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Who Wrote The Spider

By Robert Sampson, Joel Frieman, and Robert Weinberg

Originally appearinig in Pulp Vol 1. #13, Fall 1981
Copyright © 1981 by Robert Weinberg. All Rights Reserved
Used by permission.
Originally, when the first research was being done on the character pulps, Norvell Page was given credit for all of the novels that appeared in the Spider pulp under the name Grant Stockbridge, with the first two novels in the series being written by R.T.M. Scott. Page's identity as author was no major secret as it was listed in numerous writing digests and Henry Steeger had even written to several pulp fanzines mentioning Page as the Spider author. Scott was listed on the magazine for the first two novels and the character of The Spider (as well as the other major characters in the novels) closely resembled other Scott heroes. However, as time passed and research was done, some astonishing facts were uncovered.

For one, Will Murray postulated that Reginald Maitland Scott was not the author of the first Spider novels, but instead his son Robert did the honors! This theory, while not totally proven by hard facts (more on this later) seemed to be a definite possibility as the younger Scott did do a great deal of work for Popular and easily could have based his characters on his father's stories.

More importantly, as far back as the late 1960's, Science Fiction Historian Sam Moskowitz mentioned to Robert Weinberg that Norvell Page was not the only author of the Spider series. Moskowitz had been doing research in the Popular files and had noted a number of other names on checks payable for Spider stories. Unfortunately, Sam did not take any notes on that magazine and could only remember Frank Gruber's name. This information, about several authors writing Spider novels, appeared in THE HERO PULP INDEX, where it mainly drew attacks from several other pulp historians who were sure Page was the only Spider author.

Recently, with the acquisition of Popular Publications by Joel Frieman, the Popular Files were subjected to a detailed study. At the same time, pulp historian Robert Sampson was hard at work on his history of the Spider pulps, and through hard work comparing authors' styles and using information from Norvell Page's own notebook, compiled a checklist of who wrote what for The Spider. Combining the two listings, the following checklist of Who Wrote the Spider was forged. All of this information has been authenticated by the actual checks used to pay the authors for the actual Spider novels.

The checklist is arranged in the following manner. The date of the issue of The Spider is given first. Next, the title of the novel as it appeared in the magazine. Following that is the name of the actual author of the story. Following that is the original title of the story if it was different than the title used. Finally, the total amount paid for the story is listed. A number of notes and comments on this information follows the checklist:


