Jonathan “John” Law was a best-selling mystery writer in the late 1930s. As more and more “mystery-men”, like the Crimson Avenger, started appearing in the States, John Law began doing research for a non-fiction book about them. In the summer of 1941, during the course of his research, Law interviewed fellow mystery writer Dian Belmont about her association with the Sandman (Wesley Dodds). From that meeting Miss Belmont gave Law a sketch of a new costume she designed for Sandman, though she was certain he would reject it.
Taking his research a step further, Law decided to become a costumed crime-fighter himself. Inspired by his pet tarantula, Law took the name Tarantula for his alter ego. He also entrusted his dual identity to his housekeeper Olga, who fashioned Law’s costume based on the Sandman outfit designed by Miss Belmont.
One night while the Sandman was out of town, Dian Belmont donned his original costume in order to investigate a case of sabotage. Law, in costume, arrived to her aide only to see her fall victim to an auto accident. Law attacked the saboteurs and was joined by the real Sandman, who was also wearing a costume based on Miss Belmont’s sketch. Together, they defeated the saboteurs. The Sandman led Law to believe Dian Belmont was actually killed in order to distance her from his crime fighting activities. (Law later learned that he had been tricked by the Sandman)
Law made his first public appearance as the Tarantula soon afterwards when he overpowered thieves that were robbing a Broadway theater. A radio announcer reporting the incident referred to the new mystery man as both a “Tarantula” and a “Spider Man”.
As Tarantula, Law joined the wartime All-Star Squadron and soon adopted a new costume created by his housekeeper Olga. Law decided on the costume change since the original design by Dian Belmont was intended for the Sandman. As a regular All-Star, Law used his time with them to continue his research for his book on mystery-men.
It would be several years after the end of WWII that Law went into semi-retirement. When brought before the House Committee of Un-American Activities, Law refused to reveal any knowledge of Communists or Sympathizers. Law found he was “blacklisted” and unable to get his books published, however, his book Alter Egos: The Mystery-Men of WWII did get published in the 1960s. He married Libby Lawrence but she eventually divorced from him.
In his golden years, Law ended up living in the city of in a brownstone alongside Dick Grayson (Nightwing).
The Devil Dies at Dawn
At one point two elderly Nazis, wanting revenge on Law, tracked him down, but were defeated by Nightwing. The elderly Law tried to use the incident for a plot in a new story, with him as the leading protagonist.
Another book, the memoirs of “The Tarantula”, had Law meeting his soon-to-be successor Catalina Flores.
John Law’s life came to an end when the villainous Blockbuster, burned down the brownstone in an attempt to completely devastate Nightwing’s life. Flores (now Tarantula II) tried to save Law, but arrive too late to stop the explosion. It is worth mentioning that Law’s body was never found among the wreckage.
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