DIAL B for BLOG
NEW ISSUE ARCHIVES BOARD FAQ LINKS CONTACT ADVERTISE
.
THE SPIDER, Master of Men, was secretly detective Richard Wentworth (pictured above on the cover of the Spider #95). The character debuted in “The Spider Strikes,” Oct. 1933, cover shown below left. This story was credited to R.T.M. Scott, but with Spider #3, "Wings of the Black Death" (Dec. 1933, pictured below right), “Grant Stockbridge” took over writing chores, and the character went from being an imitation Shadow to being... well, the Spider! He didn't just kill his enemies... he killed them in great numbers, and with near-fanatical enjoyment. As all Spider-fans know, “Grant Stockbridge,” was a pen name used by main Spider writer Norvell Page, as well as Emile C. Tepperman, Wayne Rogers, Prentice Winchell, and Donald C. Cormack.
.
.
In his first few adventures, the Spider had been just a nickname for detective Richard Wentworth. Now, it was a superheroic identity complete with cape, mask, and... FANGS! That’s right, fangs. It all started in Spider #6, “The Citadel of Hell” (March, 1934), when, Richard Wentworth disguised himself with fangs, a fright wig, a hooked nose and a hunched back.
.
Years before Bruce Wayne became Batman because “Criminals are a superstitious, cowardly lot” (shown above), Richard Wentworth realized the frightening power of his "Spider" disguise, so he adopted the look as a permanent uniform... though he was seldom portrayed wearing this costume on his own pulp's covers!
. .
SPIDER #36, 1936
SPIDER #45, 1937
From "Reign of the Death Fiddler"

Wentworth straightened, leaned over the railing, and made his cast. His appearance had scarcely registered on the assembled crowd, the murmur of fright and surprise had only begun to rise from their throats, when the silken loop settled about the neck of the Fiddler.

With a jerk, Wentworth drew the loop tight. He hauled upward until the Fiddler could barely touch his toes to the counter below. Dexterously he drew the cord about a pillar, fastened its end to the leg of a heavy table, then balanced the table on the railing.

"If any man moves," Wentworth shouted, "the Death Fiddler dies. The Spider swears it!"
. .
SPIDER #49, 1937
SPIDER #56, 1938
THE SPIDER GOES TO HOLLYWOOD!
The Spider was featured in two serials from Columbia. The first was The Spider's Web (1938), starring Warren Hull (pictured below) as the Spider. In this serial, Hull wore an entirely new costume that had never been seen before in the Spider pulps, complete with full face mask and flowing, spider-webbed cape.
.
.Except for the Spider's new costume, this serial, directed by Ray Taylor and James W. Horne, is surprisingly faithful to the pulp version of the character. The entire supporting cast from the pulps was featured, including Richard Wentworth’s girlfriend Nita Van Sloan (Iris Meredith, pictured left), his butler Ronald Jackson (Richard Fiske), Police Commissioner Kirk (Forbes Murray), and Wentworth’s Hindu servant Ram Singh (Kenneth Duncan) pictured below, engrossed in the latest issue of The Spider pulp magazine!
.

. .
SPIDER #66, 1939
SPIDER #98, 1941
Why does the Spider look so "normal" on the covers of his magazine? Because the Spider’s real look was considered too freakish to put on the cover of his own book! Instead, Wentworth’s bizarre .disguise was toned down for general consumption, and he was usually pictured with a black domino mask and cape, an image reassuringly like that of the Shadow and other dark pulp avengers. Never mind that he was a complete maniac who mercilessly mashed his Spider ring (shown right) into his victims' foreheads, branding their corpses with the mark of the Spider.

Inside the Spider's book, spot illustrations depicted the “real” Spider -- but on the covers, only the “family” version was seen. The “real” Spider was cover-featured on just four issues published during the 1940s. Two of them are shown below -- "The Spider and the War Emperors" and "Judgment of the Damned." See the Spider's fangs and huge crooked nose?!
. .
SPIDER #80, 1940
SPIDER #81, 1940
THE SPIDER RETURNS... TO HOLLYWOOD!
.
.
In 1940, the Master of Men came back in The Spider Returns. This sequel has the Spider and company, as the poster above says, "smashing a gigantic sabotage plot!"
.
THE SPIDER RETURNS, directed by James W. Horne, starred Dave O'Brien as Jackson, Mary Ainslee as Nita Van Sloan, Joseph Girard as Police Commissioner Kirk, Kenneth Duncan as Ram Singh, and Waren Hull as The Spider!
.

The Spider ended his eleven-year pulp run (1933 to 1944) with #118, "When Satan Came to Town" (pictured below right). The book's teaser read as follows: "When The Conqueror and his hoards try to overtake the city's government, and riot their bloody way to America's Capitol, only an ex-inmate of Alcatraz stands in their way. The criminal world knew him as Number 347. We know him as Richard Wentworth -- the Spider!"
. .
SPIDER #93, 1941
SPIDER #118, DEC 1943
THE DIMEDIA PAPERBACKS!
In the early 1980s, Dimedia Inc. published a series of Spider paperback reprints featuring beautiful painted covers by Ken Kelly (pictured below). For these books, the Spider's image was toned down even more, and he was portrayed as a traditional playboy-avenger type hero, in the mold of Batman and the radio Shadow.
.
.
.
THE SPIDER IN THE COMICS!
The Spider turned up again in 1991, in a three-issue series of comic books from Eclipse by Truman, Alcatena and Parsons. After almost six decades, old Spidey finally shows his "real" face on the covers, by Tim Truman. This series marks the final appearance of The Spider to date... but don't worry, Spider-fans. He's bound to crawl back some day!
.
.
.
BONUS MINI-POSTER: DEATH AND THE SPIDER!

.

Rafael de Soto's recreation of his cover for
The Spider #100, "Death and the Spider!" (Jan 1942)
LINKS TO THE TWO BEST "SPIDER" SITES ON THE WEB!
DEATH TO THE
BRINGERS OF DEATH!
X
THE SPIDER'S
WEB PAGE


COMING NEXT on DIAL B for BLOG:
DC House Ads
That Tell A Story!