The Spider: C&G #4

Death Reign of the Vampire King / The Pain Emperor

by Grant Stockbridge

The Spider returns in two thrill-packed action stories. First, Death Reign of the Vampire King from the November 1935 issue. Then, The Pain Emperor from February 1935.


They came at night--the clouds of blood-thirsting, poisonous vampire bats--led by a strange man-thing who flew high in the black sky, directing their horrible slaughter. Blood was their desire, and they sucked it from the veins of helpless infants, from the white throats and breasts of frantic women, from the hands and faces of terrorized men. While the authorities doubted and dallied, one man- Richard Wentworth, that brilliant aristocrat who, as the dread Spider, strikes terror in the Underworld- realized that this was another of the devastating onslaughts of lawless genius. Never before was The Spider so badly handicapped. With his beloved Nita captive, his loyal servants out of the battle, himself unarmed and pursued by law and criminal, he must fight the greatest battle of his life when every chance seems lost and every hope is gone . . . !

The Spider rose to his full, bowed height, lifted the cage at arm's length and removed its bottom. For perhaps thirty seconds, nothing happened at all; then a black form dropped from the cage, spread leathery wings and flitted off erratically into the night. Then another and another, until six bats had taken wing. THe Spider laid the cage gently on the earth, crouched again into the shadows to wait. The lights of the mansion would attract insects and those bats fed on small, flying vermin of the night. When the bats flitted between those men and the sky, the panic of terror would reign...

The Spider nodded. They had reason for fright, these men. Within two weeks, a dozen race-horses and four men who frequented the tracks had been killed by the bite of vampire bats!

Useless to say that vampire bats never had been known outside of the tropics; useless to state that they never killed. There could be no mistaking the type of wound, the tiny area of skin peeled away by the keen, painless teeth of the bat. But the bodies of the victims had not been drained of blood. They died instead... of poison!

The Spider smiled coldly in the darkness. His bats were not poisonous- not even vampires- but the men who watched the home of Robert Latham would not know that...

Originally published in the November, 1935 issue of The Spider Magazine


The beautiful young woman was preparing for bed. She smoothed a cleansing cream over her face, rubbing it in well. And a second later, she was writhing on the floor, whimpering with agony- for the unguent contained a powerful acid which destroyed the girl's beauty forever. And at the same time, while countless women were disfigured for life, thousands of other persons were dying wretchedly from poison in tinned foods, in medicines, and in candies! And Richard Wentworth, champion of humanity, was temporarily powerless to help his countrymen in this hour of their great need, for a bitter enemy called the Avenger had arisen to oppose him. Harassed at every turn, his servants helpless to aid him, his life and honor horribly imperilled, can The Spider deliver his native land from the greedy clutches of the underworld's master-brain?

The Avenger had publicized himself as a nemesis of the underworld, even as the SPIDER was. He had snared a number of criminals in a spectacular way, recoverying thousands of dollars in loot. Other stolen property he had retained and spread broadcast over the city in the homes of the poor. Mostly they were gifts of money to the destitute that bore tags: "With the best wishes of the Avenger!"

Newspapers had christened him the modern Robin Hood and Wentworth had been at first inclined to cheer him on- until the total of unrecovered loot had begun to reach enormous figures and he realized that large amounts of it must be sticking to the Avenger's fingers. Wentworth realized, too, what a threat to morality such a figure as the Avenger might become; how he might lead astray the youth of the land by his false example. And he had decided to investigate, to walk into this obvious trap and take the Avenger captive.

...A sudden blow between the shoulders sent Wentworth reeling forward. He heard the patrolman's startled cry choke off, heard his body slam down and a voice ring out from the doorway: "Hands up, everyone! The Avenger is speaking!"

Wentworth whirled, but his hands stayed clear of his guns. The man who called himself the Avenger had shut the sound-proof door and his shoulders matched its width. He was dressed in black from head to foot, black dress suit, a black priest's vest over his shirt, a black mask that was a hood tucked inside a black collar.

"Here's another crook for you, Inspector," boomed the Avenger's deepvoice. "This Wentworth is the Spider. You'll find that bullet from gun under his arm will match the bullet from the gambler's body."

Originally published in the February, 1935 issue of The Spider Magazine

Year First Published:1992

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The Spider: C&G #4
Format: Mass Market Paperback
ISBN: 9780881848984      ISBN 10: 0881848980
Publisher: Carroll & Graf  1992

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# Books: 14


Also by Grant Stockbridge

Also from 1992

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