The Time Capsule – Spider-Man: December 1963 (On A Wing And A Prayer)

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 CoverAmazingSpiderman07-00Amazing Spider-Man #7 (December 1963)
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The issue opens with a flashback to Spider-Man’s victory over the Vulture in their first encounter. Spider-Man vows that “The Vulture will never threaten anyone again!” And that cues the return of Adrian Toomes whose been such a good prisoner that he’s been made a trustee and they’re letting him work in the machine shop. Yeah…that won’t backfire on them.AmazingSpiderman07-1________________________________________________________

This trust backfires (surprise, surprise) as Adrian is secretly recreating his suit, piece by piece, as to avoid suspicion.AmazingSpiderman07-2________________________________________________________

Using a crude form of his tech, the Vulture flies the coop and gets ready to start work on a new and improved model.AmazingSpiderman07-3________________________________________________________

Meanwhile, Peter Parker is partaking in P.E. class when the report of the Vulture’s escape blares over the radio.AmazingSpiderman07-4________________________________________________________

Peter makes an excuse to leave, feeling he is the one best suited to stop the villain but feels bad that in order to save the day his image as Peter takes a beating. He’s really steaming mad about his situation but is level-headed not to act on it.AmazingSpiderman07-5________________________________________________________

Spider-Man is 100% confident he’ll stop the Vulture once again using his anti-magnetic inverter that he utilized before. Good thing the Vulture didn’t upgrade…right?AmazingSpiderman07-6________________________________________________________

Vulture’s new wings allow him to fly quicker and turn with more precision than before. Fleeing a police helicopter with ease, Vulture swoops into a nearby window to commit some larceny…AmazingSpiderman07-7________________________________________________________

…and then makes his escape while remaining close to the ground to avoid radar.AmazingSpiderman07-8________________________________________________________

But avoiding radar isn’t the only advantage: the police can’t fire at him when he is so close to the ground for fear of accidentally having one of their bullets “ricochet and hit an innocent bystander.” Not only has his suit improved but his strategy has as well.AmazingSpiderman07-9________________________________________________________

Spider-Man finally encounters his foe after scouring the city and readies his anti-magnetic inverter not knowing that Vulture’s improvements extend to the device not working on him.AmazingSpiderman07-10________________________________________________________

Spider-Man gets in close and turns on his device. A nice swift win for him and he takes the time to photograph the incident to make some easy cash as well.AmazingSpiderman07-11________________________________________________________

The Vulture lulls Spider-Man into a false sense of security and pretends that the device worked as Spider-Man follows the Vulture on his downward descent.AmazingSpiderman07-12________________________________________________________

As Spider-Man descends ledge by ledge, the Vulture seizes the opportunity and charges upwards out of view of our hero. Spider-Man is in for a rude awakening!AmazingSpiderman07-13________________________________________________________

He catches Spidey off guard and sends him hurtling out of control, plummeting to his demise.AmazingSpiderman07-14________________________________________________________

Spider-Man is falling too fast to catch a building with his webbing so he does the next best thing and tries to slow his decent. The Vulture believes Spider-Man has perished as he crashes onto a building’s roof.AmazingSpiderman07-15________________________________________________________

Spider-Man’s alive…but he has suffered his first real injury, an injury to his right arm.AmazingSpiderman07-16________________________________________________________

Spider-Man manages to somehow get home but just as he think he’s safe Aunt May is going to walk in on him while still wearing his Spider-Man outfit.AmazingSpiderman07-17________________________________________________________

Aunt May barges in put Peter acts quickly and clings to the ceiling in a scene that was recreated in the original Spider-Man movie.AmazingSpiderman07-18________________________________________________________

After getting out of costume, Aunt May takes Peter to the doctor who states his arm is only sprained but it won’t be healed until a few weeks. All Peter can think about is the thought of the Vulture terrorizing the city if he doesn’t act now.AmazingSpiderman07-19________________________________________________________

Peter goes to school and gets ridiculed for his sprained arm. He can barely contain his anger. Flash is really getting to him this issue and pushing him near his breaking point.AmazingSpiderman07-20________________________________________________________

Meanwhile, the Vulture is celebrating the death of Spider-Man and plans his next heist: to rob the Daily Bugle of all their pay envelopes, a big score considering they have one of the largest payrolls in New York.AmazingSpiderman07-21________________________________________________________

Just his luck that Peter is already at the Bugle talking with Betty who is wondering what really happened to Peter’s arm. His answer? He tells her the truth…but of course she doesn’t believe him.AmazingSpiderman07-22________________________________________________________

While in Jameson’s office dropping off his latest photos, Peter and Jonah are interrupted by the actual villain in the flesh. He makes his demands but Jonah won’t relent.AmazingSpiderman07-23________________________________________________________

As Jonah and Vulture argue, Peter manages to sneak away and change into his crime fighting attire. His arm however is still a major problem but he does his best to ease the pain by fashioning a makeshift sling by altering his webbing.AmazingSpiderman07-24________________________________________________________

Spider-Man rushes in to save the day as Vulture is surprised to see that the hero is still alive.AmazingSpiderman07-25________________________________________________________

Vulture, seeing he is at a disadvantage by fighting in such close quarters decides to flee with Spider-Man in pursuit. Jameson, meanwhile, vows to sue Spider-Man because of all the chaos he is creating and property damage.AmazingSpiderman07-26________________________________________________________

Spider-Man continues his barrage of verbal jabs in the hope that Vulture doesn’t notice his injured arm by being distracted.AmazingSpiderman07-27________________________________________________________

Vulture continues to flee to the openness of outside, ready to take advantage of his aerial superiority.AmazingSpiderman07-28________________________________________________________

