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Good Guy Green Goblin: Why the Little Guy Matters in Comics

I don’t remember how or why I came to possess a copy of Green Goblin #1 in 1995, I only remember the joy I felt flipping through its pages. I can remember marveling at the artwork by Scott McDaniel, possibly the first time I ever actually appreciated comic book art. I can remember haphazardly scouring the comic book shops and supermarkets in Central New York searching for all the follow-up issues, before I ever even knew that comic books come out on Wednesdays. And I can remember waiting 10 years, well into adulthood, before I finally managed to track down the final issue online, and how reading it after all those years was like stepping back in time. The series was just as good as I remembered – if a little dated.

With the Green Goblin series in the mid-90s, Marvel Comics was trying desperately to reach out to both youth culture and longtime fans by mixing a semi-familiar brand name with a slacker protagonist. Green Goblin was a blatant cash-grab. It only lasted 13 issues.

But those 13 issues may be the very reason why I’m such a big comic book fan today. Green Goblin was my ‘gateway drug’. And Phil Urich is my hero.

He’s a funny guy

Some of you reading this have probably never even heard of Phil Urich. He’s no Peter Parker or Bruce Wayne, that’s for sure. But nevertheless, Phil Urich came along at just the right time to hook me into comic books. Green Goblin wasn’t the first comic I had ever read, but it was the first series I ever started collecting on my own. And when all 13 issues were over, I kept reading and I kept looking for more new comics. It was a fun little series with a lot of energy and some cool ideas.

After it was cancelled, one would reasonably expect never to see Phil Urich again. His story hadn’t sold, it was cancelled; shouldn’t that be the end of it?

Nope! Apparently not! And that’s why Phil Urich is such a fascinating character. Phil kept coming back. New writers like Brian K. Vaughn and Dan Slott came long with new ideas and new roles for Phil to play. And through their work, Phil Urich’s story continues to be told, even after all these years. And that’s one of the things I love about comics: through unexpected teamwork, through new writers and new ideas, even the little guys get their own stories. Phil will never be as popular as Spider-Man or Batman, but he’s got a story nonetheless.

Join me after the jump if you’d like to hear it.

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