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  1. #1
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    Default Norman Osborn has now been back longer than he was dead.

    Am I the only one who feels that’s strange? Time flies as I clearly remember buying his return issue at the end of the clone saga. He died in ASM#122 in 1973 and was brought back in PP:SM#75 in 1996. It’s now of course 2020, so he’s been back longer than he was dead. His death had cast a huge shadow over Peter Parker, Harry Osborn and the Spidey books as a whole. Bringing him back was highly controversial at the time and was editorially mandated as a way to end the clone saga. But most of the writers and fans at the time weren’t too thrilled about this as they said it cheapened the character and the issue he died in.

    So with over two decades of further character development, stories in which he played a huge part, and general reflection on what was gained and what was lost by his return.... was it worth it?

  2. #2
    Mighty Member Hybrid's Avatar
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    The way he was brought back was dumb, bad writing and pissed all over a classic story. That said, it's a mixed bag, because Osborn since his revival has been part of a number of stories I enjoyed and I like to think of him as the Joker to Peter's Batman. Him becoming a General MU villain was also interesting, as it was an angle that hadn't been done before.

    So, as far as it being worth it, I'll go with... maybe?

  3. #3

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    Norman Osborn should've stayed dead like Kraven after Kraven's Last Hunt. I can see why he was brought back as the Clone Saga was a mess and he's Spider-Man's big bad.

  4. #4
    Astonishing Member boots's Avatar
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    happy back from the dead day norm!
    troo fan or death

  5. #5
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HypnoHustler View Post
    Am I the only one who feels that’s strange? Time flies as I clearly remember buying his return issue at the end of the clone saga. He died in ASM#122 in 1973 and was brought back in PP:SM#75 in 1996. It’s now of course 2020, so he’s been back longer than he was dead.
    Among the first 616 comics I read was Roger Stern and Jenkins' Revenge of the Green Goblin, so I never got to experience the middle period where Norman was dead and gone forever that some among here did. To me Norman and Goblin were always there. But yeah. Time does fly. That's why I am dreading 2027 because that's going to be the 20 year anniversary of OMD and if and when Marvel moves past that they can say the 'marriage was gone for longer than it was around'.

    Bringing him back was highly controversial at the time and was editorially mandated as a way to end the clone saga. But most of the writers and fans at the time weren’t too thrilled about this as they said it cheapened the character and the issue he died in.
    The people who wrote The Clone Saga, and complain about Norman's return, are total hypocrites going about complaining about Norman's return cheapening stories when their entire project was cheapening and sullying 20 years of continuity, and 20 years of the vrersion of Spider-Man that readers came to love. I have zero sympathy for their complaints about that front, I find it laughable and any time I read Greenberg and others blathering about it, I just stand back and wonder at the total lack of self-awareness. Well before Norman's return, the following characters were brought back from the dead during the Second Clone Saga itself:
    -- Miles Warren, the Jackal who died at the end of the 1976 story and wasn't referred to once for 20 years
    -- The Peterclone who was dropped into a smokestack, and forgotten about, only to have become Ben Reilly.

    Anyone who objects about Norman's resurrection on the grounds of undoing a classic story, 20 years of continuity, and bringing characters back from the dead (all valid concerns) should be against the entire Second Clone Saga itself. Because well before Papa Osborn showed up, that ship had sailed, got into tornadoes, spread poison that killed the fish, carried a disease and spread the plague. So having undone and brought back dead characters who died in the stories in the 1970s, which the Clonistas did, they didn't have any ground to stand on when Bob Harras brought Norman back. I don't agree with everything Harras did in his brief period as EIC, but I actually do agree that given the mess he was handed (the Clone Saga) and a mandate to clean up and fix Spider-Man, bringing Norman back as the mastermind behind the Clone Saga was the simplest, quickest, and best way to do it. In the sense that it was about the only way to salvage anything substantial out of a mess of a story.

    Ironic... that Norman's resurrection is the single most important thing to come out of the Clone Saga, far more than anything the Clonistas wanted.