Just as it looks like the Vulture will become victorious, Spider-Man unleashes his webbing and pins the Vulture’s wings to his side. The villain may be defeated but the two of them will surely fall to their doom now.AmazingSpiderman07-29________________________________________________________

The Vulture doesn’t want to die and cries for Spider-Man to save him and he continues to show his ingenuity by creating a parachute out of webbing to save the day.AmazingSpiderman07-30________________________________________________________

Vulture realizes that he played right into Spider-Man’s plan all along and vows that our hero hasn’t heard the last of him.AmazingSpiderman07-31________________________________________________________

Afterwards, Jonah stops Spider-Man from swinging away and Spider-Man believes that Jameson is going to apologize and offer him a reward. Silly Spider-Man… Jonah wants to tell him he holds him responsible for the whole affair and he’ll make him pay. Spidey decides he’s heard enough and shuts Jonah up with some well-placed webbing to the mouth.AmazingSpiderman07-32________________________________________________________

Peter changes back to his civilian clothes and finds Betty who was hiding…just like him (at least that’s what he tells her). He admits he’s not the heroic type which opens Betty up to admitting that she isn’t either and that is why she likes him so much: he doesn’t pretend to be something he isn’t. Peter thinks to himself “If she only knew!!”AmazingSpiderman07-33________________________________________________________

Peter in turn opens up and drops a romantic compliment to Betty…and she’s receptive. Ah, young love. Finally the two of them are together…or am I reading too much into it? At least inroads are being made then! And we finish off the issue with an actual happy ending for Peter, a rare sight to behold.AmazingSpiderman07-34________________________________________________________

My ThoughtsFor the first time in this series’ short lifespan we had the return of a villain instead of a new encounter. Whereas each new foe enabled us to see Spider-Man’s creativity in overcoming each adversary, this issue showed the dangers of being overconfident. The urgency was gone in Spider-Man’s mind as he had already defeated the Vulture way back in Issue #2, not thinking in the least that while he modified his crime fighting arsenal that the Vulture wouldn’t do the same. The villain used this overconfidence to his advantage and very well could have killed our young hero. It’s a lesson that he needs to take to heart if any of his other foes were to return (spoiler: they do). This also marked the first issue where Peter was injured while battling an enemy, showing that he ain’t Superman but can in fact be hurt and any villain could end his life with one wrong turn. In another section, Spider-Man once again shows that he is the bigger man by saving Jonah something Mr. Jameson fails to acknowledge to humorous results. Then there’s the budding romance of Peter and Betty as the two of them finally admit their feelings. Where they go from here is an interesting prospect indeed. Finally, Flash Thomson really hits a nerve with Peter in this issue, our hero trying his best to contain his anger on multiple occasions. To protect his secret identity he takes this abuse and does nothing about it but channels this energy towards saving others. Overall, the return of the Vulture produced some nice aerial action packed scenes, some great character interaction, and eclipsed the villain’s first appearance by a long shot. I eagerly await Round 3!
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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: December 1963 (On A Wing And A Prayer)

  1. The more I go on reading your Time Capsule posts, the more I realize that the only moments I actually enjoy are the ones concerning Peter’s private life. Yes, his villains are cool, the action packed scenes are cool too (especially if you consider that they have been made 50 years ago, in a world without sources of inspiration like action movies, videogames and so on)… but you already know that the villain will be defeated, so there isn’t much suspense. Peter’s private life, on the contrary, is much more unpredictable: for example, I hadn’t figured that he and Betty started flirting after such a short period of time.
    The scenes built around Peter and Betty are the ones I enjoyed most. The dynamics between the 2 are so realistic, both of them have a so sweet attitude, and the last panel is so heart warming… a perfect way to end a story, no matter if it’s a superhero comic book or an indie graphic novel.

    • “The scenes built around Peter and Betty are the ones I enjoyed most. The dynamics between the 2 are so realistic, both of them have a so sweet attitude, and the last panel is so heart warming… a perfect way to end a story, no matter if it’s a superhero comic book or an indie graphic novel.”
      And all the more reason that she should have a more prominent spot in one of the numerous Spider-Man related series out there.

      “The more I go on reading your Time Capsule posts, the more I realize that the only moments I actually enjoy are the ones concerning Peter’s private life.”
      Peter’s private life has always been a big factor to the character’s longevity and lovability. Compare him to other heroes out there and any that put just as much prominence on their alter ego as their heroic one are few and far between. The emphasis on the many loves of Peter’s life is yet another reason I love this series and why it resonates so strongly with countless others. It’s a superhero series mixed with a soap opera and I love it for that reason.

  2. Great read as always. I love the playful jibes, webbing Jonah’s mouth shut and moments like jumping on the ceiling to hide from Aunt May. I also like seeing how the origins of a super hero is being constructed. As in the elements and devices used to make Spiderman/Peter Parker compelling … eg. how does the writer/artists elicit an emotional connection between Spiderman and the reader? In my opinion, for every new superhero themed movie/tv show/comic in the works, they should ask themselves these questions even if they plan to reinvent or subvert classic comic book conventions.

    • “I also like seeing how the origins of a super hero is being constructed.”
      It is an interesting case study seeing how the character evolves with each issue, how his interactions with others change. It’s a story that is as fresh now as it was 50 years ago!

      “As in the elements and devices used to make Spiderman/Peter Parker compelling … eg. how does the writer/artists elicit an emotional connection between Spiderman and the reader? In my opinion, for every new superhero themed movie/tv show/comic in the works, they should ask themselves these questions even if they plan to reinvent or subvert classic comic book conventions.”
      Truer words were never spoken.

      Thanks for the compliment and for the comment as well! 🙂

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