Fictional Characters Wiki
Green Goblin
Green goblin2-ramos.jpg
Norman Osborn as the Green Goblin, art by Humberto Ramos.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance The Amazing Spider-Man #14 (July 1964)
Created by Stan Lee
Steve Ditko
In-story information
Alter ego Norman Virgil Osborn
Team affiliations Dark Avengers
The Cabal
Sinister Twelve
Commission on Superhuman Activities
Daily Bugle
Hellfire Club
Notable aliases Gobby
Goblin Lord
Iron Patriot
Abilities Superhuman strength, stamina, durability, agility and reflexes due to ingesting the Goblin Serum
Regenerative healing factor
Genius-level intellect
Skilled in hand-to-hand combat and martial arts
Uses goblin-themed weapons and a Goblin Glider which has a variety of offensive weapons as paraphernalia
Power of the Super-Adaptoid allows him to absorb the powers of any superhuman he makes physical contact with

The Green Goblin is a fictional character, a supervillain who appears in the comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko, and first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #14 (July 1964).

Although many characters have taken up this identity, the most well-known is the original Green Goblin, Norman Osborn. Osborn was originally an amoral industrialist head of OSCORP and father of Spider-Man's best friend, Harry Osborn, who took a serum which enhanced his physical abilities and intellect but also drove him to insanity. He adopted a Halloween-themed appearance, dressing in a goblin costume, riding on a bat-shaped "Goblin Glider", and using an arsenal of high-tech weapons, notably grenade-like "Pumpkin Bombs", to terrorize New York City. He is one of Spider-Man's most persistent foes, and many consider him to be Spider-Man's archenemy, being directly responsible for numerous tragedies in Spider-Man's life, such as the death of Gwen Stacy and the Clone Saga. He is also the lead protagonist of the company-wide Dark Reign storyline.

In 2009, Norman Osborn was also ranked as IGN's 13th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time. He also placed #11 on GuysNation's Top Villains of All Time. Comics journalist and historian Mike Conroy writes of the character: "Of all the costumed villains who've plagued Spider-Man over the years, the most flat-out unhinged and terrifying of them all is the Green Goblin."

Publication history

According to Steve Ditko, the Green Goblin, as we know him, was entirely his creation. He claims:

Stan's synopsis for the Green Goblin had a movie crew, on location, finding an Egyptian-like sarcophagus. Inside was an ancient, mythological demon, the Green Goblin. He naturally came to life. On my own, I changed Stan's mythological demon into a human villain.

The Green Goblin debuted in The Amazing Spider-Man #14. At this time his identity was unknown, but he proved popular and reappeared in later issues, which made a point of his secret identity. Apparently, Lee and Ditko disagreed on who he should be. According to one theory, Lee always wanted him to be someone Peter Parker knew, while Ditko wanted him to be a stranger, feeling this was closer to real life. Ditko has refuted this rumor, however, claiming:

So I had to have some definite ideas: who he was, his profession and how he fit into the Spider-Man story world. I was even going to use an earlier, planted character associated with J. Jonah Jameson: he [was to] be [revealed as] the Green Goblin. It was like a subplot working its way until it was ready to play an active role.

Ditko left the series with issue #38, before he could reveal the Goblin's identity, and Lee subsequently unmasked him in the next issue as Norman Osborn, a character who had been introduced two issues earlier as the father of Harry Osborn. John Romita, Sr., who replaced Ditko as the title's artist, recalls:

Stan wouldn't have been able to stand it if Ditko did the story and didn't reveal that the Green Goblin was Norman Osborn. I didn't know there was any doubt about Osborn being the Goblin. I didn't know that Ditko had just been setting Osborn up as a straw dog. I just accepted the fact that it was going to be Norman Osborn when we plotted it. I had been following the last couple of issues and didn't think there was really much mystery about it. Looking back, I doubt the Goblin's identity would have been revealed in Amazing #39 if Ditko had stayed on.

After the Green Goblin killed Peter Parker's girlfriend Gwen Stacy, writer Gerry Conway decided that the Goblin had to pay a heavy price. Osborn accidentally caused his own death in the course of a fight against Spider-Man. Others, such as Harry Osborn, later adopted the Green Goblin identity, and writer Roger Stern later introduced the Hobgoblin to replace the Green Goblin as Spider-Man's archenemy.


