Real Name: Unrevealed

Identity/Class: Unrevealed (see comments) (1950s era)

Occupation: Hermit, would-be world conqueror

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: None

Enemies: Lance Brant, Colonel Whitney, Doctor Hale, mankind in general

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: "The hermit", "this crackpot" (as referred to by Lance Brant)

Base of Operations: His cavern, somewhere in New Mexico

First Appearance: Man Comics#26/2 (May, 1953)

Powers/Abilities: Claiming to be "only half man," he was apparently a shapeshifter who could change between human and spider forms. His human body was covered with brown spider's "hair" (setae), and he had a pair of large, globular eyes. In his arachnid form, he appeared as a huge tarantula, and he could spin proportionally large threads of webbing that were strong as steel cables--possibly, he could also alter his size (see comments).

He also possessed a revolver handgun.

Being technically astute, he was able to build the "H" ray (with his own improvements) using blueprints (and presumably materials (see comments)) that he stole from a U.S. military installation.

Height: 5' 7" (human-form); 3' (spider-form) (by approximations)
Weight: 150 lbs. (human-form); 400 lbs. (spider-form) (by approximations)
Eyes: Black
Hair: Brown

(Man Comics#26/2 (fb) - BTS) - The origin of this mysterious being is unrevealed, but he feared that other men would destroy him if they knew his secret, so he lived as a hermit in a desert cavern. He figured his only chance for survival was to get a weapon that would make him more powerful than humanity, and he could then rule the world.

   To obtain such a weapon, the hermit transformed himself to spider-form and went to the nearby "H" Bomb Project military installation. He crawled through a barred window into the base's secured file room (see comments), where he stole blueprints for the new "H" ray. Still in spider-form, he crawled back through the desert to his cavern (carelessly leaving a trail in the sand as he went). After returning to his subterranean lair, he resumed human-form and began to construct the "H" ray, adding his own improvements as he built the weapon.

   Meanwhile, the base personnel noticed the plans for the "H" ray were missing--realizing the weapon could mean disaster to the whole civilized world if it got into the wrong hands, they contacted the United Nations security police.

(Man Comics#26/2) - U.N. operative Lance Brant arrived at the base to investigate the theft of the plans. Inside the file room, Brant noticed silvery strands ("...like cobwebs, but much thicker and stronger") hanging from the barred window. Brant went outside by the file room window, where he saw strange tracks leading out of the compound and into the desert--Brant was fascinated by the tracks, which didn't appear to have been made by a man, so he followed them.

   After walking some distance from the Project, Brant found that the tracks suddenly disappeared at the mouth of a cavern. Hearing the sound of flowing water inside the cavern, and being thirsty from his long walk through the desert heat, Brant went inside to get a drink; but as he knelt down to drink from a pool of water, Brant saw the reflection of the strange-looking hermit behind him!

   The hermit pointed his gun at Brant and ordered the trespasser to leave his property; Brant agreed to comply...but then he noticed silky threads hanging from the hermit's arm--the same kind of strands that were on the file room's window!

   Brant knocked the gun from the hermit's hand and put him in a restraining-hold, then found the stolen plans concealed in the hermit's shirt. But the hermit broke free and ran further into the dark cave.

   Pulling out his own gun, Brant followed after the fleeing hermit...but he was shocked when he found his way blocked by a giant web...and a tarantula as big as a man! The huge spider tried to entangle Brant with its webbing, but he wrenched and tore at the strong silken threads, and managed to get his arm free. Brant then fired his gun at the monstrous creature--his first shot hit the giant tarantula right below its head, a second shot hit its leg. The wounded tarantula crawled further into the inner cave, and Brant pushed aside the web to follow it.

   Then Brant saw the hermit crawling on the cavern floor, trying to reach his completed "H" ray...and the hermit had gunshot wounds in the same places where Brant shot the monster tarantula! Before the hermit could use the "H" ray on his pursuer, Brant fired his gun again and shot the hermit dead.

   But the reverberations from Brant's gunshots triggered a cave-in. As dust sifted down from the ceiling, the walls groaned and cracked, so Brant ran like a madman and made it outside just as the cavern collapsed.

