandoned secret lair and set about to discover the rest of his equipment and records. With much of that accomplished, Kingsley created a variant of the Goblin identity as the Hobgoblin, who plagued Spider-Man for months while manipulating innocents to hide his identity.

Normie Osborn

The First Green Goblin's grandchild, Norman "Normie" Osborn was the Goblin for a time period (In the alternate Marvel future MC2, where he forced May Parker to take up the mantle of Spider-Girl), but handed it over to Phil Urich after May convinced him to quit.

Phil Urich

Still later, Harry's insanity relapsed and he became the Green Goblin again on numerous occasions, until he died from the side effects of a modified Goblin serum. His equipment and the identity of the Green Goblin was then briefly used by Philip Benjamin "Phil" Urich, who tried to gain a reputation as a superhero, although he sometimes seemed to be as maniacal as his villainous predecessors. When his equipment was damaged during a battle against a Sentinel in the Onslaught Crossover, Phil was unable to repair or replace it and the fourth Green Goblin thereafter retired.

Niles Van Adder

Before Osborn became the Green Goblin he tested Stromm's serum on an Oscorp employee named Niles Van Adder. The serum had an adverse effect on him, he was mutated into a demon like creature called the Prototype Goblin or Proto Goblin for short. Adder constantly attacked Osborn until he was shot dead by detectives and his body fell into a nearby river.

The Return of the First Green Goblin

In a very controversial move by Marvel (one deemed necessary by the company's then-Editor-in-Chief to bail them out of the much-maligned Clone Saga), it was revealed that Norman Osborn was still alive and had been manipulating the events of the Clone Saga behind the scenes. For a while, a genetic construct that had once been a human being acted as the fifth Green Goblin following Norman's orders, so that he would not be suspected (despite having admitted in public that he was Norman Osborn, and while wearing the costume). He also bought the Daily Bugle so that he could control and edit out any bad publicity, such as the frequent editorials by Ben Urich. During a period when Norman was driven mad when a mystic ceremony that he participated in went wrong, the genetic construct sought out Osborns original formula to stabilise itself and discover who it truly was. But it was too late, and in front of Spider-Man's eyes it melted into a puddle of goo and died.

The Goblin's Heir

After the fifth Goblin died, Norman developed a new plan for Spider-Man—he wanted Parker to become his new heir. His first move in this game was drugging Parker into flying around in the Goblin's costume and attacking his friends. Norman then took Peter to the old Osborn estate to try to convince him to take up Norman's mantle on his own free will. After days of physical and psychological torture, Peter cracked under the stress, but still refused Norman at the last minute. Norman's next plan involved using a drunk Flash Thompson to drive a truck into Midtown High School, where Peter worked. The accident caused Flash to suffer major brain damage and enraged Peter enough to decide to finish his feud with Norman once and for all. At the end of the fight, which took place in one of Norman's chemical plants, Spider-Man came close to killing the Goblin, but relented at the last second. Peter told Norman that if he gives into his hatred for the Goblin, the last piece of Gwen would die, and that he didn't need to kill Norman anyway, as simply being him was punishment enough. Parker left, telling Norman that he was tired of fighting him, and declared a truce.


Recently, however, the Green Goblin's true identity was revealed to the public by a dedicated investigation by the Daily Bugle. After a battle with Spider-Man and Luke Cage that spanned the length of Manhattan, he was arrested and sent to prison for the first time in the character's 40-year history.

As could be expected, however, Osborn did not stay in prison for long. Even behind bars, Osborn masterminded a plot to get Spider-Man himself to help him escape, which the web-slinger ultimately did, as payment for releasing Aunt May from a kidnapper on Osborn's pay - Mac Gargan, The Scorpion. Spider-Man battled with the Sinister Twelve, a group of his greatest enemies lead by Osborn as the Green Goblin, who revealed that he had a hand in financing many of these villains' origins. The Goblin slipped away in the heat of the battle and abducted Mary Jane Watson, taking her to the Brooklyn Bridge, but Spider-Man was able to rescue her. The Green Goblin then found himself grappling with a deranged Doctor Octopus, still drugged from being held in police custody. A bolt of lightning sent the two villains plunging into the river. Doctor Octopus was eventually recovered alive and well, and Peter later received a letter from Osborn, mailed before the fight. Osborn likely survived the battle, is once again at large, and it will likely be only a matter of time until he and Spider-Man clash once again.

Sins Past

It was recently revealed in a very, very controversial storyline that, prior to Gwen Stacy's death, Osborn had engaged in an affair with her, resulting in twins. After Stacy's death, Osborn took the children into his care during his sabbatical in Europe. The children, named Gabriel and Sarah, aged and matured rapidly after only a few years. The twins emerged after Osborn's takedown and confronted Spider-Man, whom they believed to be their real father. After a series of confrontations, Gabriel discovered his real father's identity, and assumed the mantle of the sixth Green Goblin, or "Grey Goblin." Gabriel, deranged and amnesiac after a battle with Spider-Man, disappeared along with Sarah. This apparently explained an awful lot to Peter; why Osborn had killed Gwen, why Mary Jane Watson avoided Peter for a long time, having known the secret, and why Osborn wanted Peter as his 'heir', among other things.

