The Time Capsule – Spider-Man: March 1963 (Menace To Society)


Welcome one and all to The Time Capsule! In this feature I’ll be highlighting an entire month of core titles for one character until his/her story is complete. The character that I’m currently focusing on is none other than Spider-Man. I’ll list any notable debuts, big moments, and favourite scenes from each issue. Hope everyone enjoys it as much as I enjoyed journeying back through time to put it together. Let me share the memories with you!


The Coveramazing spiderman 01Amazing Spider-Man #1 (March 1963)

The first story begins with money problems hitting Peter pretty hard now that Uncle Ben isn’t there to support them.spiderman 01 - 1________________________________________________________

Peter contemplates a life of crime to solve his problems but quickly shifts his focus to performing again.spiderman 01 - 2________________________________________________________

Spider-Man performs but is paid by check not cash. This can’t end well.spiderman 01 - 3________________________________________________________

And it doesn’t end well. No identification, no money. Meanwhile, we get our first appearance of legendary Spider-Man character J. Jonah Jameson, a man who would plague the wall-crawler for years to come. The power of the press is strong indeed! spiderman 01 - 4________________________________________________________

The first time Spider-Man is ever refereed to as a “menace.” Jonah’s anti-Spider-Man rants begin here with a bang.spiderman 01 - 5________________________________________________________

Jonah’s true motivation for attacking Spider-Man is revealed: he wants the public to look up to “real heroes” like his son, John Jameson, who also makes his first appearance in this very comic.spiderman 01 - 6________________________________________________________

Peter is at the end of his rope. Jonah has made it impossible for him to earn money through his various performances. What will he do?spiderman 01 - 7________________________________________________________

John Jameson readies to orbit about the Earth as Peter watches on.spiderman 01 - 8________________________________________________________

But a problem on the spaceship is cause for serious concern.spiderman 01 - 9________________________________________________________

All hope seems lost for the young astronaut were it not for Spider-Man jumping into action to save the day. A job only he could have the chance to succeed at despite Jonah’s protests.spiderman 01 - 10________________________________________________________

Spider-Man “commandeers” a plane and a pilot and gets ready for his daring rescue attempt.spiderman 01 - 11________________________________________________________

And succeeds!spiderman 01 - 12________________________________________________________

Peter is ecstatic and thinks the future is bright considering he just saved the life of the son of the man who was previously rallying everyone against him. His money problems are solved! Performances can begin anew!spiderman 01 - 13________________________________________________________

Or not…spiderman 01 - 14________________________________________________________

Jameson’s vendetta against Spider-Man intensifies as he creates an outlandish conspiracy theory.spiderman 01 - 15________________________________________________________

Even Aunt May is against Spider-Man! Peter’s problems are wearing on him, making him consider the possibility that he should in fact become a true menace to society if that is the only option given to him.spiderman 01 - 16________________________________________________________

The second story commences with Peter coming to the realization hat he can make money if he becomes a member of the Fantastic Four.spiderman 01 - 17________________________________________________________

Spider-Man breaks into the Baxter Building thinking it will impress his potential teammates.spiderman 01 - 18________________________________________________________

But this does not “impress” them and a battle ensues. Spider-Man does battle with the man who would one day be a very good friend, Johnny Storm.spiderman 01 - 19________________________________________________________

Cooler heads prevail and Spider-Man reveals his motivations.spiderman 01 - 20________________________________________________________

The truth is revealed. Spider-Man will have to seek his fortune elsewhere.spiderman 01 - 21________________________________________________________

Amazing Spider-Man #1 marked the first appearance of classic Spider-Man villain, the Chameleon. In his first appearance, all his disguises were located on his “multi pocket disguise vest” which would aid him in stealing whatever he chose.spiderman 01 - 22________________________________________________________

The Chameleon decides to capitalize on Spider-Man’s public perception to aid him in his latest caper.spiderman 01 - 23________________________________________________________

He contacts Spider-Man with a promise of money to set the trap in motion.spiderman 01 - 24________________________________________________________

Disguised as Spider-Man, the Chameleon succeeds in stealing the missile plans and flees just as the real Spider-Man arrives at the predetermined moment.spiderman 01 - 25________________________________________________________

The police take chase after the real Spider-Man who quickly realizes he’s been had. He uses his slingshot technique for the first time to try to catch the fleeing helicopter.spiderman 01 - 26________________________________________________________

And manages to capture his prey. But the Chameleon seizes the opportunity and flees.spiderman 01 - 27________________________________________________________

He manages to disguise himself as a police officer and in order to elude a suspicious Spider-Man he turns off the lights. This doesn’t deter our hero but, for the first of many times, he runs out of web fluid at the most inopportune of times.spiderman 01 - 28________________________________________________________

