Characters : Leeds, Ned
Nothing comes to mind.
The common abilities of any other Goblin, and he was a good reporter.
The vertical-thrust goblin glider, which was powered by a miniature turbo-fan. It could go up to 90 miles per hour and support 400 pounds.
He was repeatedly brainwashed by the real Hobgoblin, and became increasingly insane. That pushed him to dangerous grounds, and that was when the original Hobgoblin (Kingsley) decided to get rid of him.
High human level, for someone who engages in regular physical exercise.
Jack O'Lantern bombs, razor-edged bat-wings, and gloves capable of conducting pulses of electricity upwards of 10,000 volts.
Secret until Jason Macendale revealed it on trial.
A degree in journalism.
Daily Bugle as Ned. Some abandoned Green Goblin hideouts, and some new ones of the original Hobgoblin, as Hobgoblin III.
Field Reporter for the Bugle, alternating with Insane and Brainwashed Criminal
He did Kingsley's bidding, but had been brainwashed. He allied with Rose I, who thought Ned was the real Hobgoblin, and with his friend, Alfredo.
Betty Leeds, Richard Fisk.
Betty Brant Leeds (Wife)
No Criminal Record (died before he could get one).
Spider-Man, Kingpin, Hobgoblin I, Jason Macendale and Foreigner
Was married to Elizabeth Brant Leeds.
Ned Leeds was one of the earliest characters introduced in Peter's life. He was a field reporter at the Daily Bugle and a very good one. Soon after Peter and Ned were introduced by Betty Brant, Ned was on a special assignment to Europe to cover "disarmament conferences." After he returned from Europe, Ned arrived at the Bugle just as the Scorpion was waging a one man war to find J. Jonah Jameson. He protected Betty while Spidey fought the menace, much to Spidey's resentment. Ned took Betty home after the fight was over. Ned soon asked Betty to marry him but Betty still loved Peter. However, she did say that "I could never love an adventurer--a man that risks his life each day!" (Ned turned out to be exactly that kind of man.) She refused to answer Ned, until she knew the secret that she knew Peter was keeping from her.
Ned tried to help to persuade Peter to tell Betty what he was keeping from her, and Peter tried to make them hate him by putting Betty down and shoving Ned aside. Betty didn't believe in Peter's act, but Ned formed a grudge against Parker. Peter later admitted that he hated Ned, because he didn't have the secret of being Spider-Man between he and Betty. Ned and Peter later made up, as both were worried about where Betty had disappeared to while Ned was in California on business. Ned and Betty got engaged after she returned from a soul searching trip of the Midwest. By Amazing Spider-Man 45, they were making wedding plans.
Ned and Betty showed up at Flash Thompson's going away party for the army, which was crashed by Kraven the Hunter. Kraven was looking for Harry Osborn, as he knew that Harry was the son of Norman Osborn, the man that acted as the go between for Kraven and the Green Goblin. Kraven demanded the money that the Goblin promised him to kill Spider-Man. As Spidey and Kraven fought, Ned called in the story to the Bugle. Ned later rushed to find who kidnapped Jameson after his office was found in disarray. Ned showed up to where Jameson and Spider-Man were being held by the Kingpin just in time to see Frederick Foswell being taken away to the morgue.
Ned was also along for the ride when Robbie Robertson and Gwen Stacy went looking for May Parker, and found her with Dr Octopus during his gang war with Hammerhead. Aunt May had disappeared with Octavius after he showed up at her home, looking for a hideout. Gwen had come to the Bugle looking for Peter and told Robbie that May hadnt been seen for days. Robertson called the police before they left for Westchester, where Ned suspected May would be. The police captured Octavius at the scene.
Ned was skeptical of Mary Jane Watson as a suitable girlfriend for Peter Parker. She had been trying to put the moves on Peter after Gwen was murdered but he kept blowing her off. Ned said that Peter just needed time to grieve and he would come around. He didn't like that MJ said that he might, but it wasn't her problem. Peter would just be a drag to her anyway. It took both Betty and Robbie to convince him that Peter knew what he was doing and that MJ was just scared by her feelings.
He got a tip from a boarding house maid that a customer threatened to burn the place down if he didn't get any privacy. Ned showed up to see if there was a story and found that the hotel had been destroyed by the Molten Man. Raxton had been working on stabilizing his powers by using radioactive meteorites. When Ned arrived at the boarding house, he got a nasty case of radiation poisoning. Molten Man came to finish him off but was chased off by Spider-Man. Molten Man was stopped and Ned went home from the hospital after a week.
