Apr 10, 2019

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #14

Welcome to Spider-Rama! Each Wednesday, Ben and Duy will look at a Spider-Man issue from the very beginning, in chronological order, and answer questions for various categories, inspired in large part by one of our favorite podcasts, The Rewatchables by The Ringer. Our goal is to make it to Amazing Spider-Man #200. Will we make it? Grab your Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus or crank up your tablet to Marvel Unlimited, and then tune in every Wednesday to find out!

by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

The Green Goblin tricks Spider-Man into a confrontation with himself and the Enforcers, but they’re all surprised when the Hulk appears. Plus, who is the Green Goblin?


BEN: First appearance of the Green Goblin. Second time they use a mystery villain, only this time they don’t reveal his identity at the end. And this classic Goblin trope was there from panel one:

DUY: I think this is also the first mention of the "proportionate strength of a spider."


BEN:  I think they probably realized the wasted potential of revealing the Big Man so soon, and so keeping the Goblin’s identity a secret was a great plan. The way Peter thought his way out of the fight with the Hulk, step by step, was a real highlight.

DUY: Spider-Man just saying, eff it, and just tossing the Enforcers away from him is also a highlight. The idea that he has so much strength and he just holds it back makes for great moments. And hey, how about that random Hulk appearance?  I think this was definitely something Marvel had over DC at the time, just this sheer small world feel of their universe. It really feels like a shared universe.

BEN: It’s never an intended meeting either. They’re always running into each other by happenstance, which helps make it feel even more natural and real.


BEN: This is a really unnecessarily convoluted scheme by the Goblin.

DUY: Thank God he gets the glider soon after, because that broomstick is dumb.

BEN: Goblin glider rolls off the tongue better.


DUY: How does his Spider-sense not go off around the Enforcers? Or the Goblin for that matter?

BEN: His spider sense has always been a bit inconsistent.


BEN: This one, for me.

DUY: Jameson hears you. Jameson don't care.

BEN: Jameson is the cranky old man with a big heart buried deep underneath. Wait, JJJ is Uncle Scrooge, no wonder you like him so much. Wait, is that why you like me?

DUY: Who said I like you?


DUY: JJJ, for being a giant troll.


DUY:  Okay, so let's talk about the Goblin for a second. Right away, they build him up as a mystery. By the very rule of mystery-writing, that's got to be someone we know. They've already done this once, where they introduce the character and reveal him to be the villain in the same story. It's impossible, I think, for the Goblin to just be anyone. The very laws of narrative writing makes it feel impossible.

BEN: But they broke that rule anyway.

DUY: With Crimemaster, or the fact that we technically didn't know Norman?

BEN: That Norman hasn’t been introduced. Hell, Harry hasn’t even been introduced.

DUY: True, but I think they just have to introduce the person before the reveal. Technically speaking within the context of the one issue, wasn't Foswell introduced after The Big Man?

BEN: If this myth was actually true, then I have to side with Stan on this one.

DUY:  I don't think it's true, but yeah.

BEN: Do you think they ever planned on him being Jonah?

DUY: Was that an actual rumor?

BEN: I don't think so. I'm just speculating.

DUY:  It's hard to say, because on the one hand, Stan is the "illusion of change" guy. But when did that actually start? They have him graduate high school.

BEN: At this point in the series, he’d be the only suspect, and like you said, they weren’t exactly planning on this series lasting forever. But, I also believe they already knew that Jameson was pure gold as he is.

DUY: That's it for Spider-Rama this week.

BEN: Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko—

DUY: —for telling us we aren't the only ones.

Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. See you next week!

1 comment:

Jack Elving said...


I like your series on Spider-Rama. As for the Goblin Osborn debate. I actually found a connection on re-reading the series that might interest you. You can see this in the Crime Master 2-parter.




If you see those images, you will find that Norman has his first speaking role in that era. And there'a prominent silhouette of Goblin sans-mask which gives a general outline of his head and hair-style. And that matches Norman perfectly. This confirms that Ditko envisioned Norman as the Goblin all along. He said as much in his mini-essays:

"Now digest this: I knew from Day One, from the first GG story, who the GG would be. I absolutely knew because I planted him in J. Jonah Jameson’s businessman's club, it was where JJJ and the GG could be seen together. I planted them together in other stories where the GG would not appear in costume, action. I wanted JJJ’s and the GG’s lives to mix for later story drama involving more than just the two characters. I planted the GG’s son (same distinctive hair style) in thte college issues for more dramatic involvement and storyline consequences. So how could there be any doubt, dispute, about who the GG had to turn out to be when unmasked?"

There was also this testimony by a visitor to Ditko published recently (https://popculturesquad.com/2019/03/16/steve-ditko-inside-his-studio-sanatorium/) where Ditko confirmed to the writer in-person that Norman was the Goblin, and that his distinct hair-style was a pattern he selected.

Norman's hairstyle and Norman himself is a dead-ringer for Joseph Cotten, who in Lee and Ditko's youth played a serial killer with a double life in Shadow of the Doubt, and the name Norman can't help but recall the other Hitchcock serial-killer.

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