Will Murray's Pulp Classics #1
The Spider #11 Audiobook
Prince of the Red Looters
by Norvell W. Page writing as Grant Stockbridge
Read by Nick Santa Maria and Robin Riker. Liner Notes by Will Murray
During the difficult decade encompassed by the years 1933-43, a commanding figure blazed his way through a legion of Depression-era supercriminals, Nazi spies and saboteurs. He was wealthy criminologist Richard Wentworth. He was also secretly the Spider!
Never before or since has there been a hero like the Spider. Driven, hunted, and violently committed to exterminating criminals of all calibers. A self-appointed savior of humanity, driven manic-depressive, and possibly undiagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, the Spider was known as the Master of Men.
"There's a madness that gets in me when the Spider walks...." Wentworth once admitted.
The most compelling of the classic pulp heroes, Richard Wentworth had a fiancé, a coterie of equally committed aides, and a tense relationship with New York Police Commissioner Stanley Kirkpatrick, Wentworth's best friend, but also a dedicated lawman sworn to send the Spider to the electric chair—no matter who he turns out to be.
These riveting stories ran the gamut of incendiary thrillers to ultra-violent showdowns between an obsessed superhero and his depraved arch-foes. Manhattan is the backdrop for Wentworth's apocalyptic adventures. A new skyline has arisen over the penthouses, nightclubs, breadlines, and ghettos of the Big Apple. With the repeal of Prohibition, wealthy gangsters are in search for new rackets. And standing ready to keep them in check, the dreaded Spider.
Author and former crime reporter Norvell W. Page, who penned the majority of the Spider's exploits as Grant Stockbridge in Popular Publications' infamous pulp magazine, The Spider, once described his hero in gigantic but unflinching terms:
"His exploits had raised him to the proportions of a legendary hero. In ancient times, Rome would have made him an emperor-god. Salem might have burned him as a sorcerer. The modern world—well, the police had offered rewards totaling thousands of dollars for his capture 'dead or alive.' And the Underworld hated him and plotted his destruction with a fierceness bred of abject terror.
"Yes, Richard Wentworth was a murderer in the eyes of the law—a butcher who had slain a hundred, a thousand of his fellow men. They took no account of the fact he killed only those who richly deserved to die, that he alone had prevented a score of master criminals from overwhelming the forces of law and order."
Garbed in a black silk cloak, slouch hat and wearing an assortment of masks and strange disguises to make him look as fierce as his namesake, the Spider ran roughshod over a vicious legion of thugs and hoodlums, leaving behind him a trail of cold corpses branded by his calling card, a scarlet spider burned into their foreheads.
The Spider was the only pulp hero to suffer under a messiah complex of immense proportions. As Norvell Page—the Quentin Tarantino of pulp fiction—related his complicated backstory:
"Wentworth had sworn his crusades of justice long ago solely because of his hatred of injustice, his great altruistic love for mankind.
"Oh, there had been personal reasons behind his initial foray beyond the law—a dear friend was being framed out of life and honor and home. And there had been the example of his father, who had died when Wentworth was scarcely in his teens, a great lawyer murdered by criminals because he had dared defy them to save an innocent man they had made their scapegoat."
A complex man, Wentworth yearned for a normal life, retired from violent crime-fighting often, but the call to duty always drew him back. His exploits impressed a ten year old Stan Lee, who when he launched Marvel Comics in the early 1960s, drew on the idea of a hunted hero to create Spider-Man!
Prince of the Red Looters dates from August, 1934. The Spider has only been at large for a year. But already the law and the underworld are determined to exterminate him. Caught between these two warring factions, he plays a dangerous game of upholding the law while breaking it with impunity.
At his side are Nita van Sloan, who sometimes dons the Spider's black cape and mask to become the Black Widow, Wentworth's loyal chauffeur, Ronald Jackson, and Sikh bodyguard, Ram Singh. All share in his dangerous life, and every one of them knows his fatal secret. If they are exposed, disgrace and the Death House will be their fate.
Up from the underworld emerges a new foe to take on the Master of Men. The Fly! Unlike previous opponents, the Fly issues a public call for the Spider to "Come into my parlor." Never before has an antagonist dared to challenge the Master of Men to a duel to the death. This makes the Fly the most supremely confident egotist ever to take on the Spider.
But is the Fly confident—or overconfident?
Featuring acclaimed voice talent Nick Santa Maria narrating the action, with Robin Riker, who played Patricia Savage in The Adventures of Doc Savage series, as the vivacious Nita van Sloan.
