Roger Stern, The Hobgoblin and JRJR!

This originally appeared in http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2010/09/10/a-year-of-cool-comics-–-day-253/comment-page-1/#comment-802326 – this was supposed to be a quick reference to Amazing Spider-Man #238, but as you can see, it grew a life of its own…and I needed a new entry! Enjoy.

I have the Marvel Motion Comic of this, as well as the issue itself. This issue and #247 featured the father/son team of JRJR and JRSR, the latter issue with the first part of the Thunderball epic.JRSR’s inks absolutely take over the visuals; only if you know how Jazzy Johnny laid out a page, can you tell that something’s was just a tad different, and that’s where JRJR made his mark. We all saw those pencils under Bob Layton’s masterful inks; obviously, JRJR wasn’t an absolute ingredient in the Michelinie/JRJR/Layton formula, but I think that Iron Man would have suffered for his non-inclusion.

I loved Brett Breeding’s inks on #248, and I agree, fellows, Klaus Janson’s inks really worked well with JRJR’s pencils – when I saw that little blurb in the corner that said, “It’s great! Steal it!” – I considered doing just that.

I wonder how many Spider-fans did exactly that?

As to the identity of the Hobgoblin…I remember reading #245 with those wonderful Dave Simons inks, and looking to see who indeed was Spider-Man’s newest, greatest foe. And then we saw someone in the shadows steer Lefty Donovan into a wall.

We were witness to the parade of red herrings; was it Lance Bannon? Ned Leeds? Aunt May? And all the while, the real Hobgoblin was parading around, fooling everyone, as he did when he was introduced in PPTSS #43.

Roderick Kingsley was secretly the Hobgoblin, and we should know by now that there are no throwaway characters in comics.

Roger Stern, arguably the BEST Spider-scribe since Stan the Man himself, left with an awesome cliffhanger in ASM #251, and then we got the black costume. Jim Shooter wasn’t such a bad guy, after all.

Tom DeFalco gave us a riotous ride for almost three years, and then Jim Owsley [now Christopher Priest] set up the Gang War, with some notable guest stars, which led into…the fantastic Spider-Man vs. Wolverine, with art by the monstrous talent of Mark D. Bright and Al Williamson.

Red herrings abound – Ned dies mysteriously in the hotel room while Peter’s away; nothing seems to make any sense…until ASM #289.

“The Hobgoblin Revealed!” Well, it wasn’t strictly a falsehood, was it, since the Hobgoblin we all bore witness to in the story was the former Jack O’Lantern, Jason Philip Macendale, who had his pumpkin handed to him by Spidey in their last encounter. We were told that Ned Leeds was the former Hobgoblin…but that never made sense.

Thanks to Roger Stern, Ron Frenz, George Perez, Scott Hanna and Bob McLeod, it all began to make some sense. Of course, Ned never took advantage of Norman’s strength-enhancing formula; had he done so, Pete and Logan would have returned to see pieces of the Foreigner’s men adorning said hotel room. Roger makes it plain as day; before one of the agents could have broken Ned’s arm, he would have been launched through a wall or a window.

But I’ve said enough – Brian, thanks for this column – it’s bringing back many fond memories.

And thank you, Stan, Steve and John, for making it all possible.

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About Vin the Comics Guy

My Name is Vin, and I have a personal collection of over 17,000 comic books. My earliest book is a copy of Garrison’s Gorrilas, from 1939.
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