During the Clone Saga storyline, the Spider-Man writers were met with a massive outcry from many readers after the decision to replace Peter with his clone Ben Reilly as the true Spider-Man. Eventually, the writers decided to reveal that one of Spider-Man's arch-enemies had been manipulating events from behind the scenes. The initial plan was to use Mephisto, but they felt a more down-to-earth character was needed. It was then suggested that the semi-zombified cyborg known as "Gaunt" be revealed as Harry Osborn, who had been killed in Spectacular Spider-Man #200. Gaunt was a late entry to the controversial storyline, created mainly as a plot device to return Harry to life; the plan for the character included Harry regaining his humanity, taking credit for tricking Peter Parker into thinking he was a clone, and resuming his identity as the Green Goblin full-time. However, the plotline was changed by newly promoted editor in chief Bob Harras, who disliked the Harry Osborn character, and instead chose Norman be the mastermind, revealing Gaunt as Mendel Stromm. Osborn briefly reprised his original evil businessman role, minimizing his Goblin identity, in the lead-up to "The Final Chapter", which closed out the first volume of Amazing Spider-Man.

New roles

Following the "Civil War" story arc, Warren Ellis began writing Thunderbolts, and Osborn was brought into the title as the director of the team. He was one of several characters offered to Ellis, who picked him because, according to Thunderbolts editor Molly Lazer, "[t]here was something about Norman, his instability, and his fixation with Spider-Man that Warren liked, so he’s in the book!" Ellis admitted not being very familiar with the character, saying, "all I remember of the Norman Osborn character was from the Spider-Man reprints my parents used to buy me when I was very young, and Norman Osborn was this guy with a weird rippled crewcut who was always sweating and his eyes were always bulging out of his head. That guy as a Donald Rumsfeld-like public governmental figure... [Joe Quesada] talked me into writing the book while I was still laughing." Lazer confirmed that the new team was answerable to the Commission on Superhuman Activities, giving him the opportunity to do what he wanted: "He's a free man with a lot of power .... And his agenda, well, it's not that secret. He wants to get Spider-Man."

Writer Christos Gage took over for the Secret Invasion tie-in stories, which ended with Osborn taking credit for the defeat of the Skrulls, after he killed the Skrull queen Veranke. This allowed the character to be placed into an influential position in the aftermath, Dark Reign. Although the dark turn at the end was always part of the plan for the storyline, Brian Michael Bendis, Secret Invasion's writer, says that Osborn was picked for the leading role because of the changes implemented by Ellis: "While I was putting it together, Warren [Ellis]'s Thunderbolts run made it very clear that if one would choose to do so, Norman was on track to head toward this kind of storyline, very organically, very in-character, and very much within the realm of what was going on." Bendis stated, "Norman's team is made up of people who are outstanding at what they do. These are bad-ass, hardcore get-it-done types. They'll close the door and take care of business, and he's dressing them up to make them something that the people want."

Meanwhile, Andy Diggle took over the writing of Thunderbolts. He introduced new characters to serve as Osborn's black ops team, explaining, "Norman selected agents with stealth, infiltration and assassination skills rather than overt flying-and-fighting type powers" and "now that he's reached a higher level, he's reconfiguring the Thunderbolts into something much more covert and much more lethal: his own personal hit squad." Diggle's Osborn is still mad: "To quote the movie Speed, he's 'crazy, not stupid.' He's clearly fiercely intelligent and a natural born leader, with the ego and competitive drive to succeed against all odds. He also just happens to be crazy as a shithouse rat." He describes his take on Osborn: "I think the secret to understanding Norman is that he doesn't realize he's the villain. He thinks he's the hero. He truly believes that he deserves public adulation, and it bugs the hell out of him that so-called 'superheroes' are getting it instead of him."

Osborn next starred in the five-issue miniseries Osborn that was a tie-in to the "Big Time" storyline in The Amazing Spider-Man, by writer Kelly Sue DeConnick and artist Emma Rios, looking at the character's life in prison.

