The Time Capsule – Spider-Man: January 1964 (Brains Before Brawn?)


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  08-00Amazing Spider-Man #8 (January 1964)

The issue marked the debut of the Living Brain, a character that would take another 24 years for us to see his second appearance. It’s a highly intelligent robot that is a marvel to behold, a fact that Peter tires to relate to Flash who responds by shoving Peter away…knocking his glasses off in the process.amazing spiderman 08 - 1________________________________________________________

Peter is unable to catch his glasses in time and they shatter on the ground which pushes him over the edge. He confronts Flash and Flash threatens to settle this after class. This moment has been building up for a while.amazing spiderman 08 - 2________________________________________________________

Peter vows to not play the role of the wimp anymore to conceal his secret identity and decides he will teach Flash a lesson. He mentions that he didn’t really need those glasses anyways and this marks the end of him wearing them permanently.amazing spiderman 08 - 3________________________________________________________

With Flash and Peter’s faceoff set for later, we turn our attention to I.C.M. Corporation’s latest invention that is touring the country…the aforementioned Living Brain!amazing spiderman 08 - 4________________________________________________________

While the Living Brain can move and perform simple actions, it is its ability to think that is its greatest asset. “It will answer any question which is fed to it…basing its answer on the vast storehouse of information it possesses.” A demonstration is in order so a volunteer is asked for and the teacher selects his very brightest, Peter Parker.amazing spiderman 08 - 5________________________________________________________

Meanwhile, the two attendants who helped bring in the Living Brain can think of another use for the Brain’s intelligence: to pick the winners at the racetrack and make it rich.amazing spiderman 08 - 6________________________________________________________

The class is asked to think of a question for the Living Brain and Liz thinks they should test it to its limit and make it tell them who is the man behind the mask of Spider-Man.amazing spiderman 08 - 7________________________________________________________

Peter reluctantly inputs all the known info that his class can think of pertaining to Spider-Man and imagines how this could be the end for him. Before he can dwell on it for too long, the answer spits out…amazing spiderman 08 - 8________________________________________________________

…but the answer is given in a mathematical formula. That was a close one! Peter is chosen to decipher it and his mind races of what he can do to get out of this sticky situation. Meanwhile, the two attendants decide that they must steal the Living Brain for their own personal profit.amazing spiderman 08 - 9________________________________________________________

Flash demands that Peter hand him the formula so he can decipher it but Peter will have none of that. Tired with the two constantly fighting, Mister Warren suggests that they settle their differences in the gym…amazing spiderman 08 - 10________________________________________________________

…in a boxing match no less. Everyone thinks Peter is going to be creamed but Peter worries that he’ll slip and won’t pull his punches enough. The fight begins and Peter starts by avoiding the barrage of punches…amazing spiderman 08 - 11________________________________________________________

..and then delivers his softest punch which knocks Flash clear out of the ring much to everyone’s shock. Has Peter exposed himself? Regardless of the answer, we can all agree that it was pretty satisfying to see the look on Flash’s face as the blow is delivered.amazing spiderman 08 - 12________________________________________________________

The others reason that Flash is merely playing along and Flash tries to come up with some excuse of his own for Peter’s amazing sense of strength. It looks like Parker’s identity is safe for the time being.amazing spiderman 08 - 13________________________________________________________

As the match rages on, the two attendants make their move but are caught in the act. In the ensuing scuffle one of them accidentally bumps into the Living Brain’s control panel…amazing spiderman 08 - 14________________________________________________________

…which causes it to short-circuit and start moving on its own, arms swinging wildly.amazing spiderman 08 - 15________________________________________________________

Peter figures out how to lessen his blow even more and readies himself to deliver the knockout punch. However, just as he is about to connect a voice rings out distracting Flash.amazing spiderman 08 - 16________________________________________________________

Peter can’t stop himself in time and connects with the punch. Flash is out like a light but everyone claims it was a cheap shot. But that is the least of their concerns as news of the Living Brain rampaging through the school continues to circulate.amazing spiderman 08 - 17________________________________________________________

Peter carries Flash away to safety and quickly changes into his Spider-Man costume to confront the out of control robot.amazing spiderman 08 - 18________________________________________________________

He does battle with the Living Brain while also trying to get his fellow students out of harms way. He tries to slow it down with a wall of webbing but the robot shows its deceptive strength and tears right through it.amazing spiderman 08 - 19________________________________________________________

Spider-Man learns that the Living Brain can’t adapt to unexpected moves so as long as doesn’t perform the same pattern twice he has a slight advantage. amazing spiderman 08 - 20________________________________________________________

Our hero deduces that the robot is not evil per say it just wants Spider-Man to stop bothering it but Spider-Man must find a way to finish off this foe before he hurts someone seriously.amazing spiderman 08 - 21________________________________________________________

Their fight continues until the Living Brain deems Spider-Man harmless because nothing he can do can stop it. The robot turns its attention down the hall, smack-dab on a collision course with some students.amazing spiderman 08 - 22________________________________________________________

With its back turned, Spider-Man leaps onto the Living Brain…amazing spiderman 08 - 23________________________________________________________

..and manages to reach the control panel  to shut it down. Unfortunately, the robot can not stop its momentum and it looks like Spider-Man, who is stuck in its grasp, and the robot are going to careen down a flight of stairs.amazing spiderman 08 - 24________________________________________________________

Spider-Man thinks fast and shoots a web-line to act as a pendulum with the two of them swinging one way and then swinging back to safety.amazing spiderman 08 - 25________________________________________________________