Powers and abilities

As originally conceived, the formula that turned Norman Osborn into the Green Goblin bestowed upon him enhanced (though not to superhuman levels) intelligence and limited super-strength only.

Today, Norman Osborn possesses superhuman strength comparable to that of Spider-Man. His reflexes, speed, and stamina are enhanced. His durability has been augmented over the years to the point that bullets fired from most conventional weapons can't pierce his skin. Apparently, a .45 Magnum at close range can injure him, as Mary Jane realized when she shot him when he tried to kidnap her. However, Osborn is capable of healing from damage that would be lethal to a normal person to a limited degree, having regenerated from being impaled through the chest by his own rocket-glider leaving only a scar as a reminder and later from having over a dozen of his bombs explode while webbed to his chest. This was first used as a plot device to bring Norman Osborn back from the grave.

He is armed with a variety of bizarre incendiary devices and uses a Goblin Glider as a personal transport. It can reach velocities of well over 300 miles per hour and is extremely maneuverable.

The Superhero Green Goblin (Phil Urich, nephew of Daily Bugle reporter Ben Urich), also had the ability to produce an ear-shattering maniacal laugh that threw off his enemies. Unlike the other Goblins, his powers came from his mask, which delivered an electric burst that somehow augmented his strength and speed, without any of the typical negative effects on his mental state.

Aside from his physical advantages, the serum also greatly enhanced Norman's already highly above average intellect, making him a bona fide genius capable of making progress in advanced areas of genetics, robotics, engineering, and applied chemistry that most professional scientists can scarcely comprehend. However, these aptitudes are inhibited by the fact that Osborn is criminally insane.

Ultimate Green Goblin

The Ultimate version of the Green Goblin is quite a bit different than the way he is portrayed in the regular Marvel universe. Norman Osborn was partially responsible for the accident that created Spider-Man, and in an attempt to recreate said accident, transformed himself into a literal goblin monster (whereas the original one merely dressed up as one).

In his first appearances he was little more than a mute beast, although in later appearances he has evolved to the point where he can change back and forth from human to goblin at will. In this form he has superhuman strength and endurance, can leap distances of hundreds of feet in one leap and generate destructive fireballs from his hands at will.

It was revealed in Ultimate Six that the Oz chemical was created in hopes of recreating the super soldier formula that made Captain America. The creation of the Ultimate Marvel versions of Sandman and Electro are due to a rival companies attempting to recreate the super soldier formula.

The Ultimate Norman Osborn, much like his 616 Universe counterpart, fathered a child named Harry Osborn. Unlike the 616 Universe, however, Harry Osborn would not grow up to take the mantle of Green Goblin, but instead became the Ultimate Hobgoblin.

After the events of Ultimate Six, the Goblin was stored in cyrogenics, until freed by the Beetle. He went on a rampage, until Spider-Man defeated him, and was promptly taken away back into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody.

Though Ultimate Norman Osborn has never referred to himself by the Earth-616 name, nor the formula as the 'Goblin Formula' (although various other characters have), a hologram specially implanted into the Danger Room by Kitty Pride, Ultimate Spider-Man's current girlfriend, was quoted as saying that the X-men it fought were 'in the presence of the Green Goblin'. This then sparked the X-Men to joke about "Who writes this stuff?"

Bendis has said in an interview[1] that an upcoming arc will be called "The Death of the Goblin" but would not elaborate on whether or not he meant Norman Osborn or his son, Harry.


Issue 12 of the Green Goblin series was a part of the Onslaught storyline which was a top vote getter for the Comics Buyer's Guide Fan Award for Favorite Comic-Book Story for 1997.

Other media

Animated series

In Goblin War!, Norman Osborn became the Green Goblin again, after being pressured by the Kingpin to reveal the identity of the Hobgoblin, who he had hired before to kill Fisk. Into the Goblin's possession came the Time Dilation Accelerator (a device that can open and close dimensional portals, enabling the occupant to travel from different realities, or to one location to the other on the same planet), and he began plotting the downfall of his enemies again.

In the next episodeTurning Point, the Green Goblin finds out Spider-Man's secret identity. Spider-Man and the Green Goblin fight atop the George Washington Bridge. At the end, the Goblin gets stuck in another dimension, after his glider pushes him through a portal, but not before he propels Mary Jane into a wormhole, never to be seen again except for the appearance of a clone that took her place in several episodes in the fourth and fifth seasons.

In The Return of the Green Goblin, the Green Goblin chooses Harry Osborn as the new Green Goblin, because Norman wanted to leave the other dimension in which he was stuck. In the end, Spider-Man takes Harry to Ravencroft. In The Wedding, Harry Osborn becomes the Green Goblin again, because he hears that his friends, Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson are going to get married. At the church, Harry tells the priest to make Mary Jane marry him or he will blow up the church. In the end, Harry stops the destruction of the church. The Green Goblin also makes an appearance in I Really, Really Hate Clones.

