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Real Name: Timothy Quail

Identity/Class: Human, civilian

Occupation: Pretend homeless;
           formerly advertising agent

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Spider-Man (Peter Parker)

Enemies: Unidentified crimeboss and his underlings

Known Relatives: Unrevealed

Aliases: Ol' timid Timothy (nickname given by his colleagues), "The hermit" (see comments)

Base of Operations: New York City;
        formerly Tibet

First Appearance: Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man I#97 (December 1984)

Powers/Abilities: Timothy Quail possesses no superhuman powers, but has extensive, intuitive knowledge of human nature, coupled with a keen eye for presenting anything in its most favorable, sympathetic light. Painfully shy and loathing any form of attention, all he wanted was to be left alone.

Height: 5'7" (by approximation)
Weight: 120 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Blonde


(Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man I#97 (fb) ) - Timothy Quail was born and raised in New York. A shy young man who preferred to keep his own company, his natural problem solving ability nonetheless made him extremely popular with neighborhood kids who regularly sought him out for advice. When he couldn't stand all this unwanted attention anymore, he fled to a remote area of Tibet to start over. Dressed in rags and growing his hair and beard out, he lived a life of contented solitude as a hermit. However, his reputation as a genius problemsolver eventually drew droves of people to line up in front of his cave, eager to hear this new guru's wisdom.

   Moving back to New York, he took a job with a Madison Avenue ad agency where his knack for putting just the right spin on any product made him a natural. Even though he absolutely loathed giving sales presentations, his colleagues forced "ol' timid Timothy" to do them anyway because despite his nerves he always sold their pitch. Quail also single-handedly came up with a massively succesful campaign for Lotto-Cola. This brought him to the attention of an unidentified, small-time New York crimeboss who threatened to kill Timothy if he didn't advise him on the best way to expand his criminal empire. Thanks to Quail's advice, the New York Garment District was plagued for weeks by a number of inventive and succesful heists.

(Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man I#97) - Quail was forced by his fellow ad men to accompany them to a meeting with a client. Deadly nervous, Quail performed more than admirably and was essential in selling the campaign. All the anxiety left him so drained he was allowed to take the rest of the day off, upon exiting the agency, he found the crimeboss already waiting for him. Forced to get into the criminal's limousine by his cronies, an exceedingly nervous Quail shared his latest ideas for future schemes with the man.

(Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man I#97 - BTS) - Spider-Man almost busted up one of the robberies Quail had advised on when his spider-sense acted up as he passed a group of workmen busy loading materials in a truck near the Fur District. However, when the henchmen kept their cool and pretended they were just doing their job, Spider-Man left them alone. The next day, Peter kicked himself when he visited Joe Robertson at the Daily Bugle and learned of the robbery he had failed to foil. Hoping to make amends, he decided to make investigating the robberies a priority. 

(Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man I#97) - Despite Quail's misgivings, the crimeboss demanded he helped him pull off a really big hit in order to improve his image as a worthwhile player in the New York crimescene. Threatening to kill Quail if he went to the police or tried to run away, the criminal forced him to not only come up with a scheme, but to go along on the caper as well. Late that night, Quail headed a group of heavy set thugs dressed as runners, making the small army seem like innocent joggers out for a late night marathon. Just as they passed a group of security officers who were loading a money truck, some of these seemingly inconspicuous runners used their massive girth to pin the guards down while others proceeded to empty the truck.

   As luck would have it, Spider-Man arrived on time to deal with the stiuation. Easily defeating the mobsters, the wallcrawler spotted Quail and marked him as the brains of the operation. Just then, one of the criminals aimed to shoot Spider-Man in the back. Quail yelled out a warning, earning Spider-Man's trust. Afterwards, Quail and the wallcrawler had a talk about his current predicament and Spidey came up with the solution: change the packaging. He advised Quail to start dressing the way he did during his days as a hermit in Tibet. Quitting his job at the ad agency and leaving his colleagues to wonder out loud whatever happened to him, Quail began his new life as a pretend vagrant. Pushing his shopping cart full of fake trash around, the "hermit" happily enjoyed the kind of solitude only beggars and bums experience in a city of millions.

Comments: Created by Al Milgrom (writer), Herb Trimpe (pencils), Jim Mooney (inker)

For all you ornithologists out there (or, bird lovers for people not into 2 dollar words), the quail is more than just the tiniest member of the pheasant family... it is also well known for its solitary lifestyle, prefering its own company to that of a flock like most other birds. Guess that mighty Marvel tradition of naming characters after their powers or character traits was still alive and well in 1984.  Timothy never used "Hermit" as an official alias or codename, although Quail was revered as a sage hermit during his stay in Tibet.

Quail only appeared once, yet his plight has stuck with me for nearly 25 since I first read this particular adventure in the Dutch version of Spider-Man I bought as a child. Funny how certain tales seem to take up permanent residence in your mind. Al Milgrom is mostly known for his work as a penciller and inker, but this done-in-one story proves he also has considerable chops as a writer. Also: not having Quail turn out to be a mutant, just an excentric genius with social phobias? Heady stuff...

Profile by Norvo.

Timothy Quail, aka the "Hermit" has no known connections to

images: (without ads)
Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man I#97, p8, pan1 (mailn image, as Tibetan hermit) Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man I#97, p23, pan5-6 (as homeless)

Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man I#97 (December, 1984) -
Al Milgrom (writer), Herb Trimpe (pencils), Jim Mooney (inks), Danny Fingeroth (editor)

Last updated: 12/24/13

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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