(1) V1 #1 October 1933 - The Spider Strikes by R.T.M. Scott - $500 (1)
(2) V1 #2 November 1933 - The Wheel of Doom by R.T.M Scott - $500
(3) V1 #3 December 1933 - Wings of the Black Death by Norvell Page (Web of Death) - $500 (2)
(4) V1 # 4 January 1934 - City of Flaming Shadows by Norvell Page (Flaming Loot) - $500
(5) V2 #1 February 1934 - Empire of Doom by Norvell Page (The Empire of Death) - $500
(6) V2 #2 March 1934 - The Citadel of Hell by Norvell Page - $550
(7) V2 #3 April 1934 - Serpent of Destruction by Norvell Page - $550
(8) V2 #4 May 1934 - The Mad Horde by Norvell Page (Mad Hordes of Doom) - $550
(9) V3 #1 June 1934 - Satan's Death Blast by Norvell Page (Blast of Judgment) - $600
(10) V3 #2 July 1934 - The Corpse Cargo by Norvell Page (Cargoes of Corpses) - $600
(11) V3 #3 August 1934 - Prince of the Red Looters by Norvell Page - $625
(12) V3 #4 September 1934 - Reign of the Silver Terror Norvell Page (Congress of Crime) - $625
(13) V4 #1 October 1934 - Builders of the Black Empire by Norvell Page (Pirates of Hell) - $625
(14) V4 #2 November 1934 - Death's Crimson Juggernaut by Norvell Page - $625
(15) V4 #3 December 1934 - The Red Death Rain by Norvell (Slaves of the Yellow Devil) - $625
(16) V4 #4 January 1935 - The City Destroyer by Norvell Page (Crumbling Doom) - $625
(17) V5 #1 February 1935 - The Pain Emperor by Norvell Page (When Death Went Mad) - $625
(18) V5 #2 March 1935 - The Flame Master by Norvell Page (Lord of the Lightnings) - $625
(19) V5 #3 April 1935 - Slaves of the Crime Master by Norvell Page (Hell's Revolt) - $625
(20) V5 #4 May 1935 - Reign of the Death Fiddler by Norvell Page (Kingdom of Crime) - $700
(21) V6 #1 June 1935 - Hordes of the Red Butcher by Norvell Page (Hordes of Destruction) - $700.
(22) V6 #2 July 1935 - Dragon Lord of the Underworld by Norvell Page - $700.
(23) V6 #3 August 1935 - Master of the Death Madness by Norvell Page - $700.
(24) V6 #4 September 1935 - King of the Red Killers by Norvell Page - $700.
(25) V7 #1 October 1935 - Overlord of the Damned by Norvell Page - $700.
(26) V7 #2 November 1935 - Death Reign of the Vampire King by Norvell Page - $700.
(27) V7 #3 December 1935 - Emperor of the Yellow Death by Norvell Page - $700.
(28) V7 #4 January 1936 - The Mayor Of Hell by Norvell Page - $750.
(29) V8 #1 February 1936 - Slaves of the Murder Syndicate by Norvell Page - $750.
(30) V8 #2 March 1936 - Green Globes of Death by Norvell Page (Murder Prince) - $600.
(31) V8 #3 April 1936 - The Cholera King by Norvell Page (Death Horde) - $600. (3)
(32) V8 #4 May - Slaves of the Dragon by Norvell Page - $600.
(33) V9 #1 June - Legions of Madness by Norvell Page (The Soul Destroyer) - $600.
(34) V9 #2 July - Laboratory of the Damned by Norvell Page (Lord of the Living Dead) - $600. (4)
(35) V9 #3 August - Satan's Sightless Legions by Norvell Page (Master of Blindness) - $720.
(36) V9 #4 September - The Coming of The Terror by Norvell Page - $720.
(37) V10 #1 October - The Devil's Death Dwarfs by Norvell Page (Hell's Destroying Hordes) - $720.
(38) V10 #2 November - City of Dreadful Night by E. C. Tepperman - $500. (5)
(39) V10 #3 December 1936 - Return of the Snake Men by E. C. Tepperman (Reign of the Snake Men) - $500.
(40) V10 #4 January 1937 - Dictator of the Damned by E. C. Tepperman - $500.
(41) V11 #1 1937 - The Milltown Massacres by E. C. Tepperman - $500.
(42) V11 #2 March 1937 - Satan's Workshop by E. C. Tepperman - $500.
(43) V11 #3 April 1937 - Scourge of the Yellow Fangs by E. C. Tepperman - $500.
(44) V11 #4 May 1937 - The Devil's Pawnbroker by E. C. Tepperman - $500.
(45) V12 #1 June 1937 - Voyage of the Coffin Ship by E. C. Tepperman - $500.
(46) V12 #2 July 1937 - The Man Who Ruled in Hell by Norvell Page - $550.
(47) V12 #3 August 1937 - Slaves of the Black Monarch by Wayne Rogers (Courts of Terror) - $500. (6)
(48) V12 #4 September 1937 - Machine Guns Over the White House by Norvell Page - $550.
(49) V13 #1 October 1937 - The City That Dared Not Eat by Wayne Rogers - $500.
(50) V13 #2 November 1937 - Master of the Flaming Horde by Norvell Page - $550.
(51) V13 #3 December 1937 - Satan's Switchboard by Wayne Rogers - $500.
(52) V13 #4 January 1938 - Legions of the Accursed Light by Norvell Page - $550.
(53) V14 #1 February 1938 - The City of Lost Men by Wayne Rogers - $500.
(54) V14 #2 March 1938 - The Grey Horde Creeps by Norvell Page - $550.
(55) V14 #3 April 1938 - City of Whispering Death by Norvell Page - $550.
(56) V14 #4 May 1938 - When Thousands Slept in Hell by Wayne Rogers (Go To Sleep and Die) - $500.
(57) V15 #1 June 1938 - Satan's Shackles by Wayne Rogers - $500.
(58) V15 #2 July 1938 - The Emperor From Hell by Norvell Page (The Underground Kingdom) - $550.
(59) V15 #3 August 1938 - The Devil's Candlesticks by Wayne Rogers (Crime Flies High) - $500.
(60) V15 #4 September 1938 - The City That Paid to Die by Norvell Page (The Outlaw Legion) - $550.
(61) V16 #1 October 1938 - The Spider At Bay by Norvell Page - $550.
(62) V16 #2 November 1938 - Scourge of the Black Legions by Norvell Page - $550.
(63) V16 #3 December 1938 - The Withering Death by Wayne Rogers - $500.
(64) V16 #4 January 1939 - Claws of the Golden Dragon by Norvell Page - $550.
