harry osborn archive

Harry Osborn’s Comic Appearances: Amazing Spider-Man #41 – 43 (1966)

Well the awfulness of the current comics shows no sign of going away anytime soon, so let’s jump back into this! Where we left off, Harry’s father had just overcome his first bout of supervillainy, but it would be faaaaaar from the last.

Here’s Harry’s very brief appearance in #41. Looks like his school bully days are behind him thanks to the previous story’s events! Meanwhile, Peter’s getting interested in Gwen.

#42 shows Harry defending Peter to Flash! Hooray for character development! Also Peter loves his motorbike a little too much.

Harry and Gwen’s relationship is a bit hard to pin down during this point, are they actually dating in the non-exclusive way or just friends?

And here’s Harry’s last appearance in these three comics. You’ll note that once more he sticks up for Peter. But now we’ve turned a corner into the real world and a still very relevant era of American history, the Vietnam war. Now I admit I don’t know much about it, being neither American or Vietnamese, but I know the basics. Flash has already been drafted, and these three panels rather make it sound like Harry is distressed at the possibility of Peter too being made to go to war.

Stan Lee’s thoughts about Vietnam I don’t actually know, but I’m gonna see if I can find out before the next one of these posts. I’d be interested in that. Harry is absolutely correct here in that a young man forced to join the military and kill people in a war is nothing remotely humorous.

Harry Osborn’s Comic Appearances: Amazing Spider-Man #34 – #38

Welcome back, true believers! Okay so the other day this happened in the spideycomicsverse and it reminded me to kick this little project back into gear.

So! Last post we met Harry for the very first time and he was, to be honest, incredibly meh. But only SO FAR! Because the man who would end up being the Big Bad of the Spiderverse is coming and Harry just so happens to be his son and heir.

But before any of that takes place, here’s ASM #34, in which Harry continues to be Flash Thompson’s rather uninteresting henchman.

In case you’re wondering who Mao Tse-Tung is, that would be Chairman Mao. In the year this comic was written, 1966, he started the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. So… uh… yeah.

Harry thinks Peter is a snob, which is kinda weird seeing as Harry is the son of a wealthy businessman and Peter is a broke orphan. You’d think it’d be the other way around. (I suppose he means intellectual snobbery.) Geez you’d never expect them to end up with one of the most enduring friendships in all Spider-Man media would you?

On to ASM #37 and this is the VERY FIRST TIME (I think) Norman Osborn is ever named. Humble beginnings and all that.

But first we meet Gwen’s Giant Hand.

Original Pre-Death Gwen is almost completely forgotten but she was hella cool. In amongst all the giggle-worthy Sixties slang you get the idea that geez it must really have sucked being a female science student in that era so no wonder she’s angry all the time.

Hereeeeee’s Norman!

And he’s a PRICK!

Even taking the very different approved fatherhood qualities of the ’60s into account Norman’s just a kinda a dick to his son here. Of course, we’ve barely scratched the surface of that yet, we have many issues and many increasingly disturbing modern-day retcons to go.

Now, in ASM #38 we’ve got Norman being more affable to his kid, and then dressing as the guy from Breaking Bad before Breaking Bad existed.

But this is primarily about Harry so what’s going on over at the college? Well, there’s a protest it seems.

This little scene remains a complete and utter mystery to me. What are they protesting about!? Based on the dialogue given to the student protestors Stan Lee does not seem to like them? For some reason? But there were SURE AS HELL things to protest about in the ’60s so this bit just comes off as really uncomfortable and Old Man Yells At Cloud.

(This is Lawrence Welk, by the way, and I don’t know what that insult is supposed to mean either.)

Man you sure can be clueless about a lot of history via comics! (No I’m not American.)

Anyway Harry in this issue is just a regular old weaselly coward, nothing’s changed there-

-but things are ABOUT TO! Stuff happens next issue which shaped ALL of Spider-Man comics to come!

Harry Osborn’s Comic Appearances: Amazing Spider-Man #31

So after making this post I thought, hey, why not make a little archive of all Harry’s comic book appearances? Obviously there’s an extent to which that might be IMPOSSIBLE, but years and years ago I did try and make a blog devoted to exactly that. It had like 6 followers after one year. So consider this the second shot I guess!

(I really doubt I’ll get further than like, the ’70s, but you never know I guess.)

SO! Come back with me to 1965, a time when I was not born, and let’s take a look at Harry’s VERY FIRST appearance in Spider-Man. Pre-Gwen’s death, pre-drug addiction, pre-Norman existing even!

It’s not much to write home about. Poor ‘ol Harry. He’s not good-looking, he’s as casually sexist as most of the Sixties were, and he wears a bow tie.

But hey this is also the first appearance of one Gwen Stacy, and pretty much the first detail we learn about either of them is that they’re friends! And this friendship will last a long time, including after death. (sob) Yet they’re not actually together romantically.

A frosh, apparently, is just another word for “college freshman” and not something incredibly insulting like I feared.

Doesn’t answer to a known school bully yelling “Hey c’mere?” CLEARLY they’re a HORRIBLE PERSON

Yeesh, Harry. Lay off the guy.

Man Harry is such a dick in his first appearance! He’s basically Flash 2.0. The sixties slang makes it more palatable though.

Okay so this is interesting because for a long time in Spider-Man canon (can’t remember if it’s still the case) the accident which turned Norman into Green Goblin was caused by a jealous, neglected Harry switching around his lab chemicals. So uh… whenever Harry is lashing out he turns to chemicals, one way or another.

Harry temporarily drops his mean shit for Gwen’s sake. That’s… nice I guess.

And so there ya go, Harry Osborn Version 1. He’s not a nice person and at this point one might think he would end up as nothing more than Flash’s henchman or a romantic rival for Gwen. But you would be wrong! VERY WRONG.

(Buckle up, there’s gonna be a LOT of comics to go through.)

harry osborn’s weirdest comic appearance

(Though it’s up against some pretty stiff competition.)

Okay! This was in a comic called X-Statix Presents Dead Girl, issue 3. As far as I can gather the premise is, villains are coming back from the dead so assorted heroes, including the titular Dead Girl and Dr Strange, go visit the afterlife to stop them. Death is, as everyone knows, a VERY fluid concept in the Marvelverse.

I guess that’s the in-universe explanation for “If your character sells enough comics they’ll probably come back from the dead.”

And Harry is like, ur, the elevator guy… of Hell? This may not be a bad thing though cos lots of heroes end up there? I think?

Oh and also Gwen?! She’s in the background of the third panel.

So Harry and Gwen, best friends, each involved in the death/downfall of the other, are in the same room/elevator/dimension/whatever in this comic and THEY DON’T SPEAK. Sonofabitch. Hey! Howsabout you read this instead.

The other odd thing about this surprise Harry Osborn appearance is that this comic was released in 2006, long after Harry’s intital “death” in 1993. (of course his death was retconned in 2007, making it so he never died at all, so what’s he doing in an afterlife? COMICS.) He was never one of the most famous Marvel characters, even taking the Raimi films into account, so I guess another Harry Osborn fan was writing this particular story and decided to give our boy a cameo. Good on ya mate.

Oh and also George W Bush is in this.