The Spider: Robot Titans of Gotham

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He had his own gun in his hand and was striding to meet his comrade. The policeman already had passed him, was scrambling toward the corner. Wentworth knew the cold tightening of horror in his own heart, for he was remembering those looted homes and the distorted bodies of the four murdered men. They had been literally torn apart. And now Jackson fled, and a man screamed.

Robot Titans of Gotham

The thing stood there for an instant beneath the swaying street light, a monster of steel, an iron man! Its head towered almost to that light, and the red glare from the traffic signal spilled like lucent blood across a gigantic torso. Arms swung from ponderous shoulders and the head—the head was a replica of the helmet tattooed upon the Drexler watchman's chest!

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Two blank eyes that were plates of glass glared emptily; the mouth had teeth like a steam-shovel—and the empty glare of those awful eyes was fixed upon Wentworth! Even as the Spider ripped himself free from the paralysis which that sudden apparition had placed even upon the Master of Men, the giant in steel lifted a ponderous foot and set it upon the sidewalk. And under that colossal trend, the concrete crackled and broke like ice! A hand moved carelessly, and wrapped about the iron traffic signal standard.

Once, twice, the robot whipped that heavy post about its head and then hurled it like a war-club at Wentworth's head! There seemed a weight in limbs and brain, stupefaction over this thing his eyes saw, but his mind could not quite believe. It is certain that any other man would have been caught by that steel club and died miserably in his tracks. Wentworth managed somehow to wrench his frozen muscles into action.

He shrank aside by a hair's breadth and the wind of the missile's passage whipped his silk hat from his head, fluttered the tails of his Chesterfield. The policeman stood motionless, a paralyzed pigmy in the path of the steel monster. His gun was in his fist, his head wrenched back crazily to peer up at that travesty of a face. The watchman ducked behind Wentworth and crouched like a cowed dog and Jackson had his back flattened against the wall; automatic ready in his fist again.

He jerked up his revolver and fired at the monster. He knew without further trial that the steel body would be impervious to bullets. Jackson's shrewd lead already had searched that out. One shot, Wentworth squeezed off. He knew that his lead flew true, caught the monster in one of its glass eyes—and nothing happened! The monster stood within a few yards of the policeman and slowly bent his head to stare down at the puny thing at its feet.

A steel hand lifted casually. With an oath, Wentworth leaped toward the Daimler. The policeman was fleeing in crazy, scrambling terror, and the monster was walking. The tremor of that tread came through the pavement, seemed to vibrate in Wentworth's very bones. Keep out of its way! The car was too long for that narrow street and he had to wrench it backward again while aching moments passed; while death moved with ponderous ease and on feet of steel. He glimpsed the giant, saw it lift a hand and point a finger like an accusation at the crouching watchman. The man's scream rose terribly, and then—fire spurted from that pointing finger!

The scream cut off. The watchman was a twitching, dying huddle upon the ground! Wentworth fought to hammer sane thoughts through his own brain. This thing of steel could be no living monster, of course. It must be a robot, though marvelously under control. A robot that could point a finger made into a gun barrel and kill with perfect aim! Wentworth jerked his head, struggling against the daze of incredulity that still gripped him.

A robot was only a machine, an intricate and necessarily delicate machine. A profound blow, such an impact as would knock the thing to the ground, undoubtedly would disarrange its mechanism. It was simple, really. Whoever was master of this monster of steel had calculated on the terror its mere appearance would generate to prevent rational attack.

He had not counted on meeting the Spider face-to-face! Wentworth had whipped the heavy limousine about now, so that its nose was toward the robot. He swiftly flung it backward until its rear bumper nudged the wall at the street's end. He would need all the momentum he could generate in this short dead-end street to upset that creature! He jerked loose the half-cushion beside him, and wedged it between his chest and the steering wheel, jerked the gear into second.

That voice was disguised, but Wentworth recognized it at once. He would always know that voice, in whatever circumstances he heard it, for it was that of Nita van Sloan, the woman he loved! He had been at an after-theatre party with Nita when word had come of the tragedy which had called the Spider to action—and he had sent Nita to keep watch on police headquarters while he flung himself into battle! That was terribly necessary now since, on every hand, the police hounded the Spider.