Fictional character biography

Pre-Goblin years

Norman Osborn, the son of industrialist Ambrose Osborn, was born in New Haven, Connecticut. Although Ambrose was a brilliant student in the fields of science, he was also an alcoholic who lost control of his company and was abusive toward his family. In one incident, Ambrose locked Norman in one of the Osborn family's empty estates in an attempt to toughen him. It was in that darkened mansion that Norman felt haunted by a "green, goblin-like" creature that was "waiting to pounce on him." All of these events had a severe impact on Norman, planting the seeds of the megalomaniac he would eventually become. Norman would stop at nothing to regain the wealth that his father had lost.

In college, where he studies chemistry and electrical engineering, Norman Osborn meets his sweetheart Emily, gets married, and eventually has a son who he names Harry. In his adulthood, he co-founds a major firm with his former professor Dr. Mendel Stromm called Osborn Industries, of which he is owner and president. However, Emily becomes ill and dies when Harry is barely a year old. This tragedy pushes Osborn to work harder, leading him to emotionally neglect Harry. Hoping to gain more control of Osborn Industries, Norman accuses Stromm of embezzlement and has him arrested. Osborn then searches Stromm's possessions, discovering an experimental strength/intelligence enhancement formula. When Osborn attempts to create the serum, it turns green and explodes in his face. The accident greatly increases his intelligence and physical abilities, but also drives him to destructive insanity.

Enter the Goblin

Osborn adopts the bizarre identity of the Green Goblin—based on the monster he feared in his childhood—with the goal of becoming boss of the city's organized crime. He intends to cement his position by defeating Spider-Man.

As the Green Goblin, he would bedevil Spider-Man many times but fail to achieve his goal. He first assembled the Enforcers and claimed he was shooting a film about Spider-Man for which Spider-Man would be paid $50,000. Spider-Man battled them in the desert, first thinking they were actors. Finally they battled him in a cave and were defeated. However Spider-Man then was attacked by the Hulk, who was hiding there. Spider-Man hid from the Hulk, then turned the Enforcers over to the police, while the Goblin escaped.

Later the Goblin encountered Spider-Man again, but left after the Human Torch got embroiled in the battle. He tried to take over a mob led by 'Lucky' Lobo, and led Spider-Man to their base, hoping the leader would be defeated, but they were defeated and arrested by Spider-Man. Spider-Man battled the Goblin again, but he escaped. The Green Goblin revealed his identity to a criminal called the Crime-Master and vice versa. However a rivalry developed between them.

They tried to take over gangs, and the Green Goblin succeeded in knocking out Spider-Man just before he attended a meeting of numerous criminals. Hoping to use this to persuade the gangs to join him, he took Spider-Man in. But Spider-Man recovered and defeated the crooks, but the Green Goblin flew away and the Crime-Master escaped by using gas to delay Spider-Man. Later when the Crime-Master tried to attack the Daily Bugle offices, he was shot by the police. He tried to reveal the identity of the Goblin, but died just before he could. It was then revealed he was 'Lucky' Lobo.

Stromm returns and attempts revenge with an army of robots, but apparently dies of a heart attack after someone apparently tries to shoot him through the window. Osborn discovers that college student Peter Parker, a classmate of Harry's, is Spider-Man after exposing Spider-Man to a gas that weakens his spider-sense with the aid of a gang of ordinary crooks, and allows him to be observed. Osborn captures Parker after knocking him out with an asphyxiation grenade, catching him off-guard at home and concerned for Aunt May. The Green Goblin bound Peter with a steel rope and took him to his waterfront base. He then ties him to a steel chair with the intention of torturing Peter with suspense, revealing his identity to the world, and killing Peter while he is completely helpless and at his mercy. He reveals his true identity and origin to Peter, who stalls Osborn long enough to free one hand. Seeing this, the Green Goblin releases Spider-Man for what he intends to be their climactic battle. Spider-Man defeats Osborn, who loses his memory after being knocked into a mass of electrical wires, and destroys the Goblin costume in the resulting fire.

Osborn is troubled by repressed memories, which he takes as hallucinations, of the Green Goblin and Spider-Man. A presentation on supervillains by NYPD Captain George Stacy restores Osborn's memory, but after a brief return to his Green Goblin persona, in which he abducts Parker's friends and threatens Parker's elderly Aunt May, he is exposed to one of his own "psychedelic bombs", inducing another amnesia spell. In The Amazing Spider-Man #96, Osborn stumbles upon an old Green Goblin hideout which again restores his memory. The Goblin battles Spider-Man in this and the following two issues, until Spider-Man leads Osborn to see his son Harry Osborn hospitalized, overdosed on drugs. The shock causes Osborn's amnesia to return yet again.

