The Time Capsule – Spider-Man: September 1963 (Like Sands Through The Hourglass…)

TimeCapsule

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!

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The Coveramazingspiderman04-00Amazing Spider-Man #4 (September 1963)
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The issue starts with Spider-Man spying some would-be thieves.amazingspiderman04-1________________________________________________________

And he leaps into action to stop them.amazingspiderman04-2________________________________________________________

But in a stunning chain of events the thieves turn the tables on our hero and end up being the ones to call for the police. amazingspiderman04-3________________________________________________________

Chalk one up for the criminals! Spider-Man flees from this no-win situation and assigns the blame of his latest failure to Jameson’s negative propaganda.amazingspiderman04-4________________________________________________________

After setting a prank up on Jameson’s chair in retaliation, Spider-Man witnesses a potential criminal fleeing from the police.amazingspiderman04-5________________________________________________________

He catches up to the villain and we are greeted with the first appearance of Flint Marko aka the Sandman. Though it may be their first time meeting, Spider-Man has heard of the Sandman by reputation. Why do they call him the Sandman you ask?amazingspiderman04-6________________________________________________________

Because he can turn his entire body into sand!amazingspiderman04-7________________________________________________________

Not only can he break his body down into sand granules but he can also harden himself at will. Quite a foe indeed!amazingspiderman04-8________________________________________________________

During the heated battle, Spider-Man’s mask is torn.amazingspiderman04-9________________________________________________________

Spider-Man’s mind races about considering what would happen if his identity was discovered and how it would affect his dear Aunt May…amazingspiderman04-10________________________________________________________

…so he flees. He can’t take the chance that the Sandman will recognize him…but why would a renowned thief recognize some nobody high school kid?amazingspiderman04-11________________________________________________________

Sandman shows why he is a renowned bank robber by using his great powers to secure a great profit.amazingspiderman04-12________________________________________________________

Peter tries his best to sew his mask up as a news report on the Sandman shows up on his TV screen.amazingspiderman04-13________________________________________________________

And here we learn the Sandman’s origin story in a nice concise four panels…amazingspiderman04-14________________________________________________________

…plus two. A simple origin: criminal escapes from jail, hides in an atomic devices testing centre, gets caught in a nuclear test explosion on the beach, and has his very molecules merge with the sand. Stan Lee’s most inventive origin so far on this series! amazingspiderman04-15________________________________________________________

Meanwhile, Sandman eludes the police after pulling his latest heist. Can no one stop him?amazingspiderman04-16________________________________________________________

Jonah falls for Spidey’s earlier prank hook, line, and sinker. We also get our first appearance of Betty Brant, a character that we’ll be seeing a lot more of as this series progresses. I don’t want to get into spoilers but let’s just say she is an indelible addition to Spider-Man’s growing cast of characters.amazingspiderman04-17________________________________________________________

Peter asks for an advance but Jonah wants photos. He is not one to give a handout, he wants results.amazingspiderman04-18________________________________________________________

Peter returns to school where it turns out he is going to go out on a date with Liz Allan. Why is the school’s most popular girl going out with the school’s biggest nerd? She says it’s because he’s asked her so many times and she didn’t have the heart to turn him down again. Wow, persistence pays off, huh?amazingspiderman04-19________________________________________________________

But Peter plain forgot about it and has to cancel due to his “other commitments” as Spider-Man. Liz sure looks upset about it though. Do you think maybe…nah. It couldn’t be possible…could it?amazingspiderman04-20________________________________________________________

Sandman continues to elude the police and finds the perfect spot to lay low.amazingspiderman04-21________________________________________________________

Unfortunately for him it is the same high school that Peter Parker attends. What a coincidence. Also, that sure is a big vacuum cleaner there. We haven’t seen the last of that apparatus, that’s for sure. Hint, hint. amazingspiderman04-22________________________________________________________

Sandman ducks into a classroom not knowing that is full of students and the principal.amazingspiderman04-23________________________________________________________

Sandman never graduated from high school and suddenly demands that the principal writes him a diploma to rectify that obvious injustice. A strange request for sure but one that the principal is unwilling to fulfil.amazingspiderman04-24________________________________________________________

Lucky for the principal, Spider-Man comes to save the day before any serious harm can be inflicted on him.amazingspiderman04-25________________________________________________________

Spider-Man’s spider-sense kicks in warning him that the Sandman is hardening up so Spider-Man capitalizes and tosses him overhead.amazingspiderman04-26________________________________________________________

His classmates are loving it…but all Liz can think of is Peter’s whereabouts.amazingspiderman04-27________________________________________________________

Spider-Man webs up his foe but the Sandman escapes with ease. Can nothing contain the villain?amazingspiderman04-28________________________________________________________

The Sandman consumes Spider-Man but this gives him an idea. He crouches into a ball and leads the villain down the stairs.amazingspiderman04-29________________________________________________________

He grabs a drill threatening that it can bore through anything but Sandman just turns to granules to avoid it. Unfortunately for the villain this is all part of Spider-Man’s master plan.amazingspiderman04-30________________________________________________________

He grabs the nearby vacuum cleaner he spotted earlier and sucks the Sandman up. With victory in hand, Spider-Man utters for the first time ever the phrase “courtesy of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man!” It is a phrase that would be repeated countless times over the years, so much in fact that Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man even became the title of an ongoing series.amazingspiderman04-31________________________________________________________

Spider-Man is victorious but he didn’t get any photos for Jonah. No photos = no money. But Spidey has a solution to his problem.amazingspiderman04-32________________________________________________________