(65) V17 #1 February 1939 - The Song of Death by Wayne Rogers - $500.
(66) V17 #2 March 1939 - The Silver Death Rain by Norvell Page (The Silver Falcon Kills) - $550.
(67) V17 #3 April 1939 - Blight of the Blazing Eye by Wayne Rogers - $500.
(68) V17 #4 May 1939 - King of the Fleshless Legions by Norvell Page - $550.
(69) V18 #1 June 1939 - Rule of the Monster Men by Norvell Page - $550.
(70) V18 #2 July 1939 - The Spider and the Slaves of Hell by Norvell Page (Slaves of Hell) - $550.
(71) V18 #3 August 1939 - The Spider and the Fire God by Norvell Page (The Fire God) - $550.
(72) V18 #4 September 1939 - The Corpse Broker by Wayne Rogers (The Clutch of the Green Death) - $500.
(73) V19 #1 October 1939 - The Spider and the Eyeless Legions by Norvell Page (Eyeless Legions)....$550.
(74) V19 #2 November 1939 - The Spider and the Faceless One by Norvell Page(The Spider and the Flame Master) - $550.
(75) V19 #3 December 1939 - Satan's Murder Machines by Norvell Page - $550.
(76) V19 #4 January 1940 - The Spider and the Pain Master by E. C. Tepperman - $550.
(77) V20 #1 February 1940 - Hell's Sales Manager by Norvell Page - $550.
(78) V20 #2 March 1940 - Slaves of the Laughing Death by Norvell Page - $550.
(79) V20 #3 April 1940 - The Man From Hell by E. C. Tepperman (Spider & The Queen of Hate) - $550.
(80) V20 #4 May 1940 - The Spider and the War Emperor by Norvell Page (War Emperor) - $550.
(81) V21 #1 June 1940 - Judgment of the Damned by Norvell Page - $550.
(82) V21 #2 July 1940 - Dictator's Death Merchants by E. C. Tepperman (Dictator's Death Agents) - $550.
(83) V21 #3 August 1940 - Pirates From Hell by Norvell Page - $550.
(84) V21 #4 September 1940 - Master of the Night Demons by E. C. Tepperman (Leader of the Night) - $550.
(85) V22 #1 October 1940 - The Council of Evil by Norvell Page (Crime's Blitzkrieg) - $550.
(86) V22 #2 November 1940 - The Spider and His Hobo Army by Page (Spider Against the Fifth Column) - $550.
(87) V22 #3 December 1940 - The Spider and the Jewels of Hell by Norvell Page (Jewels of Hell) - $350.
(88) V22 #4 January 1941 - Harbour of the Nameless Dead by Norvell Page (Nameless Dead) - $550.
(89) V23 #1 February 1941 - The Spider and the Slave Doctor by Norvell Page (Poison Pool) - $550.
(90) V23 #2 March 1941 - The Spider and the Sons of Satan by Norvell Page (Yellow Hell) - $550.
(91) V23 #3 April 1941 - Slaves of the Burning Blade by Page (City of the Dead) - $450. (7)
(92) V23 #4 May 1941 - The Devil's Paymaster by Norvell Page (The Golden Ghost) - $450.
(93) V24 #1 June 1941 - The Benevolent Order of Death by Norvell Page - $450.
(94) V24 #2 July 1941 - Murder's Black Prince by Norvell Page - $450.
(95) V24 #3 August 1941 - The Spider and the Scarlet by Norvell Page (Scarlet Surgeon) - $450.
(96) V24 #4 September 1941 - The Spider and the Deathless One by Norvell Page (Deathless One) - $450.
(97) V25 #1 October 1941 - Satan's Seven Swordsmen by Norvell Page (Samari Fiji) - $450. (9)
(98) V25 #2 November 1941 - Volunteer Corpse Brigade by Norvell Page - $450.
(99) V25 #3 December 1941 - The Crime Laboratory by Norvell Page (Spider & the Crime Corporation) - $450.
(100) V25 #4 January 1942 - Death and the Spider by Norvell Page - $450.
(101) V26 #1 February 1942 - Murder's Legionaires by Norvell Page (Murder Legionaires) - $450.
(102) V26 #2 March 1942 - The Gentleman From Hell by Page (Hills of Hell) - $450. (10)
(103) V26 #3 April 1942 - Slaves of the Ring by Norvell Page (Government of Murder) - $450.
(104) V26 #4 May 1942 - The Spider and the Death Piper by Page (Slaves of the Fleshless Minstrel) - $450.
(105) V27 #1 June 1942 - Revolt of the Underworld by Norvell Page - $450.
(106) V27 #2 July 1942 - Return of the Racket Kings by Norvell Page - $450.
(107) V27 #3 August 1942 - Pangs of the Dragon by Norvell Page - $450.
(108) V27 #4 September 1942 - Hell Rolls on the Highway by Norvell Page (Hell's High Road) - $450.
(109) V28 #1 October 1942 - Army of the Damned by Norvell Page - $450.
(110) V28 #2 November 1942 - Zara: Master of Murder by Norvell Page (The Great God Murder) - $450.
(111) V28 #3 December 1942 - The Spider and the Flame King by Norvell Page (The Flame King) - $450.
(112) V28 #4 January 1943 - The Howling Death by Norvell Page - $450.
(113) V29 #1 February i943 - Secret City of Crime by Norvell Page - $450.
(114) V29 #2 March 1943 - Recruit for the Spider Legion by Norvell Page - $450.
(115) V29 #3 June 1943 - The Spider and the Man From Hell by Norvell Page (The Man From Hell) - $450.
(116) V29 #4 August 1943 - The Criminal Horde by Norvell Page - $450
(117) V30 #1 October 1943 - The Spider and Hell's Factory by Norvell Pace (Spider and Hell's Factory)- $450.
(118) V30 #2 December 1943 - When Satan Came to Town by Stewart Sterling (The Spider's Raid) - $450. (11)
(119) Unpublished - Slaughter, Inc. by Donald G. Cormack - $450. (12)
NOTES & COMMENTS: (1) The check for the first Spider novel unfortunately does little to clear up authorship as it is made out to R.T.M. Scott and is endorsed the same way - so it still could be either Robert Scott or Reginald. Henry Steeger did mention to Will Murray that he thought a younger man did write for Popular but a check of signatures has proven to be inconclusive.

