(New) Death comes in many shapes. Shake, Rattle and Death "A Weird Tale" By John Pirillo fractals, artwork, stories and videos www.johnpirillo.com
Shake, Rattle and Death
"A Weird Tale"
By John Pirillo
Mark glanced at the oddly shaped man, wearing a long overcoat and scarf that came up to his chin and a huge hat like something out of a cartoon that cratered over his forehead, hiding the eyes staring out from the shadowed, darkness beneath it. Something about the sight of the man sent him into a repetitive siege of violent coughing.
When he finally stopped coughing, he looked at his hand he had put over his mouth. There was blood on it. “Damn!” He thought to himself. He pulled out a hanky and cleaned his hand quickly before some pedestrian could see it.
Then he realized the odd man was still there, still staring at him.
There was something unusual about him. He wanted to put a finger on it, but it kept eluding his grasp. Finally, he shook his head and looked away. Nonsense he thought to himself. He had better things to do with his time. Which at this moment was he had way too much of.
He muttered angrily to himself. He had lost his job, his girlfriend and he had just gotten out of the doctor’s office after the paperwork came back from his last exam. He had lung cancer. Life sure sucked!
He lost his job, because he had failed to read the fine print on a contract he signed for his boss. Had he done so, he would still have his job. He lost his girlfriend because he didn’t think she’d find out about his one night fling. She had. He lost his health, because he had smoked since he was ten years old. He had lung cancer. In advanced stages.
He coughed real hard a moment into his right hand, wiped the blood on his hanky, and then looked up.
A fat old man sat down next to him. He stank from too much sweating. He glanced at Mark. “Whatever happens next, don’t believe a word of it.”
Mark gave the fat man an odd look.
“Okay, so I don’t have wings. But take my advice anyway.” The fat man insisted and got up to leave.
“Wait. Who are you?”
The fat man looked back and smiled. “Gabe. Everyone calls me Gabe.”
He took a turn at the end of the walking path and vanished from view.
“I will trade you.” The oddly shaped man said in a deeply melodious voice.
Mark almost jumped off his bus seat at the sound, and then his heart beating wildly, he turned to see the man staring at him. The eyes were more visible, but there was something odd about them, almost as if they were more like telescopic lenses than true physical human eyes.
“Speaking to me?”
The man nodded.
“Trade what?” He finally asked, being obviously expected to ask that question. But not before he glanced at his wristwatch for the time. The bus was late. No escape there.
“It will be late by ten minutes.” The oddly shaped man spoke to him.
He looked up. “What?”
He looked up, startled now so much that his heart was beating loudly in his chest. So loud he could hear it.
“You’ve been eating the wrong foods for years now. Your arteries are like the 405 freeway in Los Angeles in the morning. Your heart valves look like melted chocolate; they're so coated with fat and cholesterol. They are half way shut down by the corruption constantly coming through the arteries. You will be dead in twenty minutes. Which is ten minutes later, the time the bus arrives.”
“I didn’t actually need that much information.” Mark responded, so aghast at the remarks that he couldn’t think of any other reply at that moment. “Besides which I have lung cancer. I’m going to die anyway. So what do I care?”
“The one is curable. The other is not.”
The oddly shaped man came and sat down on his bench. He scooted to the far edge, almost falling off.
“I will not harm you.”
“Look, mister, I don’t go that way.”
The oddly shaped man laughed. “You think I’m interested in your body? To play with?”
“Whatever you call it, I’m not going there.” Mark answered, starting to sweat with fear now.
“Do not mock death!” The oddly shaped man warned.
“I’m not…” Mark froze. “Death! You’re Death?”
The oddly shaped man nodded. As he did his hat slipped too far forward a moment, revealing a skull head. Death knocked his hat back on again and hid the mistake.
Mark stood up. “I’ve got an appointment with you in Samarkand.”
Death laughed. “I think because you made me laugh, I’ll give you two more minutes.”
