Spider (DC Comics)
|Alias the Spider|
|Publisher||Originally Quality Comics
Later DC Comics
Crack Comics #1 (May 1940)
Starman vol. 2, #47 (Oct. 1998)
Seven Soldiers #0 (April 2005)
|Alter ego||- Tom Ludlow Hallaway
- Lucas Ludlow-Dalt
- Thomas Ludlow Dalt
|Team affiliations||(Tom, Thomas)
Seven Soldiers of Victory
"Alias the Spider" is a comic-book feature from the 1930s and 1940s Golden Age of Comic Books that appeared in Quality Comics' Crack Comics for nearly three years, starting with issue #1 in 1940. He was created by writer-artist Paul Gustavson.
The original, Golden Age version of the character is in public domain, but the rights to all subsequent versions are owned by DC Comics.
Only one adventure of the Spider has ever been reprinted by DC Comics, which acquired the Quality Comics stable of characters when that company went out of business in 1956: The story from Crack Comics #25, in Detective Comics #441.
The Spider later made sporadic cameo appearances in All-Star Squadron and The Young All-Stars. As a Quality Comics character, he was one of the heroes who went with Uncle Sam to protect Earth-X during World War II, becoming part of the Freedom Fighters. This was the fulfillment of a storyline that began in Justice League of America #107-108, which introduced most of Quality Comics' characters to the DC Universe. Previously only Plastic Man and Blackhawk had been used.
Fictional character biography
The Spider was playboy Tom Hallaway, who had tired of seeing criminals have their own way harassing and murdering honest citizens, so he adopted the guise of The Spider to settle the score. The Spider fought crime in a yellow shirt and blue shorts. He was armed with a bow and arrows, a special car known as the Black Widow, and the assistance of his valet Chuck (who helped out Hallaway in both of his identities without anyone making any sort of connection). He also had a special arrow he called the "Spider's Seal", which had a flat disc on the end he shot at thugs' hands to disarm them.
In the continuity that followed DC Comics' "Crisis on Infinite Earths" company-crossover storyline, the Spider is not heroic. Now given the full name Tom Ludlow Hallaway, he did not become the Spider out of an altruistic motive, but rather because he was a smuggler, kidnapper and murderer who used the guise of a superhero as a cover to help him eliminate the competition. Though originally based in St. Louis, Missouri, he is a member of the Ludlow clan from New England. The family inadvertently ran up against the Shade, a near-immortal sometime-villain introduced during the 1930s-1940s Golden Age of Comic Books. The family had a history of ill-gotten gains, having originally amassed its vast wealth by killing their partners in a business enterprise.
Instead of working with the Freedom Fighters, this revised Spider was a member of the Seven Soldiers of Victory (also known as The Law's Legionnaires). The Crisis on Infinite Earths had erased the Golden Age Green Arrow and Speedy from existence, and the Spider helped fill the void in the team. Shining Knight, the Vigilante and his partner Stuff, the original Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy, and the Crimson Avenger were on board with the Spider. As depicted in Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. #9, during the final case of the Seven Soldiers, the Spider betrayed them to their old enemy, the Iron Hand (who had created the cosmic menace known as the Nebula Man). The Spider killed the Vigilante's friend Billy Gunn, but was stopped by the Crimson Avenger's partner Wing, who went on to save the day against the Nebula Man (though at the cost of his own life).
With the only people who knew him to be a criminal gone, the Spider continued his heroic facade. He became the hero-in-residence of Keystone City after the Flash retired in 1950. Unfortunately his Ludlow heritage caught up with him, as did the Shade. The Spider had been planning to face the Shade for quite a while and had a plan to defeat the immortal. He had saved fragments and shreds of the Shade's shadow substance, intending to plant them at the scene of a double murder, that of Jay Garrick (the Golden Age Flash) and his wife Joan. The Spider hoped to lessen the Shade's power by keeping him captive near a roaring fireplace, but the added light only increased the shadows, and the Shade created arrow-casting monsters that shot the Spider with black arrows. The Shade escaped in time to prevent the Garricks' murders, even convincing his old enemy, the Flash, to leave him out of the spotlight on the case.
The Spider's son, Lucas Ludlow-Dalt, took up the bow and arrow (and his original yellow and blue costume) in the pages of Starman, helping Culp, The Mist, Dr. Phosphorus, Solomon Grundy and several other villains lay siege to Opal City with the forces of darkness (during the "Grand Guignol" storyline). This Spider had trained all his life for revenge on the Shade, and came very close to getting it. Matt O'Dare prevented The Spider from killing the Shade, and he was chased off to parts unknown. He was also the assassin who attempted to kill Jack Knight in the final issue of Starman (and nearly killed Mason O'Dare, if not for the timely intervention of the spirit of the deceased magician Zatara). He was already responsible for at least sixteen deaths, and the Shade told Jack Knight that he was going to bring him in (since he was a Ludlow after all).
Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. #9 also depicted the beginning of vengeful activity for another Spider, though this may be the same Spider that was depicted in Starman.
The Spider took up his bow again in the pages of the most recent Hawkman series, facing off against Hawkman, Hawkgirl and Green Arrow. The Green Arrow got the Spider's aiming eye with an arrow, hoping to end the criminal's career by maiming him, but had soon re-learned archery from a new perspective (and far quicker than is usual for any normal human).
Seven Soldiers #0 featured the advent of yet another Spider, although he spelled the name "I, Spyder". This character, named Thomas Ludlow Dalt, was one of the five heroes brought together by the Vigilante to form a new incarnation of the Seven Soldiers of Victory. Prior to this, he was abducted by the Seven Unknown Men of Slaughter Swamp after accepting a contract to kill them at their home base in the aforementioned bog. It was revealed that the Seven had hired him in order to lure him into their headquarters so they could hopefully prepare him to defeat the Sheeda (though one character criticised recruiting 'another schmuck with a bow and arrows'). Thomas was given several augmentations in terms of his abilities and gear which included new clothes, a jet-black helicopter with a black widow hourglass symbol on its base as well as 'cold blood and perfect aim'. This Spider is also the son of Thomas Hallaway, and the brother of Lucas, who usurps the identity by killing his brother. His glory is short lived however, as he is killed by the evil Sheeda and resurrected as their agent.
However, this Spyder was not actually villainous like his father. After a failed assassination attempt on Bulleteer's life, Spyder was greeted by the ghost of Greg Saunders, the original Vigilante. What occurred during their confrontation is not shown but in Seven Soldiers #1, Spyder shoots the Sheeda queen Gloriana Tenebrae, knocking her from her floating castle, and she is hit and killed by a car driven by the Bulleteer.
- Spider I Profile
- DCU Guide: Spider
- DCU Guide: Spider
- DCU Guide: I, Spyder
- "Alias the Spider" at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on April 4, 2012.