Before Norman Osborn becomes the Green Goblin, his episode appearances are:

Before Harry Osborn becomes the second Green Goblin, his episode appearances are:

Turning Point is the famous homage episode to the "Night Gwen Stacy Died" comic strip classic, only in the animated series, Mary Jane falls through a wormhole, this episode also inspired a scene in the Ultimate comics, as well as the 2002 Spider-Man movie, Mary Jane, not Gwen, is again captured by Osborn, but this time she is saved by Peter. Marking the first time that a Spider-Man timeline has averted the infamous tragedy.

Video game appearances

The Green Goblin appears in the 2002 Spider-Man video game, based on the Spider-Man film voiced by Willem Dafoe. Ultimate Green Goblin briefly appears in the 2005 Ultimate Spider-Man video game voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson.

Live action feature films

While the Green Goblin has appeared numerous times in the various animated series, the first live action appearance was in the blockbuster feature film Spider-Man (2002), which starred Willem Dafoe as Norman Osborn. Gwen Stacy is not featured in the movie, replaced by Mary Jane Watson as the Goblin's prey.

His son, Harry, resents his father's apparent favoritism of his friend Peter Parker. Norman Osborn is a brilliant scientist and businessman who is known for his contributions in nanotechnology. He is the head of Oscorp, a company contracted by the United States military to create a new super-soldier. Osborn, needing to prove his formula is the new technology the military is seeking, experiments on himself and becomes the Green Goblin. The process drives him insane however, and kills his partner, Dr. Mendel Stromm. The military then decides to give the super soldier contract to another company, Tony Stark's (Iron Man) Quest Aerospace. As the Green Goblin, Osborn appears and kills several high-ranking military officers who were present at the Quest test. Although Quest Aerospace's prototype was destroyed, the company decided to expand and, in doing so, assumes control of Oscorp on the condition that Norman Osborn step down as CEO.

In retaliation, the Goblin kills the board of directors at the World Unity Festival, thus removing the last threat to his takeover of Oscorp, and inadvertently almost killing Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), who is stranded on a broken chunk of a balcony/reviewing stand at the festival which is slowly collapsing beneath her. His appearance at the festival also marks the beginning of his animosity towards Spider-Man. Instead of hating his new enemy, however, Norman finds that Spider-Man is the son that he always wanted, strong and intelligent. Spider-Man does not return the Goblin's feelings of respect and rebuffs Osborn's offer of alliance.

The enraged Green Goblin finds out Spider-Man's identity when, while visiting his son Harry (who is Peter's roommate), he discovers that Peter has an identical wound to one he had inflicted on Spider-Man in an earlier fight. In a show of aggression, he attacks and seriously injures Aunt May. He then kidnaps Mary Jane and tells Spider-Man that he must choose either to save her or to save a group of children in a cable car. Both are thrown off the Queensboro Bridge, yet Spider-Man manages to save the children and Mary Jane, as opposed to the bridge scene in the comic book, which ended in the death of Spider-Man's sweetheart (Gwen Stacy).

The Green Goblin gets into a final battle with Spider-Man after threatening to torture and kill Mary Jane. After being defeated, the Norman personality resurfaced, asking Spider-Man to forgive him while at the same time secretly directing his flying machine to impale Spider-Man from behind.

Spider-Man sensed the attack and dodged, and the machine killed the Green Goblin instead. Just before dying, Norman pleaded Spider Man not to tell his son about his second identity. Harry catches Spider Man returning his father’s dead body. Not knowing that his father was the Green Goblin, Harry assumes that Spider Man had killed him in cold blood. At the funeral, Harry swears revenge on Spider-Man.

Spider-Man respects Norman's last wishes, but it was only a matter of time before Harry found out himself.

In Spider-Man 2, Harry's obsession with defeating Spider-Man leads him into a brief alliance with Doctor Octopus, an alliance that lead him to the discovery of Peter's secret identity. Harry subsequently hallucinated that his father was speaking to him from inside of a mirror, demanding that Harry avenge his death, a scene that is probably intentionally similar to the way Norman and the Goblin talked with each other in the first movie.

When Harry shattered the mirror, he discovered his father's hidden Green Goblin costume and arsenal. Whether this means Harry becomes the second Green Goblin (or Hobgoblin as some fans believe) or realizes that his father was a murderous criminal that Peter likely killed in self defense has yet to be revealed. The novelization by Peter David has Harry laughing maniacally like his father at the end of the scene, which was probably omitted from the film to give it some ambiguity.

In the film, the Green Goblin pilots a Goblin Glider armed with missiles and machine guns. He has 3 varieties of Goblin bombs: one which is a simple explosive, one that flashes, and turns people to skeletons, and one that splits into flying, razor-sharp blades. His flight suit is armed with some sort of nerve gas that is released from the wrists.

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