Norman Osborn was an industrialist and lead member of Oscorp Industries. He was indebted to the Kingpin for various shady loans that Osborn was unable to repay. The Kingpin subsequently forced him to have Spider-Man destroyed to repay the loans. Norman hired Spencer Smythe to use his knowledge of robotics to carry this out, in exchange for Norman creating a hover chair for Spencer's crippled son Alistair. Spencer built a robot he called the "Black Widow", a "Spider-Slayer" which would destroy Spider-Man. The robot accidentally kidnapped Flash Thompson, who was killed by the Kingpin's men when he was taken to Oscorp.
When the Kingpin realized that the real Spider-Man was still alive, he kidnapped Norman's son Harry, demanding that Norman finish the job and have Spider-Man destroyed. However, Spencer and Alistair Smythe weren't interested in building any more robots since Norman had already supplied Alistair with a hoverchair. Norman hired the Hobgoblin to destroy Spider-Man, but the goblin failed and was caught by the police. Left with no other option, Norman was forced to seek the help of Spider-Man, telling him everything including how the Kingpin had tried to force him to destroy him, how this resulted in the death of Flash Thompson, and how the crime lord had now kidnapped Harry. Although angry at first with Osborn for the death of his friend, Spider-Man agreed to help save Harry, aware now of the Kingpin's identity. After Spider-Man saved Harry from the Kingpin's clutches, the Kingpin, aware that his identity was at risk of being revealed to the public, decided to abandon his criminal building and relocate somewhere else, although Spider-Man nor Osborn could gather enough evidence to exploit him.
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