harry osborn comic appearances

Harry Osborn’s Comic Appearances: Amazing Spider-Man #40 (1966)

Here we are, the fallout from last week! The Green Goblin took his mask off and revealed himself to be… Peter’s high-school bully’s friend’s dad. Not exactly a “No, I am your father” level revelation… well, not yet anyway…

Peter begins by slagging off Harry, even though they’re teetering more to being almost-friends at this point. Oh sure he’s stalling for time! But I suspect in-universe Peter regretted those words once he came to love Harry.

Reading some of these lines in the present day, knowing the rest of the story, you just gotta go

or is that just me?

Here’s baby Harry, wearing the Spider-Man colours to boot. Norman tells this story as if he was a perfectly good father temporarily sidetracked, and maybe that’s what Stan Lee planned back then, but in the modern day comics this is… very much not the case.

See that red bike there? That bike will many years later play a starring role in a story detailing Norman’s abuse of Harry during this period.

“I couldn’t be bothered with him” could be the tagline for a heavy book titled “Norman Osborn’s Guide To Parenting.”

Many years later it would be retconned so Harry was responsible for the explosion in question. Which makes his thought bubble here kinda make no sense, except for the “It’s all my fault” bit.

“How did someone like me ever have a sniveling weaking of a son like you?” is the other, probably even more accurate tagline for Norman Osborn’s Guide To Parenting.

Poor Harry. It feels like that nurse in the background is looking on like, “hmm maybe someone should intervene to help that kid.” (ur, yeah.)

Norman just casually designing his supervillain suit to match that one pink satchel he already has.


One fight later:

He has… AMNESIA! This would be a get-out-of-jail card deployed by Spidey writers for quite a while.

“It would break his heart!” Told you Peter was SUCH A LOVELY KID, he barely knows Harry at this point and his initial impressions were nothing but negative.

It was not.

Harry Osborn’s Comic Appearances: Amazing Spider-Man #39 (1966)

Well today I remembered that there’s over fifty years of comic book history to get through here, so I’d better crack on.

Gwen, Flash and a random ginger kid who I don’t believe we ever see again are badmouthing Peter, who honestly has every reason to blank them at this point.

And here we get a glimpse inside Harry’s thoughts for the first time! He is, of course, angsting about his dad. Ah Harry, if only you knew how much worse it will get eventually.

Here we go! The moment they become friends! Or at least not enemies!

This moment, a BIG one in spiderhistory it would later transpire, gets revisited for the Harry-back-from-the-dead issue Amazing Spider-Man Family #4 in 2009. But we’re a looooong way from there yet.

Awww, how absolutely ridiculously lovely is Peter? Upon hearing that his school bully is going through a tough time he is GENIUNELY SORRY! Even puts his hand on Harry’s shoulder. This is the first time they ever touch and it won’t be the last.

Also note that Harry is wearing green here! Gosh I wonder why.

Harry claims here that he and Norman used to be “pals.” This would later be retconned to be THOROUGHLY not true, Norman was just a flat out abuser, but well since Harry has maintained love for his abuser (something depressingly accurate for abused kids in real life) right up to more modern issues of the comics you can handwave that line away.

I don’t know what a dutch uncle is either. Also yes Flash you’re right! Gosh these kids are all so dumb I love them.

Wait for it…

norman: tis I, your worst enemy
peter: Holy crap! You’re…that one guy’s weirdly identical father?

Another BIG MOMENT! Told you this issue was full of them!

We’ll deal with this not-remotely-a-revelation-anymore next post…

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.