Real Name: Unrevealed
Identity/Class: Human (Old West Era)
Group Membership: Leader of his own gang
Affiliations: His gang
Enemies: Black Rider (Matthew Masters), Captain Garcia, Jodie Haines, Jim Lathrop, Sheriff Ben Yarby
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: Ghost Canyon, outside of Leadville, Texas, USA (late 1800s);
formerly a mountain hideout in Texas, USA (late 1800s)
First Appearance: Black Rider I#27 (March, 1955)
Powers/Abilities: The Spider was a marksman who wielded pistols and rifles. His most unnerving ability was his faculty for escaping near-death circumstances; by creating his own mythology of escaping death, he terrified his enemies.
Height: 5'4" (by approximation)
Weight: 150 lbs. (by approximation)
History: (Black Rider I#27 (fb) - BTS) - The Spider was a bandit who ravaged the towns of Pecos and Los Pintos on either side of the Texas-Mexico border. He was ultimately apprehended by the Black Rider and brought to justice in the town of San Pedro. Captain Garcia sentenced the Spider to death by firing squad but the Spider secretly had a confederate within the squad who ensured that the Spider would be shot at with blank rounds.
(Black Rider I#27) - On the day of the Spider's execution he was shot with blanks but pretended to die. The Spider's "corpse" was sent to the cemetery but his ally in the firing squad smuggled a gun into his shroud. As his body was lowered into a grave and the grave diggers began to fill it in, the Spider sprang out of the shroud with his gun and shot all three grave diggers to death. The Spider buried the three men in the grave intended for him and stole a horse. Riding to his mountain hideout, the Spider returned to his gang and promised he would put his "brand" on the territory.
The next day, the Spider demonstrated what he meant by rustling cattle from the Hatchet-Star Ranch owned by Jim Lathrop. Capturing Jodie Haines, one of Lathrop's cattle hands, the Spider branded the sign of an immense spider on Jodie's back so that Lathrop would know who had taken the cattle. Word that the Spider had somehow risen from his grave spread terror through the area but the Black Rider quickly surmised how the Spider escaped death. As the Spider and his men started lighting fires to frighten the people of San Pedro as they approached, the Black Rider took command of the town's defenses. The Black Rider planted dynamite in the town then let the Spider's gang ride in and blow them up; the remains of the gang were surrounded. The Spider himself turned back and ran right into the fires he and his gang had set. He seemed to perish in the blaze but the Black Rider recalled he had evaded death once before.
(Western Tales of Black Rider #28/2 (fb) - BTS) - Although badly burned, the Spider crawled away, still alive. He was found by a Native medicine man who helped heal his wounds. However, the Spider received scars around his eyes which made him appear more fearsome. In return, the Spider murdered the medicine man and brought his bones to Ghost Canyon. The Spider made Ghost Canyon his new home and propped up the skeleton to ward off snoopers.
(Western Tales of Black Rider #28/2) - When Bobby Lathrop saw the Spider inside one of the caverns in Ghost Canyon, he was terrified and ran to tell the Black Rider. The Spider rode to Fiesta, where the five survivors of his gang were incarcerated. He killed a jailer and sprang the five men but two of them refused to go with him. The Spider killed one of them, Nugget Drake, and left the other nearly dead. With just three men following him, the Spider then tried to steal horses from Fiesta but Sheriff Yarby and the other lawmen in Fiesta opened fire and killed the Spider's gang. The Spider fled back to Ghost Canyon but the Black Rider followed him. The two men fought on the side of a cliff in Ghost Canyon. The Spider revealed how he survived the fire as the Black Rider promised to bring him to justice for his crimes. However, the Spider lunged at the Black Rider and fell over the side of the cliff. As the Black Rider gazed at the crushed remains of the Spider, this time he was certain his enemy would not return.
Comments: Created by an unidentified writer, Syd Shores and Christopher Rule (and likely Joe Maneely, as he drew the Spider on the cover to Black Rider I#27 - up to the 1970s covers were typically prepared ahead of the interiors).
Profile by Prime Eternal.
The Spider should not be confused with:
Captain Garcia was the Mexican officer in San Pedro who oversaw the Spider's execution. Unfortunately, he was unaware that one of the men in his firing squad was working with the Spider and arranged to fake his death by loading blanks into his comrades' rifles. Captain Garcia sent three of his men to bury the Spider in a nearby cemetery but after they dug the grave they were killed by the Spider, who buried them in his grave. When the Black Rider returned to San Pedro he shared his theory on how the Spider survived the firing squad with Captain Garcia. The two men rode to the cemetery and dug up the Spider's grave, where Garcia found his three missing soldiers.
--Black Rider I#27
The Spider's gang included Whitey Cain, Cappy, Nugget Drake, Nate and Lefty Sanchez. Many of the gang were captured during their assault on San Pedro. Those who survived (the five named men) were sent to prison in Fiesta. When the Spider returned from his seeming death he went to spring the five survivors in Fiesta. Nugget Drake refused to go with the Spider so the Spider murdered him in the jail. Another of the remaining four (not identified, either Whitey Cain or Lefty Sanchez) was also nearly killed by the Spider. The rest of the gang were killed by Sheriff Yarby and his men when they raided Fiesta.
--Black Rider I#27, Western Tales of the Black Rider #28/2
images: (without ads)
Black Rider I#27, front cover (main image)
Black Rider I#27, p2, pan7 (headshot)
Black Rider I#27, p4, pan4 (Captain Garcia)
Western Tales of Black Rider #28/2, p5, pan2 (The Spider's gang)
Black Rider I#27 (March, 1955) - unidentified writer, Syd Shores, Christopher Rule (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Western Tales of Black Rider #28/2 (May, 1955) - unidentified writer, Syd Shores (pencils), Christopher Rule (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
First posted: 03/14/2021
Last updated: 03/14/2021
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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