The Spider

+ The Spider II + I, Spyder

Created by Paul Gustavson
the spdier

NAME + ALIASES:
Tom Ludlow Hallaway (deceased)

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Linda Dalt (wife), Lucas Ludlow Dalt (Spider II, son), Thomas Ludlow Dalt (“I, Spyder,” son)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Seven Soldiers of Victory

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Crack Comics #1 (May 1940)

DEATH:
The Shade #3 (June 1997)

APPEARANCES:

  • Crack Comics #1–30 (May 1940–August 1943)
  • The Shade #3
  • Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. #9

Spider II

NAME + ALIASES:
Lucas Ludlow Dalt (deceased)

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Tom Ludlow Hallaway (The Spider, father, deceased), Thomas Ludlow Dalt (“I, Spyder,“ brother)

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Hidden: Starman v.2 #47 (Oct. 1998)
Revealed: Starman v.2 #64

APPEARANCES:

  • Hawkman v. 4 #3-6
  • Starman v.2 #47, 63, 65, 67-70, 80
  • Seven Soldiers: Bulleteer #3

 

Spider III aka I, Spyder

NAME + ALIASES:
Thomas Ludlow Dalt

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Seven Soldiers of Victory

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Tom Ludlow Hallaway (The Spider, father, deceased), Lucas Ludlow Dalt (Spider II, brother, deceased)

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Seven Soldiers #0 (April 2005)

APPEARANCES:

  • Seven Soldiers #0-1
  • Seven Soldiers: Shining Knight #3-4
  • Seven Soldiers: Bulleteer #3

SEE ALSO:

History

seal
The “flaming seal,” shot from his bow, from Crack #4 (1940); all art by Paul Gustavson.
From Crack #14 (1941). Art by Paul Gustavson.
The Spider’s betrayal, from Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. #9 (2000); art by Scott Kolins.

Paul Gustavson’s first hero for Quality was the Spider, but it wasn’t his first archer. He’d previously created “The Arrow” for Centaur’s Funny Pages #11 (Nov. 1938). This feature was titled “Alias the Spider” (like the Clock before him), but the hero’s name was just “the Spider.” The Spider’s adventures were short and felt contrived. The title character usually appeared from nowhere, and could perform many amazing feats without explanation.

The Spider was introduced in civilian attire, as a member of a “fashionable sportsman’s club.” But in response to danger, this young man took on the alias under which the public knew him best—the Spider. The Spider was a supreme archer who crafted a special kind of arrow that burst into flame upon firing. The arrow’s tip left behind the Spider’s mark, a scarab-like medallion, that served as a warning. His first adventure came at a time when his city was gripped by the terror of the Cricket. Like the Spider, the Cricket left a calling card bearing his symbol. With cunning, the Spider tracked him down and sent him into a watery grave. (Crack #1)


[ Read the full profile in the Quality Companion ]

The Next Issue Project

Picking up where Quality left off, sort of… Image Comics released a solicitation for Crack Comics #63, which features a Spider tale by Adam McGovern and Paolo Leandri. Image co-founder Erik Larsen created the “Next Issue Project,” which pays homage to public domain Golden Age characters. Each issue continues the numbering from the title’s last published issue, but the stories are more loosely inspired by its former characters. The authors received a sneak peek at this tale, which reads rather like pulp fiction.

The Dark Spider of DC

The Dark Spider of DC The Quality Comics Spider had no family ties whatsoever. Writer James Robinson (a fan of obscure heroes) saw an opportunity to reinvent the Spider in the mythos of pages of his 1994 Starman revival. DC’s Spider served two purposes: as a foil to Starman’s friend, the Shade, and as a member of the Seven Soldiers of Victory.

When DC universe continuity changed after the Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC’s Golden Age team, the Seven Soldiers (a.k.a. Law’s Legionnaires) needed new members to stand in for the Green Arrow and Speedy. Those heroes had been “retconned” out of DC’s Golden Age. Roy Thomas wrote the first revision to the SSoV, merely adding sidekicks to total seven. (Young All-Stars #27) After another chronal shake-up, the Zero Hour, the DC universe changed again and Green Arrow had now been replaced by another archer—the Spider. But secretly? This Spider was evil.

[ Q C. ]

Legacy

Before his death, Tom Hallaway fathered two children with Linda Dalt, whom he apparently married. (Linda—or any love interest—did not appear in any Golden Age stories.) The first of these, Lucas Ludlow-Dalt, eventually took up his father’s mantle and followed the Shade to his next home, Opal City. Luke became a dark vigilante, the Spider II. (Starman vol. 2 #47) The new Spider wore his father’s classic uniform and was recruited by the Shade’s mortal enemy, Simon Culp. Culp’s goal was to take down the Shade, a vengeance for which Luke had trained himself. This Spider was sure of his own agenda, but felt uneasy as part of a larger, murderous gang. (#65, 67-68) When he was finally given the chance for revenge upon the captive (and powerless) Shade, policeman Matt O’Dare stepped in and the Spider fled. (#70) The Spider might have tried to take revenge on the Shade’s ally, Jack Knight (Starman). One day an arrow was fired at Jack but struck Mason O’Dare. (O’Dare was healed by the spirit of Zatara.) The Shade vowed to track down this archer. (#80)

[ Q C. ]

I, Spyder stands revealed, from Seven Soldiers of Victory #0 (2005); art by J.H. Williams.

Notes

Fictional archers trace their roots to the legend of Robin Hood. The Spider was also preceded by Fawcett’s Golden Arrow (Whiz #2, Feb. 1940), but Green Arrow and his Arrowcar came over a year later (More Fun Comics #73, Nov. 1941).

There was also a popular pulp hero called the Spider, who first appeared in a self-titled magazine cover dated Oct. 1933 (by Popular Publications). This character was not an archer.

Another comic book contemporary was the Black Spider, from Ace Magazines’ Super-Mystery Comics #3 (1940). Like the Red Bee, the Black Spider had trained arachnids to help him.

+ Powers

The Spider and his son Lucas had no superhuman powers. They were both top notch archers and marksmen. The original Spider drove the lightning-fast Black Widow automobile, which was as long as a limousine, and could reach speeds of 160 mph. It came after the Batmobile—Detective Comics #27 (May 1939)—but before Green Arrow’s Arrow Plane (a car) in More Fun Comics #73 (Nov. 1941).

Tom Hallaway was an impressive athlete who relied as much on his agility and strength as he did his arrows. He dabbled in “trick arrows,” once using a magnesium arrow for light and heat.

I, Spyder trained himself to be a supreme archer. After he was transformed by the Seven Unknown Men, he gained a supernatural edge. He is now cold blooded and has perfect aim. He also has an affinity for arachnids. I, Spyder flies a black helicopter.