Celebrating the 40th anniversary of Return of the Jedi

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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 5,127
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The Green Ninjas

Subj: Re: So much larger than life
Posted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 at 10:04:13 am EDT (Viewed 133 times)
Reply Subj: So much larger than life
Posted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 08:37:50 pm EDT (Viewed 144 times)

    > > The opposite of what you just said is what I want, I am here for Team Jason. Given that it's the unmasking-as-Rod that effectively destroyed Hobgoblin as an "appears ever year" villain, and given that we have a Norman Osborn, and he's awesome, I really don't understand why anyone would prefer to have the poor man's Norman back.

    > > I get people's love for the mystery years, even if I don't share it, I really do get it, I just can't comprehend for the life of me, how anyone at all, let alone the majority of the online Spidey fandom, saw the unmasking as Rod and thought "Yeah! That evil fashion designer/z-list obscurity/horrific gay stereotype? That's a great villain! More of that guy, please!", any more so than anyone didn't think Bart Hamilton was a great guy to be Green Goblin #3.

Indeed. Considering that this was over ten years after the Hobgoblin's first appearance and that it required undoing a previous resolution just to reveal that it had been this complete nonentity was a huge letdown (part of the reason why Roger Stern had comparatively little trouble to make "Hobgoblin Lives!" technically work was that Roderick Kingsley had simply been lost in the shuffle in 1987 and that afterwards no writer had any interest in using him).
For all that fans of the Rodgoblin say about the weaknesses of the resolution Peter David came up with at very short notice, it contained a very original twist (the guy revealed as the real Hobgoblin was already dead, and without Spider-Man being involved in taking him down) and revealing Ned Leeds as the Hobgoblin struck "close to home". And even at that point (1987) the guessing probably had been going on too long for the resolution not to be considered at least a little anti-climactic.

    > My love also stems from the mystery years but I think a good writer would be able to do magnificient stories with old Roddie. Tom DeFalco comes to my mind: in Spider-girl he was real frigthening.

    I still have the last two Spider-Girl issues to read, but honestly, it's just kind of jarring how he was beeing written as far so much more skilled, powerful and hyper-competant than he ever was in the 1980s (where he'd usually be losing fights, but escape due to luck and/or elaborate plans to get away). It kind of feels like Tom was giving readers the 1980s Hobgoblin that their nostalgia remembered and wanted, rather than the way he really was.

    But even there, once the mask comes off, there's not really anything interesting about Rod as a character. It's notable that in Spider-Girl, he's always been more of a wild-card element in the ongoing wars between crime lords, rather than driving the plot in his own right.

    > And I always preferred Kingsley over Osborn. Normie is just too insane for me...

    Norman's only as insane, or not, as a story needs him to be. 90% of the time he's holding it together, and he's been reinvented as THE evil genius long-term-plotter of the books, but we always know eventually he's going to flip out and go nuts and then you never know what it's going to be like, whether it'll be glorious like the Thunderbolts Monologue, or awful like The Final Chapter.

    In contrast, not only is Rod not going to go foaming-at-the-mouth crazy at any point (well, unless someone does an "it happens to everyone who uses Goblin Formula eventually" story), but they've also retconned away his intense feud with Spidey as having been all Brainwashed Ned, the idea being that Rod couldn't care less about Spidey, so long as the guy stays out of his way (evidently people love that, but I really can't see how it's any aid to making the guy a recurring Spidey villain).

My guess is that people like this aspect (not caring about Spider-Man) because it is perhaps the only thing where Roderick Kingsley differs from Norman Osborn and he does not come off like a lesser Goblin, but as someone pursuing an equally valid or even smarter policy. Because otherwise, the more you look at him, the more like a Green Goblin imitator, sometimes Green Goblin wannabe he appears in all important aspects. Even at the time of the "Who is the Hobgoblin?" mystery, he was echoing the "Who is the Green Goblin?" mystery of the 1960s, something that was lampshaded in "Hobgoblin Lives!" by homaging several individual panels from the old Green Goblin storyline.

Also one could say that the thing with Kingsley not caring about Spider-Man was done a bit half-assed anyway, as Roderick Kingsley/Hobgoblin never really built up a resume of appearances outside the Spider-books. Indeed, when he stopped fighting Spider-Man, he generally retired from supervillainy altogether.

    Add in the facts that we still have no explanation for his motivation. Norman's crazy, but what drives a _sane_ man who's legitimately rich to become a supervillain so he can make money (surely less than he already gets legally) through crime, blackmail and extortion?

    All of this just killed any interest I ever had in the original Hobgoblin, and someone would really have to do a lot of backstory/motivation-insertion to make Rod a compelling character in his own right, AND come up with a way to get him fighting Peter, and specifically Peter. It's unsurprising everyone just opted to use Norman instead.

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