Dictator's Death Merchants by Rafael DeSoto
The Spider TM & ©
Argosy Communications, Inc.
At the end of 1936, half-way through the 4-part "Living Pharaoh" epic, Norvell Page left the series in the hands of Emile C. Tepperman for eight months. When he returned, he alternated stories with Wayne Rogers for about two years. With the June 1939 issue, Page seems to recommit himself to the series, both creatively and in output, but Rogers and Tepperman would still forge five more tales. Prentice Winchell, supplying the last published Spider story, would be the final writer under the house name "Grant Stockbridge"
Emile C. Tepperman
Before writing under the "Grant Stockbridge" name for The Spider, Emile C. Tepperman had taken the reins of another Popular character, Operator #5! Writing as "Curtis Steele" he contributed what has been called the War and Peace of the Pulps; In the epic 13-part Purple War saga, America has been taken over and Operator #5 -- who in the hands of writer Frederick C. Davis had been a super-spy -- is now a resistance leader! Tepperman's own characters include Ed Race, a backup feature of The Spider from 1934-1943, and The Suicide Squad, featured in Ace G-Man Stories 1939-1943. Beyond contributing scripts to the Gangbusters radio show, not much is known about Tepperman outside of his pulp stories.
Born Archibald Bittner, he started his professional career as a reporter for the Madison Eagle and the New York Globe. In the 1920s he worked as an editor for a string of different pulp titles at different publishers: Adventure, Short Stories, The Frontier (later known as Frontier Stories), finally landing at Argosy in 1928, where he worked for three years. Editor Bittner drops out of sight in 1931 only to resurface as author Wayne Rogers in 1933, soon establishing himself in the "weird menace" magazines, Dime Mystery, Terror Tales, Horror Stories, Strange Detective Mysteries, (all Popular Pubs.) and Thrilling Mystery (Standard Pubs).
Rogers also followed Tepperman in ghosting Operator #5 starting with the July 1938 issue. He continued until its cancellation at the end of 1939, at which point Rogers disappears from the pulps. It is said he headed to Florida, where he managed a chain of movie theaters.
(Rogers typewriter ad /
Prentice Winchell (1895-1976) is best known under the psuedonym Stewart Sterling. Starting in the pulps, Sterling was the author of many Dan Fowler novels for G-Men/G-Man Detective, "house dick" Gil Vine for Thrilling Detective, and he wrote the "Special Squad" stories in Black Mask. Sterling also wrote for radio. In the 40s and 50s, Gil Vine set up shop in paperback and hardback, and so did a new Sterling "specialty detective" -- Fire Marshal Pedley, for which the author is most remembered. Pedley's last case was in 1961.