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.
I’m very pleased to announce I just got an article about Spider-Man, Harry Osborn and mental illness published at The Mary Sue! It’s, uh, not positive about Nick Spencer’s writing.
I hope you enjoy it. There are some nice comments on there, including one that actually vocalised something I’ve been thinking for a while – for all the terribleness of this storyline, the backlash to it did highlight how unexpectedly beloved Harry is among Spider-Man fans. (Maybe the real Harry was the friends we made along the way.)
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.
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…
Okay so you know I’m obsessed with the Spider-Man trilogy right? Well it turns out they RELEASED A WHOLE NEW VERSION of Spider-Man 3 and I… didn’t know. I mean I was sort of aware there was a editor’s cut around but I didn’t think it changed the movie this much.
Instead, an alternate take of Ursula alerting Peter that MJ has been trying to reach him is used later in the film, and Peter apologizes for his symbiote-influenced behavior to Ursula.
In his human form, Flint watches his wife and daughter depart before the scene transitions to him accepting Venom’s offer to team up against Spider-Man. His emotional motivation for this agreement is now underscored by the restored scene.
Instead, after angrily sending Peter away, Harry spots a framed photograph of himself, Peter and Mary Jane from happier times with the glass broken. Contemplating his broken friendships, Harry decides completely on his own to reconcile with Peter without learning the truth about Spider-Man’s innocence in Norman’s death.
!!!!!!!!!!!!! My gosh this is almost enough to make up for the horrible anxiety-inducing thing going on in the comic right now.
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.
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.
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!
I don’t read comics anymore because they are Very Expensive. However I do tend to google how my faves are doing every now and again and it turns out that a few days ago Harry went back to being a supervillain again.
(just not the Green Goblin this time. Also Norman is good or neutral now for some reason.)
Okay I’ll admit that chances are this will all be resolved pretty quickly, heck Norman saying “my son” could also refer to Gabriel Stacy (remember him?) which would make more sense. But right now I’m disappointed. :/
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.)
(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.
Since today is Spider-Man day I decided to watch Spider-Man 3 for the first time in years, along with two spiders who came in to watch their hero.
Spider-Man 3 is VERY uneven, you can see all over the place where rewrites were hastily done. I would kill for a version of this film that was actually how Sam Raimi intended it, but it’s probably not coming. (despite my occasional pleas on social media)
I still like it though! I still really like it, because I love all the characters and always will.
Some thoughts! Bearing in mind the last time I saw the movie all the way through must’ve been at least five years ago. If you wanna read thoughts from the past (most of which are still my present thoughts) on this DUMB BEWILDERING BEAUTIFUL CHEESEFEST, check out the tag marked “raimispidey”!
-Rosemary Harris/Aunt May is the beating heart of this movie. She puts in such a good performance and god I hate how underrated May is in more recent Spidermovies. Why did you make a Spider-Man movie where Iron Man is more important than Aunt May and Uncle Ben put together, Disney. Why.
-Speaking of things Disney fucked up, Peter is poor in this movie, which is what Spider-Man is supposed to be. He doesn’t have immediate access to fancy tech, he lives in a crappy apartment, he can’t afford nice things. I hate the MCU’s thing where all the heroes have to be flashy and rich, gaaaah. It feels like such a betrayal of Spider-Man’s importance.
(I’ll shut up about the MCU Spideys now. My apologies.)
-Peter at the beginning of this movie is so obsessed with himself he’s basically this meme come to life:
-I like all the little subtler things this movie did to highlight Peter’s descent into darkness. One of the police reports Peter ignores in favour of pursuing Sandman is something about “an elderly man in the middle of the road” which is the same way Uncle Ben died…
-Mary Jane is a jealous, resentful, petty, overemotional mess of a human being and I LOVE HER SO MUCH.
-Harry Osborn is still one of my favourite fictional characters ever (Go read The Child Within or the Son of the Goblin collection) and oh MAN I wish he wasn’t played by James Franco, since James Franco is a massive creep and all. Sigh.
-I appreciate that this movie doesn’t actually retcon Peter being partly responsible for Uncle Ben’s death. If Peter hadn’t let Dennis Carradine escape Carradine wouldn’t have surprised Flint Marko and the gun wouldn’t have gone off. It still all leads back to him.
-Of course, if Marko hadn’t had to steal money in order to save his daughter’s life he wouldn’t have been there in the first place, so the biggest villain in all this is really the American healthcare system. (I’m not joking, I’m really not.)
-Peter cries A LOT in this movie, and I approve. Honestly he’s the first action-movie hero I can remember actually crying.
-How have I not mentioned Ursula yet? I love her and her five minutes of screentime. She is the most MINOR of minor characters but she is a MAIN CHARACTER IN MY HEART (and fanfiction)
-I also love her dad, I remember in Spider-Man 2 he seemed like kind of a seedy douche and I wrote him so in fanfics but in this one he’s just a nice wacky dude.
-You know when the cops are hunting Sandman in the sand truck? When that one cop thinks he’s found him he raises his shovel right up to strike and if he’d actually hit human-Sandman he would have probably killed him instantly. When I first saw this movie back in 2007 I remember thinking, “Wait that can’t be right, a cop wouldn’t aim to just casually kill someone like that.” Well. Sigh.
-Harry’s death scene is legit very sad. The music and the fact he dies just as the sun comes up, oh man my heart. It’s also taken pretty much directly from the comic:
(the kid is Harry’s kid, who has yet to make it into a movie)
-Gwen is so sweet and nice in this film. (She was much more bad-tempered in the comics, which no-one ever remembers.) She even apologises to MJ for something that wasn’t remotely her fault! Hey if you wanna see Raimiverse MJ and Gwen interact more you oughta read this fic I wrote.