Mark was looking around, but no one was noticing. People were walking up and down the sidewalks, busy, their attention on their shopping, their partners, their personal thoughts, not a strange man and a stranger on a bus bench. It was almost as if he had become suddenly invisible. Strange.
“Why then, I’ll give you four.” Death laughed.
Mark dropped back to the bench. “I don’t believe you.”
Death pointed at a pedestrian making an unsafe jaywalk across the busy Las Vegas Boulevard. “He has five seconds to live. Four after he is struck which will be…”
A taxi swings around another car, and doesn’t see the pedestrian. He strikes the pedestrian who flies up into the air and lands in front of an oncoming bus, which rolls over him, then brakes.
People freak at the accident and begin screaming.
“How’d you know that?”
“Death. Yeah. Yeah. I know. But I thought God was the one who chose our moment of death.”
“In a matter of speaking, yes. But you forge your own deaths by every thought, word and deed you do. This pedestrian ignored the laws of physics when he stepped into the flow of moving traffic. God does not strip man of free will. Only man can give up that up.”
Death laughs again. “You’re funny. But kind of shallow.”
“Touché. Another couple minutes then?”
“Only if you trade with me.”
“Your body with mine.”
“You mean I can be death and do all the things that you do?”
“That is correct.”
“I don’t know, sounds kind of fishy to me. A Daniel Webster and the Devil kind of thing.”
“You mean Doctor Faustus, don't you?"
Death scrunched closer, his bones making knocking sounds, which Mark noticed for the first time. "Look at it this way then, Mark. When you are me, and I am you, you can grant yourself an eternal life if you want?”
“I thought you said God did that.”
“Oh, I have some leeway. Even Death has free will with some limitations, of course.”
“Of course and yet. Yet I have to grant you…me…eternal life?”
“Why don’t you just point your finger at yourself and give it?”
“Because I have to be in another body. I can not do it to myself.”
“Then if I switch with you and grant you immortality, I’ll be immortal then?”
“What’s the catch?”
“No catch. Simple trade. You let me have twenty-four hours in your body. I let you have mine to use all its powers as you choose. With limitations, of course.”
Death pulled out a long document. “It’s in the fine print. Nothing big. Stuff like can’t use my powers to score with the opposite sex; can use it to create bullion…”
“Oh. Uh...pirate’s gold.” Death looks at the contract, touches the fine print and it arranges. “Need to update that to read as gold.”
“Well?” He looks over at Mark.
“There’s gotta be a catch. How do I know you’re not going to keep my body and I die anyway?”
Death stands up and plants his feet firmly on the pavement. He raises a hand over his heart. “I swear in the name of the Almighty that you will not die on my body when we switch.”
"I don't believe you."
A sudden burst of lightning strikes the pavement within inches of Mark. He scampers away.
"Okay, I believe you. But what about in my body?”
“I swear that as well.”
Thunder smashes across the skies accompanied by lightning. Pedestrians all look up at the sudden gloom and light.
Mark’s jaw drops open. “God did that?”
“Yes. He always does when I tell the truth.”
Another bolt of lightning hammers the skies and thunder explodes.
Death looks at his watch. “You have thirty seconds to decide.”
Mark glanced around. Everyone that was walking past acted as if he wasn’t even there. No one looked at Death, even though he sat right beside him.
“Okay. I’ll do it.”
“Just one word of advice.” Death told him.
“Death only gets to take a holiday once every thousand years.”
“Oh. I see. So if I don't switch bodies with you now, you lose your opportunity to get a holiday?”
“Okay. What’s next?”
“Just sign here and here.”
“Sounds fair enough.”
“Sign here and here then.”
Death held out a pen. Mark took it. For a second he saw the fat old man across the street shaking his head urgently, making slices across his neck.
Mark shuddered. “Vegas. So many freaks here.”
“Hold my right hand. And close your eyes.”
