Characters : Tinkerer
Normal for age and size with minimal exercise.
Unknown, Presumed High
Son (Not named, see Dead Man's Hand), Richard "Rick" Mason (aka The Agent, from the Agent GN)
Spider-Man, Captain America
Precious little is known about the criminal arms dealer and inventor, Phineas Mason, aka the Tinkerer. As the school day ended, Mr. Warren asked Peter if he was interested in working with Professor Cobbwell, an electronics expert. Peter agreed and was asked by the professor to pick up a radio that was in the shop before he arrived to get to work. At the Tinkerer's Workshop, Peter thought the old man "looks like a character straight out of Grimm's Fairy Tales" yet he ignored his spider sense, thinking he "looks about as dangerous as a second hand cream puff." In the work area, Tinkerer met with what seemed to be a green alien creature, who was working on Cobbwell's radio. They claimed that no one had noticed the changes made to the radios. After Peter returned to Dr. Cobbwell, his spider sense continued to buzz, just as it had at the Tinkerer's shop. He opened the radio and found electronics that set his spider sense buzzing. Cobbwell left, Spider-Man returned to the shop and found Tinkerer and the aliens discussing their plans to conquer the world.
One of the creatures spotted the webhead eavesdropping on them and a fight broke out. Spidey was stunned by one of Mason's ray guns and ended up in a specimen container. They tried to kill him by removing the oxygen from the container, but Spidey escaped by removing the hoses and shooting a web out of the hole and hitting a release button on the control panel. Some of the aliens were knocked into the panel in the ensuing battle, destroying it. They fled and the Tinkerer was nearly apprehended but was lost in the thick smoke. Later, Peter pondered the rubber mask he removed from Mason's face. (Amazing Spider-Man #2)
The Terrible Tinkerer didn't show up again for many years. Peter was several years into college when he came across a group of thugs attempting a robbery of fur coats. As he took on the crooks, one of them tossed a gas bomb at him and he decided to hold his breath. Spider-Man was soon under attack from his very own spider-mobile and was shocked to see that no one was driving it. He tried to web the car but the shooters seemed t jam, despite the fact that he had just checked them. Spider-Man tried to wall crawl to safety but found that he couldn't stick to the wall. His last chance was to pole vault over a wall and away from the out of control car.
Back at his apartment, Spidey found that his web shooters and spider powers were working fine. Deciding that he had just been having an "off day," Spider-Man went back out to find the vicious vehicle. Soon he encountered a fog that made him dizzy, just as the gas from the crook had done previously. The spider mobile was once again trying to run him down and he was having trouble sticking to the walls. Spider-Man tried to web swing away but was webbed by the car and yanked back into a seat. He played along, deciding to find out who was controlling the car. The car took him to the Tinkerer and his assistant, a large African American man named Toy. Tinkerer explained that he wasn't an alien and the mask that he left with Spider-Man had been a ruse. His previous escape had been too close and he decided to go into weapons manufacturing for other criminals instead of getting involved in crime directly. Mason claimed to be working for an enemy of Spider-Man and ordered Toy to deliver him but Spider-Man broke free. Toy and Tinkerer were defeated in the following fight. (Amazing Spider-Man #160)
The next time that Spider-Man dealt with the Tinkerer, he was back in his old shop and working with Jackson Weele. Weele came to him with a request to design a way to destroy his enemy, the Rocket Racer. Tinkerer soon got to work with Toy, whom he kept in a box. He soon gave Jackson Weele the power he wanted...as Big Wheel. (Amazing Spider-Man #183)
Still in business, Mason took a client that called himself "Mr. Smith" and created for him a flying ship. Impressed that "Smith" was able to steal such advanced designs for the ship, Mason asked how he planned to power the device. Mr. Smith turned out to be Goldbug and said that the Hulk was going to be the power source. (Incredible Hulk #238)
