Was Spider-Man Foe, Mad Jack, Created Without a Secret Identity?

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JM DeMatteis invented the "Mad Jack" version of Jack O'Lantern without knowing who the character was



In Spectacular Spider-Man #241 (by J.M. DeMatteis, Luke Ross and John Stanisci), J. Jonah Jameson is working late when we pull back and see that he's being spied on by...the Jack O'Lantern?

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The original Jack O'Lantern later took over as Hobgoblin, but this was a new guy and his identity was a mystery!

He's seen spying on Jameson again the following issue...

In the next issue, he confronts Jameson's son, John, and it is clear that he has some familiarity with the younger Jameson...

He then uses some sort of wax to take control of Jameson's mind...

A couple of issues later, he is suddenly spying on Peter Parker's home when Mary Jane is home alone...

Then the big move happens when he attacks J. Jonah Jameson...

Again, it is clear that there is SOME connection between the two.

When Mad Jack comes by Jameson's hospital room after beating Jameson so badly that he had to be hospitalized, Spider-Man fights him...

Mad Jack later torments Jameson some more and we see that, again, there is clearly some connection here...

We later see Mad Jack is working with Norman Osborn and then that's it for the storyline, as DeMatteis was then off of the title...

Soon afterwards, in Spider-Man: The Mysterio Manifesto, Tom DeFalco, Lee Weeks and Bob McLeod reveal that Mad Jack was Daniel Berkhart, a guy that Jameson had hired to fill in for Mysterio years ago...

Did that differ from DeMatteis' plan?

Yes, but only because he didn't HAVE a plan!

He explained on the Spider-Man Crawlspace Podcast back in 2008 that he had not yet decided who Mad Jack was going to be by the time that he left the book.

DeMatteis was just winging it, figuring he would eventually fill in the identity in the future when he came up with a good idea for one!

Fascinating stuff. DeMatteis is such a fine writer, that I bet his final answer would have been a good one (not that DeFalco didn't do a clever job working with DeMatteis' various clues as best he could, of course).

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