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Background art by Walter Baumhofer
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A Brief History of The Spider II
The Spider Strikes

So, in September of 1933 Popular stormed the newsstand racks with two new single-character magazines: the air-war title G-8 and His Battle Aces, and The Spider -- Master of Men!

In these early stories "The Spider" is merely a nom de plume. Nothing more than a symbol on the forehead of Wentworth's victims to confound the police and to serve as a warning to criminals. Wentworth branded the Spider seal by means of a specially fitted cigarette lighter.

Scott's two novels only hint at the glory that is to come, but he is singly responsible for creating The Spider's permanent cast of characters:

"Richard Wentworth's eyes became a little tense, and the pupils contractd slightly. There was a touch of exultation upon his face and a fleeting hint of animal ferocity before he spoke. 'By right of might,' he said in a low voice as if speaking more to himself than to Parsons. 'It is a game I love.'"

Richard Wentworth, a wealthy amateur criminologist with a compulsion to step in where the law fails. Ram Singh, his faithful manservant; Jackson, the chauffer; Jenkyns, the butler. Police Commissioner Stanley Kirkpatrick, Wentworth's trusted friend -- but the vigilante Spider's arch enemy.

And Nita Van Sloan, Wentworth's steadfast love.

"Not many young women would have entered an unlighted apartment under such uncertain conditions. ...Nita was one of the Van Sloans who had come to America before the revolution, and courage had always lived in her family -- courage and the spirit of adventure."

With the third issue "Wings of the Black Death" Norvell Page takes over from Scott as writer, under the house name of Grant Stockbridge. Soon we would see the white-hot prose that The Spider is remembered for, and we would meet The Spider himself in the flesh.

NEXT: "Grant Stockbridge"