(2) Page originally sold the Spider stories as well as all of his other work at the time, through his agent, Lurton Blassingame. This check, and all those that followed for the next few years thus made out to Blassingame.

(3) This is the first check made payable to Page directly. He dropped Blassingame and sold the stories directly.

(4) This check also contained $60 each additional payment for the two stories preceding it.

(5) This is the first novel not by Page. Emile Tepperman who also wrote a number of Operator 5 novels began filling in. It is worth noting that he was paid a much lower rate than Page. Even more interesting is that Tepperman took over the Spider novels right in the middle of a four part series - the Living Pharaoh stories that had been begun by Page. Tepperman introduced a number of characters who vanished fairly quickly from the magazine when he wasn't in complete control of the novels.

(6) Again, as in the case of Operator 5, Wayne Rogers emerged as the third major author for the Spider series. Rogers work was mistakenly identified as by Arthur Leo Zagat by some pulp researchers, causing great confusion as Mrs. Zagat insisted that her husband never wrote any Spider novels.

(7) This is a title from Page's notebook (City of the Dead) whereas the check listed the story as "City of Dread".

(8) The check listed the title of this story as "The Devil's Surgery".

(9) The check for this novel lists the title as "Satan's Seven Swordsman." The other title is the one from Page's working notebook.

(10) This check was co-endorsed by Theodore Tinsley and led to some speculation that it might have been ghosted by Tinsley. This was emphatically denied by Tinsley and his wife finally provided the answer to the problem. During this period, the Tinsley's were living in Florida and Page came down to visit. The check was co-endorsed by Tinsley so that Page could cash it locally.

(11) This check was co-endorsed by Laura Winchell, who usually endorsed the checks from Popular made out to Stewart Sterling whose real name was Prentice Winchell (probably his wife thus). While this is not conclusive evidence that the novel was ghosted by Sterling, it seems quite likely that this was the case. This was right around the period when Page stopped writing Spider novels and began doing government work.

(12) "Slaughter Inc." was paid for on February 17, 1943, between "The Man from Hell" and "The Criminal Horde," It is not clear if it was meant to be published earlier or if it was written for a later date, or just as a check to see if Cormack could handle the Spider series. The novel was filled with numerous errors about the Spider and his men, even to spelling some of their names wrong. It was never used when the Spider pulp folded and was kept in the Popular Publications inventory until it was finally published, with the names of the main characters changed because of contract obligations, as LEGEND IN BLUE STEEL.

Page also was paid $50 for money paid Popular for the first Spider serial. There is no record of any payment to Page for any money from the second serial.

Unlike the men who worked on Operator 5, Page never did any work on "The Web". Leslie White handled it originally and later Moran Tudry.

I also have a complete checklist of the short stories done for the Spider pulp, with much the same information. However, unless there is a great demand for such information, will leave it until it appears in Bob Sampson's definitive history of the pulp.


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