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Another character that's back in play as of issue #691 is Roderick Kingsley, the original Hobgoblin. The end of the issue revealed that he's been operating in the nation of Delvadia under the costumed identity of Devil Spider. How long have you been waiting to reveal the fact that Kingsley was still alive and hadn't been killed by the new Hobgoblin, Phil Urich, near the top of the current "Big Time" run?"
Oh my God, has this been a long time in the making! You'll notice when we first introduce Roderick Kingsley in "Big Time," he was fighting drug kingpins in Delvadia and moving in on their territory. He's down there with a plan. What we saw at the end of "No Turning Back" is that he's done this exact same schtick before -- trading of the Green Goblin's legacy to become the Hobgoblin. Now he's done something similar with the most fearsome and renowned character in Delvadia, the Tarantula. This plays right into his M.O.
When we chopped off the "original" Hobgoblin's head in "Amazing" #649, the reaction we got from hardcore Hobgoblin fans was crazy. People wanted to boycott the book. They felt we were teasing them by bringing back Roderick Kingsley and then immediately chopping off his head the very next issue. There were YouTube videos, nasty message board comments and mean things said on Twitter. I had supposedly killed their favorite character.
But c'mon! I chopped off the head of a guy wearing a mask. Not only that, but a guy who had a machine called the Winkler Device that was specifically built to hypnotize people into thinking that they were the Hobgoblin. And on top of that, he's a guy with an identical twin brother who he'd often send in his place to pretend to be the Hobgoblin! C'mon! [Laughs]
There was a point where so much of this fan-anger was coming out on the web that I almost just lost it online and revealed everything. On April 27, 2011 I tweeted, "There are days where I'm convinced that some of you have never read a comic."
I had a moment of weakness where I saw people were talking with Hobgoblin creator Roger Stern on message boards. They were like, "Uncle Rog! Look what Dan Slott did to the Hobgoblin!" Stern was being very easy going about it, telling them that in comics, things like this happen all the time. I so wanted to send him send a private message and go, "It's not really Roderick Kingsley, honest!"
I decided to play it cool though, lay low and figure that people would eventually see what was what -- and now it's great. People are happy. Everyone came out of the woodwork to go, "Yay!" And my thought was, "Yep, now buy the 'Spider-Man Big Time Ultimate Collection' trade and get caught up on everything you missed." [Laughs]
I saw one person online who was horribly offended that we killed Daniel Kingsley. They thought the character had so much potential. Please. His potential and purpose was specifically to be a dupe and a red herring. Plus, Roderick never really cared about his brother. Daniel was someone he constantly pushed around and bullied and occasionally stuck in a costume. So guess what? He did it one more time.
The thing that made everyone think it couldn't be Daniel Kingsley is that he ripped off a door with super strength. Roderick Kingsley has access to all this technology. So he could have easily given his brother something like part of the Goblin Serum, Mutant Growth Hormone, or a costume with an exoskeleton. It doesn't take any great leap to get to "ripped off a door" in the Marvel Universe.
I'm going to have to say I'm sorry a few more times aren't I?