Mark did. Death poked a bony finger into Mark’s hand. It swelled up with a big red mark, which quickly faded.
“Can I open my eyes now?”
“Count to three, then open them.”
Mark began counting. “One. Two. Three.”
He opened his eyes. Death was no longer seated next to him.
“Oh well. I guess the guy got tired of telling all those lies.”
Mark got up, but as he did he made these strange clanking and clinking sounds. It was then that he looked at his arms and hands. He was wearing all black. His hands were skeletal.
“Wow! It really worked.”
He looked around. Death was nowhere to be seen. Then he saw someone who looked familiar hitting on a cute lady across the street. He walked across the street. A car almost hit him, but at the last moment veered away from him into another lane.
He stopped beside Death, who was now wearing his body. “Hey! Now what happens?
Death looked his direction a moment, gave him a really, sly smirk, and then returned his attention to the young lady.
Mark reached a skeletal hand to grab Death, but it passed straight through him.
“It won’t work.” The fat man said as he walked up.
Mark turned around and his right hand held a scythe. He thought of using it to defend himself.
The fat man backed off, fending Mark off with his hands. “Whoa! I may be an angel, but I can still bleed.”
Mark lowered the scythe. “All right, so you’re a fat angel. Where were you when I needed you?” Then he remembered. “Oh. Well look, I signed a contract. I’ve only got twenty-four hours in this body.”
Mark suddenly vanished.
He found himself kneeling on a hill, his scythe out and pointed towards a battalion of soldiers fighting below against terrorists. A jet roared in from above and fire leaped across the fighters, engulfing all of them.
Mark stood up and what remained below were charred bodies and smoking ground. “Holy Crap!” He shrieked.
He stood there taking in the carnage. Men were screaming in pain. He saw one soldier trying to stand up, but he had no legs; another was crawling along the ground with one missing arm; two men lay on top of each other, their bodies twisted and crisped by flames. One of the soldiers looked up and then screamed. Mark could be seen by him.
Mark, for an unknown reason, lowered his right arm. The soldier’s eyes rolled up in his head and he collapsed. He saw some medics rushing to the man. When they reached him, one felt for a pulse then shook his head. They ran on to the next fallen soldier as the sound of flames and screams merged together across the battlefield.
Mark heard a sound beside him and turned to see Gabe seated there, a sandwich in his lap. He was just unwrapping it. “What? A man’s gotta eat and so do angels.”
Mark frowned. “I thought angels were supposed to be compassionate.”
“We are. Didn’t you put that young soldier out of his pain?”
“That was you?”
“Of course. You’re too new to this death thing to sort it all out yet. I’m here to help you.”
“Well, I’ve only got about twenty three more hours and I’m free of this.”
Gabe took a bite of his sandwich and shook his head. “Nope. Not the facts at all.”
“But I signed a contract!” Mark complained.
“Did you read the fine print?”
Mark started to answer yes, and then he remembered he had only skimmed through the details. He hadn’t read it at all.
Mark groaned and sat down beside Gabe.
“Only for a thousand years.”
Mark growled angrily, and then smacked his knee, causing it to shoot off into the distance about ten feet, before it boomeranged back into its socket again.
Gabe offered half his sandwich to Mark. “Look on the bright side of it, Mark, you’ve got me to keep you company for the next millennium.”
Mark stood up then and shrieked to heaven all the anguish and despair that flooded out of him. As he did lightning and thunder smashed across the skies.
"Oh yeah. That lightning thing. Wasn't." Looks upwards. "Him at all. You got conned just like all those girls you Don-Juaned."
Gabe shook his head and looked down into his lap. “Now where did I put that mustard pack? I always forget something.”
Looks up at Mark. "Just like you."
Gabe laughs so hard, he sprouts wings on his back, and then launches into the air, soaring towards the distant sun, his laughter trailing behind him.