  6. #6
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HypnoHustler View Post
    So with over two decades of further character development, stories in which he played a huge part, and general reflection on what was gained and what was lost by his return.... was it worth it?
    Quote Originally Posted by Hybrid View Post
    So, as far as it being worth it, I'll go with... maybe?
    The fact that we got good stories that came later does not in anyway validate the original circumstances it happened under. Like for instance, JMS' run wrote Aunt May well but that doesn't justify EIC Bob Harras invalidating ASM#400 and returning her in the dumbest situations, especially since JMS drew on that issue for Aunt May's characterization. Whatever good stories (by Zdarsky, Spencer and some others) that have been written in ASM after OMD does not in any way validate OMD itself. When you salvage a mess as many writers over the years have done in comics and serial fiction, crediting the mess that made it that way to start with, makes no sense.

    The circumstances of Norman's resurrection do make sense on a plot level far more than anything in the Second Clone Saga. The goblin serum giving him a healing factor, we didn't know that before but it's not too big a stretch. Him going underground and becoming a mastermind has Norman lapse to the Lee-Ditko version of the character who was all shady and cloak-and-dagger like with the Crime Master and Mendell Stromm. The concept of Norman's return is solid enough that it could have been done apart from the Clone Saga and worked even better and actually be a good story rather than the desperate salvage job it was instituted as. One can argue that Norman would have been brought back even without the Clone Saga. Because the Spider-Man movie was entering pre-production and planning and when Sam Raimi came on, he settled on Green Goblin as the villain of the first movie. The choice of Goblin being villain was made late when originally the plan was for Doctor Octopus to be the villain at the start. And the success of the first Spider-Man movie made the Green Goblin really popular again. So that might have inspired calls to bring him back in the comics. Who knows.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hybrid View Post
    The way he was brought back was dumb, bad writing and pissed all over a classic story.
    The entire premise of the Second Clone Saga pissed on the classic First Clone Saga, and believe me Norman's resurrection is not remotely as dumb and badly written as the actual foundation and premise of the Second one. Norman's resurrection brought the entire Clone Saga back to earth by making it an elaborate act of gaslighting designed by Norman to torture and torment Peter and to drive him mad, and mess up his life with Mary Jane. In that level, it was a suitable metaphor for how readers felt about the Saga, having their emotional investment run roughshod by corrupt writing and shoddy editorial practices. Had there been no Clone Saga, I probably would not have been okay with Norman's resurrection unless it was done as a very good story. And the seeds for a decent story with Norman's resurrection did exist. So some days, I can pretend that this version actually did take place and the Clone Saga was some alternate worst case scenario.

    That said, it's a mixed bag, because Osborn since his revival has been part of a number of stories I enjoyed
    Since resurrection, Norman has lapsed back to the character he was in the Lee-Ditko run rather than Lee-Romita's do-over. Spider-Man's continuity feels inherently more dangerous with Norman around. His resurrection just heightens the open wound of Gwen's death, since she is unavenged and given Norman's healing factor and great wealth, un-avengable. The Green Goblin was the only villain in the Lee-Ditko era that never got caught, he was also the Spider-Man villain with the most appearances in the Lee-Ditko era, and since resurrection Norman has become the biggest Spider-Man villain and indeed the third biggest, with only Doom and Magneto having more appearances than him. So in a way, Ditko's vision of Goblin has been vindicated and Goblin once again is established as the Spider-Man villain with this great air of impunity and untouchability.

    I will say that Green Goblin was a fairly obscure villain until the '90s. If there was a Spider-Man villain "civilians" knew it would be Doctor Octopus or Electro (mostly for the name being catchy), and the most successful villains were Venom and Carnage among comics' fans. Like in the Fox Spider-Man show, Hobgoblin showed up because producers felt that Green Goblin was passe and John Semper the showrunner had to work hard to convince them. Likewise, Bendis and Bagley in USM felt that the original glider gimmick was weak so they made him into a literal goblin. I think Willem Dafoe's performance as Norman and his vocal voice of Goblin greatly raised Norman's profile because audiences finally got why Goblin was so terrifying, and Norman so intimidating. So that made the character really popular. That brutal and bloody fight where Norman beats Peter to an inch of his life at the end of the first movie, was likewise something that sold Goblin as a major threat to Spider-Man.