Betty and Ned found Peter unconscious in the lobby of the Daily Bugle after he had been kidnapped by the Jackal and the Grizzly at the start of the original Clone Saga. The Jackal knew that Peter and Spider-Man were somehow connected and attached a tracking device to Peter's arm to find out the connection. If Peter tried to remove the metal gauntlet-like device, it would vibrate and destroy his arm. After he successfully removed the device, he was soon approached by young woman that looked like Gwen Stacy. Peter blew her off as an impostor or a figment of his imagination (he had been fighting the Daniel Berkhart Mysterio) but when Peter later showed up to see Aunt May in the hospital, "Gwen" was also there. Ned told him that she had shown up at the Bugle, scared and confused. He hadn't believed her to be Gwen either, until he took her finger prints, which proved her to be Gwen. This woman turned out to be the Gwen Stacy clone, according to lab work that Ned had arranged for Gwen.
Ned's theory about tissue samples being used to create the clone proved to be correct, but his efforts got him kidnapped by the Jackal. He was taken to Shea Stadium and used as a hostage as Spider-Man was forced to battle his clone, who would eventually call himself Ben Reilly. The Gwen clone persuaded the Jackal (who was really a clone of the true Miles Warren anyway) to set Ned free. Leeds survived the bomb that leveled the stadium.
Ned and Betty got married in Amazing Spider-Man #156, and in the beginning it all went well (despite the interruption from Mirage and his gang). Ned was also promoted to city desk editor at the Bugle. There was that bumpy stretch where Peter and Betty stayed close friends, even after she got married. Betty leaned on Peter more than Ned liked and he got jealous, demanding that Peter stay away from his wife. In a callous attempt to to put everyone in their place, Peter told them he wanted nothing to do with her. She slapped him and Ned told him he thought Peter was a better person than that. Ned left her soon after.
Ned was an excellent investigative reporter, which is why J. Jonah Jameson called him back to the Bugle after a long time away to look into the Brand Corporation. Jonah's wife, Marla, had been named the company's new Domestic Research Director and was subsequently kidnapped by Killer Shrike. She later found that she had been subjected to electromagnetic hypnotism. Ned was given the task of getting to the bottom of it. It was at this time that we saw Ned and Betty together again and learned that they were seeing a marriage counselor. The counselor had told them to make time for both their marriage and for their jobs, something Ned was never good at.
Ned and Marla went looking for answers in low places, a seedy bar among them. An informant claimed to have information on the Brand Corporation, but he was also working for a crook named the Cobra. Cobra found him with Ned and recognized him as a reporter. He attempted to silence all three of them, but was stopped by the timely appearance of Spider-Man. In a desperate attempt to finally kill the man that he took to be a stool pigeon, Cobra shot poison darts at the informant but Ned jumped in front of him, taking the darts himself. He survived because they hit the recording device under his shirt.
Before Spidey could take Cobra to the police, Cobra's old partner, Mr Hyde, showed up to kill his old friend. Hyde chased the injured Spider-Man and Cobra across the roof tops and they were followed by Ned. Fellow Bugle reporter Lance Bannon showed up and went with Ned to get pictures of the fight. A water tower fell during the melee and washed Bannon over the edge of the roof. Spidey caught him in a web but didnt get any thanks. Later, Jameson is berating Ned for losing the informant and naturally says Spider-Man helped him to escape. Ned stood up to Jonah and said that Spider-Man had nothing to do with it. He was one of the few people that could talk to Jonah like that.
Ned soon broke his promise to save time for his marriage by blowing off dinner with Betty to investigate an explosion (caused by Will-O'-the-Wisp) at the Brand Corporation. It was later revealed that Brand was involved in many assassination attempts and other crimes involving super humans for years. Many super heroes were involved in taking these criminals down over those years, from the Avengers to the Fantastic Four. The government had been building a case against Brand for years and told Jameson to kill the story, or else it may jeopardize the investigation.
Soon after, the Hobgoblin (Roderick Kingsley) started making his moves on New York's underworld. Hobby became a major thorn in Spider-Man's side, attacking him at every move and attempting to blackmail Harry Osborn and J.J. Jameson. Unfortunately, things got rougher, though it took a long while for Betty and the readers to know why. We all remember the classic van battle between Spidey and Hobgoblin (Amazing Spider-Man #249 and following), don't we? Well, while they battled, Ned was following them. He waited until he saw the Hobgoblin leave the river, unmasked. He followed him to his hideout, getting closer and closer, in an attempt to see his face. The Goblin captured him, and brainwashed him with a bio-electric instrument. (The same instrument used by Wilson Fisk and Dr Winkler on George Stacy.) Roderick Kingsley started by using Leeds to steal info from the Bugle's files, but he eventually decided that it was safer to have someone in his place in the risky battles. Thus, Hobgoblin 3 was born.