After saving a woman from falling off of a rooftop, Spider-Man goes back to the building and find it being robbed by Toy. The robot defeated Spidey but he was tagged with a spider tracer before escaping. Spider-Man followed the signal to the Tinkerer's shop and Toy was destroyed in the battle. Mason was distraught over his "friend's" destruction and begged him to return to him. Spider-Man left him to mourn. (Spectacular Spider-Man #53)
Mason later blackmailed Dr. Evan Swann at Empire State University to order delicate parts and chemicals. Swann had never graduated high school and had bought his college degrees. Tinkerer used the safety of the university lab to create a device that could boost the power to any weapons system, using phantom electrons. He planned to sell it to his new client, Killer Shrike. When Shrike arrived he attempted to take the power booster from Mason without paying and ended up badly shocked when he tried to install the device. Tinkerer had expected his client to try and escape without paying and had left out a part of the booster. When Shrike tried to use it, it backfired on him. Tinkerer escaped as Spider-Man finished off Killer Shrike. (Amazing Spider-Man #310)
Mason next worked for the Grizzly, whom was tired of having other people laugh at him when he told them that he had once beaten Spider-Man. The police had handed over the badly tattered bear costume and strength enhancing harness (created by the Jackal) to Max Markham, thinking it was beyond repair. Mason admitted it was a challenge but he soon had it working for Max again. (Web of Spider-Man #58)
Phineas was soon in the employ of Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin of Crime. Fisk had arranged to have Abner Jenkins, the Beetle, let out of prison early so that he could work for Fisk. As incentive, Mason created a brand new battle armor for Jenkins. (Deadly Foes of Spider-Man #1)
Tinkerer had been hired by the Chameleon (as Doctor Turner) to build a machine that would put Spider-Man into suspended animation, but instead removed his powers. Smerdyakov sent several enemies after the powerless hero. (Amazing Spider-Man #341)
When Spider-Man was soon under siege from Alistaire Smythe's robots, he mistakenly blamed the Tinkerer for the machines. When he arrived to confront Mason, he was attacked by the Scorpion, who had been at the Tinkerer's shop improving his costume. Spider-Man was aided by the Black Cat, who had also recently gotten an upgrade in her powers from Mason. (Amazing Spider-Man #369 & #370)
After the Jackal's plan for world domination was defeated and he was (seemingly) killed, his body was taken to a S.H.E.I.L.D. laboratory for study. His corpse was infected with the Carrion virus and the infection spread to a doctor at S.H.E.I.L.D. As Spider-Man was discussing the new Carrion with SHEILD scientists, the Tinkerer barged in, demanding to know where his son was being held. All they would tell him was that if his son was at that facility, then he was very sick. Tinkerer tried to leave to find a cure but Spidey tired to stop him. Little did the webhead know, but Mason had a teleportation device and they were both soon at his workshop. Tinkerer claimed that he knew a geneticist that could cure his son but Spider-Man claimed to know someone even better. Using Tinkerer's teleporter, he was sent to Wundagore Mountain, home of the High Evolutionary.
The High Evolutionary admitted that the Jackal had been his student and that he had helped to create the second Carrion (Malcolm McBride) but refused to interfere in mankind's natural evolution. Spider-Man was soon sent back to New York and the Tinkerer's lab. Finding some of Jackal's notes on cloning and the lethal "red dust," Spidey gave the information to Tinkerer and told him to give it to the SHEILD Command Post. Spidey defeated the new Carrion and the notes that Mason provided helped to cure him. (Spider-Man: Dead Man's Hand)
The Tinkerer has never been brought to justice, but has unintentionally aided those that work on the sides of the angels. Not only has he made the Black Cat more formidable, he accidentally created The Judge. When his son, Rick Mason, was killed by criminals, Phineas went after the lawyer (now a judge) that acquitted his son's killer. Breaking into his home, Tinkerer stumbled upon Micheal and Alice Hart and accidentally shot them both. Never meaning to kill either of them, he revived Micheal, whom had somehow gained supernatural powers from his brush with death. He was aided by Mason, who was still remorseful for killing Hart.
