Hobie Brown was a window washer, but he felt as though he wouldn't live up to anything special. His wife Mindy tried to convince him that he should give his ideas to his boss, but at first Hobie didn't know what difference it would make. But he eventually brought his invention ideas up to his boss, who simply laughed at him in his face and told him to get back to work. Hobie quit his job as the window washer and then went to try and invent a suit so that he could become a superhero. But he later decided to use his suit to steal stuff instead, having his alter ego Hobie Brown come with the stuff to portray himself as a hero. He may also have nine older siblings, as Abe Brown mentioned in Deadly Hands of Kung Fu that he himself is among eight other siblings.
But in his first act of crime, he got caught by Spider-Man, who then battled the Prowler. Prowler managed to get away with help from his sleeping gas. But during their next encounter, Spider-Man managed to unmask him to realize he was no older then himself. So he told Hobie not to throw his life away and he didn't bring him into the police.
Later on, Hobie dressed up as Spider-Man as a favor for Pete, showing up at his house in front of Peter and others.
Hobie Brown was created by John Romita Jr., Stan Lee, John Buscema and Jim Mooney and first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man issue 78 (1969).
Major Story Arcs
Bringing in a Murderer
Although Hobie and Spider-Man had become friends, eventually this changed when Hobie put his suit on once more to try and bring Spider-Man to justice as he believed he killed Captain George Stacy and had used him in dressing him up as Spider-Man. But as he fought Spider-Man, Prowler endangered his own life and Spider-Man had to save him and later take to the hospital to get taken care of.
The Prowler series
In the series that starred the Prowler, it showed his crime fighting career and his criminal called Nightcreeper, who had a similar suit as Prowler. When Prowler found out on the news that someone was making crimes posing as the Prowler, he went to stop the criminal. He then encountered Nightcreeper and the two battled.
But as they did, Prowler then realized that Nightcreeper wasn't killing people and that Nightcreeper could help him find the murderer. As he went back home that day though, Mindy was devastated to learn that he had been going out as the Prowler behind her back and left away crying. When Hobie went back to the company he worked for the next day, he encountered the man trying to take over the company, who he didn't know at the time was the Vulture.
He later meet up with Nightcreeper that night and they both fought a gang in an alleyway. But when Prowler noticed that innocent civilians were getting caught in the crossfire, he took Nightcreeper and dragged him out of there. Nightcreeper was angry at this and ran away from Prowler.
After a training session with his older brother Abe Brown, he then went and tracked down the Nightcreeper and told him to turn himself in. But later that day, as he was discussing Mindy's new job opportunity in California for her, he found out that Nightcreeper had been knocked out of the sky by the Vulture.
So Hobie went and tracked the Vulture as Prowler, but he also got knocked out of the sky. Later on, Prowler with help from his newly developed pneumatic laser bugging system, listened in on a conversation and found out Vulture's secret identity. He later confronted him where they got into a battle once more. Vulture eventually escaped though as the still injured, when Nightcreeper came on the scene. And also Mindy left Hobie to go to California, Hobie stayed in New York feeling that he couldn't leave being the superhero Prowler.
Black Fox and Redeem
Prowler later appears in comics to try to prove his wife Mindy innocent of book deal fraud. He and Spider-man then teamed up and went after the Black Fox, to try and get back the chalice he had stolen, which had information which could clear Mindy's name. He later got a job as construction worker.
Hobie was one of the many individuals hunted down for refusing to register with the Super-Human Registration Act during the Civil War. After being released by Carol Danvers, he went to the funeral of Stilt-Man, but was escorted out by Spider-Man and Puma before he makes a fool out of himself. The funeral was later bombed by the Punisher.
Working for Spider-Man
More recently, Hobie became an employee of Parker Industries. Here he sometimes acted as a Spider-Man double on a few occasions but also used his own superhero alterego the Prowler.
On one occasion while working for Parker Industries, Prowler was tasked by Peter Parker to investigate the building of an organization known as New U. This organization had a revolutionary treatment in helping victims with unhealthy organs. New U claimed to develop healthy new organs cloned from the patient's own organs. Peter did not fully trust it and asked Hobby to search for answers.
While Hobie, as Prowler, broke into their offices, he found out that it was owned by Ben Reilly, acting as the Jackal. While fleeing, he was stopped and seemingly killed by Francine Frye, a woman whom had become the new Electro. After which, he was cloned and blackmailed into helping Ben for the meds that slow the Carrion Virus in clones.
When Spider-Man and his allies were able to shut down New U, causing the unstable clones to disintegrate, they found a number of the more recent cloned subjects alive in stasis pods, including Hobie.
Prowler No More
Hobie and his ex-wife started to rekindle their relationship based on Hobie's promise that he would stop being The Prowler. When his friend got sick, Hobie had to help him. He stole some money from Kingpin and laundered it through a crowdfunding site called Fairgray Pay. When his friend didn't get the money, Hobie put back on the Prowler suit and start doing some digging.
