The Time Capsule – Spider-Man: May 1963 (Double The Villains, Double The Trouble)


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 Spider-Man - 02Amazing Spider-Man #2 (May 1963)

Amazing Spider-Man #2 marked the debut of not one but two Spider-Man villains. The first one was none other than Adrian Toomes aka the Vulture.Amazing Spider-Man - 02-1________________________________________________________

The line “How can he fly–without a sound-without any effort” may seem insignificant but it’s an important clue that leads to Spider-Man defeating his new foe.Amazing Spider-Man - 02-2________________________________________________________

Peter finally finds a potential way to make money: take pictures of the very villains he does battle with.
Amazing Spider-Man - 02-3

Peter is given his first camera, one that belonged to his departed Uncle Ben. Peter Parker and cameras would be a familiar sight for countless years to come.Amazing Spider-Man - 02-4________________________________________________________

Just how does he fly? The Vulture boasts that no one knows but can Spider-Man figure out the answer?Amazing Spider-Man - 02-5________________________________________________________

The Vulture announces his crime before he commits it just like the Joker did in his first appearance in Batman #1 23 years earlier.Amazing Spider-Man - 02-6________________________________________________________

The Vulture and Spider-Man clash for the first time.
Amazing Spider-Man - 02-7

And it doesn’t go well for him. Spider-Man’s first failure in stopping a villain.Amazing Spider-Man - 02-8________________________________________________________

Peter decides the best man to sell his photos to is J. Jonah Jameson since Peter would love nothing more than to make Jonah pay for photos shot by the very man Jameson is so against. Also, after running out of web-fluid earlier in the story, Parker decides to make some adjustments.
Amazing Spider-Man - 02-9

Improvements galore…and it seems Parker has already deduced how Vulture is able to fly. He begins his work on a device to stop the vile villain.Amazing Spider-Man - 02-10________________________________________________________

Peter wishes to remain anonymous but this marks the start of a long and fruitful financial relationship.
Amazing Spider-Man - 02-11

Get a picture of Spider-Man? This idea would launch Peter’s career at the Daily Bugle.Amazing Spider-Man - 02-12________________________________________________________

The police look to the skies but Vulture fools them all by attacking from underneath, “from under their noses” just as his note stated.
Amazing Spider-Man - 02-13

Spider-Man VS Vulture Round 2 leads to a Spider-Man victory because he used his new invention.Amazing Spider-Man - 02-14________________________________________________________

The Vulture is defeated.Amazing Spider-Man - 02-15________________________________________________________

Spider-Man shows he has got the smarts to match his physical abilities. The absence of noise led him to the conclusion that the Vulture was using a magnetic powered harness and he invented an anti-magnetic inverter to counteract it. Amazing Spider-Man - 02-16________________________________________________________

Peter finally ends a story on a happy note for once but the appearance of the Vulture at the end hints at future appearances. Why wouldn’t they take Vulture’s costume off though when he went to prison?Amazing Spider-Man - 02-17________________________________________________________

In the second story, Peter is chosen to help Doctor Cobbwell with some research but the Doctor asks Peter to pick-up a radio on the way over to the lab.Amazing Spider-Man - 02-18________________________________________________________

Amazing Spider-Man #2 also marked the debut of Phineas Mason aka the Tinkerer who was in charge of the Tinkerer Repair Shop where the radio was being “fixed”.Amazing Spider-Man - 02-19________________________________________________________

But this shop was not as it seemed. Look…aliens! Aliens tampering with radios!Amazing Spider-Man - 02-20________________________________________________________

Peter detects a strange pulse emanating from the radio at the lab and decides to investigate.Amazing Spider-Man - 02-21________________________________________________________

The Tinkerer’s master plan is revealed.Amazing Spider-Man - 02-22________________________________________________________

Spider-Man uncovers their lair but goes down in defeat.Amazing Spider-Man - 02-23________________________________________________________

But manages to escape with a pinpoint precise web-shot.Amazing Spider-Man - 02-24________________________________________________________

Spider-Man inadvertently causes a fire in the shop and the Tinkerer manages to escape in the chaos.
Amazing Spider-Man - 02-25

The ending reveals that the Tinkerer was simply wearing a mask. Was he an alien as well? Were they really aliens? That is a question for another day.Amazing Spider-Man - 02-26________________________________________________________