However, in no way has the Tinkerer turned his back on making money, legally or not. He recently acted as the auctioneer of the Venom symbiote. Many of Spider-Man's enemies were at the auction, including
- Mysterio (Daniel Berkhart)
- Don Forunato and his son, Angelo
- Speed Demon
- White Rabbit
- Stilt Man
(Marvel Knights Spider-Man #7)
While Mason owns a radio repair shop as a front for his weapons business, he was found to be well financed and supplied by the dictator of Latveria, Lucia von Bardas. (Dr Doom had been deposed and Lucia was keeping his throne warm for him.) When Nick Fury, Director of SHIELD, found that von Bardas had been supplying the various super criminals with their technology, he found that Tinkerer was von Bardas's American contact. She had been supplying the criminals as part of a terrorist style plan to undermine American security. At one point in the ensuing "Secret War" with Latveria, Mason was stabbed in the back by the Punisher and left in a wheelchair. He begged to die, as his grandson (Rick's son) was one of the six hundred killed in the Stamford explosion, which started the Superhuman Civil War. (Secret War #1)
Tinkerer showed up after Phil Urich killed Daniel Kingsley and took over as the Hobgoblin. Urich's weapons were damaged during a battle with Spider-Man at the Kingpin's sky scraper, and he turned them over to Mason for repairs. The old man promised him that the price would be expensive and cost more than what Wilson Fisk was paying the Hobgoblin. (Amazing Spider-Man #651)
At a later date, Mason was in prison with his cell mate, Antoine Desloin, the Hypno-Hustler. He had upgraded Desloin's hypnotizing equipment, making his mind control all the more potent when he used Deadpool against Spider-Man. The old man was happy to lay back in his prison bunk and read as the super people fought it out. When Deadpool complained that Mason hadn't helped fight Spider-Man and wanted to know why H.H. didn't hypnotize him, Mason said that he had been hypnotized 5 weeks prior to stop smoking. (Avenging Spider-Man #13)
Back in his shop, he took a job from the harried Hobgoblin, who was on the run from the Superior Spider-Man after he had seemingly killed the Kingpin. He agreed to upgrade and recharge Urich's weapons, but didn't tell him that he had employed a former associate of his. Tiberius Stone had worked for both Max Modell at Horizon Labs and as a spy for Fisk. After Stone's spider sense jammers failed, he stayed hidden to avoid Kingpin's wrath. He took up work with the Tinkerer, as an assistant. (Superior Spider-Man #15)
|May 1963||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #2|
|Tinkerer works with Quentin Beck to steal secrets.|
|Sep 1976||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #160|
|Tinkerer restores Spider-Mobile to kill Spider-Man.|
|Aug 1978||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #183|
|Tinkerer builds weaponry for the Big Wheel.|
|Aug 1979||App: Incredible Hulk (Vol. 1) #238|
|Apr 1981||App: Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #53|
|Dec 1986||App: Captain America (Vol. 1) #324|
|Dec 1988||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #310|
|Dec 1989||App: Web of Spider-Man #58|
|Sep 1990||App: Captain America (Vol. 1) #369|
|Dec 1989||App: Alpha Flight #79|
|Date TBD||App: New Mutants #86|
|May 1991||App: Deadly Foes of Spider-Man #1|
|Builds armour for Beetle.|
|Nov 1992||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #369|
|Dec 1992||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #370|
|Apr 1997||App: Spider-Man: Dead Man's Hand|
|Tinkerer helps Spider-Man rescue his son.|
|Date TBD||App: Cable #65|
|Dec 2004||App: Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #7|
|Attends the Venom auction.|
The assistance of the Marvel Chronology Project is gratefully acknowledged.
Some of the above information is extracted from the various versions of the Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe and the more recent Marvel Encyclopaedias.