BY MATT TUCK
Who is the hooded figure in the latest Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer? Could it be Harry Osborn or a Hobgoblin prototype? Let’s break down the evidence and look at those coveted key issues.
Just when we think we’re going to have answers, Marvel changes the questions. Five rumored villains were confirmed in the new No Way Home trailer as we see Doctor Octopus, the Green Goblin, Sandman, Electro, and the Lizard. If Marvel is forming the Sinister Six, then there is one spot left to be filled, which brings us to our mystery guest.
During the trailer, there is a small figure riding what appears to be the Goblin’s glider. Only this person is wearing a hood and no mask. Of course, this could simply be a new version of Willem Dafoe's costume, but where’s the fun in that?
On that note, let’s explore two tantalizing choices.
THE CASE FOR HARRY
After seeing the new trailer, it’s easy to assume the mysterious figure is none other than Harry Osborn. Aside from the hood, the black and green attire does have a distinct New Goblin feel. Of course, Harry has been seen in two Spider-Man franchises. Originally, he was played by Oscar-winning actor James Franco, who donned a similar outfit in Spider-Man 3. There are a number of theories pointing towards Franco, but I highly doubt Marvel would put the controversial actor in the film considering the allegations levied against him in the past. If it is indeed Harry under the hood, then Dane DeHaan would be the logical choice, having portrayed Norman’s son in the ill-fated Amazing Spider-Man 2.
What supports this theory is the homage to Gwen Stacy’s death in the NWH trailer. Straight from the pages of Amazing Spider-Man #121, Gwen was dropped off a skyscraper by the Green Goblin. Spider-Man used his web to save her, but the momentum caused Gwen to break her neck. ASM 2 attempted to bring this scene to life, but instead of Norman Osborn dropping Gwen, it was DeHaan’s Harry. In the latest NWH trailer, there is a shot of MJ falling in slow motion that is eerily similar to Gwen’s death in ASM 2. Logically, it would make sense for DeHaan to reprise his role and once again orchestrate the death of Peter Parker’s love interest.
When it comes to those key issues, any rumors of Harry coming to No Way Home will add fuel to the fire. He has been a hot character since Sony released its Spider-Man 2 PS5 trailer in which Harry will bond with the Venom symbiote. Here’s more.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #31
This has been a red-hot key issue thanks to the PS5 gaming trailer. Add in speculation that Dane DeHaan will return to the role for No Way Home, and ASM #31 could become one of the most popular key issues in all of comics. Since this issue came from the Steve Ditko era of ASM, it was a coveted item to own in the first place. Don’t forget that along with Harry, Gwen made her first appearance in this issue as well, and that only ramps up those fair market values.
Just two days ago, a 4.0 sold for $475. Prior to that sale, a buyer took home a 6.5 for $1,049.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #136
When it comes to Harry Osborn, he didn’t truly hit his stride until he donned his father’s suit and became the second Green Goblin. Blaming Spider-Man for Norman’s death, Harry became obsessed with avenging his father by killing Spidey. That led Harry to discovering that Spider-Man was his former best friend, Peter Parker. The two waged war in this classic Bronze Age ASM with an iconic cover by John Romita, Sr.
This has been a notable key all year. In September, a 9.8 sold for $1,560, which has been the biggest sale since 2009. Earlier this month, one 9.4 was bought for $380. On November 4, a 9.0 reached a record-high $400.
THE CASE FOR HOBGOBLIN
Besides that hooded mystery man being either Norman or Harry Osborn, there is another contender: Hobgoblin. The blurry face has an orange hue in the footage, and that could be a spin on the Hobgoblin’s mask.
The rumors have been rampant for Ned Leeds becoming the MCU’s Hobgoblin. Ned actor Jacob Batalon posted pictures of his impressive weight loss earlier this year. That raised eyebrows since Marvel is reportedly strict with its actors over changing their appearances. If that is true, then as odd as it sounds, Batalon would have needed permission to undergo such a drastic body transformation. That has led to theories that Ned is about to ascend to the role of the Hobgoblin. That would put Ned in Harry’s place as the best friend who turned against Peter. Who knows? In the scene with MJ falling in slow motion, it could be Hobgoblin in place of the Green Goblin.
