Over more than sixty years in the pages of Marvel Comics, Spider-Man has amassed a rogues’ gallery consisting of some of the most lethal villains of all time. That being said, few, if any, have managed to make a name for themselves quite like the Green Goblin, let alone across multiple generations.

While Norman Osborn might be the original Green Goblin, his son Harry has an arguably more infamous history bearing that same name. Or, at the very least, Harry’s time as the Green Goblin proved to be more tragic than his father’s, especially since it ended only a short while after it began. Then again, the Multiverse is a vast space filled with infinite Marvel heroes and villains, and Harry Osborn is no exception. As such, there has been more than one version of Harry to take up the mantle of the Green Goblin, and not all of them have suffered because of it.

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Harry Osborn has been a part of the Marvel Universe since his first appearance back in 1965’s Amazing Spider-Man #131 (by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko), but it wasn’t until almost ten years later that he would take up his father’s former mantle as the Green Goblin. Harry developed a deep-seated hatred for the hero following his father’s apparent death in battle against Spider-Man. When he discovered that very same hero was none other than his best friend, Peter Parker, Harry donned Norman’s old Green Goblin costume as his own. Although Harry successfully terrorized Spider-Man as the Green Goblin, he wasn’t quite capable enough to hold onto that title for any extended time.

For almost twenty years after he first became the Green Goblin, Harry spent his life in and out of various institutions and hospitals. Despite all the help he was given, Harry continued to slide back into the role of the Green Goblin, with his career culminating in a tragic demise in the pages of 1993’s Spectacular Spider-Man #200 (by J.M. DeMatteis, Sal Buscema, and Bob Sharen). During Harry’s final confrontation with Spider-Man, his son Normie and longtime friend Mary Jane were trapped in the fray. Not only did Harry sacrifice himself to save the latter two, but he also gave up everything to save Peter in a last-second moment of clarity. In the years since Harry’s death, his legacy has lived on through characters ranging from his symbiote-wielding son to twisted clones to sentient A.I., but none so far have managed to evoke the terror their predecessor did as the Green Goblin.

Introduced in the pages of 2009’s Spider-Man: The Clone Saga #1 (by Tom DeFalco, Howard Mackie, Todd Nauck, Victor Olazaba, and Javier Tartaglia), the Harry Osborn of Earth-91101 lived a life remarkably similar to that of his counterpart from the Primary Marvel Universe. Like the rest of his reality, Harry’s life was the same in every single way, save for a few key differences. Most importantly, as far as Harry was concerned, he never lost his life in his final fight against Spider-Man. In contrast, his father was never revealed to have miraculously survived his seemingly fatal wounds.

Because of this, several key storylines played out far differently than what fans were used to, including those involving Harry and Norman. Wracked with grief from his father’s demise and still feeling the full effects of the Goblin Serum in his veins, Harry decided to bring Norman back in the form of a clone. This sparked a convoluted plot that brought Harry into conflict with Ben Reilly and Kaine Parker. When the heroes couldn’t stop Harry’s murderous efforts, the clone he had created of Norman did so by sacrificing the life he had only recently been given back.


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Unlike nearly every other Green Goblin to grace the comic book page, the Harry Osborn of the reality of Earth-10995 wasn’t a product of Marvel Comics at all. Instead, this version of the character appeared in the pages of the Spider-Man: Heroes & Villains Collection, which ran from 2010 until the end of 2011 and was produced by Eaglemoss Publications. This British collectibles production house licensed the rights to Marvel characters for their line of comics.

Separating this version of Harry Osborn from the original even further was that his history wasn’t based in the comics but rather in that of his counterpart from the 1994 Spider-Man animated series originally produced for the Fox Kids Network lineup of shows. In the same vein as so many other versions of the character before him, this Harry swore to claim vengeance for his father’s death, leading him to take up the mantle of the Green Goblin and wage war against Spider-Man for himself.

2015’s Secret WarsReinvented Harry Osborn’s Legacy as the Green Goblin

2016’s Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #1 (by Gerry Conway, Ryan Stegman, Sonia Oback, Anthony Holden, Kate Leth, and Marguerite Sauvage) marked the first full glimpse of the Earth-18119 timeline that fans were given following the events of Secret Wars the previous year. In this reality, Marvel’s Superhero Civil War never took place, meaning that Peter Parker’s family was never torn apart in the chaos.

Whereas Peter could raise his daughter into this bright new future, Harry Osborn was not so lucky. Like the original, this Harry sacrificed himself to save the life of Spider-Man. This time, however, the events of his father’s death left such an impression upon the young Normie that he secretly began subjecting himself to the Goblin Serum. As a whole, Renew Your Vows didn’t do anything new for Harry himself, but it drastically altered the lives of those around him.

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Like so many trips through the Multiverse before it, 2023’s What If…? Dark: Spider-Gwen #1 (by Gerry Conway, Jody Houser, Ramon Bachs, and Dee Cunniffe) gave an entirely new albeit not entirely unfamiliar timeline into the spotlight. In this version of one of the most infamous stories of all time, Peter Parker lost his life at the hands of the Green Goblin instead of Gwen Stacy. This drove Gwen to do anything she could to stop him, and she enlisted Harry Osborn to help her do so.

While the pair successfully trapped Norman Osborn’s Green Goblin, the encounter saw Harry accidentally execute his father in the process. Believing that Gwen knew all along who was behind the mask, Harry became the Green Goblin to take revenge for his father’s death, not to mention the blow that had been dealt to his psyche, given the circumstances.

Not long after Marvel’s new Ultimate Universe came into view, 2024’s Ultimate Spider-Man #1 (by Jonathan Hickman, Marco Checchetto, and Matthew Wilson) honed in on its future Wall-Crawler for the first time. Along the way, readers also get a clear view of what this astonishing new world’s Green Goblin looks like, though there was little indication of what exactly he was up to.

At least, that was the case until the targets of this Green Goblin’s attacks began hitting the press. And, with enemies like Wilson Fisk and Bullseye, it is hard to imagine how the latest Ultimate Green Goblin could be anything other than a hero. This is especially true considering the fact that it is Harry Osborn rather than Norman under the suit. Better yet, this Harry is more than happy to begin building what seems to be genuine connections between himself and Spider-Man the moment he realizes they are fighting on the same side.

At the same time, the new Ultimate Green Goblin, like the rest of his entire reality, is still just beginning his journey, so there is no telling where exactly his story will lead. Hopefully, wherever that is, it will be better than where his predecessors ended up, even if that isn’t asking for much.


Since his first appearance in 1962, Spider-Man has almost always been Marvel Comics’ most popular character. Known for his sense of humor and bad luck as well as his selflessness and super-strength, Spider-Man has helmed countless titles over the years, Spider-Man’s most prominent comics include The Amazing Spider-Man, Web of Spider-Man, and Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man.

Peter Parker was the original Spider-Man but the Spider-Verse has become an important part of the character’s lore in recent years. Multiversal and future Spider-Men include Miles Morales, Spider-Gwen, Miguel O’Hara and Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham. This provided the premise for the popular Spider-Verse film trilogy, which makes Miles its primary hero.

Spider-Man is also the basis of several live-action film franchises and numerous animated television series. He is one of the most recognizable characters in the world. While he’s changed a lot over the decades, Steve Ditko and Stan Lee gave the world an unforgettable hero when they created Spider-Man.

“}]] One of Spider-Man’s closest friends has a long history of becoming the most tragic version of his worst enemy across the Multiverse.  Read More