Mark sighs, and then eyes the food that Gabe left behind. He reaches for it, and then puts it into his mouth. It falls through this lower jar back to the ground again.
On the battlefield the medics look up for a moment when they hear the distant sound of a man screaming, and then they get back to work.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"The Spider" redirects here. For the 29th sura of the Qur'an, see Al-Ankabut. For the British comic character, see Spider (British comics). For Quality Comics and DC Comics characters, see Spider (DC Comics). For other uses, see Spider (disambiguation).This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. Please help toimprove this article by introducing more precise citations. (March 2012)‹ The template Infobox pulps character is being considered for deletion. ›The SpiderCover of the first issue (October 1933), featuring the story "The Spider Strikes"PublisherPopular PublicationsFirst appearanceThe Spider, vol. 1, #1 ("The Spider Strikes") (October1933)Created byHarry SteegerIn story informationReal nameRichard WentworthSupporting charactersNita Van Sloan
Stanley KirkpatrickSpider (pulp fiction)PublisherPopular PublicationsScheduleMonthly (until March 1943)
Bi-monthly (until final issue)GenreHero pulpPublication dateOctober 1933 – December 1943Number of issues118Creative teamWriter(s)Norvell W. Page
Reginald Thomas Maitland Scott
"Grant Stockbridge"Editor(s)Rogers Terrill (1933–1942)
Robert Turner & Ryerson Johnson (1943)Films or serialsThe Spider’s WebColumbia Pictures
Portrayed by: Warren HullThe Spider ReturnsColumbia Pictures
Portrayed by: Warren HullComics and graphic novelsThe SpiderEclipse Comics
1991The Spider: Judgement KnightMoonstone Books
2009The Spider is an American pulp-magazine hero of the 1930s and 1940s.
Wentworth was easily identified as The Spider by his enemies in a number of earlier novels and was arrested by the police but quickly escaped, adopting a hunchback disguise under the name of Tito Caliepi, donning make-up, a wig of lank hair, a black cape and slouch hat. Later in the pulp series, vampire-like makeup appeared and then a face mask with grizzled hair; a hunchback was then added to terrorize the criminal underworld with The Spider's brand of violent vigilante justice. (Actor and comedian Harold Lloyd previously had used a similar mask, lank hair wig and hunchback in the 1922 comedy film Dr. Jack). Caliepi sometimes begged, utilizing Wentworth's talent with a violin.
At times, Wentworth also ventured into the underworld disguised as small-time hood Blinky McQuade in order to gain needed information. To Scotland Yard, Wentworth was known as Rupert Barton and held a badge of Inspector for services rendered; by the fifth novel he also held the rank of Lieutenant in the FBI.
Wentworth himself, according to the fifth story, was 5'11" tall and had grey eyes and an old battle scar on his head that would flare-up at times of great stress. He was an accomplished musician with violin and piano, and he drove a Lancia. He could speak fluent Hindustani and so talk with Ram Singh in his own language with little fear anyone else would understand.
The stories often involved a bizarre menace to the country and a criminal conspiracy and were often extremely violent, with the villains engaging in wanton slaughter of thousands as part of sometimes nationwide crime sprees with the master criminal being unmasked only in the last few pages. The first two novels were written by Reginald Thomas Maitland Scott, but they were slow paced, so another author was brought in with later stories being published under the house name, Grant Stockbridge; most of the Spider novels were written byNorvell Page. Other authors of the Spider novels included Emile C. Tepperman, Wayne Rogers, Prentice Winchell, and Donald C. Cormack. The cover artists for the Spider magazine were Walter M. Baumhofer for the debut issue, followed by John Newton Howittand Rafael De Soto. The Spider was published monthly and ran for 118 issues from 1933 to 1943. A 119th Spider novel manuscript had been completed but was not published until decades later, then as a rewritten mass-market paperback with retitled characters (see paperback novels section, below).
