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. (Amazing Spider-Man #78)
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. (Amazing Spider-Man #79)
"Unmasked at Last!"
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. (Amazing Spider-Man #87)
"The Lady and...The Prowler!"
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. (Amazing Spider-Man #93)
"A Night on the Prowl!"
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)
"To Claw the Eyes of Night!"
Hobie always wanted to protect people, which is why he took a young man named Manuel Lopez under his wing. Sadly Manuel had some shady friends and he ended up getting shot by some night watchmen after a robbery. One of the guards was left comatose by the fight. The White Tiger had saved the watchmen from Lopez's friends but the police were after him after they found his finger prints at the scene. Prowler attacked White Tiger, despite Tiger swearing his innocence. Prowler was uncertain of White Tiger's guilt but as the police were after him, Brown was determined to bring him in. As the two fought, the night watchman woke from his coma and told the police that they had been the ones to shoot Manuel. The police arrived at the scene of the superhero battled and announced that the Tiger was no longer a suspect. White Tiger and Prowler immediately left. (Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #21)
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. (Amazing Spider-Man #304)
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. (Amazing Spider-Man #305)
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.
"A Friend in Need"
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. (Amazing Spider-Man #365)
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. (Web of Spider-Man #50)
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. (Amazing Spider-Man Annual #25)
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)
Prowler gave Spidey an assist a few months later, after Spider-Man was framed for the murder of a low level gangster called Joey Z. Norman Osborn put out a bounty on him, and countless assassin wannabes came to collect. While Spidey was trying to help a woman escape from a burning building, a man with a sniper rifle took shots at him. The woman, thinking Spidey was a killer, struggled against him and almost made him drop her when Prowler swooped in and grabbed her. This gave the webhead the chance to knock out the jerk with the gun. (Sensational Spider-Man #25)
Hobie was well enough to be a stand in web swinger for Peter while he was the CEO of Parker Industries. Peter had Hobie web swing around San Francisco to keep the bad guys guessing, while the real Spidey would show up elsewhere. Later, Peter and Hobie were attending the wedding of Peter's former boss, Max Modell and his partner, Hector. The festivities were interrupted by the members of the cult called Zodiac, who had come for Peter. Peter was frozen, as all eyes were on him and kept him from running off to change to Spider-Man. Hobie came to the rescue by attacking the Zodiac's ships as Spider-Man but wasn't the natural brawler that Peter was and was soon knocked from the craft. Peter threw them the piece of technology that they came for and they left. Hobie was concerned but Peter reassured him that the data was encrypted and "Spidey" swung off. (Amazing Spider-Man #1 vol 4)
Not only had the tech been encrypted, but it also doubled as a high tech, cutting edge spider tracer. The signal from the stolen webware (or as Prowler called it, "a sophisticated iWatch") led them to the middle of the ocean and to the underwater base. They broke in and ceiling crawled to the main control room where the leader, Pisces, was ranting and raving by all of the stars in the sky when she noticed Spidey and Prowler above her. Prowler was irritated that Pisces called him "some guy" but as the fight began, Pisces sent copies of the files to every Zodiac base around the world. She began the base's self destruct process and ordered an evacuation. Spidey and Prowler fled, but stopped to carry out two unconscious Zodiac guards that they knocked out when they entered the base. After escaping, Prowler radioed Nick Fury to update him on the mission and Fury was surprisingly pleased. SHEILD had been able to track Pisces broadcast to all of the Zodiac locations. (Amazing Spider-Man #2 vol 4)
Prowler helped SHEILD agents attack a Zodiac base in Chile. (Amazing Spider-Man #4 vol 4) When they returned to New York, Hobie attended an intelligence briefing where Peter and Nick Fury revealed that Zodiac was based in London and SHIELD would be working with the British government and their CCTV network to find their members. They soon found the Zodiac leader, Scorpio, attacking the British Museum and they headed to London. Soon Spider-Man, Prowler, Mockingbird, and the Human Torch were crashing through the museum's window and taking on the bad guys. Scorpio managed to escape after cutting a strange artifact out of the Rosetta stone and triggering poison in the other Zodiac members costumes. While Spidey attended to the cultists, Scorpio disappeared. (Amazing Spider-Man #5 vol 4)
"Dead No More"
After Zodiac was defeated, Hobie went back to impersonating Spider-Man on the West Coast. Meanwhile in New York, Jonah Jameson's father had a heart attack and was on life support. Peter was interested in technology from another company, New U, that he believed could save his life but he wanted Prowler to break in an learn more about their procedures. Prowler was soon scaling the ceiling of the hallways of New U, but with radio silence to Parker to keep from being detected by security. Prowler found his way to the building's power source, which was blocking him from sending messages to Peter.