   Lance Brant realized that nobody would believe what actually happened, and with all evidence of the weird incident crushed and buried under tons of rock, he was content to simply write in his report that the blueprints were recovered, the thief was killed, case closed (see comments).

Comments: Created by and unidentified writer and John Forte.

This 5-page story--The Tarantula's Web--never revealed the true nature of the hermit/Tarantula--maybe he was a mutant; or maybe he was from a supernatural background--since he said he was "only half man," perhaps he was the offspring of a human and some spider-god (such as Omm or Anansi).

In regards to the Tarantula possibly being able to alter his size: There were no signs of forced entry into the file room, and the strands of cobwebs on the barred window implied that was how the Tarantula got in, so I figure he would have to have been reduced to the size of an actual tarantula to fit between the bars.

It was unrevealed where the hermit/Tarantula got the materials he used to build his "H" ray, so I figure he also stole the parts from the base.

Lance Brant's report designated this case as SECURITY REPORT, U.N. #243.

Profile by Ron Fredricks.

The Tarantula has no known connections to:

The Tarantula's "H" ray has no known connections to:

Doctor Hale has no known connections to:

Tarantula's cavern

It was located somewhere in New Mexico, and within walking-distance of the U.S. military installation known as the "H" Bomb Project. Situated near the mouth of the cavern was a pool of water from a subterranean source.

The hermit/Tarantula made his home in the cavern, and it was where he built his "H" ray.

During his final confrontation with Lance Brant, the hermit was shot by Brant, and the reverberations of the gunshots caused the cavern to collapse, burying all evidence of the hermit and his "H" ray.

--Man Comics#26/2

Tarantula's "H" ray

Originally developed from the experiments of Colonel Whitney and Doctor Hale at the "H" Bomb Project in New Mexico, its function was unrevealed--presumably, it was some type of destructive energy projector.

The mysterious Tarantula stole plans (and presumably materials) for the device from the Project, then built the weapon in his nearby cave, and he even added his own improvements. The Tarantula planned to use the "H" ray to rule the world.

But during his final confrontation with Lance Brant, the Tarantula was shot dead before he could activate the "H" ray; subsequently, the reverberations of Brant's gunshots triggered a cave-in, and the "H" ray was crushed and buried under tons of rock.

--Man Comics#26/2

Colonel Whitney and Doctor Hale

They were two of the personnel stationed at the "H" Bomb Project in New Mexico. Colonel Whitney (first name unrevealed) was a soldier and a scientist, and Doctor Hale (first name unrevealed) was presumably a civilian scientist working for the U.S. government.

Their experiments had discovered a new, deadly "H" ray; but when plans for the weapon were stolen from the base's secured file room, they contacted Lance Brant of the U.N security police to investigate the theft.

--Man Comics#26/2

images: (without ads)
Man Comics#26/2, p1, pan1 (Main Image - The Tarantula; Lance Brant (right))
Man Comics#26/2, p4, pan2 (Headshot - The Tarantula (human-form))
Man Comics#26/2, p4, pan1 (The Tarantula (human-form), seized by Lance Brant)
Man Comics#26/2, p4, pan5 (The Tarantula; Lance Brant (foreground))
Man Comics#26/2, p3, pan1 (The Tarantula's cavern; Lance Brant (foreground))
Man Comics#26/2, p3, pan4 (Lance Brant enters The Tarantula's cavern to get a drink of water)
Man Comics#26/2, p5, pan2 (The Tarantula (human-form) preparing to fire "H" ray)
Man Comics#26/2, p5, pan3 (The Tarantula (human-form) gets shot by Lance Brant before he can fire "H" ray)
Man Comics#26/2, p5, pan5 (Lance Brant notices improvements on Tarantula's "H" ray)
Man Comics#26/2, p2, pan2 (Lance Brant (left), Colonel Whitney (center), Doctor Hale (right))
Man Comics#26/2, p2, pan3 (Colonel Whitney (left), Doctor Hale (center) Lance Brant (right))
Man Comics#26/2, p2, pan3 (Doctor Hale (left), Colonel Whitney (center), and Lance Brant (right) in file room; Brant notices webbing on barred window)

Man Comics#26/2 (May, 1953) - unidentified writer, John Forte (pencils and 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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