Stan Lee and Steve Ditko invent The Tinkerer in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #2

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

When it comes to super geniuses per capita, no place compares to the Marvel Universe! Some use their powers to help keep the world safe while others try to rule the world. And some just want to make crazy weapons to sell to nutcases! The Tinkerer – newly returned in this week’s PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #4 – fit into that last category for most of his villainous career. 

Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man (2017) #4

Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man (2017) #4

First debuting back in 1963’s THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #2 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, The Tinkerer made quite an impression on his first page. The old man with glasses propped up on his forehead wearing a plaid sweater and green slacks might have seemed like no problem at all had he not blasted Spidey with a ray gun right then and there! 

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #2

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #2

  • Published: May 10, 1963
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Steve Ditko
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In the Mighty Marvel tradition of the day, the next page flashed back to Peter Parker working hard in the chemistry lab at Midtown High where his teacher introduced him to electronics expert Professor Cobbwell who needed some weekend help. Peter’s first duty included stopping to pick up a radio from The Tinkerer Repair Shop on the way over the next day.

After arriving at the business the next day, Peter’s Spidey Sense went off, but he chalked it up to electrical impulses from the nearby machines. However, we learned that he should have listened to it as the Tinkerer and his apparently alien cronies hid something sinister inside Cobbwell’s  radio!

While working in Cobbwell’s lab, Peter realized that his Spider Sense continued to react in the same way. When his new boss left to give a lecture, Peter inspected the radio and found something extra inside. To investigate, he ditched his civvies and swung his way back to the shop!

Having descended into the Tinkerer’s underground lab, our hero learned that the radios all now hide secret spy equipment so that he could learn about Earthly weaknesses and attack with his alien cohorts. After being discovered by one of the potential invaders, Spidey fought hard, but fell to the Tinkerer’s blast seen on that first page.

The Wall-Crawler used his own considerable intelligence and skill to get himself out of the Tinkerer’s death trap. In the ensuing battle, much of the equipment got destroyed and caught fire, engulfing the entire place in flames. Spider-Man tried saving The Tinkerer, but he refused to be touched and they both escaped through the smoke.

Much later on down the line, The Tinkerer returned in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #159 and 160 where he designed a Spider-Mobile to kill the Wall Crawler himself! From there he went on to update and create weapons for many a masked marauder and even played a huge part in SECRET WARS. Now he’s back to cause more trouble for Spider-Man! 

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #160

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #160

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Flash Forward

One of the most interesting parts of Tinkerer’s history remains the fact that, for the more-than-15-year gap between his first and second appearance, Spidey and the readers believed him an alien! Much of that came from Peter walking away from that first confrontation with a human mask, but also a bio published in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #1 which clearly labeled the Tinkerer as “the first, and the only alien menace Spider-Man has ever fought!” He explained the mask in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #160: “That mask I left you holding was merely a ruse – a simple ploy to deter pursuit that, I must say, worked exceptionally well!”

The aliens themselves reappeared in PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #50 and 51, but the Wall Crawler learned that are and were out of work actors posing as aliens that Tinkerer hired. One of that actually turned out to be the future Mysterio who got the gang back together for the job seen in these issues.

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Peter Parker picks allies like Ironheart with help from Chip Zdarsky!

There’s no place like home and for Peter Parker, that’s New York City. Thanks to writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Adam Kubert, Spider-Man’s back in town, but he can’t just put his feet up and relax; it’s the city that never sleeps after all.

As if a tech-crime ring didn’t provide enough of a challenge, Spidey will also be facing an unlikely foe in issue #2 of PETER PARKER: SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN—Riri Williams, aka Ironheart! Why would two such heroes spar with one another instead of joining forces? Luckily, you won’t have to wait for the next edition of the Daily Bugle to get the inside scoop because we already spoke with Chip about pairing up these characters for the first time in Marvel history.

Marvel.com: Peter is already facing threats from both villains and heroes, the latter being in the form of Ironheart in PETER PARKER: SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #2 on July 19. Why is she beating up on Spider-Man and more to the point, what’s driving her in this series?

Chip Zdarsky: I don’t want to spoil anything, but Riri has information Peter needs as he unravels a mystery. Unfortunately, his interrogation tactics leave a lot to be desired. So right now what’s driving her is Spider-Man: Threat or menace?

Marvel.com: I’m getting a buddy cop comedy vibe of two do-gooders with similar end games who don’t initially see eye-to-eye. Not to mention that Peter just got back to New York. What’s going through his head and how will the two complement one another once they get past their differences?

