Amazing Spiderman #238 Homage Covers
The Amazing Spiderman #238 (March 1983)
Writer: Roger Stern
Cover Artist: John Romita, Jr. & John Romita, Sr.
Penciller: John Romita, Jr.
Inker: John Romita, Sr.
The Amazing Spiderman #238, published in March 1983, features the 1st appearance of the Hobgoblin (Roderick Kingsley), created by writer Roger Stern and illustrator John Romita, Jr. Four variants of the comic were published, including U.S. & Canadian price variants, newsstand and direct edition variants, and a variant with a Mark Jewelers insert, The comic also included a “Tattooz” giveaway insert found between the final page and back cover. The comic is incomplete if the Tattooz insert is missing.
Stern found himself under pressure, after the death of the Green Goblin in The Amazing Spider-Man #122, to resurrect the popular villain to do battle once again with Spider-man. Stern, however, created a new character to inherit the Green Goblin’s legacy.
While the character of the Hobgoblin appears for the first time in this issue and on the cover, all that is revealed of the character is his secret hideout. The new villain’s identity was intended to be Roderick Kingsley, but team and editorial changes complicated the Hobgoblin’s reveal for years.
Although Stern intended Roderick Kingsley to be the Hobgoblin, upon his departure from the title, then-editor Tom DeFalco took Stern’s place on the title and decided that Richard Fisk should be the new villain’s secret identity. The Hobgoblin’s identity is further complicated when James Owsley became editor, and he is intentionally told by a disgruntled DeFalco that Ned Leeds is the Hobgoblin. Owsley, at that time, then killed off Ned Leeds in Spider-Man versus Wolverine (February 1987). Leeds is posthumously unmasked in The Amazing Spider-Man #289 (June 1987) as Jason Macendale assumes the mantle. Macendale, as the Hobgoblin, would later be imbued with demonic powers during the Inferno crossover (1988-1989). Later still, in Spider-Man: Hobgoblin Lives (1997), Stern retcons the public Hobgoblin identity to be Ned Leeds, who murders Macendale and reassumes the identity of the Hobgoblin once more.
In 2009, the Hobgoblin was ranked by IGN (Imagine Games Network) as the 57th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time.