Spider-Man recreates his fight with the Sandman by throwing some regular sand in the air and pretending to do battle. “Since this happened a few minutes ago, it can’t be unethical.” So says Spider-Man as he fakes the photos. Whatever will let you sleep at night, Peter.amazingspiderman04-33________________________________________________________

The police want a full report on the incident and Jonah wants to grill our young hero. Spider-Man refuses the former because he doesn’t want Jameson to incite a wave of hysteria that will get him arrested side-by-side with the Sandman.amazingspiderman04-34________________________________________________________

Spider-Man lowers the captured Sandman but quickly takes off.amazingspiderman04-35________________________________________________________

Jonah chases after Spider-Man and encounters Peter in the school. He gives Jameson the pictures of the Spider-Man-Sandman “battle”. Jameson, ever the cheapskate says he’ll just deduct the cost of developing them from Peter’s paycheck. Okay, maybe I don’t feel so bad about Peter making those fake photos after all.amazingspiderman04-36________________________________________________________

Jameson laments about all the damage that Spider-Man caused in the school and how they would have been better off if he hadn’t interfered in the first place. The police aren’t buying into Jonah’s crusade against the wall-crawler though, appreciating the help from Spider-Man even.amazingspiderman04-37________________________________________________________

With Sandman defeated, Peter has time to go out on that date with Liz but she’s already made other plans with Flash now. Flash shows his trademark bad attitude yet again but this time it finally pushes Peter past the boiling point. In a scene recreated in countless adaptations of Spider-Man, Peter grabs Flash out of anger…amazingspiderman04-38________________________________________________________

…but stops sort of following through with his threat fearing he’d expose himself and cause serious harm to Flash. Liz can’t believe what she is seeing.amazingspiderman04-39________________________________________________________

Peter can’t catch a break…though Liz stands up to Flash as she tells him he needn’t be so cruel. Does she possibly have feelings for Peter?amazingspiderman04-40________________________________________________________

Peter walks home and sees how the general public really thinks of Spider-Man. He may have won the fight with the Sandman but in regards to his public perception he lost the fight to Jonah.amazingspiderman04-41________________________________________________________

Peter had a bad end to his day to match his bad start. He once again contemplates giving up being Spider-Man but comes to his senses and hopes the public will one day see him as the hero he truly is.amazingspiderman04-42________________________________________________________

My ThoughtsEarly on so far, while he may have some colourful villains to square off against, Spider-Man’s biggest adversary is actually J. Jonah Jameson. Using the power of the press he causes just as much if not more grief than a regular old super villain can hope to inflict on our young hero. Peter went from being bullied and persecuted in high school to now being bullied and persecuted as Spider-Man by Jonah. No matter how much good he does Jonah is always there ready to spin it however he pleases. The sad part is…Jonah’s rants are working as was clearly evident in this issue. From the public to even the criminals, the only people so far immune seem to be a select few students and the police force. Imagine going out and risking your life and then having the public chastise you for it. It would break any man yet alone a high school student. Elsewhere, the intriguing sub-plot concerning Liz Allan pops up in this issue. The first woman in Peter’s life that has potential romantic feelings for him is something to watch as is the development of Betty Brant. While she only appeared in a few panels, her role is about to become much larger. As for the Sandman, he was the first real super-powered villain Spider-Man had to square off against but a villain he was once again able to defeat with his lethal combination of physical ability and intelligence. This issue also marks the last one on the bimonthly schedule. Due to the book really connecting with its audience, Spider-Man would be churning out an issue every month from here on out. Good news for Marvel and good news for us loyal readers as well!
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Have any of your memories you’d like to share in relation to this issue? Any other comments? Comment Below!

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5 thoughts on “The Time Capsule – Spider-Man: September 1963 (Like Sands Through The Hourglass…)

  1. That’s a brilliant issue of Spiderman, love how he uses the vacuum cleaner to capture Sandman! Great how Peter stops himself from punching Flash, as he knows his Spider Strength would really hurt him. Peter Parker is such an awesome character. He can be a hero as Spiderman, but things never seem to go quite right for him in his secret identity. Thanks for another great instalment of Time Capsule :O)

  2. As a fan of Law & Order, I learnt that, when you do the right thing, it can be really difficult to convince other people that you’re doing the right thing. For example, in Law & Order, when a district attorney prosecutes someone, he/she is 100 % sure that he/she’s doing the right thing, but he/she also knows that it will be very difficult to persuade the jury that he/she’s not wrong.
    This is more or less what Spidey goes through in this issue: he knows that he’s doing the right thing, but no one understands it. On the contrary, everybody disapproves of his conduct. What makes Peter a great man, despite his young age at that time, is that he goes on believing in what he does, no matter if people do not appreciate it. It would have been easier for him to forget about his short timed experience as a superhero and to start being just a high school student again, but he preferred to hold out for the greater good. A very few men would have made the same choice.

    • “I learnt that, when you do the right thing, it can be really difficult to convince other people that you’re doing the right thing.”
      Sad but true.

      “What makes Peter a great man, despite his young age at that time, is that he goes on believing in what he does, no matter if people do not appreciate it. It would have been easier for him to forget about his short timed experience as a superhero and to start being just a high school student again, but he preferred to hold out for the greater good. A very few men would have made the same choice.”
      It’s that quality that has made everyone fall in love with him. Perseverance and determination despite the odds against you. Love how you summed it all up! 🙂

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