In issue #121 (June 1973), his memory having been regained, the Green Goblin throws Parker's love, Gwen Stacy, from a tower of either the Brooklyn Bridge (as depicted in the art) or the George Washington Bridge (as given in the text). She dies during Spider-Man's rescue attempt; a note on the letters page of issue #125 states: "It saddens us to say that the whiplash effect she underwent when Spidey's webbing stopped her so suddenly was, in fact, what killed her." The following issue, the Goblin appears to accidentally kill himself in the ensuing battle with Spider-Man when he is impaled by his Glider.

Years after Gwen's death, it is revealed that Osborn had a one-night stand with Gwen after she's overwhelmed by his charisma which in turn leads to her pregnancy with his twin children, Gabriel and Sarah. Osborn thus has three motives for killing Gwen; revenge against Spider-Man, to prevent her talking of their affair and creating a scandal, and to take their children to raise by himself thus becoming his ideal heirs. The only person who knew of their liaison and the existence of their children was Mary Jane Watson, who despises Osborn for his immoral behaviors long before discovering he's the villainous Green Goblin.


The Green Goblin formula endowed Osborn with a healing factor that allowed him to circumvent his otherwise certain death. Osborn, no longer suffering from bouts of amnesia, escapes from a morgue and goes to Europe, where he can move freely and unnoticed. He becomes the leader of the Scrier cabal, which he utilizes to carry out revenge on Parker using Seward Trainer, Judas Traveller, the Jackal, and Mendel Stromm, who is now the cyborg-like Gaunt, as his pawns. It is this group of individuals who become crucial in duping Parker during the controversial 1990s storyline the "Clone Saga", in which a clone of Parker, created in 1970s comics by the Jackal and dubbed Ben Reilly, returns to New York City. Osborn re-emerges in Parker's life, and initially convinces Parker that Parker is the clone and Reilly the original. When Parker learns the truth, Osborn kills Reilly, the real clone. It is later revealed that he also raises his illegitimate children, Gabriel and Sarah, while in Europe and tells them that Peter Parker is their father and murdered their mother as Spider-Man.

The returned Osborn devises a contrived story to explain his absence and regains control of his business. He even uses a Goblin stand-in so as not to be suspected of being the Green Goblin. He also crosses paths with Roderick Kingsley, the original Hobgoblin, and initiates a hostile takeover of the latter's corporate empire in retaliation for raiding the Goblin arsenal and identity. Osborn joins a cult hoping to receive great power but instead goes further into madness. Osborn comes to see Parker as the son he had always wanted and attempts to have Parker take on the Goblin mantle using physiological torture but ultimately fails. Osborn's next plan involves using a drunken Flash Thompson to drive a truck into Midtown High School, resulting in an accident that causes Thompson brain damage. This successfully enrages Parker into what Osborn anticipates will be a climactic battle. During this confrontation, an emotionally weary Parker tells Osborn he is tired of this roundelay, and declares a truce.

Osborn's identity as the Green Goblin is revealed to the public through an investigation by the Daily Bugle after Osborn murders one of its reporters. After a battle with Spider-Man and Luke Cage, Osborn is arrested and sent to prison for the first time. Regardless, Osborn masterminds a plot that forces Spider-Man himself to help him escape. Osborn escapes to Paris but is apprehended by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents.

Rise and fall

Osborn attempts to distance himself from his Green Goblin persona after being prescribed medication. During the "Civil War" over the Superhuman Registration Act, Osborn is appointed director of the superhero team the Thunderbolts, now tasked to apprehend anyone who resists registering. During the "Secret Invasion" by the shape-shifting alien race the Skrulls, Osborn kills the Skrull queen Veranke, leader of the invasion, by shooting her. He leverages this widely publicized success in defeating the Skrulls to replace Tony Stark as director of S.H.I.E.L.D., which he in turn replaces with H.A.M.M.E.R., a paramilitary force he uses to advance his agenda. Osborn simultaneously formed an alliance called the Cabal with Doctor Doom, Emma Frost, Namor, Loki, and the Hood, but this 'alliance' quickly falls apart when Namor and Frost betrayed the Cabal to aid the X-Men.