Just as the Living Brain is thwarted, Flash regains consciousness. As he ties his shoes up the two attendants run through the nearby door and trip over him…amazing spiderman 08 - 26________________________________________________________

…and are knocked out cold. His fellow classmates walk in on the scene and respond that Flash saved the day by capturing the true culprits of the day’s drama. Peter sees all this go down and sees a perfect opportunity.amazing spiderman 08 - 27________________________________________________________

Peter claims that Flash is secretly Spider-Man and rattles off his “proof.” Flash denies it but his classmates are skeptical.amazing spiderman 08 - 28________________________________________________________

Flash is confused, not knowing what to say and Peter couldn’t be happier. The villain was defeated, Peter managed to punch Flash twice without spoiling his secret identity, and he decided he’ll claim to have lost the paper revealing Spider-Man’s true identity to end Part 1.amazing spiderman 08 - 29________________________________________________________

Part 2 opens with Spider-Man deciding to swing by the Human Torch’s girlfriend’s house to show her what she’s missing out on by not dating Spider-Man. He witnesses a party going on with the Torch in attendance.amazing spiderman 08 - 30________________________________________________________

Spider-Man sees Johnny showing off and decides to spice things up himself. He creates a bat out of webbing which Johnny stops and gets caught up in.amazing spiderman 08 - 31________________________________________________________

Spidey makes his entrance much to the chagrin of the partygoers.amazing spiderman 08 - 32________________________________________________________

The two heroes trade verbal jabs before a battle breaks out and sees them leave the house for a more suitable battlefield.amazing spiderman 08 - 33________________________________________________________

Each one counters the other’s moves until Spider-Man sees the rest of the Fantastic Four watching them.amazing spiderman 08 - 34________________________________________________________

Spider-Man takes offence to what he perceives as them making fun of him and decides to confront Mr. Fantastic and the Thing as well.amazing spiderman 08 - 35________________________________________________________

But level-headed Sue breaks it up. And hits on Spider-Man.amazing spiderman 08 - 36________________________________________________________

She tells her brother and Spider-Man to shake hands and put this matter behind them but that isn’t going to happen. Spider-Man leaves in a huff but not before proclaiming Sue is the only good thing about the overrated Fantastic Four and leaves her a heart-shaped webbing gift. Awww, how sweet.amazing spiderman 08 - 37________________________________________________________

My ThoughtsThis issue was a mixed bag. On the one hand the story beat centering on Peter’s personal life and his conflict with Flash was highly entertaining as he tried to figure out how he could get one over on his tormentor without exposing his secret. It’s too bad the issue didn’t focus on that plot point longer. Instead, we got a forgettable villain that really wasn’t a true villain at all, just a rampaging robot. While it proved to be a challenge for Spider-Man in a few regards it fell flat overall and there is good reason why it didn’t appear in a Spider-Man comic for a very long time. The second story contained in this issue with the Spidey-Torch confrontation really left me feeling that Spider-Man came off as a big jerk and was very unlikable. I would have preferred that this whole section was cut and we expanded the aforementioned civilian identity scenes. If you can’t tell yet, this was my least favourite issue of the series so far. While it did provide some notable moments such as Peter “ditching” his glasses which was the first attempt at depicting Peter less bookish and a little more handsome. I can see why they went that route considering his romantic life will start to play a bigger role down the road but I still miss some of his nerdy charm. Flash getting walloped and then Peter claiming Flash was Spider-Man had to be the highlights of the issue and it was so satisfying to see Flash finally get his just desserts after his constant bullying of our hero. That pretty much sums up this issue: great personal conflicts, bad “villain”, and a lame second story. Amazing Spider-Man hits its first road bump. Hopefully with the next issue it can land back on its feet.

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: January 1964 (Brains Before Brawn?)

  1. 6 years ago I went to a conference. The man who held it talked about a project concerning robots he was developing with a team of scientists: they wanted to create a soccer team made of robots, and they also wanted that soccer team to become so powerful that it would have beaten the World Champion soccer team.
    Most of the people who was listening to him was enthusiast about his project, but some of them (me included) were terrified. We were thinking “If you create so powerful robots, how will you control them? What will prevent them from rebelling against you?”
    Last year I watched a movie that, despite being not that good, replied to these questions in a very effective way: “Robotropolis.” I suggest you to watch it if you’re interested in the matter.
    The detail that stroke me most about this issue is the fact that the robot had been created for a good purpose (creating an artificial intelligence, and therefore making humanity progress), but, the very second the robot is shown to a public, some of the people staring at it instantly start concocting evil plans concerning the robot.
    It’s human nature: when something new appears, some people are simply too excited to think, some others think “I must make something good of it” and some others think “I must make something BAD of it.”
    Me… well, honestly I don’t like innovations: when someone or something new comes into my life, I usually fear that this novelty could make my life worse. Maybe that conference shocked me so much for this reason as well.

    • “It’s human nature: when something new appears, some people are simply too excited to think, some others think “I must make something good of it” and some others think “I must make something BAD of it.””
      It’s too bad that is true. Sad but true…

      “Me… well, honestly I don’t like innovations: when someone or something new comes into my life, I usually fear that this novelty could make my life worse.”
      Glass half empty kind of guy? 🙂 I’m the opposite. I see an innovation and think how it can make my life easier.

      Thanks for sharing the story though. I wonder if that project will one day see its completion? As long as the world doesn’t turn into something out of Terminator I’ll be alright…

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