With Spidey's help, they found a few supervillains in charge of the crowdfunding, who were keeping all the money. Since they couldn't punch their ledgers, Spidey asked Iron Man to buy a controlling stake in the company. Stark also agreed to install Hobie as the new management, so he could put his life as Prowler behind him.
Unfortunately during Knull's invasion Hobie was forced to put back on a suit and play hero. Instead of putting on the Prowler suit though, he put on a new Hornet suit, a suit he originally designed for Spider-Man before it was taken by the Slingers.
The Prowler has no superhuman abilities, but he is an intelligent inventor, creating several bat-themed gadgets and designs to enhance his Prowler suit. With it, he has steel-tipped gloves that allow him to scale walls and make effective melee weapons and even glass cutters. He has rubberized soles in his boots and shock absorbers in his suit that allow him to sustain falls from a few stories up with minimal injury. His bat-cape also has rigid structure which allows him to glide in the air.
Prowler's gadgets and gear is based on pneumatic systems. Through this, he has created pneumatic devices that grant him the capability to fly through the air, and he has gauntlets on both his wrists and ankles, through which he can fire a multitude of objects, including the following:
- Concussive air blasts, (which in his boots, can help give a boost while flying or jumping)
- Laser blasts
- Sleeping gas pellets
- Cleaning fluid
- Sharp-tipped diamond shaped metal fletchettes
- Concussive gas canisters (creating obscuring fog, and knockout gases)
- Grappling hook
- Magnesium flares
Prowler is also a skilled athlete and has a green belt in Tae Kwon Do, along with having plenty of street fighting experience.
Marvel Adventures (Earth-20051)
He also appeared in one issue of Marvel Adventures Spider-Man comics, being confronted by Spider-Man as he thought he was doing crimes across the city but later found out he was trying to find the man who stole his inventions. They later encountered Dragon-Man, who was helping to steal the inventions. They later tracked him down and found that Phil Sheldon was the man behind controlling Dragon-Man, stealing Prowler's inventions. But he was quickly brought to justice... Prowler left Dragon-Man as his own little pet.
Ultimate Universe (Earth-1610)
Ultimate Prowler was introduced by Brian Michael Bendis in the new Ultimate Comics Spider-Man. In this continuity Aaron Davis, the uncle of Miles Morales is the Ultimate Prowler.
On Earth-138, Hobie Brown serves as his world's version of Spider-Man. Dubbed Spider-Punk, a.k.a. the Anarchic Spider-Man, this version of the character is an African-American punk rocker who lives in a fascist, dystopian police state run by Norman Osborn. During a riot, Hobie manages to kill Osborn by hitting him with his guitar. This incites a populist riot, with the people of New York rising up to take back their city from their oppressors.
Spider-Punk was later recruited as part of Superior Spider-Man's army of Spider-Heroes to combat the Inheritors.
In the Yinsen City domain of Battleworld, an alternate version of Hobie Brown operates as a member of the Defenders (alongside She-Hulk, White Tiger and Kid Rescue). After his world's version of Spider-Man was killed and eaten by Morlun during the events of Spider-Verse, Hobie vowed to carry on his legacy. Unfortunately, the people of New York didn't buy him as the new Spider-Man, and thus he's referred to as "Spider Hero" instead.
When the forces of Mondo City-One invade Yinsen City, Spider Hero and the rest of the Defenders rush into battle alongside Faiza Hussain. During the fight, Hobie manages to take down Boss Magniconte.
In the 1990's Spider-Man animated series, the Prowler wanted to become a crime lord to prove that he was worth something. To this end, he accepted a deal from the Kingpin, but after it became clear Kingpin double crossed him, Prowler joined forces with Spider-Man to help him down. He ultimately decided to give up his criminal ambitions so he could return to a normal live.
He was voiced by Tim Russ.
A teenage version of Hobie Brown appears as a recurring character in the series, voiced by Charles Duckworth. A running gag involves him never getting to speak, but he finally does in the episode "Opening Night," where he acts in Midtown High's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Prowler appears in the Marvel's Spider-Man episode "Bring on the Bad Guys: Part 3," voiced by Nathaniel J. Potvin. He initially accepts Silvio Silvermane's bounty on Spider-Man, but ends up teaming up with the web-slinger.
- Prowler is featured as a playable character in Spider-Man: Friend or Foe, voiced by Chris Gardner.
- Prowler was featured in ToyBiz's toyline for the 90s Spider-Man animated series.
- Prowler appears in Hasbro's Marvel Universe line.
- Prowler was featured in The Classic Marvel Figurine Collection from Eaglemoss Publications.
- Prowler was featured in Hasbro's Marvel Legends line as part of the Lizard Build-a-Figure wave.