His attempts to exert his authority were increasingly jeopardized by various superheroes. This includes Tony Stark tricking Osborn into attacking him while Stark was suffering from brain damage in his original suit of armor- thus showing Osborn brutally assaulting a man physically and mentally incapable of even attempting to strike back-, and the New Avengers using a tracking device Osborn had planted in Luke Cage to trick Osborn into blowing up his own house. Osborn then creates a rationale to invade Asgard, claiming it poses a national security threat. During a pitched battle with several superheroes, the Sentry causes Asgard to fall to Earth. Stark removes the Iron Patriot's armor remotely, revealing a maddened Osborn wearing green facepaint with yellow paint to create a goblin-like look. He tells them they are all dead as the Void is released. Osborn knocks out Captain America and tries to escape, but is captured by Volstagg, and is incarcerated in The Raft penitentiary, where he blames his Green Goblin alter-ego for ruining his chance to protect the world.

Prison break

When transferred to a secret government base somewhere underwater, Osborn quickly began taking steps to ensure his release from prison where he meets June Covington and Ai Apaec. He uses a 'Green Goblin Cult' he has assembled to stage a break-out with the aid of various corrupt senators so that he could turn himself in after eliminating most of his fellow inmates, creating a new impression of him as a 'champion' of the judicial system that he may use in future.

He was subsequently broken out of prison when the government attempted to relocate him to another prison in preparation for his trial, despite the efforts of the New Avengers to prevent any such attack, due to most of the men in the prison belonging to his group.

With his followers explaining the public perception of him as a voice for the 'disenfranchised' who do not believe in Captain America's right to take charge, Osborn sets out to assemble a new team of Dark Avengers, concluding that what he has learned in prison will make it far easier for him to use the team 'properly' this time. While planning to regain his Iron Patriot armor, Norman Osborn recruits Barney Barton to become his new Hawkeye, recruits Hulk's son Skaar to become his Hulk, has Superia become his new Ms. Marvel, has June Covington become his Scarlet Witch, has Ai Apaec become his new Spider-Man, has Gorgon become his new Wolverine, and has A.I.M. rebuild Ragnarok to serve as his Thor.

In the team's first fight with the New Avengers, Norman Osborn demonstrates a new level of strength where he manages to throw Luke Cage in a considerable distance. With both Avengers teams occupied, Norman declares himself the new head of world security, ordering that the Avengers be arrested and charged with various war crimes. However, despite possessing the power of the Super-Adaptoid, Osborn's plans are defeated when all of the Avengers attack him at once, the multiple powers his body has absorbed overloading his system, leaving him in a coma with apparent brain damage while H.A.M.M.E.R. is disbanded, leaving A.I.M. and Hydra to pick up the remnants of his resources as Osborn is taken to prison once again.

Powers, abilities, and weaknesses

Norman Osborn was turned into the Green Goblin by a chemical solution he had devised based upon a formula originally conceived by Professor Mendel Stromm. The process granted Osborn superhuman agility, strength, speed, stamina, and dexterity, as well as a "healing factor" that allows him to quickly heal even from such lethal bodily damage as being stabbed through the chest by large blades.

In addition to these physical advantages, the serum also greatly enhanced Norman's already-above average intellect, making him a bona fide genius capable of making breakthroughs in advanced areas of genetics, robotics, engineering, physics and applied chemistry. The Goblin formula is also said to have driven Osborn insane; defects in his personality were strongly augmented by the serum, resulting in dangerous mood-swings and hallucinations.

Weapons of the Green Goblin

The Green Goblin is armed with a variety of bizarre devices. He travels on his bat-shaped "Goblin Glider", an incredibly fast and maneuverable rocket glider equipped with various armaments. Other weapons the Goblin uses include incendiary Pumpkin Bombs, smoke- and gas-emitting grenades resembling ghosts and jack-'o'-lanterns, razor-edged boomerang-like throwing weapons, resembling bats, and gloves woven with micro-circuited filaments which channel pulsed discharges of electricity at nearly 10,000 volts. He wears a green costume underneath bulletproof chainmail with an overlapping purple tunic. His mask has a built-in gas filter to keep him safe from his own gasses.