Supporting charactersRichard Wentworth was aided by his longtime fiancé, Nita Van Sloan. Though they were as close as man and wife, they knew that they could never marry and have a family, as Wentworth believed that he would eventually be unmasked or killed as The Spider, and his wife and family would then pay the price; in issue #100, Wentworth expected to die in a story called Death and The Spider. Nita disguised herself as The Spider a few times, covering for Wentworth when he had been seriously injured.
Ram Singh, a Sikh (originally Hindu), was Wenthworth's fanatically loyal manservant; he was a deadly knife thrower and usually carried several knives with him, including the deadly Kukri. Ram Singh never saw his position as a servant demeaning or having a negative impact on his self-respect, feeling that he served a man totally above other men. Ronald Jackson was Wentworth's chauffeur. Sergeant Jackson had served under Wentworth in World War I and often referred to him as "the Major". Harold Jenkyns was Wentworth's butler, an elderly man who had been in the Wentworth family's service for a long time. Wentworth's main ally/antagonist was Police Commissioner Stanley Kirkpatrick or simply "Kirk", who strongly suspected Wentworth was The Spider but could never prove it. An old war colleague and inventor named Professor Ezra Brownlee featured heavily in the early Spider novels before being killed in the July 1935 issue Dragon Lord of the Underworld. Brownlee's son made some appearances afterwards, taking over from his late father.
EnemiesDespite The Spider's tendency to kill his enemies, he encountered several foes more than once, such as The Fly and MUNRO, a master of disguise. Some storylines featuring a struggle against a single villain lasted for several consecutive issues, such as The Spider's four-part battle against The Living Pharaoh and his three-part battle against The Master and his Black Police. Among the enemies he encountered just once were predecessors of the costumed super villains of comic books, such as The Red Mandarin, The Brain, The Bloody Serpent, The Wreck, Red Feather, The Silencer, Judge Torture, and The Emperor of Vermin. The names of two Spider villains, The Bat Man and The Iron Man, would later be adopted for DC and Marvel comic book superheroes.
The Spider's seal and weaponsOne distinguishing feature of The Spider was his "calling card." Wentworth often left a red-ink "spider" image (like a drop of blood) on the foreheads of the criminals he killed so others would not be blamed. In the sixth novel (1934), the Spider imprints his red sign on a gold ring so that any who need his help can use it by taking it to Kirkpatrick (where Wentworth will find out about it). During the same time period, in the same benign fashion and perhaps inspired by the Spider's calling card, Lee Falk's long-running 1936 syndicated comic strip hero, The Phantom, left a distinct skull mark in the faces of those enemies he fought, made by the ring he wore. The Spider's seal, however, was concealed in the base of his platinum cigarette lighter and was invented by Professor Brownlee. The Spider also carried a thin silken line (his "web") which had a tensile strength of several hundred pounds.
Brownlee also invented the lethal and almost silent air pistol the Spider used for 'quiet' kills. He acted as a sort of on-call technical wizard for Wentworth, whom he looked upon as being close to a son. Wentworth also had a gun in one of his shoes in the early issues, which he used twice is issue 5.
Wentworth was a master of disguise; in the small steel case of burglar tools he carried under his arm, he also had his make-up kit (and in the early novels) The Spider's eye mask.
In Timothy Truman's 1990s comic book adaptation, Brownlee created the "Web-Lee," a non-lethal 'stun' pistol that fired projectiles that erupted into a spiderweb-like mass, inundated with microscopic barbs of frozen curare.
Like The Shadow, The Spider's usual weapons of choice were a pair of Browning .45 caliber M1911 automatic pistols; he was a crack shot and normally shot to kill. However, he would not shoot anyone in law enforcement, whereas they frequently were under orders to shoot to kill him on sight.