My ThoughtsSpider-Man’s next batch of villains debuted this month and they both were a lot older than our teenaged hero. I guess the thinking was to have this young hero stand-up to these villains that represented the older generation and that would get the readers behind Spider-Man. It’s definitely not a move you’d see nowadays as a hero picking on a bunch of old men one right after another wouldn’t make for the most compelling of stories. The beautiful thing that Stan Lee did is take the preconception that these old men would be pushovers and tried to add that something special to both of them. Whereas the “is Tinkerer an alien or not?” subplot was quickly tossed away, the Vulture has become an indelible addition to Spidey’s rogues gallery. Many years down the road they tried to reinvent the Vulture by making him younger but that just lessened the character’s charm and they eventually reverted him back to his classic look. His appeal was so great that at one point he was even going to be the main villain in the fourth Sam Raimi Spider-Man movie before they scrapped the project. The Tinker, on the other hand, has popped up here and there but so far in these past three issues he has had the weakest debut and that translated down the road as a lesser role for him. Elsewhere in the comic, Peter finally found the solution to his money problems and his long career in the field of photography was born. While he’s still not at the stage where he actively seeks out crimes to fight, he most certainly will stand-up for any injustices he encounters when needed. We saw his first minor defeats, something that would become a common formula in the earlier Spider-Man comics: the first meeting with a villain Spidey loses, the second meeting with a villain Spidey wins. It’s also nice to see that they didn’t push aside Peter’s intelligence once he gained his powers and you saw his ingenuity when he took down the Vulture with the gadget he personally created. I love the fact that they show this is hero that is learning: he encounters a problem like running out of web-fluid and addresses his problem. He is growing as a hero with every issue and we are along for the highly enjoyable ride.

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


6 thoughts on “The Time Capsule – Spider-Man: May 1963 (Double The Villains, Double The Trouble)

  1. The detail that strucked me most of this issue is the perfect balance between the “costume on” and the “costume off” moments.
    When we read a superhero comic book, usually 20 pages out of 20 show the leading character having his costume on and fighting crime: his/her personal life is put aside.
    This is one of the reasons why Animal Man is having such a great success: in that series Buddy’s personal life is MORE important than his activity as a superhero, and this is what makes his series different from all the other superhero comic books and his readers so passionate.
    Batwoman is another series that seems to give much importance to the private life of the leading character. Can you think about some other examples?
    But I’m going off the point: let’s talk about ASM # 2 again. Thanks to the Retroactive section, we found out that in the 60s Batman frequently dealt with aliens. In this Spider Man issue, coming from the 60s as well, an alien is shown in a supporting role, and this makes me think that probably at those times people were obsessed by aliens and the cosmos in general. No surprise that only 6 years after the release of this issue 2 men landed on the moon.

    • “The detail that strucked me most of this issue is the perfect balance between the “costume on” and the “costume off” moments.”
      wwayne adding another layer of depth. You are absolutely right about that.

      “Can you think about some other examples?”
      Well currently Hawkeye is all about his life when he isn’t in his costume and it is simply fantastic. I don’t have too much experience with the character but maybe Daredevil as well?

      “In this Spider Man issue, coming from the 60s as well, an alien is shown in a supporting role, and this makes me think that probably at those times people were obsessed by aliens and the cosmos in general.”
      You hit it on the nail there. The thing with the Tinkerer is they smartly decided to retcon the fact he was an alien. I don’t know if this was the plan all along or they simply decided him being an alien didn’t work. I guess aliens were passe by then?

      • “I don’t have too much experience with the character but maybe Daredevil as well?” You’re right! Shame on me: despite being a huge fan of the character, I didn’t think about him.
        The problem with Daredevil’s personal life is that it has been ruined by the revelation of his secret identity. Because of that awful narrative move, he doesn’t enjoy any privacy, his relationships are troubled and he tends to be more nervous than usual. I hope Waid will find a way to fix up this mess.
        “I guess aliens were passe by then?” Probably so. Thank you for your replies! : )

        • “I hope Waid will find a way to fix up this mess.”
          That would definitely be something to see. If anyone can do it and do it without completely breaking our logic circuits it would be the brilliant Mark Waid for sure.

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