norman osborn

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 #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!

The next MCU spideyfilm

Apparently the next Spider-Man film in the MCU will definitely have “Home” in the title, which I guess is not surprising, and now I’m wondering if they’ll use “No Place Like Home” after all. (It’s a popular fan title.) So if they go full-on Wizard of Oz, they could introduce Norman Osborn – OZborn – in a very thematically appropriate way, casting him as the false Wizard in the story. A figure of apparent good, living in a beautiful green city, before the curtain falls away.

And if so I will be FURIOUS, because I used that idea in a fanfic ten years ago.

Casting Norman Osborn

There’s gonna be a lot of Spider-Man over the next few years. Obviously he’ll be getting more MCU screentime and hey! Apparently a new live-action series as well maybe!

So it is perhaps inevitable that Spider-Man’s greatest enemy, the Green Goblin, will pop up at some point. Lemme tell you about him. GG is much more frightening when he’s Norman Osborn. Norman Osborn is a power-hungry abusive misogynist with weird hair, almost like… you know… someone else. (Yes, Marvel really did kindasorta call it. It’d be funny if it wasn’t so depressing.) Woman-hating is built into his character, and was ever since he threw Gwen Stacy off that bridge.

So, what actors can pull off the Goblin’s particular brand of villainy? Obviously Willem Dafoe did it first and he did a great job. But try as I might I can’t quite see him as the casually demonic Norman of the 21st century Spider-Man comics. This ultra-manipulative bastard right here.

But you know who I think could pull it off? Bradley Whitford.

I’ve been watching him every Sunday in The Handmaid’s Tale and I’m constantly impressed by him. I keep seeing him in things now and damn, he is really good at being evil. But perhaps more importantly he’s good at being quietly evil. The sort of evil you don’t fully understand until it has its hands around your neck, which is exactly what Norman is.

But, I hear you say, Bradley Whitford doesn’t… actually look like that anymore. He got older and the Osborn-like red hair is gone. Well, yes. That’s true, and it’s rather unfortunate that it’s true because West Wing-era Whitford would have been pretty close to the character physically.

Obviously that’s not neccessarily a problem since Marvel is spookily good at de-aging their actors via CGI, but I reckon that 59-year-old Whitford could still do an incredibly good job. I mean I don’t know about you but to me this picture alone has major “I’m totally going to kill Spider-Man” vibes.

And if all the above hasn’t convinced you here are 20 seconds of Whitford being completely pissing terrifying in Get Out (a film I haven’t actually seen because I’m too scared, but I have at this point seen enough clips of it to be able to hold a conversation about the plot:)

Which leads in neatly to the other thing about Norman: his privilege. Dude is privileged on almost every axis: race, class, wealth. And boy, does he know it and boy is he not interested in discussing it.

And that’s something else Whitford can act very well.

So that’s my pitch! And don’t worry, I have considered the question, “No matter how good an actor he is, isn’t Bradley Whitford going to look pretty silly in a bright green goblin mask?” The answer is, if current events have proved anything, I don’t think the character really needs a mask anymore.

(no subject)

If you’ve been around my fanfiction for long enough, you might remember Faith In Humanity, my 30-odd chapter ode to the Spider-Man verse and the original trilogy in particular. Among the main characters was Emily, Harry’s late mother. Back then (this was the ’00s) she didn’t have a surname or much characterisation at all really. She was essentially the founding member of my Dead Fictional Mothers Club. I was fascinated by how heroes and protagonists never had mothers. Why were they always the ones to die?

So imagine how gleeful I was to realise that in the comics she is now not dead! It happened ages ago, but I only heard about it now. It’s funny, she looks exactly how I imagined her.

And the dyamic between her and Norman (he’s red now, whattya know) is pretty much how I always thought it would be.  I love this panel here:

She’s finally got a last name, Lyman. Harry has it too now! And all the Osborn-Lymans (Norman 100% does not count) have gotten to be together:

And I don’t know what happens after this particular story. I know Harry, rather understandably, refuses to call her ‘mom’. But hey! She’s alive!

I’ll always love Harry and the Osborn story. This new (uh, new-ish) development is so pleasing to me, you have no idea. (Emily also features quite a lot in the new Spider-Man game, which is also very pleasing to me, although she’s definitely dead in that one.)

Anyway! I put Faith in Humanity up on AO3 today.

wackd:

cephalotodd:

cephalotodd:

villain origin stories are so fucking funny. like oh i accidentally got lizard genes in my me guess i should get a sick hoverboard and fly around throwing bombs at people and screeching. my name is green goblin now. it’s the next logical step

image

thats a good point actually we’re all just a genetics lab accident away from cackling in the rooftops like nature intended

obligatory

My Big Take on Norman is that he’s much, much scarier without the goblin suit and the bombs.

panels-of-interest:

Spider-Man vs. Green Goblin.

[from The Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #390]

the saddest fucking panels :(