Master of MenThe Spider's by-name was "Master of Men", indicating that he had a voice commanding enough to get many people to do his bidding. Wentworth could also imitate other people's voices. When he imitated Kirkpatrick's voice, he could give orders to lesser policemen during a stake-out, even during one intended to capture The Spider, so he could himself escape. Wentworth was not above disguising himself as a cop to escape when surrounded by policemen.
Movie serialsThere were two Columbia Pictures Spider movie serials produced; both are 15-chapter cliffhangers starring Warren Hull as Richard Wentworth. The first is 1938's The Spider’s Web, the first to be made from a popular pulp magazine series character. In this serial The Spider battles The Octopus and his henchmen who attempt to disrupt all commercial and passenger transportation systems and later all U. S. industry; Spider pulp magazine novelist Norvell Page was one of the writer's that worked on the serial's screenplay.
The second serial was 1941's The Spider Returns, which has The Spider battling the mysterious crime lord The Gargoyle and his henchmen, who threaten the world with acts of sabotage and wholesale murder in an effort to wreck the U. S. national defense.
Both serials feature a dramatic wardrobe enhancement to the Spider's magazine appearance: his black cape and head mask are over-printed with a white spider's web pattern and then matched with his usual plain black fedora. This striking addition gave the silver screen Spider an appearance more like that of a traditional superhero, like other pulp and comics heroes being adapted for the era's movie serials; it also made the serial Spider look less like the very popular Street and Smith pulp hero The Shadow, which also had been produced by Columbia and starred Victor Jory.
Novel reprintsMany of the original 119 Spider pulp magazine novels have been reprinted over the years in both mass-market paperback and trade paperback editions.
Berkley Books (then Berkley/Medallion) first reprinted the Spider in 1969 and 1970, intending to reprint all 118 novels in order, hoping to tap into the reprint phenomenon of the Doc Savage novels being published by Bantam Books. But these first paperback reissues met with poor sales after only four volumes, and the planned series was canceled.
In the mid-1970s, Pocket Books reprinted four Spider novels, this time featuring "modern" pulp artwork on their covers: Each featured a non-costumed, heavily armed Spider depicted as a muscular blonde hero holding a gorgeous woman. These paperbacks also failed to find an audience and the series was canceled. It seems likely that these four novels were edited and modernized reprints, one of several reasons why they may have never caught on with their intended audience. In one, Death and the Spider, with an original publishing date of 1940, Nita Van Sloan is shown driving an Jaguar E-type X-KE, a sportscar not created and on the streets until 1961, some nineteen years later.
At roughly the same time in England, Mews Books/New American Library reprinted four Spider novels sporting new cover artwork, each being different in style and execution from those used by Pocket Books. This Spider mass-market series also ended after only four titles had been published.
Then, three years later, in 1979, an unusual Spider publishing event happened right out of the "blue." Python Publishing put into print the never-before-published last original Spider novel,Slaughter, Inc., originally to have been published as Spider pulp magazine #119. Python published it as a one-shot mass-market paperback. For copyright reasons all character names were changed and the novel was retitled Blue Steel ("The Ultimate Answer To Evil"). In it The Spider was recast as the title character Blue Steel. As with Pocket Book's Spider editions, this paperback sported a "modern" pulp cover painting featuring a very similar, non-costumed, but heavily armed blonde hero (that cover appears to be an unused cover painting by artist George Gross, finished but never used for a Freeway Press reprint of the pulp magazine character Operator #5).
A year later, in 1980, Dimedia, Inc. reprinted three Spider pulp novels in the larger trade paperback format. Then beginning four years later, they continued with three mass-market Spider novel reprints, one in 1984 and two in 1985. These last three sported new cover paintings of the original costumed Spider by fantasy artist Ken Kelly.
In the early 1990s, Carroll & Graf Publishers began issuing a series of eight mass-market Spider paperbacks, each one in a double-novel format. All used original Spider pulp magazine artwork for their covers. These 16 novels became the longest running Spider reprint series done for the mass-market paperback book market.