Goblin Glider

The Goblin Glider's controls and microprocessor are located behind the head of the glider. The pilot is attached to the glider via electromagnetic clasps on the wings of the glider. It has great maneuverability and is steered mostly by leaning, but manual controls are available behind the head of the glider. The Green Goblin later added radio-linked voice controls to his mask. Its top speed is 90 miles per hour (140 km/h), and it can support about 400 lb (180 kg), though it could lift far more for brief periods. Flying at top speed with a full load and a full fuel tank would deplete its fuel supply in about an hour.

The glider possesses a wide array of armaments, including heat-seeking and smart missiles, machine guns, extending blades, a flamethrower and a pumpkin bomb dispenser/launcher.

Pumpkin Bomb

A grenade used by the Green Goblin, the Pumpkin Bomb resembles a miniature Jack-o'-lantern and, when thrown ignites almost soundlessly and produces enough heat to melt through a 3-inch (76 mm) thick sheet of steel. The Goblin carries these and a variety of other weapons in a shoulder bag he calls his "Bag Of Tricks". The Green Goblin has a range of other "Pumpkin Bombs" at his disposal, including smoke-and gas-emitting bombs. Some release hallucinogenic gases, while others emit a specially created mixture that neutralizes Spider-Man's spider-sense for a limited period of time. All of these are covered in a light plastic mantle that flutters like a ghost when thrown.

Weapons as the Iron Patriot

During the events of the "Dark Reign", Osborn created a new identity, the Iron Patriot (an amalgam of Captain America and Iron Man), to cement his standing as a hero. As the Iron Patriot, he utilized a version of Iron Man's armor. The armor featured superhuman strength, enhanced durability via a pliable crystalline material with a molecular structure that can collimate into super-hard planes upon the application of an electrical field, flight, magnetic impact blasts, heat seeking missiles, miniaturized lasers, flamethrowers, and a communications system housed in his helmet which allowed him to interface with any U.S.-controlled satellite or computer network. While the original Iron Man armor utilized repulsor technology, Osborn's design does not; Stark destroyed all but one repulsor, and stated that "Oz is too stupid" to make his own repulsor-based weapons system. The star shaped Uni Beam projector on his chest, because of its shape, also has a less powerful output than that of the original Iron Man model.

Powers and weaknesses as the Super-Adaptoid

Following his time in prison, A.I.M scientists converted Osborn into a Super-Adaptoid, capable of absorbing the abilities of any mutant, mutate, alien, android or otherwise by touching them. In this form he possessed considerably increased strength and durability; where he was once approximately as strong as Spider-Man, he now possessed sufficient strength to overpower and throw Luke Cage a significant distance away from him. He could also levitate, and he was able to defeat the Vision in an aerial conflict between the two.

He is known to have absorbed the abilities of Luke Cage, Vision, Red Hulk, and Protector, and it is suggested that he also absorbed the abilities of his current Dark Avengers. In his final form, his body grew to the Hulk's size, and like Hulk he was capable of creating shockwaves by hitting the ground or smashing his hands together. His durability was sufficient to withstand the combined attacks of all the Avengers, and he demonstrated remarkable healing abilities, recovering in seconds after Daisy Johnson used her powers to make his heart explode. He could also turn intangible by manipulating his density, as the Vision does.

However, Osborn had no control over his Super-Adaptoid abilities; he would automatically absorb the powers of any superhuman he touched, even if he didn't consciously want to. He was also limited in how many powers his body could hold, as the A.I.M. scientists warned him that absorbing too many powers at once could overload his systems. In the end, he inadvertently absorbed the abilities of all the Avengers and New Avengers when they all touched him at once, and the unstable combination of their multiple different powers caused significant damage to his body chemistry, resulting in him becoming comatose.

Mental illness and other weaknesses

Norman Osborn has consistently been depicted with several unusual weaknesses related to his psychosis and to his personality. He suffers from manic depression. He has a pronounced narcissistic personality disorder co-morbid with severe anti-social psychopathic traits and in some depictions, multiple-personality disorder (For some of his early appearances he and the Goblin were separate personalities, his Goblin side disdaining his human weaknesses while his other side was primarily motivated by his concern for Harry, although his anger over his son's failing health as 'Norman' helped to provoke his transformation back into the Goblin, his other side never reappearing after he was believed dead). He is also highly sadistic, showing a complete lack of empathy for the lives of innocent people who stand between him and his objectives. These weaknesses have often been referenced in stories featuring him and exploited by his enemies.

