MLJ Comics’ spider-themed vigilante, The Web, bears a certain resemblance to The Tarantula, DC’s own Golden Age entry in the arachnid avenger sweepstakes.
Both come from primarily scholarly interests in crime-busting, one a criminologist and the other a successful crime writer. Both, obviously, also happen upon the spider as an effective totem to intimidate lawbreakers.
The difference – other than the fact that The Tarantula debuted months before The Web, is due to the house styles of the two publishers. DC’s Tarantula, co-created by Mort Weisinger and Harold Sharp, relied upon gimmicks like web guns and suction cups to corral his enemies while the more sensational MLJ tended toward action-packed, blood-soaked melodrama.
(And to think the same ruffians behind such mayhem later published Archie … )
Surprisingly, The Web also may be better remembered than his DC counterpart as MLJ/Archie has revived the character from time to time while The Tarantula mostly appeared in the odd Roy Thomas Earth-2 story. Such is the curse of a second-tier super-hero who existed in the same publishing universe as Green Lantern and The Flash.
Without further ado, here’s today’s entry in our Spider-Verse Week. Illustrated by Irv Novick, here’s “The Web And The Book” from Zip Comics #35 (MLJ, March 1943).
Coming tomorrow: Spider-Verse Week concludes with The Spider! Not the pulp guy, but a Quality Comics archer that was turned into a super-villain by the geniuses who run present day DC!!!