After Carol and Graf, several specialized small press pulp reprint houses tried a complete reprinting of the Spider series before finally stopping. Bold Venture Press started this multiple small press revival during the mid-1990s with a series of affordable Spider trade paperback reprints. Others soon joined in with Spider reprintings. In later years, the prolific Wildside Pressstarted offering Spider reprints. But Girasol Collectibles has been the most dogged of them all. It has reissued the novels as both a series of single pulp novel facsimile editions, as well as re-typeset stories in 'pulp double' trade paperbacks. Both series use Spider pulp magazine artwork for their covers. More than eight dozen Spider novels have been put back into print as part of Girasol's ambitious program, which still continues.
New York science fiction publisher Baen Books published in 2007 a single trade paperback featuring three Spider novel reprints. Then in 2008 they released a second companion trade paperback of Spider reprints. Baen then issued both volumes as mass-market paperbacks. One of the three novels in that second omnibus stars another Popular Publications pulp character, the Octopus. The Baen editions sported new Spider cover paintings by noted graphic designer and comics artist Jim Steranko. Steranko had illustrated 27 of the 28 covers [Mobsmen On The Spot used a George Rozen cover from the original pulp run] for the 23 1970s mass-market reprint volumes of [he did 2nd covers for 5 of the titles 2nd printings] rival pulp hero The Shadow, published by Pyramid Books and HBJ/Jove Books.
In late 2009, Doubleday's Science Fiction Book Club reprinted in hardcover Baen's second Spider three-in-one volume from the previous year. This became the first Spider hardcover edition ever published.
In August 2009, Age of Aces reprinted the Spider's "Black Police" novel trilogy in a single volume. Moonstone Books also published an original anthology of brand new Spider short stories entitled The Spider Chronicles the same year.
The Vintage Library has thirty-four licensed Spider novel reprints available in the PDF format. For a small fee, each one can be downloaded from their website.
Facsimile Spider novels continue to appear in print from other publishers; they have also been issued in the Kindle e-book format and are available for download from radioarchive.com, Amazon.com, and others.
Spider comics and graphic novelsIn the early 1990s, the Spider and its characters were reinterpreted in comic book form by Timothy Truman for Eclipse Comics. As noted in Comics Scene #19, Truman set his version of The Spider in the "1990s as seen by the 1930s". Elements of this version of The Spider's milieu included airships as common transportation, the survival of the League of Nations into the near past (Wentworth meets Ram Singh during an intervention into India/Pakistan), and World War II, if it ever happened, taking place differently. This series featured an African-American Commissioner Kirkpatrick.
Moonstone Books started a new Spider graphic novel series, which are structured more like illustrated prose stories than traditional panel-by-panel comics. In March 2011 the same publisher offered the first issue of a more traditional Spider comic book, with art by veteran creator Pablo Marcos.
In August 2011 Dynamite Entertainment announced that they were going to produce a brand new, updated Spider comic book series, written by novelist David Liss; the first issue was released in May 2012. The Spider's costume in this series is based on the one worn by actor Warren Hull in Columbia's 1940s Spider movie serials, but the black costume's web lines are rendered in blood red instead of white. This comics series depicts The Spider and his allies fighting crime in a modern day U. S. In 2013 Dynamite announced that issue #18 of The Spider would be its last.
In December 2012 Dynamite released the first issue of Masks, an 8-issue comic book miniseries that teams The Spider with Dynamite's other pulp hero-based comic book characters; these include The Shadow, The Green Hornet and Kato, and a 1930s Zorro, among others. Together, they fight a powerful criminal syndicate, who, along with their gangster henchmen, secretly controls New York City through the corrupt and powerful Justice Party, which has seized complete control over the city and its citizens. This miniseries, set in the Depression Era 1930s, is not in the same universe/story continuity as Dynamite's main Spider comic book series. The completed Masks miniseries was then gathered by Dynamite into a single volume graphic novel.