Norman Osborn, alias The Green Goblin, is a ruthless villain from the Marvel Universe that appears in Spider-Man comics. Green Goblin made his first appearance in 1964's The Amazing Spider-Man #14 and his origin story is told through 1966's The Amazing Spider-Man #40 and 1994's The Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #14.
Norman Osborn was raised by an alcoholic Father who lost the family fortune through carelessness. Serving as a witness to his Father's shortcomings helped to motivate Norman to succeed in the eventual ownership of his own company, Osborn Industries. The experience does, however, leave him a bit out of touch with human emotion. Norman's wife, Emily, died just a year after giving birth to their son Harry Osborn. The shock of losing his wife turned Norman, now a single parent, into a harsh and cold Father. He is displeased both with Harry's lack of motivation in school and his uncompetitive nature.
Norman slowly drifts into darkness, procuring riches by using his company's assets to enable opponents for rising super heroes. Distracted by Norman's creations, super heroes are less likely to interfere in the business dealings of corrupt corporations. In The Amazing Spider-Man #40 Norman reveals that he had his business partner, Professor Mendel Stromm, jailed so that he (Norman) is granted sole ownership of the company. Shortly after Stromm's arrest, Norman discovers Stromm's notes on a new super strength serum.
Norman tests the strength serum on himself. Though the serum explodes and hospitalizes Norman, he emerges stronger and smarter than ever. Norman yearns for more power and decides to organize a world-wide crime syndicate. Norman decides that he will target Spider-Man to build his reputation and outfits himself both with high-tech weapons and a new glider- emerging, reborn, as The Green Goblin.
The Green Goblin is a significant figure because he causes a lot of trouble for Spider-Man... even serving as the catalyst for Peter Parker's death in The Death of Spider-Man.