Her speech now could mean only one thing: Nita spoke softly, as if she would whisper those words into his ear, and her words would make no sense to others. The big blue cat. That meant Stanley Kirkpatrick, commissioner of police, who was at once Wentworth's friend and the Spider's enemy. And the mouse was Wentworth himself. Even as Wentworth jammed down the accelerator and drove the heavy Daimler toward the steel monster, the truth of that broadcast struck him, and shook him.

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It could mean only one thing: Kirkpatrick was going to Wentworth's home on a tip-off that he would find some stolen goods there! Nor did Wentworth even need to speculate on the nature of that loot, or whether he would find it! The loot would be there, and it would be loot from those three homes that had been rifled this night!

By God, the enemy moved swiftly! Already, they had spotted Wentworth's interest in the case and moved to checkmate him—by planting in his home the evidence that he had been responsible for those lootings and awful murders! At least it proved human agency behind this robot! Wentworth wrenched his mind to the battle at hand, but the delay had proved costly! The robot had closed up some of the previous distance Wentworth had gained, thus lessening the momentum which the car could build up.

As Wentworth stared, and started the car leaping forward, the robot bent forward and plucked up the policeman from the earth! He grasped the screaming man by one ankle and, casually as a child might whirl a stick about its head, the robot spun the policeman! Two, three times he circled the helpless, doomed man. A sickened horror surged through Wentworth. He tired to wrench the big car aside, but was too late. Headlong, against the bullet-proof glass of the windshield, the policeman hurtled, then slithered off to one side!

Wentworth's lips drew thin and bitter across his face and pallor crept into his cheeks. He leaned forward and flicked on the windshield wiper. He needed to see very clearly to drive straight at this monster in steel who could perpetrate such horror. His anger seemed to lift the heavy car and hurl it forward, wringing the last ounce of power from the engine.

His knuckles shone white as he gripped the wheel. And that foot was aimed at the radiator of the Daimler! In that horror-sodden instant, Wentworth knew that even this mighty attack would fail against the robot! On the moment, he batted open the door beside him and, as the Daimler surged toward the steel monster, he hurled himself toward the pavement! Wentworth struck the pavement rolling in the same instant the robot crashed its foot against the radiator of the Daimler! He saw what happened then in flashing glimpses as he spun dizzily toward the curb and reeled to his feet. The thing was timed as beautifully as a dropkick.

The smashing impact of the robot's foot, whose tread could crack the concrete of the walks, caught the Daimler just at the front axle! Fenders and headlights leaped from the limousine, and glass flew like a shattering grenade! The front of the car lifted, while the powerful drive to those rear wheels urged it on—and the whole machine spun dizzily aside, turned over and slammed against the wall of the house to the right!

For an instant, the robot tottered. An outflung arm reached to the wall of the house, and the bricks crashed inward. A rubble of broken masonry clattered to the earth and plaster dust lifted around the monster of steel like battle-smoke. But it was only an instant, and then the robot's head revolved slowly and the blankly awful eyes picked out Wentworth where he reeled, dazed from his heavy fall, against the opposite building wall.

Jackson was beside him. His gun was spitting lead hysterically, but he might as well have been throwing pebbles at a seventy-ton tank. Slowly, the right arm of the monster lifted. He flung himself sideways toward Jackson, carried the hysterically cursing man to the pavement. Evidently the impact had partly disabled the monster!

The thing was no longer braced against the wall but as it stepped toward where Wentworth fought to get Jackson to his feet, to retreat, he saw the left leg drag curiously. The Spider's charge had achieved something then! The monster was not working perfectly! Wentworth reeled to his feet. There was no gun in his hand, for a gun would be useless. He stood slowly erect and watched the monster take another dragging step toward him.

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The great head bent slowly and the blank emptiness of those eyes of glass peered down where the Spider stood, a pigmy in the path of Juggernaut. A moment passed, a long dragging moment while the two confronted each other, monster of steel, and he who was known as the Master of Men. And in that moment a queer doubt shook Wentworth. He had termed the thing a robot, as surely it must be, but there was a human mind here.

Wentworth felt the impact, as genuine as a bullet blow, and more dreadful; and he knew what horror it promised for himself, for the humanity which, as the Spider, he selflessly served! Wentworth felt the coldness of his anger mount within him, and while his eyes still gazed at the soulless blank depths of that steel helmet, he spoke in tones of quiet command to Jackson. Hurry there and get the heaviest car you can find. This thing is damaged and can't get away very fast! You're hurt, and—" "It is a command, Jackson," Wentworth said quietly. Jackson flinched as if from a blow, stiffened to attention.

He saluted and whirled to sprint along the street. Still, Wentworth stared into the blank eyes of the creature of steel. He found an instant then to wonder that there had been no alarm, but he realized the cause instantly. Actually, only a few seconds had elapsed. He was in a neighborhood of wealthy homes whose owners had deserted them for warmer climates at this period of the year.

There would be no one here to give an alarm, save guards—and this dead Drexler watchman who lay a score of feet away belonged to the Iron Man! Curiously, Wentworth became aware of Nita's whisper in that silence. Somehow, the Daimler's radio had escaped being wrecked in the crash, and the voice of the woman he loved came to him softly.

The police were already on the way to his home, and they would be swift and thorough. Commissioner Kirkpatrick was his friend, but for that very reason would be the more stern in his execution of justice. Kirkpatrick was a man who served the law with all his strength and keenness—and with all the integrity of his upright soul. If there was stolen loot in his home—and Wentworth had no doubt that it was there—Kirkpatrick would have but one course. Useless to plead that it was a frame-up by criminal foes. Wentworth shook his head sharply.

Damn it, he could not afford to be imprisoned now! Though eventually he might clear himself, those lost hours would mean that he would be out of the war against this monster and his criminal servants—and yet he would not abandon this fight now when he felt it was so nearly won! Let him but charge a car once more against this monster's legs. It was typical of the Spider that he did not even hesitate in his choice. Personal safety, as always, must make way for the demands of the selfless service to which he was pledged! Abruptly, the robot was in motion. Wentworth stood alertly, waiting for an attack, but the monster ignored him now.

Resolutely, the robot turned. It moved a little awkwardly, and the left leg squeaked a little at every movement. Light slid in glittering contours across the smooth metal back, and it came to Wentworth suddenly that the creature was retreating! But where did it seek to go, when walls lifted on every side? Wentworth swore and his eyes quested sharply about. Was there nothing he could do to stay the thing's flight? He whipped out his automatic and aimed at the creaking knee joint, pumped out a swift and careful drum-roll of bullets.

He could trace the silvery streaks where the bullets struck. They whined off into the night. Fiercely, Wentworth ran toward the shattered traffic standard which had been hurled at him. With a heave of his powerful shoulders he lifted it, and balanced it across straining biceps. The Spider's face was grimly twisted, for he knew what risk he ran.

He had not the strength to hurl this weapon. His only chance was to run with it, like a battering ram. If he missed, if the robot turned at the last moment. Wentworth brushed those considerations from his mind, and began to run, straight toward the monster! At first, his pace was no more than a lumbering trot, but as he gained momentum, his stride lengthened. Finally, he was sprinting at fierce speed with his awkward weapon laid in rest like a spear!

When he was still a dozen feet away, the robot reached the wall at the end of the street. A hand rested against that wall, and there was a muffled concussion! Under the touch of that steel palm, the bricks and mortar fell apart. An instant later, Wentworth crashed his battering ram against the robot's knee, saw a steel hand swoop toward him! Somehow, Wentworth flung himself backward from the path of that careless blow.

The robot's hand caught the iron standard, and plucked it from his grip, sent it tumbling like a stick of kindling across the street. At the gap in the wall, Wentworth leaned while the breath whistled through his distended nostrils. He was gazing down upon the black, rippling waters of the East River, gazing at the retreating back of the robot. Even as he watched, the monster of steel stepped into the margin of the water.

There was left only a widening ripple in the waters breaking the streaks of reflected light from the stars, from the calm cold moon! The robot had been merely beating a strategic retreat. Wentworth choked down a wild impulse to laughter. Suicide, for a monster of steel? But there was a human brain within it, an inhuman brain. By the heavens, this Iron Man moved swiftly and terribly! And it had a sure and safe retreat beneath the waters of New York harbor! Wentworth took long steps, that at first were uncertain, along that shattered dead-end street.

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A moment he stared, and then keenness came into his eyes. If Jackson returned, if he moved swiftly, there might still be a way to defeat the Iron Man's trap and disarm Kirkpatrick's suspicions. Then he could assume the offensive once more, track down these killers. Grimly, Wentworth bent over the body of the slain watchman. His lips twisted with distaste, but there was no help for the thing he must do.

He leaned the man's body against the side of his overturned car, backed away across the street—and fired a single shot! The corpse jerked to the impact of lead, and there was no longer a Spider seal upon his chest! Instead, another wound gaped there beside the one that already had drained his life. An instant later, an auto swerved into the street and Jackson leaped to the pavement. His voice rang out to Wentworth hoarsely, "Where is it, sir? Wentworth shook his head.

At a word from Wentworth, the car leaped forward, speeding toward his home. This would have to be terribly fast; Kirkpatrick already had been on the way for a couple of minutes and only the fact that Wentworth was nearer his own home than Kirkpatrick gave him any chance at all. If you could have seen those murdered men. The dilemma at his home now was a matter of speed. His plans were partly laid, but he had left trouble behind him in the side-street off Sutton Place. The Daimler was wrecked past any removal, and he would have to explain plenty to Kirkpatrick.

God in heaven, how could a man explain that monster of steel! But there was a dead policeman back there in the street, and Wentworth's wrecked car. Jackson said grimly, "I'll double back and. Kirkpatrick won't believe what happened. As always, Jackson's thoughts were first of the man he served, never of himself.

Of what might happen to him if he were caught in his self-assigned task of removing the body of a murdered policeman he made no mention.

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Wentworth felt a warmth creep through the coldness that had been his heart. By the heavens, with men like this to serve him, he was an ingrate to despair! He would down these robots. Jackson cried out softly as the car whipped into the side street that flanked Wentworth's Fifth Avenue apartment house, and Wentworth saw the reason why. A long black limousine was just sliding past the street's end, slowing to a halt before the main door—and that limousine had blood-red headlights! It was the car of Stanley Kirkpatrick! Take this body to the apartment.

In one of the rooms, probably the music room, you will find some objects of art that don't belong there. You will put the fingerprints of this body on several of them, then lay it face down beside the doors of the terrace, or window, with a gun in its hand. Here's his own gun. Fire that gun a couple of times, and let the bullet marks show on the wall, but muffle the shots with a wet cloth. He raced down the hallway to the main lobby which led past the public elevators to the front of the building.

Through the main doors, closed against the biting cold of the night, he saw the lean, dapper figure of Kirkpatrick. He was gesturing men into positions about the building! Heaven grant that Jackson already had the body inside the elevator! Kirkpatrick wheeled then and strode toward the main doors, and Wentworth ran. He staggered a little, slipping on the smooth tiled floor, and leaned hard across the information desk.

He shouted toward the man at the telephone switchboard. Don't sit there staring at me, call a policeman! He pushed himself back from the counter, whipped out a handkerchief and mopped his forehead. Never mind that call to the police, operator. Wentworth stared at him as if he did not understand the man. As he figured it, Jackson could not possibly be more than half way to his penthouse by now. And he had to make the full arrangements before Kirkpatrick reached his apartment. Anything he could do to delay their arrival.

The operator stared in bewilderment and started to explain, but Kirkpatrick cut in sharply. There was a frown on Kirkpatrick's saturnine countenance, and the mouth beneath the spiked mustache was a harsh line. Wentworth knew he must be careful not to overdo the delay. Kirkpatrick had seen him in too many emergencies for him to believe in any extreme befuddlement. Wentworth said quietly, "Certainly, Kirk.

I'm afraid I'll have to submit to arrest. I just killed a man in my apartment, but—" He massaged his temples. First, one of your policemen is killed—" Kirkpatrick seized him by the arm, "Snap out of it, Dick! You've killed a man. Surely, not a policeman! The man has on a private police agency's uniform. But there is one of your men killed. I demand that you give me the whole truth at once! It isn't just luck that I'm here, you know!

Kirkpatrick had seen through his stall, or at least had become suspicious of delay. Why should you come down here to call a policeman? You have two private lines into your home in addition to the one through the switchboard! I told you it was not luck that I had come here!

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I have a tip that—" "That what? The uniformed man and Kirkpatrick's secretary followed and the elevator sped upward. Wentworth said, wearily, "I suppose I'll have to put up with these suspicions of yours, Kirk, but I warn you they're wearing hard on my liking for you. After all, friendship is based on mutual respect, and really—" "I'll ask you to account for your movements, Dick," Kirkpatrick interrupted sharply, "from seven o'clock tonight onward!

A burglar I tried to capture, and who fired on me twice before I returned a shot! His voice was utterly without expression. Wentworth stood idly aside. He had done what he could to delay the police. If Jackson were not ready now, he would have to make a break for it! He peered covertly toward the two men who accompanied Kirkpatrick.

Sergeant Reams, the officer in uniform, was not a man who needed orders, otherwise he would not have been Kirkpatrick's bodyguard. He stood by the elevator with a revolver ready in his fist! The door of Wentworth's penthouse opened on the safety chain, and through the opening Wentworth saw the dark bearded face and turbaned head of his other confidential servitor, Ram Singh. Ram Singh's dark eyes regarded Kirkpatrick impassively. If you come as the police. Otherwise, have trouble with the lock. Which means, Kirk, that the angry man maketh his own impediments. Ram Singh bowed low, and hid the mockery in his dark gaze.

I did not know that my master accompanied his friend! The body is in here! He smothered an oath. The body was stretched out as he had ordered upon the floor, and there were bullet scars obviously from the gun in the man's hand. They were cleverly disposed, so that they seemed a part of the furnishings, yet Wentworth knew that they were stolen property!

On the grand piano, there was an exquisitely carved Ming vase of moonlight jade, and on the mantel a small antique clock of French fame caught glittering lights with the swing of a pendulum encrusted with precious stones! Surely, the Iron Man, or whoever directed the robot's movements, did not stint for money when he planned a frame-up! Those articles had a value in hundreds of thousands, and their possession might well tempt even a Richard Wentworth to robbery! Kirkpatrick was standing over the body of the dead man. He reached down to lift the head by the hair, swore softly as he let it fall.

But I don't need to tell you that. You know Frank Drexler! Nor do I see that he has stolen anything! It is apparent that this is a most peculiar burglar. He came bearing gifts! Wentworth let his hand freeze in mid-air, while he turned with lifted brows toward Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick was standing on braced legs, and his hands were clasped hard behind him. I have materials here. And would it be asking too much if you also fingerprint the corpse? Or is it a criminal offense for me to make the suggestion? Well, I've confessed homicide. That should satisfy you.

It was only an instant's pause that did not catch the commissioner's attention, but the discovery he made set Wentworth's heart to racing painfully. He had, perhaps, escaped one trap that had been set for him by the fiendish ingenuity of these criminals.

It was unlikely Kirkpatrick could contradict the testimony of those fingerprints on the loot. He had hoped to get rid of Kirk now, race on with his investigation—and he had only discovered a second trap! The Iron Man had not been content with planting loot here and tipping the police. The same man who had placed the evidence here had, at the same time, set another snare! In that drawer, Wentworth habitually kept an automatic registered in his name, and licensed to him. And that gun was gone! Wentworth had no doubt as to the whereabouts of that gun, or what had been the purpose of the theft.

As surely as death itself, that gun was planted now in one of the looted houses; and equally certain, too, was the fact that a bullet would have been fired from it into the mutilated corpse of one of the guards! A slow and bitter smile disturbed Wentworth's lips. Truly, the Iron Man planned well! Somehow now, he must elude the police, and get to the murder scene before that incriminating gun was found!

Kirkpatrick's voice came to his ears with an accent of relief, but with a reserve that puzzled Wentworth. Would it be impertinent to ask where it is you wish to go? Not only had the gun been planted as he feared— but Kirkpatrick had been tipped off about that, too! Now there was no chance at all of evading Kirkpatrick, of getting there first.

He must be with the commissioner when the police found the gun which would pin upon him one of the most atrocious murders the city had known! Against that evidence, the trickery played here would not stand up an instant! Kirkpatrick's keen mind would tell him how he had been tricked. But, damn it, the Spider could not allow himself to be imprisoned!

The lives of many of the city's people would be crushed like ants beneath the iron tread of those grim robots, unless the Spider remained at liberty! Something close to panic goaded Wentworth then, not a fear for himself, but the certainty of the fate that threatened the people he loved and served. Wentworth shrugged and, by a violent effort, made his voice easy.

After that, I hope you will allow me an opportunity to sleep! The half-angry smile lingered on Wentworth's lips, but Kirkpatrick was completely grave. Wentworth knew that each move the commissioner made against him stabbed Kirkpatrick to the heart; he knew that Kirk would be the more grimly determined to press the evidence against him for that very reason. Wentworth's mind was racing ahead, canvassing every possibility.

Somehow, he had to evade making the trip with Kirkpatrick, arrive before him at the looted home of Aaron Smedley. Not until then could he strike back at these murderous criminals who were, so early in the war, trying to destroy the man they must recognize as their most dangerous enemy! Yes, he must elude Kirkpatrick—but it must be done in such a way that no suspicion attached to him!

Wentworth wheeled abruptly away. Sergeant Reams, stay in sight of him the entire time.

Wentworth's stride was crisp with anger as he returned to the music room, clad now in the dark tweeds he preferred, and it put an edge on his voice when he spoke to Kirkpatrick. You won't mind if I phone her to be careful? He plugged it into a jack in the wall, and went through the routine of dialing a number. He had only one chance of evading Kirkpatrick, and that would draw Nita into danger as well as himself.

There was no other way. That very action would start the transmitter on the roof into operation. He could only hope that Nita would be listening.. Yes, I'm at home, too.

The Spider: Robot Titans of Gotham

I wish you were here! If Nita heard, she would know what he meant, and she would get here as quickly as possible. Kirkpatrick has invited me most urgently. You wanted to warn her! Kirkpatrick must indeed be on edge. He made no response, continued to speak into the blankness of the air. If only he could be sure Nita was listening! Keep your gun always handy.

Yes, I've been attacked once tonight by this new criminal gang, and that means danger. Yes, of course, I'll be careful. I'm always ready for any unexpected events that may develop. As you say it is the unexpected thing that is demoralizing. You know the Hindustani proverb? Wentworth turned deliberately to face him, and it was in English that he spoke into the transmitter. He already had conveyed most of his message to Nita. She must come to him at once. I forgot my password Password Reset. Sign up for a new account.

Please select region, state or province. Robot Titans of Gotham Norvell W. Go to Cart Keep Shopping. Read Online Email Kindle Ebook to me. Select the format you would like to download: But in his other guise, Fairchild becomes the Skull Killer, a crime fighter who, after killing the villainous elements in NYC, uses an acid-filled ring to brand his skull mark into their foreheads!

Although this collection would have us believe that the name of this tale is merely "The Octopus," back in , the name of the novel was actually given as "The City Condemned to Hell" In this one, a demonic, tentacled entity known as the Octopus uses his newly invented ultraviolet light gizmo to make obscenely mutated monsters out of hundreds of the populace!

And why this short-lived magazine was named after the villain of the piece, when "Dr. Skull" or "The Skull Killer" would have made just as cool sounding a magazine title, is beyond me! Highlights of this tale, which is surely some kind of bona fide classic of the "weird menace" genre, include Jeffrey being locked in a room by the Octopus and subjected to those mutating rays, and the absolutely bonkers final sequence, in which the Skull Killer, along with Dr.

Skull's young, pretty nurse, are trapped in a ward with hundreds of the slavering mutants, who have by this time become blood feasters! And during that final sequence, we see the Octopus sitting next to a nearly nude girl who is suspended by her wrists from the ceiling, while one of the deformed monstrosities sucks on her blood via a metal pipe that he has inserted into her side! Trust me, this is some seriously wackadoodle stuff here; garish, lurid pulp shocks to the extreme! Unfortunately, again, Page does not deign to tell us how the Octopus became the monstrosity that he is, although it is hinted that more might be explained in future issues Anyway, there you have it I was sufficiently entertained by "Robot Titans of Gotham"'s trio of tales to want to search out that other collection from Baen, called "City of Doom.

Sep 03, Craig rated it really liked it. Nonetheless, it was a terrific series, and heavily influenced later comics superheroes. I couldn't figure out why they included it, nor the almost completely incomprehensible foreword. The stories are a bit creaky and campy by current standard, but the Spider and his team were among the best of the pulp heroes, especially Nita, who ranks right up there with Nellie Grey and Pat Savage. Most exclamation points ever! Dec 05, Ed rated it did not like it. I'm a fan of hero pulps, and I'd always heard of the Spider, but I'd never read any of his stories.

So, I was very happy to find this collection of two of his tales. Both stories were big on action, but thin on plot. Now, this is from a guy who's a big fan of Doc Savage tales, which are just about as formula as you can get. But Doc Savage villains have at least a decent motivation and plan. The villains in these stories, the Iron Man and the Bat Man yep, really! I'd try another Spider story, just to see if these two are representative of most of his adventures. Oct 11, Shane rated it it was amazing Shelves: Top notch pulp insanity!

Apr 29, Johnny rated it really liked it Recommends it for: I have a beautiful coffee table book that consists mostly of covers from pulp novels. Often, when I look through that book, I see fascinating covers from magazines that once serialized stories about The Shadow , The Bat , and Doc Savage to mention only three.

Several of the covers were of The Spider magazine. This was unfortunate because I had never read a novel about this character who seemed to be very much like The Shadow. I even did a search of websites which specialized in out-of-print no I have a beautiful coffee table book that consists mostly of covers from pulp novels. I even did a search of websites which specialized in out-of-print novels and didn't find any Argosy Publications has done a good job of protecting their copyright. I'm looking on the science-fiction shelf and what do I see?

Baen Books is putting out a reprint series of The Spider and I was able to pick up the first one. And what a first one it was! It was a reprint of the serialized novel that National Periodicals plagiarized for a Superman story and later, settled out of court. I don't want to spoil anything, but here's the set-up. Richard Wentworth is the socialite who masquerades as the "Master of Men," a vigilante known as The Spider , complete with metal mask and long flowing black cape.

He is romantically involved with a gorgeous and courageous socialite named Nita and is, get this, friends with the police chief. However, the police chief is unaware of his alter ego as the "Master of Men. There is plenty of gunplay and, like The Shadow , there are vocal impressions of other men that are important to getting the pseudo-criminal vigilante out of scrapes with the law. The first novel is about giant robotic men destroying people and buildings in Manhattan. It was written just prior to the entry of the United States into World War II and the behavior of the giant robotic men is extremely suggestive of the jackbooted Nazis that the U.

The second novel features the appearance of a Bat Man, but is built around a "vampire" theme much like the first is built on a robotic theme. The final novel features a mysterious purple-eyed personage known as "The Octopus. Sep 05, Ed Dexter rated it really liked it Shelves: Like The Shadow before him, The Spider is a rich playboy by day and a mysterious crime fighter by night. There's a few differences between them, most notably the Spider leaving his symbol stamped on the foreheads of his victims and he seems a little more eager to brandish his twin pistols.

But he also comes off a little more the everyman at times as he doubts himself and his chance of success. As you can see from the summaries, you've got everything you need to make great pulp stories: Some reviews describe The Octopus as a "villain pulp" but I wouldn't. It definitely seems Dr. It's still a fun story! If you like pulps this is definitely worth a look, however, I'd refer you to check out the pulp reprints if you can find them instead of the paperback to get the full pulp experience. Mar 29, Michael rated it really liked it Shelves: Richard Wentworth is a wealthy "playboy" by day.

By night he turns into the mysterious "Spider, Master of Men". Similar to the Shadow and even more ruthless. These Pulp adventure heroes didn't mind taking the law into their own hands and killing the Villains unlike Doc Savage who became more of a progenitor for the Super heroes. It's obvious here that the Spider as well as the Shadow influenced the creation of Batman. Highly recommended to all pulp adventure readers. Nov 30, Shawn Deal rated it liked it Shelves: A bit disappointed I must say. There are three really good stories in this collection but not all of them are about the Spider.

The first two are and the third is with Dr. Not that the Octopus was a bad story but it did seem a bit like false advertising. So it gave me a few sour grapes. They are still good stories from the 30's probably not up to the level of the Shadows or Doc Savage but still good quality. I recommend it if you like that style of writing but be aware of what you are gett A bit disappointed I must say. I recommend it if you like that style of writing but be aware of what you are getting.

This is really a Norvell Page collection rather than a Spider collection. Nov 09, D. Monk rated it liked it. Reading the Robot Titans of Gotham is exhausting. Trying to keep up with the Spider will wear you out. Norvell Page's pulp craft is at it's peak in the first two stories.