Rocket Racers Other Friend: The Prowler

I did a whole post about how I think the mild connection shown between the Rocket Racer and the Hypno-Hustler is probably indicative of a larger friendship taking place off the page. But, believe it or not, there is actually another super-character with whom Bob Farrell has struck up a friendship:

The Prowler, whose real name is Hobie Brown, is another Black character from Spider-Man’s stories who straddles the line between hero and villain, though he is much more consistently on the hero side. He actually predates Bob by nearly a hundred issues and has appeared a lot more often. And you can tell why: his costume just looks awesome (I mean, not in the picture I picked for this post, but that’s because I thought it’d be funnier to use that one). So, while Bob is a skateboarding weirdo that comics readers find goofy, Hobie is a cool-looking mofo.

Here’s the thing: if we ignore all the comics where Bob only appears for a panel or two in some cameo role, about a third of his appearances have also been appearances of the Prowler. The two met when they both came to Spider-Man’s aid. They both got jobs working for Silver Sable, and when that job ended they both tried to work together to find other sources of income. Work friends who went on to become real friends. It’s nice because they offer different angles on similar life paths. Hobie comes across as a little older than Bob, though that may just be because he’s married, but they both had monetary issues that led them to use engineering skills to resort to create gizmos that can help them do crimes.

Hobie’s life has veered away from Bob’s in more recent years, but not in a way that I think would prevent their friendship from continuing. I mostly only know this from Wikipedia and such, but it sounds like Hobie has maybe died and been cloned, I guess? And his Prowler identity has been usurped by another character (when the Miles Morales Spider-Man came along, they decided that his uncle should be the new Prowler, which is dumb, but I can confirm he was pretty cool in Into The Spider-Verse.) so he took up a different identity, the Hornet. It does, I admit, seem like Spider-Man is closer to Hobie than he is to Bob, which is why Hobie gets to show up more often. Anyway, even if Peter doesn’t feel the need to check in on Bob, I like to hope that Hobie does.

(Just as an aside, it isn’t the same Hobie, so we don’t know if he’s friends with a version of Bob or not, but it’s neat to note that in an alternate universe Hobie has spider powers and has taken the identity of Spider-Punk.)

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