Ned Leeds then approached Richard Fisk as a reporter, trying to find out about his father, the Kingpin. Knowing that Richard wasn't too fond of his father, he insisted with him, until one day, Richard and Alfredo decided to move against the Kingpin. Then, Ned revealed to them that he was the Hobgoblin, and helped Richard creating the Rose identity. From then on Leeds worked as an enforcer for the Rose, bringing him into conflict with the Vulture and especially Jack O'Lantern. Of course, Kingsley had his own agenda, which involved taking down the Kingpin, so he was keen on Leeds' moves.
Eventually, the regular exposure to the brainwashing instruments started taking their toll: Ned's personal relations, both with his colleagues at the Bugle and with his wife, were affected by his increasing aggressiveness. Ned's mental instability drove Betty to Flash Thompson's arms. After Flash made a public statement against the Hobgoblin, Leeds drugged him, dressed him up as Hobgoblin, and dumped him for the police to find. Flash was arrested, and for some time, everybody (even Peter) thought that Flash was in fact the Hobgoblin. While Flash was cleared a few months (real time) after, because he was seen being attacked by the true Goblin, Ned's insane actions starting to reflect also on his behavior as the Hobgoblin. For instance, he sold out his friend, Richard, to the Kingpin. Kingsley considered that Leeds was becoming too unstable, and also decided to retire from crime, as it had begun to bore him. He leaked the word to the criminal underworld that Ned Leeds was the Hobgoblin, and that he was traveling to Berlin soon. Jason Macendale (Jack O'Lantern) hired the assassin know as the Foreigner to kill Ned. Macendale's intentions were clear: take the mantle of the Hobgoblin for himself. (See Hobgoblin IV)
While Peter and Ned were in Germany, Ned, alone in his room, received a package: a Hobgoblin suit, courtesy of Roderick Kingsley. This activated his mind programming, and as the mercenaries of the Foreigner arrived, he was half- dressed as Hobgoblin. The four mercs killed Ned rather easily. After Ned's funeral, the Kingpin revealed to Spider-Man the files on the contract on Hobgoblin's head: the target was killed in Berlin, by the Foreigner's men, on the behalf of Macendale. Realizing Ned was the Hobgoblin, Spidey still goes on a fit of rage, trying to find his friend's killers, but he manages to capture none, at the time.
In the aftermath of Ned's death, Betty (who had seen his face, when the Goblin removed his mask after attacking Flash) went in denial, talking to everyone about Ned as if he was still alive. She even joined a religious cult, but eventually she overcame the grief. Of course, as former SpiderFan Staff Member Jeanne Burch pointed out, Betty was a lot fonder of her husband after he died than before.
10 years later (real time), during his trial in the Spider-Man: Hobgoblin Lives series, Macendale reveals that Ned Leeds was the original Hobgoblin. This causes a great deal of speculation, which brings Kingsley out of his hiatus. The last thing that Kingsley wanted was a lot of people snooping around Ned Leeds and his crimes as the Hobgoblin, which might connect Leeds to Kingsley. He kills Macendale, explains his relation with Ned Leeds to Betty's tape-recorder (she played on his ego to get an "interview" out of him), and is unmasked by Spidey.
With Ned's name cleared (sort of), some additional notes are worth mentioning: after Amazing Spider-Man #251 (excluding), we cannot be sure on several occasions, if the Goblin in question is Kingsley or Leeds. We can assume that most of the times, Leeds wore the mantle, but whenever the Hobgoblin displayed super- strength, it should have been Kingsley. That is, it's a fair assumption that Ned was never administrated the Goblin-Formula, otherwise he would easily have made short work of Foreigner's four men, the inherent healing factor would have regenerated his slit throat, and Kingsley would have had a really tough time if he had to take direct actions to remove Leeds out of the picture.
Ned was briefly impersonated during Inferno by a demon, looking to confuse, distract and then eat Betty. She beat the demon by blowing up her apartment with a gas leak and a space heater.
Quiz: Quiz on Ned Leeds.
|Nov 1964||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #18|
|Dec 1964||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #19|
|Jan 1965||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #20|
|Oct 1965||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #29|
|Nov 1965||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #30|
Here is the Full Appearance List (75 Apps) for Leeds, Ned.
The assistance of the Marvel Chronology Project is gratefully acknowledged.
Some of the above information is extracted from the various versions of the Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe and the more recent Marvel Encyclopaedias.