Characters : Prowler
Can climb walls with his gloves. Green belt in Tae Kwon Do.
Claws, and Climbing Boots
Hobie hurt his back in action. While he's able to walk again, becoming the Prowler might be too much of a risk.
To be completed
Not generally known
College as adult student
Silver Sable's cadre-for-hire, Outlaws
Spider-Man, Sandman, Rocket Racer, Silver Sable, Will O' The Wisp, Puma
Mindy Brown (Wife), Abe Brown (older brother)
No criminal record
Hobie Brown was a down on his luck inventor who was stuck in a dead end job as a window washer. Despite his girlfriend Mindy's encouragement, the discouraged young man had stopped believing in himself. Mindy, tired of hearing her boyfriend complain, dumped him after giving him advice to show his safety inventions to his boss. Hobie changed his mind and showed his employer, who wasn't interested. As he was thinking about his rotten luck, J. Jonah Jameson leaned out his office window and told him to hurry up with the washing.
Hobie got mouthy with Jameson, just as his manager walked in and accused Hobie of wasting Jameson's time. Jonah came to Hobie's defense and Hobie told him not to bother, because he just quit. The manager told him "That's okay with me, Brown! I've had it with your type!" Jameson didn't like the implication that had been made at the young black man and kicked the manager out of his office.
Hobie went back to his apartment and took inspiration from the horde of costumed super criminals that were appearing in New York. He hoped to get publicity for his inventions by becoming a costumed criminal. While he did consider becoming a vigilante, he quickly ignored the idea, because it could take "days--weeks--before I find some crook to tackle! But a super villain can go into action right away!"
He modified the gauntlet on his wrists from ejecting soap to discharging gas, and used his sharped gloves to help him climb the walls of buildings. The insulated boots helped him land on the ground safely from high places. His plan was to steal something as the Prowler and then return the loot as Hobie Brown, becoming a hero. He chose to rob the Daily Bugle, rationalizing that if he wanted publicity, what better a place to burglarize than a newspaper?
Peter was just leaving the Bugle when he heard sounds of a struggle from the payroll room. He found the Prowler and the unconscious security guard. He tried to stop Prowler but Jameson walked in at that moment and Peter couldn't risk being seen holding his own against a super villain. While Jonah ran for help, Peter faked being pushed out a window. When Jonah and Robbie Robertson came back, they saw the broken window and accused the Prowler of murdering Peter. Hobie escaped and was quickly met by Spider-Man.
Peter guessed that Prowler didn't have any natural super powers, but that his gadgets more than made up for it. Prowler managed to escape after he used sleeping gas on Spider-Man. Back at his apartment, Hobie is ashamed that he led to Peter falling out of the window. He decides that the best way to prove that he isn't so bad is to bring in a wanted criminal...like Spider-Man. Prowler next strikes at the Diamond Center, where Spidey promptly finds him.
Despite the gas and power blasts from his gloves, Hobie quickly realizes he is out of his league. He tried to escape but was webbed up in mid fall. After he is caught, he explains why he turned to crime and Peter feels a certain kinship with him. They are about the same age and both felt like their lives were heading nowhere when they put on their costumes. Spidey swings off, telling Hobie that he just got lucky.
Peter later needed a favor from Prowler, as the flu had made him delirious and made him tell Harry Osborn, Gwen Stacy, Mary Jane and George Stacy about his secret identity. After he recovered from the flu, he remembered what he had done and asked Hobie to impersonate Spider-Man while Peter was at the Stacy home. As Peter explained that he was just holding Spider-Man's costume for him, Hobie showed up, looking for his half of the money Peter gets from the Bugle photos. He left after Peter agreed to pay him later. The trick seemed to work and Hobie and Peter parted ways.
That is, until Captain Stacy was killed by Doctor Octopus. The newspapers implicated Spider-Man in Stacy's death, which worried Hobie. He remembered seeing the police captain at the party he crashed as Spider-Man, and wondered if Spider-Man really did have something to do with the officers death. To ease his conscience, the Prowler went after Spider-Man. He found Spidey outside Gwen's window and assumed he was out to hurt her like he had her father. Prowler chased Spider-Man across town, despite Peter's attempts to explain to him what really happened. The fight led to a skylight, which they fell through. Spidey saved Prowler from a deadly fall, but Hobie still ended up unconscious with a head injury. Spidey took him to the hospital, where Mindy eventually found her boyfriend.