The mystery of the hooded figure should spark sales for those Hobgoblin keys, starting with these.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #238
When it comes to the Hobgoblin, his origin is as convoluted as most any in Marvel. The original story was that Peter Parker’s friend at the Daily Bugle, Ned Leeds, discovered Norman Osborn’s Green Goblin arsenal and took it for himself. Using Norman’s spare suit, glider, and pumpkin bombs, Ned changed the colors to orange and purple to become the Hobgoblin, who made his first appearance in ASM #238 with an iconic cover by John Romita, Jr. that has been homage many times over.
The trouble with the Hobgoblin’s origin is that changes were taking place at Marvel around the time the character was pitched. While some creators lobbied for Leeds to be the villain, Ned had been written off in Spider-Man Versus Wolverine. That left the writing team scrambling. Years later, the story was revised. Poor Ned was framed, and the actual Hobgoblin was Roderick Kingsley.
Remember that ASM #238 originally included a pack of removable tattoos, aptly named Tattooz. Even without the Tattooz, a raw copy advertised as very fine earned $180 earlier today. If you happen to find one graded at a 9.8 with the Tattooz, that price easily jumps into $3k territory. Last week, a newsstand 8.0 brought a record $555.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #257
Due to a healthy portion of comic book logic, Ned Leeds was not the original Hobgoblin. Instead, he was brainwashed into believing he was the villain and framed by the original Hobgoblin, Roderick Kingsley. Still, Leeds first took up the mantle in ASM #257, and this issue will immediately heat up if the speculation pans out, and Ned suits up for No Way Home.
Raw copies have been consistently staying in the $30-$40 range. If you are looking for a graded copy, those are still reasonably priced. Two days ago, a 9.4 sold for $110.
WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #48
This may be wishful thinking on my part (in fact, it’s entirely wishful thinking on my part), but the best Hobgoblin to grace the silver screen would be the Demogoblin. This version came about after Roderick’s successor, Jason Macendale, merged with a demon spirit. In a combination of Venom meets The Exorcist, Jason and the spirit bonded to become the Demogoblin in Web of Spider-Man #48. A few issues later, the evil spirit would separate from Jason and terrorize Marvel alone beginning in Web of Spider-Man #86.
Admittedly, there is a minute chance of the Demogoblin appearing in No Way Home. However, the story tools are there for it to happen. For one thing, Doctor Strange plays a major role in the upcoming movie. With him casting spells that unintentionally summon villains from other dimensions, what’s to say that he doesn’t inadvertently open a portal to the Dark Multiverse or some other nefarious plane of existence?
By and large, the Demogoblin doesn’t fit in the Homecoming trilogy. This version of Hobgoblin is much scarier and more of a horror character than anything Kevin Feige and the Sony executives would want in a Spidey movie. However, Marvel is moving into the supernatural. Besides Blade, Moon Knight, and Morbius battling vampires, there’s Marvel Zombies and Werewolf By Night on the horizon. The Demogoblin would be a perfect addition to that neighborhood of the MCU, and he would look great on the big screen. Trust me, mainstream audiences will have never seen a Goblin quite like him before.
It’s no surprise that Web of Spider-Man #48 is a cheap find. In the past month, most raw copies have sold for $10-$20. However, a graded 9.8 earned $115 in September, making it the current record.
THE WAITING IS THE HARDEST PART
If you didn’t read that subhead in Tom Petty’s voice, I’m not sure we can be friends.
Seriously, the tension (and expectations) for No Way Home rises by the minute. Not since Infinity War and Endgame has there been a Marvel movie fans were this anxious to see. Cross your fingers that the hooded figure turns out to be some awesome reveal and not a lame sight gag.