YMMV / Norman Osborn

  • Cant Unhear It: Willem Dafoe is the voice of the Green Goblin for many. Aside from Steve Blum and Neil Ross of course.
  • Common Knowledge: On account of The Reveal of the Green Goblin coinciding with Steve Ditko's departure from Marvel, fans and even industry professionals have claimed that it stemmed specifically from disagreements over his identity, which is not borne out by the original comics, research into production, and Ditko's own statements:
    • The most common theory voiced is that Ditko objected to Norman Osborn being the Green Goblin because to him making an industrialist a bad guy was against his objectivist beliefs (at least according to this reading). Except businessmen bad guys abound in the comics during Ditko-Lee's run (and showing businessmen as bad guys is something even Ayn Rand did), and Norman Osborn in the few issues he appeared in Ditko's run was always a sinister shady dude, embezzling Mendell Stromm and in Ditko's final issue, siccing a mob on Spider-Man while wearing a disguise. Likewise as per the Marvel Method, Ditko was the one who designed and plotted the story, which means all the in-panel foreshadowing and villainous portrayal of Osborn was planted by Ditko, as he himself pointed out in one of his few opinions on the matter:
    Now digest this: I knew from Day One, from the first GG story, who the GG would be. I absolutely knew because I planted him in J. Jonah Jamesons businessman's club, it was where JJJ and the GG could be seen together. I planted them together in other stories where the GG would not appear in costume, action. I wanted JJJs and the GGs lives to mix for later story drama involving more than just the two characters. I planted the GGs son (same distinctive hair style) in thte college issues for more dramatic involvement and storyline consequences. So how could there be any doubt, dispute, about who the GG had to turn out to be when unmasked?
    • As an addendum to showing businessman as bad guys, in the original comics, both Norman and Harry Osborn were shown as unsympathetic douchebags, with Harry Osborn in particular being a snob with no redeeming qualities. It was only in the Romita-Lee era, that more sympathetic qualities were given to both characters and the split personality between Norman and Goblin was invented. The Randian element in Ditko's run is more or less Peter being opposed on sides and being seen as anti-social when he's actually brilliant and special, and making Peter the target of scorn from snobs like Ditko's Harry Osborn was entirely consistent with that.
    • The other reason given for this is that Ditko didn't like the idea of the villain being someone known to Peter, feeling it was too melodramatic and cliche, and that he wanted Green Goblin to be an Unknown Rival to Peter. In the original run, villains such as Big Man aka Frederick Foswell was familiar to the hero in both his civilian identity (as a Daily Bugle reporter) and as a villain, the Big Man. More than that, at the time, Peter Parker had no interactions or meaningful connections to Norman at all, except via One Degree of Separation from J. Jonah Jameson (who was not exactly best pals with Peter in-and-out-of costume). He met Harry Osborn at college at ESU, and the two hated each other at the time, and it was Romita who codified their friendship, so in either case, Norman Osborn being revealed as Green Goblin would not really count as someone personally known to Peter.
  • Complete Monster:
  • Fandom Rivalry: Norman (and Harry) fans have a minor one with the MCU, considering Kevin Feige has said they have no plans in incorporating the Osborns into their version of Spider-Man. Naturally, seeing such important characters get the shaft didn't please fans.
  • Foe Yay: At uncomfortable levels with Peter.
  • Evil Is Cool: At his most well-written, or in the case of Willem Dafoe in Spider-Man well acted.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Some fans do find themselves attracted to him...Hmm, must be the bad boy persona.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Sometimes portrayed this way. Special mention to his incarnation The Spectacular Spider-Man TV series (which was written by Greg Weisman, the same guy who wrote David Xanatos), where he pulled a two season-long scheme eventually allowing him to take over New York's entire criminal underground and successfully framed his own son as a Tragic Villain to cover his own tracks.
  • Moral Event Horizon: The murder of Gwen Stacy is almost universally agreed to be when Norman crossed it, and perhaps the second most infamous murder in Spidey's history (following Uncle Ben's demise). It was extremely jarring to readers at the time because it was the permanent death of a main character.
  • The Untwist: Him being the Goblin King. Slott spent a lot of time teasing the idea that it might not be Norman, and had him refuse to unmask, in what really served no purpose but to raise suspicion that it might not actually be Norman. In the end, nope, its Norman, and him refusing to unmask pretty much served no purpose what-so-ever because of it.
  • Newer Than They Think: Thematic example. In Revenge of the Green Goblin Osborn, his son Harry then long dead, started to realize that Peter himself was everything he ever wanted in a son and heir—smart, resourceful, tough, and able to live through everything life throws at him. This was since retconned out of existence (partly because Harry is back, partly because Norman no longer knows who Spidey is), but it was well received and became an integral part of his character in other media, such as the movie and the Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon. Even Ultimate Spider-Man uses it to great effect (and when Norman's around, the series really forgets it's a comedy). So successful some more recent fans thought it was always an integral part of the character.
  • Rooting for the Empire: In some cases, people are willing to root for Osborn in spite of him being an utter asshole, a case in point being Superior Spider-Man. Some Draco in Leather Pants may even occur too due to some Lighter and Softer interpretations that make him legitimately sympathetic.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Some readers were generally not too happy with Osborn since his resurrection in The Clone Saga. The ones who like the changes, lament that, "he's been made interesting by basically being made into a new character.":
    And then the final out was resurrecting Norman Osborn, the single worst move ever made by Spider-Man writers. He had attained a reputation and fearsome aura in death far greater than in life, haunting Peter so much. To explain he'd spent 24 years of stories "recovering in Europe" was ridiculous, as was making him the true mastermind of all this then turning him into a poor man's Lex Luthor. 20 years later and it's still the storyline that all Spider-Man fans grit their teeth at.