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Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Spider by Grant Stockbridge

"He moves in the shadows, strong and deadly. A man of courage and cunning. A man unafraid of the dark powers of this world – or any other. THE SPIDER."

Grant Stockbridge was a house name created to disguise the work of a number of authors who penned the adventures of The Spider in his eponymous pulp magazine. "Over 20 million copies of this series have been sold," claimed the back covers of the Mews reprints. That sounds like a low total for the original pulp, which ran for 118 issues. An attempt by Berkley to reprint the books in 1969-70 fizzled out after only four titles. The Pocket Books series in the mid-1970s also reprinted four titles, in turn reprinted by Mews. All four were penned by Norvell W. Page, an extremely prolific pulp writer who wrote all but a handful of the Spider's adventures.

There have been many other attempts to reprint the series since then, including a facsimile series by Girasol.

Spider No.1: Death Reign of the Vampire King (Nov 1935)
Mews Books 0452-00002-5, Apr 1976, 128pp, 40p. Cover by Tony Masero.
All his resources are required against this hideous new menace. For Battalions of trained vampire bats, starved so that they would attack any living thing, their teeth anointed with deadly poison, are being set loose in dozens of cities. Thousands have succumbed to their lethal kisses. No one knows where they will strike next...
__Only The Spider could discover their hideout and stop the man who controlled them and was bent upon total domination of mankind. But would he be in time before the deadly kisses of the vampire legions brought a whole nation to its knees?
Spider No.2: Hordes of the Red Butcher (Jun 1935)
Mews Books 0452-00009-2, May 1976, 144pp, 40p. Cover by Tony Masero
The Spider was the only survivor of a horrifying slaughter – as beast men from nowhere had turned the train he was on into a gory shambles. He himself had grappled with these subhuman killers with their amazing strength and deadly primitive weapons.
__Somewhere, he knew, there must be a criminal genius controlling these dreadful creatures as they rampaged across the country like the hordes of Attila the Hun. But how long had he got to find the master-mind before the nation lay in ruins?
The Spider No.3: The City Destroyer (Jan 1935)
Mews Books 0452-00015-7, Jun 1976, 143pp, 40p. Cover by Tony Masero
A group of merciless killers have stolen the formula for a chemical that erodes steel – destroying skyscrapers, roadways and bridges without warning. Wherever they struck, hundreds of innocent people were pulverised as steel girders crumbled into powdery fragments and death rained from the skies.
__Desperately, The Spider scoured the city for the mad genius behind this plan – known only to his henchmen as 'The Master'. But could he find the maniac before thousands more lay dead?
The Spider No.4: Death and The Spider (Jan 1942)
Mews Books 0452-00037-8, Sep 1976, 126pp, 45p. Cover by Tony Masero
The terror began with just a few isolated, brutal crimes – nothing to signal what was to come. Then ordinary people, usually devoid of criminality, began perpetrating hideous acts of violence, often culminating in suicide.
__Spider, following a devious, dangerous trail, found the source of this senseless slaughter – a mystical organisation led by a man called Death. But how could he fight an enemy who knew how to enter and control the minds of his victims when he was nowhere near them?

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