    Roger Stern's Revenge of the Green Goblin (the first great Post-Resurrection Goblin story) was commissioned as a project because Goblin was going to be in the first movie. So they asked Stern to write a low-continuity simple Peter v. Goblin standalone story to prime people up for his return and to have a story on the stands that moviegoers can instantly find and refer to. I know that because that's how it was with me. I had read the newspaper strip before seeing the movie which was my first exposure to the Green Goblin and then when I went to find Spider-Man comics, this was there on the stands selling well. Likewise, the first issues of USM had Norman being tied to Peter's origins.
    Last edited by Revolutionary_Jack; 01-18-2020 at 07:11 AM.

  7. #7

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    ... at least the heroic community knows that Osborn is a villain, and what Spider-Man was dealing with... and to some extent the general public know Osborn is a creep.

  8. #8
    Kinky Lil' Canine Snoop Dogg's Avatar
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    of course it was worth it, norman's the GOAT

  9. #9
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snoop Dogg View Post
    norman's the GOAT
    On this we agree
    Last edited by Revolutionary_Jack; 01-18-2020 at 02:07 PM.

  10. #10
    Fantastic Member Lapsus's Avatar
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    He was also reinforced in Spectacular Spiderman as Peter nemesis.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snoop Dogg View Post
    of course it was worth it, norman's the GOAT
    I agree on both accounts. I also don’t think his return story was bad (at least compared to how, say, Aunt May, Harry Osborn, Jackal, Kraven or even Doc Ock (both times!) was brought back). He came back with a bang. ‘Night of the Goblin’ is a pretty classic issue now, and since then things have only gotten better with SPEC #250, PP:SM #95, ASM (vol 2) #25- PP:SM (vol 2) #25, ‘A Death in the Family’, Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #1-12, his turn in ‘Thunderbolts’ and the ‘Dark Reign’ storyline, ‘New Ways to Die’, ‘American Son’, even the CarNorman stuff. Of course, he’s been in some mediocre stuff like ‘Final Chapter, ‘Sins Past’, and ‘Citizen Osborn’ as well. But I think more hits than misses. I like he’s never overexposed like Doc Ock. The Spidey office usually knows when to use him and how much, and keep his appearances limited to once every two or three years so he doesn’t lose his impact when he does pop up again.
    Last edited by HypnoHustler; 01-18-2020 at 03:11 PM.

  12. #12
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HypnoHustler View Post
    I agree on both accounts. I also don’t think his return story was bad (at least compared to how, say, Aunt May, Harry Osborn, Jackal, Kraven or even Doc Ock (both times!) was brought back). He came back with a bang. ‘Night of the Goblin’ is a pretty classic issue now, and since then things have only gotten better with SPEC #250, ASM (vol 2) #25- PP:SM (vol 2) #25, ‘A Death in the Family’, MK: Spider-Man #1-12, his turn in ‘Thunderbolts’ and the ‘Dark Reign’ storyline, ‘New Ways to Die’, even the CarNorman stuff.
    I'd also add Bendis' The Pulse (which sent him to jail), and DeConnick's OSBORN series (which has him get out of jail albeit not the same one).

    I like he’s never overexposed like Doc Ock. The Spidey office usually knows when to use him and how much, and keep his appearances limited to once every two or three years so he doesn’t lose his impact when he does pop up again.
    It's weird how Norman doesn't feel overexposed even if he is the Spider-Man villain with the most appearances and third overall in Marvel:

    Top 3 Spider-Man Villains
    1. Green Goblin (597 Appearances)
    2. Doctor Octopus (440 Appearances)
    3. Venom (377 Appearances)

    Top 5 Marvel Villains
    1) Doctor Doom - 835 Appearances
    2) Magneto - 816 Appearances.
    3) Green Goblin - 597 Appearances
    4) Kingpin - 533 Appearances
    5) Loki - 493 Appearances

