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
Known Relatives: Unrevealed
Aliases: Ol' timid Timothy (nickname given by his
colleagues), "The hermit" (see
Base of Operations: New York City;
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)
(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
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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