So….we all know Norman Osborn first appeared in ASM #37 right?
Yup….so WTF is he doing in the above image from ASM #25?
Well my friends for those unaware several years ago Ditko himself revealed Norman Osborn, contrary to popular misconception, was ALWAYS intended as the identity of the Green Goblin.
Many people have felt the original Green Goblin mystery was not all that great as a mystery. In all honesty…technically it wasn’t, but an oft repeated criticism is the fact that the ultimate answer to that mystery was introcued a mere two months before it’s iconic resolution in in ASM #39
But in looking back it maybe wasn’t as bad as people have said because Ditko’s word seems to hold water. Here and in other issues this strange but distinctive background character had been sporadically showing up in Jonah’s company as an acquaintance, meaning he was wealthy and potentially powerful (qualties the Goblin, whomever he was, likely possessed). And lo and behold he happened to show up in a few stories which featured…the Green Goblin….
And then Harry Osborn shows up and he too shares this background character’s distinctive look.
And here in this issue this character who is of no relevance to this plot or seemingly anything else is given seemingly unwarranted attention. I mean why would Stan/Steve bother to have Jonah with someone, exchange words with them and have Peter point out they’re important if they’re just a nameless background character?
Because he was going to be important down the road.
Because he was going to very significantly get his name.
Because unbeknownst to us we already knew his name…or rather one of them.
Ditko and Lee kept arguing about Gobby’s true identity for decades, so I don’t know if Ditko was telling the truth, but I always thought Norman was a good choice as the Green Goblin anayway.
Because if I remember correctly , Stan Lee wanted the Goblin to be already existing supporting character of the Spider-Verse to create drama, but Ditko wanted him to be a complete stranger, to make the story more realistic (just like he did with the Crime-Master)
So in the end, Norman was a good choice, because he started off as a background character, but began to be featured prominently in the issues #37 and #38, just before the Goblin’s identity being revealed in #39. You’d miss two issues , you didn’t know who he really was, but that’s the great thing about it : you had a character who was a background character, AND a supporting role at the SAME TIME. So really, both Lee and Ditko got what they wanted, when you think about.