Much like Damage Control which tried to incorporate real world ideas of property damage into comics, The Bookie examined if people bet on sports in the real world why wouldn’t they bet on superhero battles in the Marvel Universe.
Lester Ladue ran a superhuman betting parlor in his Bar With No Name. He ran the New York City Bar With No Name, not to be confused with the Ohio Bar With No Name. Lester’s son, John eventually inherited the family business. Many of the clients who bet in favor of the supervillains were in fact costumed criminals themselves. Lester, who goes by the name The Bookie was able to establish a network of sources and informants in the underworld from his customer base.
When Spider-Man discovered The Bookie was taking bets on his battle with the Basher at the Bar With No Name he went to the bar, but instead of finding The Bookie he became embroiled in a battle with the criminals drinking at the bar. Spider-Man came back to the bar with Daredevil, during the ensuing battle, the police arrived and shut down the bar on grounds that they did not have a valid liquor license.
The Bookie was not able to duplicate the success his father had at the Bar With No Name. Finding himself without a permanent place of business and deeply in debt, he accepted bets on a fight between Spider-Man and Overdrive, and lost big. He then lost big again in bets on the origins of the cocoon that contained the mutated Freak. In an attempt to bounce back from his run of bad luck, he bailed Screwball out of jail and hired her to impersonate Spider-Man in a stage battle with Basher. When the real Spider-Man arrived, The Bookie’s con was revealed and his life was in jeopardy as his clients OX, Montana, and Fancy Dan. took revenge for his duplicity. Spider-Man eventually rescued The Bookie from their retribution.
Lester Ladue, The Bookie’s father took bets on the fate of his own son at the hands of OX, Montana, and Fancy Dan. This caused tension between John and his father. Spider-Man discovered that The Bookie knew that the “Spider-Tracer Killings” were actually deaths by natural causes. When Spider-Man demanded that The Bookie come forward with the information, The Bookie denied knowing anything and continued taking bets on the identity of the Killer. The Bookie discovered there was no Killer, and that a group of policemen had been framing Spider-Man for murder when he made the connection that all the officers that were reporting the victim sightings belonged to the same police precinct. When The Bookie decided to come forward and help clear Spider-Man’s name he was murdered by a police officer, Quentin Palone.
John Ladue’s body was found by Boomerang and Shocker. They assumed The Bookie was a victim of the Spider-Tracer Killings and called the police anonymously. The police believed that The Bookie was another one of Spider-Man’s victims. Later after it was revealed that the Spider-Tracer killer was actually a smear campaign set up by a group of New York cops to ruin Spider-Man’s reputation and to end his vigilante activities. Once the truth was revealed it turned out that The Bookie was the only actual murder victim.
You can find out more about The Bookie at the following links…
Amazing Spider-Man 553, 562, 563, 568, 577, 581, 582, 584, 587, 655
Amazing Spider-Man: Matters of Life and Death 1
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Vol 1
Spider-Man 1 (2007 Free Comic Book Day)
Spider-Man: Brand New Day Yearbook 1
Spider-Man: Brand New Day 3
Spider-Man: Crime and Punisher 1
Spider-Man: Death and Dating 1
Spider-Man: Election Day 1
Spider-Man: New Ways to Die 1
Spider-Man: Swing Shift Director’s Cut 1
Amazing Spider-Man: Big Time Ultimate Collection TPB
The Astonishing Spider-Man 1, 4, 9, 13 (In the UK)
Chelovek-Pauk. Mega Komiks 6 (In Russia)
Im Netz von Spider-Man 33 (In German)
Spider-Man 142, 145 (In France)
Spider-Man 93 (In German)