    Norman's achievement is impressive because of the 20 year gap. By all rights, that should have given other Spidey rogues a lasting lead over him. And yet in the period of his return he quickly came back and ruled the roost. At the time of his death in ASM#122, Norman Osborn and Green Goblin made 24 appearances (https://cmro.travis-starnes.com/char...ype=2&limit=50). So Norman's popularity is a case of him connecting to a new and younger audience and readership as opposed to everyone else. I mean who knows give him time and he might yet catch up to Victor and Erik.

    Norman Osborn went 40 real-time publication years without going to jail. That's a Marvel record, in that time Kingpin, Doom, Magneto and others went to jail or were deposed but not Norman.

    My favorite Goblin stories are:
    -- ASM#14 - The Grotesque Adventure of the Green Goblin (his first appearance and man is he great there)
    -- ASM#26-27 - The Crime Master
    -- Revenge of the Green Goblin
    -- Marvel Knights Spider-Man (which on the whole is the best story with Norman in it, and the best look at Peter and Norman's rivalry)
    -- Osborn.

  13. #13
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    I wonder if that Doc Ock number includes all his appearances as Superior Spidey.... I bet not.

    Also, Venom has done some great catch-up considering he came on the scene almost three decades into the books.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    I'd also add Bendis' The Pulse (which sent him to jail), and DeConnick's OSBORN series (which has him get out of jail albeit not the same one).



    It's weird how Norman doesn't feel overexposed even if he is the Spider-Man villain with the most appearances and third overall in Marvel:

    Top 3 Spider-Man Villains
    1. Green Goblin (597 Appearances)
    2. Doctor Octopus (440 Appearances)
    3. Venom (377 Appearances)

    Top 5 Marvel Villains
    1) Doctor Doom - 835 Appearances
    2) Magneto - 816 Appearances.
    3) Green Goblin - 597 Appearances
    4) Kingpin - 533 Appearances
    5) Loki - 493 Appearances

    Norman's achievement is impressive because of the 20 year gap. By all rights, that should have given other Spidey rogues a lasting lead over him. And yet in the period of his return he quickly came back and ruled the roost. At the time of his death in ASM#122, Norman Osborn and Green Goblin made 24 appearances (https://cmro.travis-starnes.com/char...ype=2&limit=50). So Norman's popularity is a case of him connecting to a new and younger audience and readership as opposed to everyone else. I mean who knows give him time and he might yet catch up to Victor and Erik.

    Norman Osborn went 40 real-time publication years without going to jail. That's a Marvel record, in that time Kingpin, Doom, Magneto and others went to jail or were deposed but not Norman.

    My favorite Goblin stories are:
    -- ASM#14 - The Grotesque Adventure of the Green Goblin (his first appearance and man is he great there)
    -- ASM#26-27 - The Crime Master
    -- Revenge of the Green Goblin
    -- Marvel Knights Spider-Man (which on the whole is the best story with Norman in it, and the best look at Peter and Norman's rivalry)
    -- Osborn.
    Only one little thing. For loki you are only counting the appareances of the original loki who died in Siege right? Adding the 158 appareance of current Loki ( ikol) he would be number three.

  15. #15
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HypnoHustler View Post
    I wonder if that Doc Ock number includes all his appearances as Superior Spidey.... I bet not.
    It does.

    https://marvel.fandom.com/wiki/Categ...6)/Appearances

    I got it from here, last updated mid-to-late 2019 [https://marvel.fandom.com/wiki/Otto_...s_(Earth-616)]. So it's not added in Ock's final appearances in Gage's series, nor has it added in Norman's appearances in Absolute Carnage.

    If anything Superior probably gave Ock some catch-up. Before he might have been even lower.

    Also, Venom has done some great catch-up considering he came on the scene almost three decades into the books.
    A case could be made that Venom was the biggest villain after Norman's death. He was certainly the biggest villain after Steve Ditko left the books.

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