On the heels of the success of Street and Smith’s The Shadow, Popular Publications brought another black hat and black cape wearing hero to the pulps — The Spider, Master of Men! He was the seventh pulp character to get his own magazine.
Readers met another “wealthy, young man-about-town” who in reality was a crimebuster, Richard Wentworth, in “The Spider Strikes,” October 1933.
Initially penned by R.T.M. Smith, The Spider’s exploits began as run-of-the-mill battles against typical racketeers and criminal masterminds.
But that changed as quickly as the author’s name on the magazine’s cover. Beginning with the third issue, December 1933, Grant Stockbridge was credited with the writing and The Spider’s adventures began to take on mythic proportions. His struggles pitted him against foes such as “The Mad Horde,” “The City Destroyer,” “Serpent of Destruction” and “The Devil’s Death Dwarfs.” And, the character of The Spider changed from simply a nickname for detective Wentworth into a shocking, caped and fanged wild man that Wentworth dressed up as.
In the adventures, Wentworth was aided chiefly by the lovely Nita Van Sloan, his trusted Hindu servant Ram Singh and his chauffeur Ronald Jackson. And, Inspector Kirkpatrick unwittingly helped out during The Spider’s 118-issue run from 1933 to 1944.
- The pulp magazine newsgroup
- You can find discussions of The Spider, and other pulp characters, in this newsgroup. (If your internet service provider doesn’t offer access to this newsgroup, access it through Google Groups.)
- The Spider’s Web
- This appears to be the only Yahoo Group dedicated to discussion of The Spider pulps, though it also appears to be little used. The character and magazine may come up in discussions in other general pulp groups. Registration with Yahoo Groups is required to read posts and participate in this group.
- The Spider Returns
- Just as he has created the Doc Savage Web site, Chris Kalb has done the same with the ultimate site on The Spider. Everything you’d care to know about the Master of Men is here, plus some extras, such as essays and articles on collecting and protecting pulp magazines. This is Chris’ second Spider site (the first is still online and worth a look). The Spider Returns is an outstanding resource. Don’t miss it.
- Pulp Sunday: Pulp Spotlight: The Spider
- Artists and illustrator Francesco Francavilla puts his pin to paper for a portrait of The Spider and provides a bit of background on the character.
- Dial B for Blog: The Spider
- The Dial B for Blog, a comic blog, takes a look at the pulp character’s appearances in magazines, comic books and film, with plenty of cover art and movie stills.
- The Spider at Wikipedia
- The Spider’s entry at the online collaborative encyclopedia Wikipedia has the pulp, the characters, reprints and comic book versions.
- Hero Pulp Essay #4: The Spider
- MARDLtransmit, a.k.a. Don Gates, has put together a video essay on The Spider, one of a series of Pulp Hero videos on YouTube.com.
- The Spider at the Vintage Library
- Jack Suto’s Vintage Library, an online source for pulp and pulp-related material, offers a rundown on the Master of Men and his authors, and sells reprints of The Spider. You will also find a reprint of “Who Wrote the Spider,” an article by Robert Sampson, Joel Frieman and Robert Weinberg that was originally published in Weinberg’s fanzine Pulp No. 13 (Fall 1981).
- Girasol Collectables: The Spider Replicas
- In addition to publishing replicas of other pulps, Girasol Collectables has been publishing replicas of The Spider pulp in publication order.
- Age of Aces Books: The Spider vs. The Empire State
- Age of Aces Books’ reprinted three stories from 1938 that are the “Black Police Trilogy” written by Novell Page for The Spider pulp. The Web page for the book, The Spider vs. The Empire State, includes information regarding the book, illustrations from the stories and a look inside the book.
- The Spider at Wikisource
- Wikisource, an online source for e–texts, has the first three adventures of The Spider available for reading online, complete with the interior illustrations: “The Spider Strikes,” “The Wheel of Death” and “Wings of the Black Death.”
- The Spider at Wattpad
- A Web site called Wattpad has posted several adventures from The Spiderpulp. The stories, which appear to have been taken from the old BlackMask.com site before it was shut down, include:
- The Spider at Wikimedia Commons
- Wikimedia Commons, an online repository of free–use images, sound and other media files, has a gallery of The Spider pulp covers.
- The Spider at the Fifth Imperium
- The Fifth Imperium’s Web site hosts a collection of CD images from Baen Books’ digital books, including The Spider: Robot Titans of Gotham. In addition to the text of the book, there’s also a condensed version of Chris Kalb’s The Spider Returns site here. This site says it isn’t affiliated with Baen Books.
- Dissecting Tim Truman’s “The Spider”
- In his “When Words Collide” column for Comic Book Resources, Timothy Callahan takes a look at Eclipse Comics’ The Spider from 1991, a reworking of the pulp character in a fictionalized contemporary setting.
- ReelArt Studios: The Spider Sculpture
- ReelArt Studios is selling 500 copies of a $150, 10–inch–tall statue of The Spider sculpted by William Paquet. The ReelArt Web site includes photos of the finished statue, details of it and shots of the original sculpture.
- Baen Books Interview: Chris Kalb
- Chris Kalb, proprietor of The Spider Returns site (mentioned above), talks with Toni Weisskopf about The Spider, the pulps and his Web sites.
- Rafael M. DeSoto
- Rafael DeSoto’s artwork graced numerous pulp magazine covers, including notably those of The Spider. There’s not much on the DeSoto Web site now, but the site is under development, so keep an eye on it.
- R.A. Maguire Cover Art
- Robert Maguire is chiefly known for his cover paintings for the paperback books that supplanted the pulps as cheap popular fiction. But if you burrow down into this site, established by his daughter Lynn, you’ll find the original references photos of Steve Holland that Maguire used when he painted the covers for the Pocket Books reprints of The Spider.
- The Spider at the Internet Movie Database
- Find out about The Spider’s film serial adventures at the Internet Movie Database: