Although Avengers & X-Men: Axis has yet to hit stands, we know that one facet of it will see various Marvel heroes “inverted” into contrary versions of themselves; heroes go bad, and villains sometimes go good. In the case of the classic Spider-Man villain the Hobgoblin, he’s turning over a new leaf – and wants to help you do the same thing.
Launching October 29, the three-issue Axis: Hobgoblin sees the original Hobgoblin, Roderick Kingsley, return to the mask but with a new mission: be a self-help guru. As his shirt proudly proclaims on the second issue’s cover by series artist Javier Rodriguez, “Got a problem? Call Hobgoblin!” But one person who wants to cut short Kingsley’s new lease on life is another Goblin who went good – a former Green Goblin and Hobgoblin, now Goblin King, Phil Urich. If Shinick and Rodriguez have their way, this self-proclaimed self-help expert might need some help of his own.
Newsrama: Kevin, Axis: Hobgoblin debuts on October 29 – what can people expect?
Kevin Shinick: Axis: Hobgoblin is the answer to all your problems! It's going to fix everything that's wrong with your life and help you unleash the true hero that lives within each and every one of us. And all in just three easy installments. At least that's what Roderick Kingsley would have you believe.
Nrama: And just how does this tie-in to the events of Axis?
Shinick: It was the events in Axis that gave Hobgoblin his first taste of being a hero. But you can read more about it in Kingsley's new biography, Hobnobbin' with Roderick Kingsley. On sale now for $29.99.
Nrama: So that’s the original Hobgoblin, Roderick Kinglsey, on the cover to Axis: Hobgoblin #2 wearing a shirt saying “Got a problem? Call Hobgoblin!” So just what is this new mission/mindset Hobgoblin has now?
Shinick: During the events of Marvel's Axis, Hobgoblin got a taste of being a hero. Now he'd like to prolong his fifteen minutes of hero fame as best he can. And since Roderick Kingsley recently had a side business leasing out old villain personas, he figures he'll use that same skill set to lease, create and motivate a whole new batch of superheroes -- provided they can afford the entry fees. But as most pyramid schemes are structured, it only works if Hobgoblin leads by example.
Nrama: So is Hobgoblin a hero now, or what? How would you describe him?
Shinick: I would say he's first and foremost a smart businessman. But yes, he's a hero for the moment. My feeling, however, is that it isn't like he's had a complete change of heart, he just views it as expanding his business to include a market he hasn't tapped yet. But as the story goes, if an evil man fools the world by doing good deeds his whole life was he really an evil man? Actually that might not be a story at all. I might have just made that up.
Nrama: Hero, villain, whatever – just who or what will Hobgoblin be up against here?
Shinick: Well, if you remember, Kingsley isn't the first goblin to be a good guy, so it stands to reason that he's going to piss off Phil Urich who, in addition to being the first good Green Goblin, has always had a contentious relationship with Kingsley. And now that Urich is attempting to become the new Goblin King the chances of them crossing paths is as high as the interest rates Kingsley puts on his leases.
Nrama: So this features Roderick Kingsley, the first Hobgoblin (if you don’t count the unrelated Shi’ar Imperial Guard member). How’d you end up going back to Kingsley after all of the subsequent Hobgoblins there’ve been?
Shinick: Kingsley was the only Hobgoblin affected by the events of Axis. But kudos to you for referencing the Imperial Guard. That's the exact kind of hard hitting journalism Kingsley is looking for. Would you like to be in his next test group? I have one slot left. Maybe you can be Pen Boy!
Nrama: I’ll stick with this here. Getting back on point, will the fact that there’s been numerous Hobgoblins after Kingsley play a factor in this series?
Shinick: Only if Kingsley sues them for copyright infringement. Which would have been a real possibility if Kingsley hadn't embraced the idea that the more Hobgoblins out there the more exposure he gets.
Nrama: Last question – with Hobgoblin back on the scene, will we see what Spider-Man has to say about it?
Shinick: Now that Hobgoblin’s on the up and up, there's really no reason. Although I'm sure if he looked at his books he might be able to get him for past crimes the same way they got Capone. Tax evasion or something.