The Time Capsule – Spider-Man: July 1963 (The Many Arms of Villainy)


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 Coversm03-00Amazing Spider-Man #3 (July 1963)

Amazing Spider-Man #3 marked Spider-Man’s first use of his beacon light. He’d use it to make a dramatic entrance while announcing to the helpless criminals that he has arrived on the scene. sm03-1________________________________________________________

Spider-Man is getting cocky after thwarting the latest batch of criminals. Be careful what you wish for Spidey…sm03-2________________________________________________________

Our first introduction to one of Spider-Man’s most famous foes, Otto Octavius aka Doctor Octopus. The name Doctor Octopus is what his co-workers called him due to the set of mechanical arms he created to aid him in his experiments.sm03-3________________________________________________________

But during one of his latest experiments something goes horribly wrong.sm03-4________________________________________________________

Otto is revealed to be bonded with his artificial arms, these appendages haven adhered to his body. The major concern however is the brain damage that he sustained in the accident.sm03-5________________________________________________________

This brain damage is the main cause of Otto going down the path of villainy.sm03-6________________________________________________________

He learns that the accident has given him the power to control his mechanical arms as if they were an extension of his body. Supervillain turn complete!sm03-7________________________________________________________

Meanwhile, J. Jonah Jameson wants pictures of the injured scientist and sends Peter to accomplish the task.sm03-8________________________________________________________

Spider-Man is surprised to see that the “injured scientist” is in fact keeping the hospital’s staff hostage and is excited at the prospect of seeing action. sm03-9________________________________________________________

Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus exchange words for the very first time, the start of their rivalry.sm03-10________________________________________________________

Spider-Man discovers that his webbing is not as strong as he once thought.sm03-11________________________________________________________

And neither is he.sm03-12________________________________________________________

Spider-Man is utterly defeated for the first time. This setback makes him question his life as Spider-Man, that he’s simply not good enough.sm03-13________________________________________________________

Doctor Octopus uses his mechanical arms as a means of transportation as he journeys to an Atomic Research Centre to continue his work.sm03-14________________________________________________________

And he succeeds in capturing the facility.sm03-15________________________________________________________

Peter is depressed and resigns to the fact that he is a failure in his mind, wanting to put his life as Spider-Man behind him.sm03-16________________________________________________________

Johnny Storm, unable to fight Doctor Octopus just yet due to his powers needing to recharge, attends Peter’s school to address the assembled students.sm03-17________________________________________________________

Johnny tells the students to “Never give up!”sm03-18________________________________________________________

And his words resonate with Peter and gives the young hero a renewed confidence to tackle his new foe once again.sm03-19________________________________________________________

He infiltrates the facility but quickly realizes Doctor Octopus is watching his every move.sm03-20________________________________________________________

He manages to evade the villain’s gazing eye and gets to work concocting a solution to his problems, once again showing that not only does he flex his muscles but his brains as well.sm03-21________________________________________________________

He engages Doc Ock with his solution…sm03-22________________________________________________________

And it provides the desired effect of bonding two of the villain’s mechanical arms together.sm03-23________________________________________________________

Spider-Man learns that the best way to attack Doctor Octopus is straight on and webs the villain’s glasses for the first of many times over the years.sm03-24________________________________________________________

He lays out Otto with a single knockout blow, reinforcing the point that while his arms and mind are dangerous, Doc Ock’s body is still fragile to physical harm.sm03-25________________________________________________________

Spider-Man webs the villain up and leaves his trademark note on the body for the first time.sm03-26________________________________________________________

He thanks the Human Torch for inspiring him even though he is oblivious to what a profound impact he had on our hero’s life.sm03-27________________________________________________________

The story ends with Flash Thompson, the boy who picks on Peter all the time, revealing his admiration for Spider-Man a fact that Peter finds quite enjoyable indeed.sm03-28________________________________________________________

My ThoughtsThis issue marked the debut of one of Spider-Man’s Top 2 foes in his entire history, Doctor Octopus. Here was a villain that had the physical strength from the result of an accident but also had a vast intellect to do battle with the Web-Crawler. He was in a way, almost a dark reflection of Spider-Man and a villain that would plague Spider-Man to this very day in one form or the other. This issue also marked the first time in this series that Spider-Man was shown actively seeking out a crime to thwart instead of being in the right place at the right time. While the whole “Johnny Storm can’t battle Doc Ock because of his weakened powers so he decided to go to a high school and speak at an assembly” plotline was a little odd, it did succeed in getting our hero motivated and was the first step in establishing the friendship between the two heroes that would last for their entire careers. Spider-Man is well on his way to becoming a true hero, his trademark repertoire continues to grow, and now he has his first villain that is truly worthy of his attention

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

4 thoughts on “The Time Capsule – Spider-Man: July 1963 (The Many Arms of Villainy)

  1. When you are good at doing something, you usually end up believing you’re invincible, at least in that specific field you’re so skilled in. That’s why you feel so shocked when you get defeated, and, when it happens, you pass from one extreme to another, that is to say from believing you have TONS of talent to believing you don’t have ANY talent. This is exactly what Peter went through in this issue.
    When you are feeling bad, it is fundamental for you to have someone who makes you feel better. Usually this person has a so strict connection to you that he/she cheers you up without any effort, or even without the consciousness of it. For example, in this issue Johnny doesn’t know that his speech is cheering Peter up, but their connection is so deep that Johnny’s words instantly leave their mark on Peter, and act as a medicine for his soul. When you find someone who makes you feel so good without a so little effort, you have found a real treasure.

    • Eloquently put, wwayne!

      Imagine what would have become of Spider-Man if Johnny wasn’t there for him at his time of need. At this point in his life he really didn’t have any friends and he couldn’t open up to his Aunt especially considering he blamed himself for the death of Uncle Ben.

      • Yes, Peter definitely had a troubled life: both his parents were dead, his uncle died too (besides it was Peter’s fault), his classmates used to bully him… luckily there was Johnny. Thank you for your reply! : )

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