Not much is known about The Spider and where he came from. When he first appeared on the scene he was introduced as a highly intelligent crook, being equipped with a multitude of gadgets of his own design, and was setting himself up as a criminal mastermind, recruiting villains for his upcoming plots.
First he rescued the safe-cracker Ordini from the Police, then he broke out the inventor Professor Pelham from a maximum security prison, filling them in on the details for a daring robbery.
The Spider's criminal career was however, quite short lived. After a couple of his plots were foiled by the police he started to become embroiled in various rivalries with other criminals. Eventually The Spider became disillusioned with his life of crime, finding that he found it far more interesting to pit his wits against other criminals than he ever had against the Police, he had always been rather honourable to be a criminal anyway, often being careful not to actually hurt anyone, including cops.
The Spider, Pelham, and Ordini decided to become full time crime-fighters
The Spider was created by Ted Cowan and Reg Bunn for the anthology comic Lion, with him making his first appearance in the June 26th 1965 issue.
After his initial set of stories Ted Cowan left the character, and writing duties were handed over to Jerry Siegel, co-creator of Superman. Jerry Siegel worked on the character with Reg Bunn for most of his stories, creating many weird and wonderful characters and settings.
After its initial run the strip was reprinted multiple times, first in Lion itself, and then later in Vulcan.
Major Story Arcs
The Spider V the Sinister Seven
The Spider has a series of dangerous encounters and each time a different superhero turns up out of the Blue to help him at the last moment, after some time it is revealed that each encounter was actually a part of a test to judge the Spider's worthiness; there's a group of adventurers who have decided to band together to form a team named the Society of Heroes, and they want The Spider to join them.
The Society of Heroes, Tigro, Snowman, Captain Whiz, Rex Robot, Mr Gizmo, and Rockman, have learned of a plot by the mastermind Limbo the Unknown to create his own team of villains "The Sinister Seven" and none of them believe that they can overcome the team working alone.
After a scuffle between The Society and the powerful Limbo himself, The Spider is convinced of the threat that the Sinister Seven represents to the world, and he agrees to join the Society of Heroes.
Limbo tricks The Spider's friends, Professor Pelham, and Ordini into dropping a bomb on the Society whilst they are in their base, but disaster is narrowly averted when the Spider manages to shoot the bomb with reverse gravity webbing, causing it to float away harmlessly. Unfortunately the rest of the society are out for blood, trying to kill Pelham and Ordini for attacking them, but the Spider manages to calm his hotheaded colleagues down and explain the situation.
After some time and a lot of minor successes in the fight against crime for the new Society of Heroes, Limbo finally puts his plan into action. The Sinister Seven, made up of Limbo, Muto, The Living Totem, The Shark, Gas Man, Mad Mechanoid, and Sylvester "Silly" Jenkins decide to kidnap hundred's of Earth's men, intending to sell them to aliens as slaves.
After an epic battle the Society of Heroes eventually triumph against the Sinister Seven, unfortunately its a rather Pyrrhic victory as every member of the Society of Heroes bar The Spider dies horribly.
The Spider is a highly intelligent gadget-user, he has a gun which fires a steel-strong strand of webbing, a jet-pack, and enhanced strength and agility. He has also been known to be able to hypnotise people into hallucinating whatever he wants just by looking them in the eyes.
In this miniseries from Wildstorm all of the old British comic books are revealed to have taken their inspiration from real people, people who have been detained in a secret prison for many years.
Here The Spider was the one who originally captured most of these super-powered humans whilst on a mission for the British government, but afterwards he was double-crossed and also imprisoned.
The Spider, along with other classic characters work out a plan and eventually manage to escape.
An analogue of The Spider, named "The Arachnid" was mentioned in Alan Moore's well liked Captain Britain story "Crooked World". Here the character was a hero of an alternate dimension Earth 238, a world populated by versions of characters from old Valiant and Lion comics.
The heroes of Earth 238 had been killed by a robot named The Fury, a construction that had been built by Mad Jim Jaspers to search out and destroy all super-powered beings.