Chip Zdarsky: The beauty of writing Spider-Man is that every team-up is like a buddy cop comedy! Riri’s in a situation reminiscent of a teenaged Peter: a young super hero tech genius dealing with the loss of loved ones. But, unlike Peter, she has a maturity to her that he may still be lacking, at least superficially. I think he’s super pleased with this new batch of teen heroes, as it kind of symbolizes his position as well, not as one of the wise elders of the Marvel [Universe], but at least somewhat of an authority figure.

Peter Parker: Spectacular Spider-Man #2 cover by Adam Kubert

Marvel.com: What was it like being able to introduce these characters for the first time?

Chip Zdarsky: Great! You only get to introduce characters like these once, so I’m really happy I got to do it before [INVINCIBLE IRON MAN writer Brian Michael] Bendis did.

Marvel.com: Riri is a fairly new face to the Marvel Universe while Spidey’s been around for a while. Do you explore this dichotomy between them either literally or sub-texually?

Chip Zdarsky: A bit, yeah. Peter’s been doing this for a while so there are some things he’s forgotten about being a new hero. And it’s true that there’s over a half century gap between their first appearances, but in terms of the Marvel Universe it’s just over a dozen years, so it’s not like Spidey is ancient!

Marvel.com: How will Peter’s repartee with Ironheart be different from with Iron Man? Any jokes in particular that we should expect?

Chip Zdarsky: Luckily we also have Tony’s A.I. in the mix, so we can see how the three of them interact! Spidey can be an acquired taste for some heroes, and A.I. Tony’s had some artificial time to acquire it.

Marvel.com: How will Riri’s involvement in issue #2 set the stage for future guest appearances by other heroes?

Chip Zdarsky: Issue #2 definitely sets the stage for a whole host of heroes and villains. Things are going to get pretty complicated for Spidey really soon.

Web-swing your way into excitement with PETER PARKER: SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #2 from Chip Zdarsky and Adam Kubert, coming July 19!

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Writer Chip Zdarsky takes us downtown for the brand-new Spidey series!

The Webhead in the Big Apple! The Wall-Crawler in The City That Never Sleeps! The kid that lives with his aunt in the place that has really good bagels!

Spider-Man in New York City!

On June 21, Spidey returns to his Friendly Neighborhood roots with the brand-new series PETER PARKER: SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN! Led by the all-star creative team of writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Adam Kubert, this Spidey story returns to where it all began: a high school kid living—and fighting crime—in New York, New York.

We spoke with Chip about the Spider-Man books that he read growing up, the dynamic that New York contributes to a story, and the real-life inspirations for this new take on an old favorite.

Marvel.com: Hey Chip! Tell us, what are a few of your favorite Spider-Man runs? Have you drawn inspiration from any of them for the new series?

Chip Zdarsky: I don’t want to play favorites with Spider-Man runs! They’re all precious children to me, beautiful in their own way. I will say that the period that imprinted on me the most was when I first got into comics: the mystery of the Hobgoblin’s identity! I loved it so much, especially that it featured a Peter very much down on his luck, trying to make ends meet, which felt so different to me as a kid, thinking that adults all had it together. The feel of those issues really imprinted on me, I think.

I followed Spidey after that, through his marriage to MJ, all the way to the infamous Clone Saga, before I went to college and ran out of money, never actually finding out who ended up being the actual clone—don’t tell me! But a few years after college ended I got sucked right back into the books.

So, it’s hard to pinpoint direct inspirations, really. There have been so many great runs, including now with [writer] Dan Slott on [AMAZING SPIDER-MAN], that you can’t help but be inspired by all the takes on the character.

Marvel.com: Do you have a favorite Spidey story that takes place in New York? What’s the most enjoyable part of the dynamic that NYC brings to a classic Peter Parker/Spider-Man story?

Chip Zdarsky: It’s the smaller moments in comics featuring New York that stick with me, really. His interactions with its jaded citizens, half of whom see him as a hero, half of whom see him as an annoyance.

Peter Parker: Spectacular Spider-Man #1 cover by Adam Kubert

I love the stories where he’s up against an unbeatable foe, trying to save the city and himself simultaneously. Two notable ones for me are his encounter with Firelord in the mid-80s, which has Spider-Man up against a herald of Galactus! He enlists help from citizens, saves citizens, uses the city against Firelord, and then manages to eke out a win just barely, proving himself to be a force to be reckoned with.

There’s a similar feeling when he encounters Morlun in the early 2000s. A truly unstoppable being who has one goal: to feed off of Spider-Man. A desperate Spidey is my favorite Spidey as Morlun lays waste to New York City, endangering people in order to get what he wants. It’s so big and crazy and beautiful, especially thanks to John Romita Jr.’s art, that it feels like the damage to New York is damage to Spider-Man and vice-versa.