Spider-Man flees the situation but he has inadvertently helped the cops catch the master criminal by tearing his shirt and revealing the fake Spider-Man costume underneath. Spider-Man – 1, Chameleon – 0.spiderman 01 - 29________________________________________________________

Spider-Man runs into the night, depressed at his lot in life and wishing he never had these powers to begin with. Meanwhile, the Fantastic Four contemplate just how dangerous Spider-Man could be if he turned to a life of crime. An ominous ending for sure…spiderman 01 - 30________________________________________________________

My ThoughtsIn Spider-Man’s second appearance, but first issue of his own ongoing series, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko gradually expanded Spider-Man’s universe. It was an inspired choice not to bombard us with a flood of new characters all at once but instead to introduce them little by little, slowly shining the spotlight on each one. Another inspired choice is the fact that, unlike other heroes before his time, Spider-Man just doesn’t suddenly decide to use his powers to actively fight crime. His previous appearance had taught him that with great power comes great responsiblity, that when the opportunity presents itself for him to make a difference he must try everything to the best of his abilities to help out but Spider-Man is not ready to accept his true identity as a superhero yet. Instead he is consumed with the thought of making money, of supporting his Aunt. While a noble cause he has yet to learn that being a superhero does not transcend into a life of wealth and fame but is instead a task  to standup for those that can’t protect themselves or standup to a dastardly villain that wishes to commit some illegal activity. At the end of the issue, Spider-Man is in a dark place, a place that he has been driven to by the smear campaign started by Jonah. This negative press is really wearing on the young man who is no stranger to bullying having been constantly picked on in school by Flash Thompson. Spider-Man’s first addition to his rogue’s gallery in the form of the Chameleon worked well as it furthered the idea of the public distrusting Spider-Man by having the villain commit a crime dressed as the wall-crawler. Though Spider-Man is victorious in both stories, Peter is anything but happy at their conclusions and the numerous hints that perhaps he should turn to a life of crime is an intriguing concept and a realistic portrayal of a confused young man, a man who is in a strong need of a mentor figure with his Uncle’s passing. This not only makes our hero more compelling but also more relatable as the reader is firmly entrenched in the corner of this underdog, a status and a feeling that still resonates to this very day.

Have any of your memories you’d like to share in relation to this issue? Any other comments? Comment Below!

11 thoughts on “The Time Capsule – Spider-Man: March 1963 (Menace To Society)

  1. These early books are so cool. I love how Thing is drawn here compared with today. And Torch actually looks like he’s on fire, which is neat.

  2. Spider Man has something special, that makes him different from all the other people. The problem is, he took for granted that people would have appreciated him because of his gift, and he didn’t consider that they could have had the opposite reaction, simply because some people can’t stand diversity. This is a problem Stan Lee dealt with in a more deep way with the X – Men.
    I think that JJJ doesn’t hamper Spidey only because he’s disturbed by Peter’s diversity: as you pointed out, JJJ also doesn’t want his son to be upstaged, and he also wants the crime to be fighted solely by policemen, not by vigilantes.
    As for the friendship between Spidey and the Fantastic Four, I think that they don’t have much in common. Spidey is a street level superhero, fighting crime in his own city; the Fantastic Four usually fight their villains in space, and they do it in order to save not only a city, but the entire world. I don’t think that this friendship has a good potential, because they are too different. That’s why I’m surprised that their paths crossed so many times, and Spidey even became a member of the Fantastic Four from time to time.
    I think that Spidey likes to keep in touch with them for 2 reasons:
    1) He likes to spend some time with his friend Johnny;
    2) He frequently needs his problems to be solved by a person being smarter than he could ever be – Reed Richards, of course.
    I learned from you that the Chameleon was the first Spider – villain ever. The 50s cover of Detective Comics revealed us that in that period the imposter cliché was frequently employed in comics: the Chameleon perfectly embodies this cliché, so it makes sense that he was created a few years after those Batman covers.

    • “The problem is, he took for granted that people would have appreciated him because of his gift, and he didn’t consider that they could have had the opposite reaction, simply because some people can’t stand diversity.”
      You hit it on the money there.

      “As for the friendship between Spidey and the Fantastic Four, I think that they don’t have much in common.”
      I always took their relationship for granted but now that you mention it I see the validity in your statement. Wwayne does it again! 🙂

      “I learned from you that the Chameleon was the first Spider – villain ever.”
      And they only get better from here. Also, I really like your thinking in regards to Stan Lee possibly borrowing that concept from the earlier issues of Detective Comics. Another great connection! Thanks for taking the time to comment and for expanding my way of thinking. Your comments usually open up another line of thinking in my head and I’m thankful for that. 🙂

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