I have just read The Spider by Jerry Siegel, Donne Avenell, Aldo Marculeta, and Giorgio Trevisan. This is a British comic reprint from 1967. The Spider was created by Ted Cowan and Reg Bunn. The two stories originally appeared in Fleetway Super Picture Library #2 and #4 in 1967.
The first story, The Professor of Power, written by Jerry Siegel and drawn by Aldo Marculeta came from Super Picture Library #2. The Spider is not a superhero, but The King of Crime and uses several gimmicks including a web gun. His face reminds me of an early Black Adam from Fawcett/DC Comics, a foe of the original Captain Marvel (Shazam).
The first story on the splash page gives a brief history of who he is. “Before he became a fearless fighter of crime, The Spider was the uncrowned King of the Underworld in the U.S.A. He possessed ingenious equipment which enabled him to spin his own web and was helped by an army of criminals, including his crooked assistants, Professor Pelham and Roy Ordini.” That explains all you need to know. To boil the plot down to its easiest terms, a Professor invents a machine to get rid of evil thoughts (free will?), but an accident causes it to turn him into evil. The Spider doesn’t like competition and The Professor of Power wants to rule the world. A difference of opinion? Thus we see the battle of wits. May the best (worse?) man succeed.
The second story is Crime Unlimited, written by Donne Avenell and drawn by Giorgio Trevisan, which came from Super Picture Library #4. The splash page gives The Spider’s origin like the previous issue. The villain of this story is Mr. Mass, a genius inventor who decided that crime pays better. I don’t know, if you ask me, some of the inventions super-criminals invent would make more money and less risk.
The Spider fights him, not because it is right, but because of ego. He doesn’t like anyone taking over his top spot in the crime kingdom. Mr. Mass is a worthy opponent for The Spider.
The comic was an enjoyable Silver Age read. This was a 261 black and white British reprint with great art and good writing. Rebellion is the publisher of Treasury of British Comics. I’d be very interested in reading more of The Spider, he’s not your usual protagonist. I love older comics and look