Spider-Man was eventually accused of murdering a security guard but Peter guessed that it had been the Prowler that framed him. He confronted Hobie, who claimed he was married and had given up his costumed life. At one point, Hobie had wanted to secure his reputation as a real superhero and joined the Defenders. The team took on Valkyrie and Prowler was quickly beaten after being tossed into the harbor. After that, he chose to give up super heroics and put his costume in storage. It was eventually stolen by the Cat Burglar, who was working for Belladonna in her revenge campaign against Roderick Kingsley. (Spectacular Spider-Man #47)
Spider-Man and Prowler met many years later in Los Angeles, while Peter was promoting his book, a book of Spider-Man pictures called "Webs." Peter became suspicious when he noticed the professional thief called the Black Fox at the party. He went to investigate as Spider-Man but the Fox escaped, leaving the surprised web slinger barging into the room of guests of the promotion. He had to stop and sign autographs (an idea of Mary Jane's to justify why Spider-Man and Peter were both on the West Coast at the same time) while the Fox nearly escaped with the Valencia Chalice, an artifact from the time of South American exploration. He was stopped by the Prowler, who also wanted the chalice.
Fox escaped while Spider-Man and Prowler fought. Later, Hobie explained that Mindy, now his wife, was in jail and the chalice was the key to her freedom. She had been employed at Transcorp in New York and had been framed when the corporation had been caught in shady business deals. Books and evidence had been faked to frame her and the real information had been put onto a microchip. That chip was disguised as one of the chalice's jewels, to be sent to Transcorp's European headquarters. Hobie needed to get the chalice back from the Black Fox.
Spider-Man went with Hobie to the penthouse of Transcorp West's CEO and they overheard him describe how a team of assassins had found the Black Fox and the chalice at the Long Beach docks. They quickly headed to the docks, where Prowler took care of the assassins and Spidey went after the Fox. The Fox managed to persuade him to let him go, because he was elderly and could die in prison. With the chalice back, Mindy was set free and the widespread corruption of Transcorp was exposed.
Back in New York, Prowler catches a gang called the Broken Skulls hijacking a truck with the driver as a hostage. The gang is armed with surprisingly high tech weaponry, which knocks Prowler out as he talks to a gang member that he recognizes from his brother's dojo. Hobie wakes up later at the hideout of a mechanized thug called Resistor, who used to work for A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics). Resistor's plan is to surpass A.I.M. as a weapons dealer to the mafia. Prowler escapes from his chains and takes out the armed gangsters while Resistor uses a jet pack in his armor to try and escape. Prowler catches up to him and uses the old man as an example to the friend of his brother. Hobie decides to keep the kid out of jail and watches as he returns to the dojo.
Hobie later found a job as a construction worker, where he over heard a plot to sabotage the work site because the construction site boss hadn't paid off the right people. Prowler stopped the sabotage later that night, but a fellow construction worker was there. The man had been depressed at work and jumped off the buildings girders in a suicide attempt. Prowler saved him, and learned that the man's wife had died. Their marriage had been strained before her death and he never got a chance to tell her how much he loved her. Later, Hobie walked Mindy home from work.
When Spider-Man was accused of theft by the Daily Bugle and Nick Katzenberg, Prowler and Rocket Racer worked together to clear Spider-Man's name. They fought the Sandman, who was working with Silver Sable at the time, as was Spider-Man. Prowler had impressed Sable, and he also teamed up with several other rehabilitated villains (Will O' The Wisp and Sandman) and with a not so rehabilitated Puma, to form the Outlaws. They helped Spidey (without Will) against the Avengers in Spectacular Spider-Man #169-170. Hobie also has had some solo appearances, starring in his own 4-issue limited series.
Hobie was finally recognized for his inventions but his technology was stolen by a new hero, Nightcreeper. Both vigilantes were attacked by the Vulture, who had bought the company that now owned Hobie's inventions. Hobie eventually defeated Toomes and his wife discovered that he was the Prowler. Mindy had misgivings but accepted him.
He was gravely injured during the Great Game, during which he fought Cardiac, Spider-Man (Ben Reilly), El Toro Negro, Joystick, Chance and Polestar. He had needed the cash offered by the wealthy sponsors of the Games, who placed bets on whether or not "their" super human would defeated another super human. (Spider-Man Unlimited vol. 1 #14) Hobie suffered from nerve trauma during the Game and the doctors told him that with physical therapy he would be able to walk again. Unfortunately, while he was in the hospital, his Prowler costume and equipment (which he was still wearing when brought for treatment) was stolen. It was taken by a bitter orderly named Rick Lawson, who used the costume to become the new Prowler and set out on a mission of robbery and revenge. After Lawson was beaten, Hobie thanked Spider-Man and began to show signs of improvement in his condition. (Sensational Spider-Man #18)
Quiz: Quick Quiz on The Prowler.
|Nov 1969||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #78|
|Origin and Defeat.|
|Dec 1969||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #79|
|Aug 1970||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #87|
|Pretends to be Spider-Man as a Favour for Peter.|
|Feb 1971||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #93|
|Attacks Spider-Man after the Death of Captain Stacy.|
|Feb 1976||App: Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #21|
Here is the Full Appearance List (35 Apps) for Prowler.
The assistance of the Marvel Chronology Project is gratefully acknowledged.
Some of the above information is extracted from the various versions of the Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe and the more recent Marvel Encyclopaedias.