Dynamite Entertainment is continuing to add to their stable of classic characters from old-school pulp fiction by bringing us the adventures of The Spider to go alongside their earlier announcement of The Shadow. The Spider was created in 1933 by Harry Steeger of Popular Publications, and had novels written mostly by Norvell W. Page, and also made his way to movie serials.
"Pulp fiction is full of big characters, but few come bigger than the Spider – a rugged, daring, self-sacrificing character who would take any risk to face down enemies of New York and the nation," says writer David Liss. "And what enemies they were. The villains that filled the pages of The Spider killed thousands, destroyed whole portions of the city, infected people by the hundreds, released vermin, hypnotized, zombified and otherwise transformed anyone who came into their path. Partly it's the sheer scale of the Spider's world that makes him so compelling, but it is also his own quiet, determined dignity in the face of villainous bombast, his rock-steady sanity as he confronts an insane world. So when the chance came along to take this historically important character – one of the most significant sources of the early comic book superheroes, especially Batman – and bring him into the modern world, I couldn't resist. The Spider is firmly rooted in the Depression era, but he also has qualities that seem timeless, in no small part because those qualities have influenced so many characters that have come after him. This is the kind of character who inhabits stories that are both archetypal and inspiring as well as full throttle fun."
Liss, who is no stranger to the 1930s pulp era thanks to his current Marvel series Mystery Men, will likely have a pretty solid handle on Richard Wentworth, a millionaire playboy who secretly terrorized the criminal underworld by night – although the art below implies this is taking place in the modern day.
It's amazing that a character who predates both Batman and Spider-Man looks like an Amalgam Comics combination of them both, and cover artist and character designer Alex Ross hasn't missed that tidbit. "I always found it fascinating that there was a spider-based hero in the pulp era of the '40s who first wore a webbed cape and mask in the movie serials," he says. One might even note a mild resemblance to Ross' Earth X character The Spiders Man.
Check out these character sketches and even some preview art from The Spider.