In Thunderbolts Norman Osborn is shown to be severely manic depressive. This has been referenced several times in a myriad of Spider-Man stories. When he is not under the direction of a psychiatrist and taking medication, he has dangerous mood swings. At the apex of his mania, he is paranoid, delusional, and suffers from visual and auditory hallucinations, including hearing the voice of his Green Goblin persona and seeing its face in the mirror rather than his own. Previously, Osborn's arrogance caused him to refuse to submit to psychiatric treatment unless forced to; he viewed mental illness as an imperfection and therefore would not admit that he is mentally ill. In later conversations with the Sentry, Osborn revealed that he had come to accept his own mental illness.

There are many examples of Osborn's pronounced superiority complex, to the point that he will rarely, if ever, admit that he has made mistakes, transferring blame for his shortcomings to others or claiming that he was better than he was; even before his accident, he spent more time providing Harry with gifts or outings rather than actually being there for his son or trying to listen to his problems, and nevertheless claims that he was still a good father. Having become the Goblin, he generally views other people as dim-witted pests, lacking in creative vision, unworthy to be graced by his presence. He goes out of his way to remind others of their personal failures and shortcomings and to remind those in close relationships with him, such as his son, that they are incapable of measuring up to his achievements.

When he first learned Spider-Man's identity, he claimed that when Spider-Man had defeated him in their previous battles, none of those victories counted because Spider-Man had only beaten his lackeys or been rescued by the intervention of other super powered beings such as the Human Torch, despite the fact that he always departed the battles after Spider-Man's victories rather than trying to defeat his foe himself. He also missed the opportunity to lead the original Sinister Six because he felt that joining the group would mean admitting he needed the help of others to rid himself of Spider-Man. Although he later formed the 'Sinister Twelve' when Spider-Man sent him to prison, he expressed anger at Mac Gargan for acquiring the Venom symbiote rather than using the new Scorpion suit provided for him simply because Gargan wasn't doing what he wanted despite Venom being more powerful than the Scorpion.

When he participated in the mystical ritual known as the Gathering of Five, he appeared convinced that he would automatically receive the gift of power from the ritual – which would bestow upon the participants power, immortality, knowledge, madness and death, respectively – only to receive the gift of madness instead, subsequently requiring an elaborate cocktail of drugs to restore himself to a semblance of sanity.

During his time in charge of H.A.M.M.E.R. he was provoked into attacking Asgard by his Goblin side because his ego couldn't allow himself to consider the possibility that the Asgardians wouldn't threaten his power. Later events revealed that Loki at least slightly influenced Osborn's decision to further Loki's own goals. During his attempted takeover of Earth's superhuman security defences, he was shown reflecting that humans are all barbarians who require the strong like him to control them, dismissing the Avengers as no better than him despite the obvious distinction between Osborn's demands for power and the straightforward respect that the general public have for the Avengers.

It has been shown that since having suppressed the rampaging Green Goblin personality and becoming the more dominant personality, Osborn has proven to be just as (if not more) evil and cruel. Osborn has demonstrated a high degree of sadism. While he was in prison, a guard once asked him for his advice in helping his critically ill wife; Osborn's advice led her to a quicker and more agonizing death.

As director of the Avengers, he allowed Bullseye to continue to function as an Avenger, even after Bullseye allowed over thirty innocent bystanders to be killed during a skirmish with a supervillain. As director of H.A.M.M.E.R. he directed his officers to shoot down an airplane full of innocent people just to see whether his enemy, Pepper Potts, was powerful enough to rescue the passengers with her Rescue variant of the Iron Man armor.

Because these actions threatened the hero persona he had carefully crafted some in the media began to see him for what he really was, and many of his highly-credible former enemies spoke out against him. His Goblin persona vied for control of his body, as depicted in the January 2010 issue of Dark Avengers, where he is shown writhing on the floor and imploring, apparently to himself, "Why won't this face come off...?", and finally took over when Osborn's Iron Patriot armor was defeated by Captain America and Iron Man at the end of the "Siege" arc.

Other Goblins

While Norman was presumed dead, several other villains and one hero took up the mantle of the Green Goblin. A few other villains also created separate Goblin mantles.

Other versions

As a fictional character, the Green Goblin has appeared in a number of media, from comic books to films and television series. Each version of the character is typically established within its own continuity within parallel universes, to the point where distinct differences in the portrayal of the character can be identified. Various versions of the Goblin are depicted in works such as Marvel's Ultimate line and Earth X.

In other media

The Green Goblin has appeared in many Spider-Man related media.


In television, the Green Goblin appeared in the 1960s Spider-Man animated TV series voiced by Len Carlson. and in the Spider-Man episode "Revenge of the Green Goblin." He also appears in the 1980s Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends cartoon with Norman Osborn voiced by Neil Ross and Green Goblin voiced by Dennis Marks. The Green Goblin also appears in the 1990s Spider-Man cartoon series, again voiced by Neil Ross. A Counter Earth version of the Green Goblin appears in the Spider-Man Unlimited animated series voiced by Rino Romano. Green Goblin appears in The Spectacular Spider-Man with Norman Osborn voiced by Alan Rachins and Green Goblin voiced by Steven Blum. Norman Osborn is the main antagonist for Spider-Man in Ultimate Spider-Man.


The Green Goblin is the main antagonist in the feature film Spider-Man (2002), which starred Willem Dafoe as Norman Osborn. In the film, Osborn is a leading scientist specializing in cybernetics engineering, and has successfully created the advanced flightsuit and jet-propelled, heavily-armed "glider" later used to wreak havoc as the Goblin. OsCorp's failure, however, in creating an effective "super-soldier" serum for the U.S. Military prompts them to threaten the firm with the loss of their funding. Without enough time to do proper human trials, Osborn tests the procedure on himself, gaining extremely enhanced strength, stamina and reflexes but being driven insane as a side-effect and developing a split personality: his id emerging as the Goblin. He wields pumpkin-shaped grenades of varying effect and wears a green and purple outfit with a grotesque Goblin-faced mask, and this version of the suit is covered in plated armor and circuitry. He is later killed when he fights Spider-Man in an abandoned atrium, and is impaled by his own glider. Dafoe reprised his role in hallucinatory sequences in Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3, haunting his son Harry Osborn (James Franco) with guilt and inferiority.

Video games

The first video game appearance of the Green Goblin was the 1982 Atari 2600 Spider-Man game. He also appeared in the Spider-Man arcade game, and in video game adaptations of the 1990s Spider-Man cartoon. He makes a small cameo in the 2000 Spider-Man game for the PSX, as the player can find his lair inside a crane in one of the levels. The Goblin appears in the 2002 Spider-Man video game based on the film with Willem Dafoe reprising his role as Norman Osborn/Green Goblin in the game. He briefly appears in the 2005 Ultimate Spider-Man video game voiced by Peter Lurie. He appears in the game Spider-Man: Friend or Foe, voiced by Roger L. Jackson. Green Goblin appears in the Nintendo DS version of Spider-Man: Web of Shadows. He appears as a playable character in the game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, voiced by Armin Shimerman. Also the Noir version of the Green Goblin appears in the final Noir chapter of Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions voiced by Jim Cummings.

The Iron Patriot armor appears in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 as part of a downloadable costume pack, as a costume for Iron Man. Additionally, on the Daily Bugle stage, Oscorp has a banner. In addition, whilst still not appearing, one of Firebrand's alternate costumes is based on Green Goblin.

Iron Patriot is a playable character in Marvel Super Hero Squad Online.


Norman Osborn/Green Goblin appears as the main villain in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, a two-act rock'n'roll Broadway musical, directed by Julie Taymor, with music by Bono and The Edge. Norman Osborn (played by Patrick Page) is mutated into the Green Goblin after a horrible lab accident gives him superhuman strength alongside mental instability. Here, the Green Goblin flies through the use of wings rather than a mechanical glider. His wife is Emily Osborn (played by Laura Beth Wells), who dies as a result of the lab accident that creates the Green Goblin. The show opened at the Foxwoods Theatre in New York City on 14 June 2011 to generally negative reviews, although critics praised Page's performance as the Green Goblin.