Marvel.com: Are there elements of your own life that have inspired you with this new series? High school Chip? Newspaperman Chip?

Chip Zdarsky: I think everyone, when writing Spider-Man, taps into their own sense of guilt and responsibility. And in the [Free Comic Book Day] issue I tapped into my relationship with my ex, who’s my best friend in the whole world, to write Peter and MJ. Besides that, my dozen years working for a national newspaper is coming in handy when writing “Daily Bugle“ scenes, and especially J. Jonah Jameson! He’s one of the greatest fictional creations of all time as far as I’m concerned.

PETER PARKER: SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #1 by Chip Zdarsky and artist Adam Kubert, goes on sale in your neighborhood on June 21!

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Artist Adam Kubert dishes on drawing the world famous Wall-Crawler!

Chip Zdarsky and Adam Kubert plan on bringing a certain hero back to his Big Apple roots in the pages of PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN. The new book, which acts as a companion piece to Dan Slott’s ongoing AMAZING SPIDER-MAN adventures, will bring the now-international hero back to New York City for some familiar fun.

Though many of the details on the June 21-launching series must be kept under wraps for now, we do know that Peter will have friends and enemies, both old and new, to look forward to, all of whom will have that Adam Kubert spin! We talked with the artist about finally getting to work on a web-slinging ongoing, developing these characters with this team, and grounding super-stories in reality.

Marvel.com: You’ve worked on many of the greatest comic characters around in your career. What’s the draw with Spider-Man?

Adam Kubert: Best analogy I can think of—fresh off from having my head wrapped around inking—is Muhammad Ali. Ali had a lot of fights, went up against a lot of awesome fighters. But his greatest fights were always against Joe Frazier. If I were Ali, Spider-Man would be my Smokin’ Joe.

Marvel.com: We can see just in these pages that you put a ton of effort into grounding these stories in New York City. What’s your process like for balancing that with the characters and their actions?

Adan Kubert: The job of a cartoonist is to make the story as real and as credible as possible. Having believable settings adds to the credibility of the story. “Pinocchio” without a realistic background would be just another puppet.

Marvel.com: Chip has teased that several classic Spidey villains appear in the first arc. When it came to their looks, what was the design process like?

Adam Kubert: Creating new characters or new looks for existing characters are usually a collaborative effort between everyone: Chip [as well as editors] Nick [Lowe], Devin [Lewis], and Allison [Stock]. Once I know the direction of the character I either sketch him/her up or just design them in the story. Either way I enjoy getting feedback and make adjustments.

Marvel.com: Along similar lines, it sounds like the book will be packed with heroes, allies and friends both old and new. How was it developing them for the book?

Adam Kubert: A lot of fun. Sometimes I have to step back and look at what I;m actually doing. I’m drawing Spider-freaking-Man and I’m getting to draw his rogues-freaking-gallery! And I’m getting to do it with all of my friends. It honestly doesn’t get any better.

Marvel.com: Even behind all of the jokes and quips, Peter’s still driven by guilt and loyalty. How does that play into your drawing of the character?

Adam Kubert: Drawing a great story with a great character makes my job easy. Chip is Peter and I’m Spider-Man; Nick is someone that I can’t tell you because I like my job. That said, it’s all about the acting and Peter is an open book: easy to read and play out.

Marvel.com: How has it been working with Chip, so far?

Adam Kubert: It’s ok. [Laughs]

PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #1 by Chip Zdarsky and Adam Kubert debuts on June 21.

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Chip Zdarsky launches Peter Parker into a new ongoing series!

This May, your friendly neighborhood Wall-Crawler will no longer be satisfied with merely being Amazing; fans better get used to him being Spectacular as well.

Writer Chip Zdarsky stands the helm of the new PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN title with artist Adam Kubert aboard for art duties. We found Zdarsky climbing trees in an NYC suburb and persuaded him to come down and tell us all about his love of Spidey and where he plans to take the hero.

Marvel.com: One selling point for SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN is the promise of a “classic” Spider-Man feel. To you, what is essential for that?

Chip Zdarsky: When I think of “classic” Spidey I think of him being, y’know, misunderstood and underestimated, like me. He’ll swing by and get your cat out of the tree, but someone will snap a photo that makes it look like he’s putting cats in trees, like me—I put cats in trees. He feels things the strongest out of all the heroes, carries the most guilt, and covers it up with humor, like me. Also, he was bitten by a spider, like my brother Dave—he had to go to the hospital.

