The Best Pumpkins in the Marvel Universe
Our favorite moments starring these seed-filled squash/gourd fruits.
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Pumpkins. What are they good for?
They come in all sizes and shapes, mostly round. They grow in patches. They are edible, and their spice tastes good in lattes. They have one of the most complex classifications in all of squash-fruit, AKA genus Cucurbita pepo.
Carve them up, drop ‘em all over your house after September 1, or bake them into a pie—these seasonal crowd-bringers are versatile, and that statement couldn’t be any more true in the Marvel Universe.
You (maybe) asked, and we definitely listened: here are the greatest pumpkins in Marvel history.
JACK O’ LANTERN… ALL OF THEM
We begin our autumnal annals with our favorite pumpkin-based character(s): Jack O’Lantern.
But which one?
To date, at least seven mercenaries have worn this ghoulish garb, as popular a choice as your standard witch, ghost, or cat costume. Bewareeeee. The Jack O’Lanterns have a surprisingly complicated history for a patch of pumpkin-headed people, so we’ll break out a few here.
The first ever Jack O’Lantern appeared in MACHINE MAN (1978) #19, a celebrated sci-fi series by writer and artist Jack Kirby.
If you’re even a little bit confused as to how a giant pumpkin fused to Macendale’s head:
Through dastardly monologue, the crook explains that this weird, weird wear is actually a fully armored bodysuit, a signature get-up for the criminal who wants everyone to know “whodunit.”
In “The Peril… and the Pumpkin?,” Spider-Man had his first confrontation with Macendale, and it did not go the way of Team Pumpkin.
It’s like our favorite pumpkin adage says: Lot of squashes are gourds. But not all gourds are squashes.
The second known Jack O’Lantern was a fellow by the name of Steven Mark Levins, first appearing in CAPTAIN AMERICA (1968) #396-398. A member of the “Skeleton Crew,” this Jack O’Lantern is notable for his association with Doughboy, the scientific progeny of Arnim Zola.
In cahoots with Norman Osborn, this one-time Mysterio had a short and sweet stint in the Jack O’Lantern suit, debuting in PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN (1976) #241. Under the “Mad Jack” persona, Beckhart attacked John Jameson, AKA Man-Wolf, exploiting Jameson’s werewolf state.
Steven Levins’ Brother
Carrying on a family legacy of wearing an armored pumpkin on your head, Levins’ unnamed brother assumed the mantle in DARK REIGN: MADE MEN (2009) #1. At first unwilling to talk while in custody, Levins eventually overshared on his satanic ties to Jack O’Lantern, even offering a progress report on how he's doing after being empowered by a pumpkin.
Crime-Master’s Jack O’Lantern
In VENOM (2011), Flash Thompson’s starring run as the Lethal Protector, yet another Jack O’Lantern was animated and set to work by the notorious Crime-Master. Playing a pivotal role throughout the series, this new Jack was a former kid-assassin... with a broomstick glider.
In one of the most impressive pumpkin-based battles to date, Venom and this Jack O’Lantern squared off in Las Vegas, and the latter was nearly turned into pumpkin puree.
Two, Potentially Three, Imposters
At this point, the Jack O’Lantern is the ideal criminal disguise: so many people have slipped under its pumpkin helmet, that you can never be too sure who has committed the crime.
In addition to his Goblin Glider and a heinous cackle, Green Goblin’s favorite weapon in his thematic arsenal are his Pumpkin Bombs!
First appearing in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #17, these decorative detonators threw Spider-Man off his game while the Wall-Crawler attended a function in his honor (courtesy of Spider-fan Flash Thompson). Things got absolutely batty once Green Goblin showed up with new toys in tow, a close call for Spider-Man, but a thrilling spectacle for the audience.
A longstanding favorite of Spider-Man’s maniacal menace, the Pumpkin Bombs are just the kind of kitschy Green Goblin prefers. And, they’re a staple in the Goblin family: The Hobgoblins have used them several times, most recently in ABSOLUTE CARNAGE: LETHAL PROTECTORS (2019) #3.
Another pumpkin-based connection? Jack O’Lantern Jason Macendale was also the Hobgoblin.
THIS NOT-SO SINISTER PUMPKIN WITH A SLEEPY CAT
In 2012’s MARVEL ZOMBIES HALLOWEEN, readers were treated to yet another pumpkin in Marvel lore, a cameo appearance in Fred Van Lente and Alessandro Vitti’s Halloween tale. While trying to enjoy costumed festivities in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, Katherine Pryde’s son learns the true meaning of “Trick or Treat.”
THIS ENCHANTED PUMPKIN THAT WILL NOT QUIT
Pumpkin features prominently in DOCTOR STRANGE ANNUAL (2019) #1, a story set on the mystic convergence of All Hallows’ Eve. After being duped into opening a portal during the Sanctum Sanctorum’s “Vow of Protection” ritual, magical librarian Zelma Stanton incurs the wrath of an angry pumpkin spirit, and unleashes a pack of demon snakes, Furies, loa, and all manner of extradimensional beings.
Marvel’s most powerful mages, Doctor Strange, Doctor Voodoo, Talisman, Agatha Harkness, and Scarlet Witch, break their circle and get to work—quelling the rage of these perpetually growing pumpkins.
ZELMA STANTON’S PANCAKES
Sometimes revenge is a dish best served pumpkin.
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