By Jim Beard
The ongoing struggle between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin goes beyond mere adversity—it's all about madness
As Peter Parker braces for the final chapter of his latest Goblin crisis, "New Ways to Die," arriving October 15 in the double-sized AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #573 by Dan Slott and John Romita Jr., we reflect upon the uncompromising hatred of Norman Osborn for his arachnid archenemy. Through life and death, his obsession for obliterating Spider-Man has driven him to maniacal insanity.
Where the father has failed, the son has taken up the crusade, as Norman's prodigal, Harry targeted his best friend's Peter Parker's masked alter ego for a time. When the son has fallen, the father has returned to once again continue the attack. The specter of the Green Goblin and his plots will forever haunt our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man…
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN v1 #14 (1964)
The mysterious Green Goblin first soared into Spider-Man's life with an amazing proposition for the hero: a starring role in a movie. Roping in the deadly Enforcers for extra panache, the Goblin's fake film rolled and Spidey took his lumps. The fiction of the film forgotten, the pitched battle extended to a cave in the desert where not only did the webslinger contend with his new green-hued foe but also the Incredible Hulk.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #121-122 (1973)
Faced with financial ruin, Norman Osborn's sanity cracked in two and his Green Goblin personality dominated once more. Abducting the love of Peter's life, Gwen Stacy, the Goblin meted out his revenge on Spider-Man in the form of the poor girl's death. His world shattered, Peter tracked Norman down and delivered a punishing beating, which ended with the Goblin's apparent accidental demise by his own hand. Spider-Man's life would never again be the same.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #136-137 (1974)
The Green Goblin lived again, this time in the form of Peter's best friend Harry Osborn. His sanity as fragile as his father's, Harry conceived a revenge of his own and kidnapped three of Spider-Man's loved ones, a "small shaped-charge clean fusion nuclear bomb" hanging over each of their heads. Spidey subdued Harry and raced to his friends' and family's rescue. Crisis averted, Peter watched an incoherent Harry taken into custody.
SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #200 (1993)
Harry Osborn relapsed and the Green Goblin proceeded to drive Spider-Man insane. Having loaded a memorial Foundation in his father's name with explosives, Harry once again planned a revenge for Norman. Peter engaged the Goblin in a furious battle at the Foundation, and eventually Harry's mind cleared once he realized he had put his own child in danger. A hero in the end, the second Green Goblin succumbed to his illness and seemingly died after having saved his best friend.
PETER PARKER: SPIDER-MAN #47 (2002)
The horror of Norman Osborn back from the dead magnified a hundred-fold when Spider-Man once more confronted the original Green Goblin. Using his old tactics of threatening those close to Peter and trying to drive him insane, the Goblin culminated his scheme in a brutal fistfight with his enemy. Peter turned the tables on Norman by attempting to talk to him about the beauty and grace of Gwen Stacy instead of killing him. In doing so, Spider-Man delivered a far greater blow to the Green Goblin than any physical violence ever could.
Spidey's "Brand New Day" has given him back his best friend, Harry Osborn, but also the terror of the Green Goblin. Will Harry once again fall prey to the Osborn insanity, or will his father prove mad enough for the two of them? Keep reading, True Believers! And check out the first 100 issues of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited!