The Spider takes on the Empire State in comics — and this time he’s bringing some friends!
Today Dynamite Comics releases Masks, an eight-part mini-series teaming the company’s Pulp-era licensed characters for one epic battle. What menace could be big enough to draw together The Spider, The Shadow, The Green Hornet, Kato and Zorro? Writer Chris Roberson (iZombie, Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love) explains in an interview with Newsarama:
The genesis of the idea was a well-known storyline that ran in The Spider pulp magazines in the 1930s, over the course of three novels: The City That Paid To Die, The Spider At Bay, and Scourge of the Black Legions. In the original story, written by Norvell Page (as Grant Stockbridge), a political organization called the Party of Justice takes over New York State, and quickly institutes a fascist police state. It was an allegory for what was happening in Europe at the time, and saw the Spider go from being a vigilante who fought crime to being a full-blown freedom-fighter protecting the citizenry from an oppressive government.
Yes, the Spider’s “Black Police Trilogy,” which Age of Aces Books had the privilege of putting back into print (as The Spider Vs. The Empire State), is coming to comic shops! And the New York Rebellion of 1938 is bigger than ever: In addition to The Spider, The Green Hornet, The Shadow and (a 1930s-era) Zorro, the struggle against the Party of Justice will see the rise of “new” heroes too — The Black Bat, Miss Fury, Black Terror and The Green Lama. With so many 1930s vigilantes sharing the spotlight, the narrative necessarily deviates from Norvell Page’s 1938 tale, yet — judging from the capsule descriptions of future issues — The Spider thread of the story remains pretty much unchanged. As Roberson told Check Point Interviews:
The idea was that, while the Spider was off having his adventure, the other vigilante characters who were operating at the time would have also had to deal with this fascist police state.