He’s also a New York City street-level hero who happens to be powerful enough to take on Avengers-level bad guys. He’s the greatest hero and the biggest thing in his way is himself.

What [writer Dan Slott has] been doing in [AMAZING SPIDER-MAN] is classic Spidey, but transposed into a different world, to see how Spidey plays against it. With this book we’re aiming to shift the focus back toward his life in NYC and exploring his roots and relationships.

Do I get the job?

Marvel.com: Evidently so. SPECTACULAR also promises a more personal tone. What elements will make that feel possible? Can you speak to how the new supporting cast might also help facilitate this tone?

Chip Zdarsky: Humor and heart are the two things I really want to instill in this book. And part of the way to do that is to enhance the supporting cast and make them feel like they matter as much to the book as Peter does. We’re working on big threats in this title with wide-ranging consequences, but the heart has to be Peter, his friends, and his family. We’re bringing back familiar faces, debuting some new ones, and springing some surprise appearances as well!

Marvel.com: Speaking to that, one of the most exciting things for fans of Spider-Man is his incredible collection of villains. Any hints about who the Wall-Crawler might be coming up against in your book?

Chip Zdarsky: Ah! This is the hardest question, ‘cause I don’t want to give anything away! Several classic Spidey villains pop up to cause him trouble in the first arc, and it’s all part of a plan. I will say that I’ve been able to achieve my dream of writing some Kingpin dialogue, so that’s been pretty fun.

Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #1 cover by Adam Kubert

Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #1 cover by Adam Kubert

Marvel.com: To continue with this theme, can you also speak to what heroes and luminaries of the Marvel Universe that Peter might run into?

Chip Zdarsky: Again, I don’t want to spoil too much, but there will be a ton of guest stars popping up, ‘cause I love the way Spidey plays off of others. Some of the heroes showing up are there to help Spidey, some to stop him. Ironheart, Black Widow, Black Panther, and Human Torch are a few. Anyone who’s read my HOWARD THE DUCK run knows how much I love to write Torch and Spidey. It’s one of my favorite friendships in comics.

Marvel.com: In addition to tackling an iconic character, you are collaborating with an iconic artist in Adam Kubert. How has the process been? How does his style inform your approach to the book?

Chip Zdarsky: Oh man, we’ve just started but Adam is a dream! His work is so full of energy and classic super hero dynamism, but he’s also so great at conveying humor! It’s a real thrill to have him on the book. There’s a storyline coming up that I created specifically ‘cause Adam is drawing it and I wanted to see his take on the characters and environments. I want to keep him entertained as much as myself and the audience. My philosophy is, if we love making the comics then hopefully that translates to people loving to read them.

Marvel.com: As SPECTACULAR takes place in-continuity, how close are you and your team working with the AMAZING team? How do the books inform and complement each other?

Chip Zdarsky: We’re following AMAZING’s lead 100%! I had lunch with Dan and the Spider-Editors in NYC a few months ago and got to hear everything they’ve got coming up, and it’s pretty epic and fantastic! Then I got to tell Dan what we’ve got planned for SPECTACULAR and he didn’t leave the restaurant, so I consider that a win.

Marvel.com: SPECTACULAR launches with a Free Comic Book Day issue. As a writer, what is the key to a good FCBD book? What did you want to make sure to do for this as both a Marvel FCBD title and a launch of the series?

Chip Zdarsky: It’s pretty crazy having this platform to pull in new readers! Our story in the FCBD book is with the fantastic artist Paulo Siquiera, and I think we’ve managed to set the tone for the main series and lay some hints at what’s to come! It’s, I think, a really fun short, and I got to write Peter and Mary Jane banter for the first time which thrilled me to no end.

I told Marvel I had another idea to make this really stand out from the other FCBD books being offered. The thing all these books have in common is that they’re free. So, to make ours stand out and be a little different and edgy, I told Marvel to make ours $9.99. Haven’t heard back about that yet, but fingers crossed!

Marvel.com: Anything else you’d want the fans to know about SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN, that you want to make sure they are aware of?

Chip Zdarsky: Spider-Man is my favorite character, and this book is absolutely a love letter to him and to fans of his. I’m overjoyed to get to launch this, something that’s super accessible and personal and—hopefully—filled with humor, but also aiming for an epic story that will have ramifications for Peter and his cast for years to come. We’re going to take Spidey on a pretty crazy ride, and I think people will dig it. And if they don’t dig it, I will walk into the ocean while screaming for Namor to take me away.

Join Chip Zdarsky and Adam Kubert in May for PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN, with a sneak peek on Free Comic Book Day featuring the art of Paulo Siquiera!

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