#11 Prince of the Red Looters
by Norvell W. Page writing as Grant Stockbridge
Read by Nick Santa Maria and Robin Riker
Chapter 1: The Fly’s Parlor
Chapter 2: In His Own Web
Chapter 3: In the Police Trap
Chapter 4: The Fly Can Sting!
Chapter 5: The Fly’s Signature
Chapter 6: Another Shrewd Blow
Chapter 7: Mysterious Attack
Chapter 8: Sabres Ring Again
Chapter 9: The Menace Grows
Chapter 10: A Fly Can Kill
Chapter 11: The Fly’s Warning
Chapter 12: Death at the Opera
Chapter 13: Forebodings Fulfilled
Chapter 14: In the Fly’s Trap
Chapter 15: Trail of the Fly
Chapter 16: Fly-Trap!
Chapter 17: Looters’ Holiday
Chapter 18: Congress of Looters
Chapter 19: To the Death!
"The Genesis of the Spider"
by Will Murray
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Will Murray is the Series Producer for Will Murray's Pulp Classics line of Pulp Audiobooks and Pulp eBooks. Will is the author of over 50 novels in popular series ranging from The Destroyer to Mars Attacks. Collaborating posthumously with the legendary Lester Dent, he has written to date eleven Doc Savage novels, with Death's Dark Domain, Desert Demons, Horror in Gold, and The Infernal Buddha now available. For National Public Radio, Murray adapted The Thousand-Headed Man for The Adventures of Doc Savage in 1985, and recently edited Doc Savage: The Lost Radio Scripts of Lester Dent for Moonstone Books. He is versed in all things pulp.
Roger Rittner has written, produced, and directed audio drama specials and multi-part series, including the drama series Darkness, the mystery/macabre series Midnight, The Adventures of Doc Savage, the Western musical comedy Rhythm Rides the Range, and the musical special Charlie Sent Me! His radio projects have been heard on National Public Radio, as well as stations KMPC, KFI, KCSN, and KGBS in Los Angeles. Roger created and directed The Variety Arts Radio Theatre, live recreations of classic radio drama, for 10 years at the Variety Arts Center in Los Angeles. Roger produces his series of audio versions of classic pulp short stories, Pulp Radio. In his off-hours, his company, Roger Rittner Productions, creates marketing and promotional audios and videos for corporate clients.
Nick Santa Maria was born early in life in Brooklyn, NY. His theatrical background is based in Comedy Improv. He was a long standing member of the late lamented Miami based, Mental Floss, where he served as head writer/composer. From there he began his career in commercials, voice-overs, TV, Film, and theatre. He has performed in many roles on the stage including his award winning turn as Nick in Over The River And Through The Woods, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, as Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls, in The 25th Annual Putnam Country Spelling Bee as Mr. Panch (3-D Theatricals), Mr. Bromhead in No Sex Please, We’re British at The Norris, and as Pseudolus in, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum at the Norris Theatre. Television: The Buffalo Bill Show, B.J. Stryker, and two Disney Christmas Specials. Off Broadway: Writer/Composer/Performer on Secrets Every Smart Traveler Should Know, Soundtrack on RCA Victor. Broadway: Vince Fontaine in Tommy Tune’s production of Grease. He also appeared in every domestic company of Mel Brooks’ The Producers, understudying everyone from Nathan Lane and Jason Alexander, to Tony Danza and David Hassellhoff. He was the original Genie in Disney’s Aladdin, a Musical Spectacular, soundtrack on Disney Records. Nick is a resident of Los Angeles and is currently writing a book about classic film comedians, Nick’s been a long time film historian, and has written several articles on the topic.
Robin Riker was born in NYC with radio theatre DNA in every chromosome. Her father began his career as a radio theatre actor and the love of the art was clearly passed on to his daughter. Robin was the original Pat Savage in the Adventures of Doc Savage radio series, and during her years with The Variety Arts Radio Theatre, lent her voice to a multitude of other characters ranging from 90-year-old Chinese women to 8-year-old boys.
Robin was a regular in six television series, among them the ground-breaking Showtime series Brothers, the ABC series Thunder Alley with Ed Asner, The Gregory Hines Show on CBS, and the cult classic Get a Life on Fox.
Stage work Off Broadway, with The Geffen Theatre and The Pasadena Playhouse in Los Angeles, three films on the Disney Channel, as well as recurring roles on Boston Legal, Reba, The Glades, as well as the 2012 season of HBO’s Hung, have kept Robin busy between her gigs in the recording studio. After all, a girl has to have something to do while awaiting her true love.