There is no shortage of great villains within the world of Spider-Man (poor Peter), but there are none more feared or deranged than Norman Osborn’s Green Goblin. Perhaps the very antithesis of New York’s resident Wall Crawler, the Goblin does not use his power for responsibility or the betterment of society, but instead to reign down chaos and destruction. Mr. Osborn was the result of his turbulent upbringing, which manifested itself in the villainous persona he would one day grow up to inhabit completely.
Norman is raised by an abusive and alcoholic father who lost the family fortune. Maybe this was the impetus for Norman to become a self-made man, as he grows up to be a ruthless industrialist. He is the co-owner of the leading New York firm, Osborn Industries (AKA Oscorp), which specializes in chemical manufacturing via Osborn Chemicals, as well as other areas of research and development, including robotics. Norman’s wife Emily dies within a year of their son Harry’s birth, leaving Norman embittered. Unfortunately, this causes him to repeat the sins of his own father and Norman raises Harry dispassionately, often devoid of fatherly warmth, frustrated by Harry’s failure to demonstrate academic excellence or a competitive drive. Despite living in opulence, Harry feels depressed and neglected by his father.
Early in his career, before he ever becomes the Green Goblin, Norman resorts to criminal means to advance his agenda. When Norman faces opposition from the owners of Malone’s flophouse, who refuse to sell so that Osborn could build a warehouse, Osborn sends the Enforcers— “Fancy” Dan Brito, Montana, and the Ox (AKA Raymond Bloch)—to violently persuade them. Namor the Sub-Mariner, now a homeless amnesiac, retaliates by destroying Osborn’s construction equipment. Private detective Mac Gargan (later Scorpion and Venom) steals military robotics plans from Osborn for competitor Obadiah Stane, causing Osborn Industries to lose a lucrative contract.