The room was filled with Spider bad guys, including the Lizard, Electro and someone claiming to be the Jackal. He witnessed the failed attempt to recharge Electro and his death at the hands of a woman named Francine. Prowler attempted to jump in and save Electro, but he was captured by the Lizard. He escaped from the monster and fled out of a window but was soon chased by Francine who had gained Electro's powers. She hit him with a bolt and commented that her first fight as a supervillain would have been better against Spider-Man. Hobie used one of Spidey's web shooters on her, which failed when she sent another current through the web to kill him. He woke up in a cloning tube, and was met by Francine, Rhino and the Jackal. Jackal informed him that he had died and he had something to show him. Peter was soon calling Hobie, wanting to know what he found at New U. Brown told him that there was nothing suspicious going on but he was going to do some more looking around. Jackal thanked him for his help, and for joining his team. He also informed Prowler that there was a medication that he needed to take every day. (Amazing Spider-Man #17 vol 4)
Hobie was made head of security at New U and was tasked to look after the other, less stable, reanimated men. (Among them was Massacre, Kangaroo (Oliver), Jack O'Lantern, Tarantula, Montana, and Mirage.) Jackal gave Hobie the task of finding out who in San Francisco was trying to hack into their system. Hobie went to consult Madame Web, who had also been reanimated by the Jackal. Madame Web was unable to see who the hacker was, as her powers backfired by a telepathic feedback. All she was able to discern was a group of buildings, filled with agony, surrounded by blackness. Prowler was able to figure out that Madame Webb had seen Alcatraz Island and after he arrived, he was captured. (The Prowler #1)
He woke up in a cell, forced his way out and was met by Julia Carpenter, the new Madame Webb. She had found a computer network at the island that was left over from the villain called The Shroud and was using it to track every electrical device in San Fran. She found that New U was the only place in the city that the network couldn't penetrate, which made her suspicious. She told Prowler that no paperwork on New U could be found at all and that she had told no one about what she learned. He then destroyed her connection to the outside. Prowler confessed that he was working for New U and that their work was the future. Julia was about to leave as her location was obviously compromised and Hobie tried to stop her but she escaped. At that point, his degeneration disease started to take effect and he realized he hadn't taken his medication. As he lay on the ground in pain, he realized that the new Electro, Francine, arrived. (The Prowler #2)
Electro took her time taunting and torturing Hobie, noticing that whoever had been there had escaped. He managed to escape through an air duct and give himself an adrenaline injection to help him get through the pain. The vent led him to a cell, which he eventually broke out of. Francine found him soon after, wondering why Jackal bothered to resurrect him since he was useless as a villain and a hero. He managed to blind her and escape, leaving her in a rage. He realized that she didn't have a strategy and he was smarter. Despite the pain of the degeneration returning he found a way to blow up the cash register in the gift shop and it knocked her out. He had to return to New U but was too weak to swim back to San Fran. He was saved by Julia Carpenter, who took him back to the mainland. (The Prowler #3)
Julia wheeled him into New U labs, surprised by the minimal security. He guided her to his room and to the degeneration preventing medication. While Hobie recovered, Julia went to look around while the place was seemingly empty. He tried to convince her that while the Jackal wasn't perfect, he was still making miracles. After getting some rest he headed to the Transamerica building, where Jackal and the clones were headquartered. Spider-Man had arrived and was being given a tour by the Jackal and the webhead had soon refused to participate in his plan. Jackal ordered the cloned villains to kill him and Prowler was soon helping Spidey.
However, all of the clones were soon degenerating, after Otto Octavius and Maria Marconi discovered that the degeneration was caused by a harmonic frequency. Jackal told Marconi that if she were correct, he could clone a perfect body for her. This insulted Octavius, who used the frequency throughout the base. The clones didn't just die, unfortunately. The process turned them into creatures similar to Carrion. Prowler made his way inside the base, desperate to help despite the pain. He found Julia, whom he blamed for the sudden mass clone degeneration. He wasn't thinking clearly and Julia had to knock him out. (Prowler #4)
After Hobie woke up, he made his way inside and was amazed to see so many clones degenerating. Prowler stopped to keep the clones from escaping to the outside and infecting the public while Spider-Man went to find a way to stop it all. Prowler was taking a beating from Kangaroo but was saved when Jean DeWolff shot him. Several of the clones had escaped and Jean and Hobie tried to distract them. He was soon overpowered by the Enforcers but was saved by Spider-Gwen and Scarlet Spider III. Prowler collapsed from the pain of degeneration and Gwen took him to an alleyway for him to hide and rest. He wasn't alone for long, as he was found by Electro. Luckily he was saved by Julia Carpenter but Julia was soon being killed by Electro. Hobie tackled Electro and shorted her out, but collapsed afterward. Prowler then died. However, after the crisis was contained, Julia found that the original Prowler had never been killed by Electro after staking out New U. He had merely been knocked out and captured, then kept in suspended animation at New U. (Prowler #5)
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.