Welcome to the two-hundred and seventy-seventh in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous two hundred and seventy-six.
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COMIC LEGEND: When he left Amazing Spider-Man, Roger Stern did not tell incoming writer Tom DeFalco who the Hobgoblin really was, so DeFalco had to come up with his own answer.
There are few comic book "mysteries" that appear as unsolvable as the truth behind the reveal that Ned Leeds was the Hobgoblin. The simple matter of fact is that the three men most deeply involved in the reveal, Tom DeFalco, Peter David and Christopher Priest (then Spider-Man editor Jim Owsley) plus Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter all disagree about lots of information that is fundamental to the story. Glenn Greenberg recently did a wonderful collection of everyone's take on the situation in an issue of Back Issue (#35), and that effectively confirmed what I thought - everyone is too far apart on the issue of Ned Leeds becoming Hobgoblin that I don't think we'll ever get something that I'm willing to say "True" or "False" about.
However, Greenberg's piece did address another aspect of the legend that I've heard a lot over the years, that Roger Stern did not tell incoming writer Tom DeFalco who Stern planned as Hobgoblin's secret identity.
Reader Dave asked me about it a couple of years back:
I remember hearing from a few different sources that when Roger Stern introduced the HobGoblin in Amazing Spider-Man, that he did so without informing his editor of the HobGoblin's true identity beforehand. The way I hear it, when Stern left the book, he refused to reveal HobGoblin's identity to Tom DeFalco, so DeFalco was forced to use the clues presented to figure out who the HobGoblin was supposed to be. Is there any truth to this? It seems odd that an editor would approve a story without knowing all the pertinent information, but I've heard this more than once.
As it turns out, the way Dave heard it was PARTIALLY correct, in that Tom DeFalco did NOT know who Stern was planning to reveal as the Hobgoblin's identity back when DeFalco was editing the title. DeFalco presumably just trusted Stern to reveal it in his due course. However, when DeFalco stopped editing the title and instead came on to be the writer of the title, he and Stern DID talk, and Stern told him that he intended it to be Roderick Kingsley, a supporting character Stern had brought over to Amazing Spider-Man from his run on Spectacular Spider-Man.
However, DeFalco felt that Roderick Kingsley could NOT be the Hobgoblin, as in Amazing Spider-Man #249, Kingsley appeared in the same room as Hobgoblin (as did a bunch of other folks, including J. Jonah Jameson).
Stern countered that his plan was that that was NOT Roderick Kingsley, but his younger brother Daniel PRETENDING to be Roderick. You can tell in the next issue, #250, Stern is definitely trying to set up the whole "imposter" angle.
While it does make sense, it was only just begun, so it's not like Stern had made anything explicit yet, and DeFalco did not like this angle, as he thought the idea of an "evil twin" would not be playing fair with the reader (one difference between Stern and DeFalco is that Stern does not recall ever saying "evil twin," especially since they're not twins, and Daniel is actually the "good" one of the two brothers - most likely when DeFalco says "evil twin," he's referring to the way that the idea comes off, and not a literal "evil twin").
DeFalco never got to make his choice for the Hobgoblin come true (he was thinking Richard Fisk, son of the Kingpin), and in amusing fashion, he was going to reveal that Kingsley was the mysterious Rose. The Rose instead ended up being revealed as Richard Fisk!
Well, years later, Stern came back to Marvel and wrote a mini-series where he revealed that Kingsley WAS, in fact, the Hobgoblin, and he first officially revealed the brother/double relationship and Daniel Kingsley made his first appearance AS Daniel Kingsley.
Thanks to Dave for the suggestion, thanks to Roger Stern and Tom DeFalco for the information, and thanks to Glenn Greenberg for one excellent article (go buy the issue, people! It's available at twomorrows.com!)