May. 17, 2018

The violent knight in a lost novel!

The Spider: Slaughter Incorporated by Grant Stockbridge

The Spider was Popular Publication’s answer to Street and Smith’s The Shadow. Richard Wentworth is the merciless stalker of criminals, who does not shirk from putting them down permanently. Most of the Spider’s foes did not survive their battle with the creepy hero, or perhaps anti-hero.

The Spider wears black clothing and features a cape and slouch hat much like the Shadow. That is where the similarity ends. The Spider wears a fright wig, has a strange face and hunched back and flashes fangs! He does shoot because there is no other alternative, he shoots to kill. The Spider novels are filled with blood and bodies. The Spider also marks his kills with a crimson spider on the forehead and is wanted for many murders by the police.

The majority of the Spider magazines were authored by Norvell Page, writing under the house name of Grant Stockbridge. The house name allowed other authors to write the Spider when Page was unable to produce a novel, either because of some unforeseen problem or because he was burned out and needed rest.

This particular novel was written by Donald G Cormack and was purchased by Popular Publications. It was slated for publication. However; it fell through the cracks. Comics were competing with pulp magazines, and there was a paper shortage due to WWII. Many pulp magazines got the axe, and The Spider was among them.

This volume is printed as a facsimile of an actual pulp magazine down to period ads. Along with the novel length, Spider story are three short stories from the world of pulps, and Will Murray opens the book with The Web, explaining the reasons that this story never made it to the magazine.

A group of racketeers is terrorizing New York, very much in the style of Murder, Inc. No one is safe from sudden death and the Spider is determined to bring them down regardless of cost. The usual supporting characters, Nita van Sloane, Ram Singa, Jackson, and police commissioner Stanley Kirkpatrick are here for the last magazine appearance of the Spider!

I give this book five stars plus!

Quoth the Raven…

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