The Green Goblin is known as one of Spider-Man’s greatest villains, if not the greatest. Appearances in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films and now Spider-Man: No Way Home have popularized the character to general audiences, but longtime comic readers have been familiar with the Goblin since Amazing Spider-Man # 14 in 1964.
While the identity of the Goblin was originally a mystery, he was later revealed to be Norman Osborn. Since then, several people have used the title of the Green Goblin, including Norman’s son, Harry. Fans can also look beyond the barriers of Marvel Comics’ main continuity to find strange, fascinating, alternate versions of Norman and the Green Goblin.
10 Norman Osborn Hired The Jackal To Create Clones In Life Story
In Spider-Man: Life Story, the events of the Marvel Comics universe play out as if time passed realistically. In the 1960s, Peter battled the Green Goblin as he had in the main 616 universe. In 1966, Norman discovered Peter’s identity and attempted to convert him into his heir using his Goblin formula. Norman was eventually defeated and spent the majority of his life in prison.
Norman has always had a massive ego, but it was on full display in Life Story. In an effort to keep his Osborn legacy alive, Norman hired Miles Warren to create clones of himself and Peter. His clone was ultimately destroyed by his son, Harry, and upon learning of his son’s death in 1995, Norman cursed Peter before succumbing to a fatal heart attack.
9 The 2099 Goblin Wanted To Be New York’s Hero
Jennifer D’Angelo, first introduced in Spider-Man 2099, was a priest in Downtown, Nueva York, the New York City of the future. A powerful corporation known as Alchemax turned parts of New York into police states. Miguel O’Hara, the Spider-Man of 2099, frequently battled Alchemax, but he was not the only one who wanted to be a hero.
Jennifer donned a green suit and purple hood and became the Goblin, intent on taking Spider-Man’s place as the hero of New York. She spread lies about Spider-Man to the criminal underworld and teamed up with the Vulture to destroy him. Miguel tried to show Jennifer that by attacking him, she’d made herself a villain, not a hero.
8 Phil Urich Was A More Heroic Goblin
Several characters have worn the Green Goblin mask, but one some fans may be unfamiliar with is Phil Urich, the nephew of Daily Bugle journalist Ben Urich. While investigating a story at Oscorp, Phil fell into a vat of Goblin formula and donned Norman’s old Goblin gear. He used his newfound gifts and gadgets to save his uncle’s life.
Afterward, Phil became a heroic Goblin, teaming up with heroes like Spider-Man and Daredevil. Phil soon retired his Goblin persona, but not forever. During Dan Slott’s ASM run, Phil became the new Hobgoblin under Kingpin’s control. Phil’s time as the Goblin was less memorable than Norman or Harry’s, but is no less essential to understanding the full history of the Green Goblin character.
7 The MC2 Universe Featured Many Green Goblins
Spider-Man has battled the Green Goblin many times in Marvel’s continuity, and many of those confrontations remained the same in the MC2 universe. However, one big difference in this universe was the birth of Mayday and Benjy: Peter and Mary Jane’s children. Norman Osborn battled Peter one last time before dying in an explosion.
Mayday developed spider-powers like her father and became Spider-Girl. Norman’s grandson, Normie, continued his family legacy by becoming the new Green Goblin. Élan DeJunae, Normie’s wife, became Queen of the Goblins. Mayday and her allies successfully toppled the Osborn empire with the defeat of Normie and Élan.
6 Norman Osborn Bonded With Carnage To Become The Red Goblin
After Norman Osborn was injected with a series of nanites that made him immune to his own Goblin formula, he became desperate to reignite his Green Goblin madness to defeat Spider-Man. In his desperation, he acquired the Carnage symbiote and bonded to it, fusing the crazed mind of the Goblin with the chaotic nature of the symbiote, creating the Red Goblin.
In the issues leading up to Amazing Spider-Man # 800 and the centennial issue itself, Red Goblin was seemingly unstoppable. The Red Goblin was immune to fire and could create pumpkin bombs made of symbiotes. Peter was forced to bond with the Venom symbiote to stand a chance against him.
5 Osborn Ran New York’s Underworld In Spider-Man Noir
The Norman Osborn of the Black universe had an origin story similar to DC Comics’ Killer Croc. In his youth, Norman was branded a freak because of his yellow eyes and green reptilian skin. He joined the circus as a child but dreamed of earning respect as a crime boss in New York City. After entering the criminal underworld, Norman became known as “The Goblin” due to his appearance.
The Goblin first appeared in the Spider-Man Noir miniseries where he ordered the Vulture to kill Peter Parker’s uncle. After Parker became the vigilante Spider-Man, the two shared a personal feud that ended with Norman’s eventual demise in issue # 4.
4 Ultimate Osborn Transformed Into A Goblin-Like Monster
In the Ultimate universe, Norman Osborn attempted to develop a Super Soldier serum at Oscorp, testing his “OZ” formula on animals. An OZ-infected spider bit Peter, giving him his classic spider powers. Norman attempted to replicate this process by taking the OZ formula himself, but was unfortunately transformed into a goblin-like monster.
The Ultimate Green Goblin looked nothing like the 616 Goblin. Instead, he was a massive, green creature that closely resembled the Hulk. The Goblin battled Spider-Man and the Hobgoblin many times, seemingly dying on several occasions, but always returning to prove he was superior to Peter.
Harry Osborn had the unfortunate luck of being born to a father like Norman, who constantly saw Harry as a disappointment to the family name. Despite Norman’s poor parenting skills, Harry looked up to him and even covered for him when he discovered he was the Green Goblin. Harry’s life spiraled out of control as he turned to drugs and his relationship with MJ crumbled.
After discovering a secret cache of Goblin gear, Harry became the new Green Goblin, swearing vengeance on Spider-Man for ruining his father’s life. Despite numerous villainous acts as the Goblin, Harry’s true self won out when he saved MJ, his son, and Peter from a burning building before succumbing to the lethal effects of his father’s Goblin formula.
2 Green Goblin Wielded The Infinity Gauntlet
Many heroes and villains have wielded the Infinity Gauntlet with all six Infinity Gems. Depending on the wielder, worlds have been destroyed and universes have been saved with this power. However, what if Norman Osborn got his greedy hands on this weapon? What If? Infinity: Dark Reign answered that question when the Norman Osborn of an alternate reality commanded his Dark Avengers to obtain the Infinity Gems.
With the full power of the Gauntlet, Osborn attacked Asgard and destroyed the heroes of Earth, reshaping and ruling the world thereafter. Despite being the most powerful being in his reality, Osborn’s own ego became his undoing, as it had in many other universes.
1 The Original Green Goblin Made Things Personal
While the Green Goblin was first introduced in Amazing Spider-Man # 14, Norman Osborn would not make his first full appearance until issue # 37. Norman Osborn is one of Marvel’s most prolific villains. He did not just commit crimes and battle Spider-Man when their paths crossed. He made things personal, discovering Spider-Man’s secret identity and attacking those closest to him.
Norman and Peter share a personal feud that runs deeper than any of Spidey’s other villains (with the possible exception of Doc Ock). Past manipulations of Harry, assaults on Peter’s friends, and the murder of Gwen Stacy prove that when Norman enters the scene, readers can expect suspense and tragedy in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man.
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