The Tarantula

tarantula inks colors resize

Profile image by Alex Garcia (Pen and inks) and David Stepp (Colors)

Personal information

Real Name:  Jonathan Law

Residence: New York City
Occupation:  Writer, Adventurer
First Appearance (Golden Age): Star-Spangled Comics #1 (October 1941)
First Appearance (Post-Golden Age): All_Star Squadron #21

Character History

Jonathan Law grew up a bookish kid in upstate New York with two passions:  Writing and spiders.  As a young man, he moved to New York and pursued a career as a writer, primarily of action novels and over-the-top crime stories.  He secured a high-rise apartment in Manhattan and hired a housekeeper name Olga.  As costumed mystery men began to appear, Law became infatuated with them and eventually decided to become one himself.  He developed boots with suction cups that allowed him to scale and a gun that fired "webs" of adhesive strands to entangle and bind his adversaries or provide tensile cord that he could use to swing or rappel.  He confided his ambitions to his housekeeper Olga who was concerned but also wanted to help and made him a colorful yellow and purple costume. one designed by Dian Belmont originally for the Sandman.  Shortly thereafter, he was beginning to explore his new identity he encountered the Sandman, who had recently adopted a very similar costume.  During the course of this case, Dian Belmont is seemingly killed and the two agree in her honor to keep the garish costume that she designed (All-Star Squadron #18).

In his first case, he broke up a robbery in the theater district by gangster Ace Deuce and his men.   When Deuce broke jail. he swore vengeance on the Tarantula but was ultimately defeat and died in his final escape attempt (Star-Spangled Comics #1, additional details All-Star Squadron #18 and #66). Tarantula was readily accepted by the police and staged a year-long campaign of crime-fighting around central New York.  He encountered a number of odd criminals include the Candle (Star-Spangled Comics #2, #8), the criminal cowboy Bardon (Star=Spangled Comics #6, #8 and #11) and the Fly (Star-Spangled Comics #13).  At times. the criminals even attempted to form a team to thwart their common nemesis (Star-Spangled Comics #8) but the Tarantula nevertheless routinely prevailed.

In 1942, the Tarantula got word that the Sandman and the rest of the JSA had disappeared and he sought out the All-Star Squadron to contribute.   The deranged criminal "Fairy Tales" Fenton, who imagined himself the Norse God, Thor, caught sight of the Tarantula and believing him to be the Sandman, attacked the All-Star Squadron.  With Fenton's defeat, the Tarantula became more involved with the extended group of mystery-men operating during World War II (All-Star Squadron #18). Early cases included an encounter with the mutant megalomaniac Brain Wave, albeit behind the scenes (All-Star Squadron #19-20) and the nuclear powered Cyclotron, an advanced agent of the Ultra-Humanite. (All-Star Squadron #21).

While the Ultra-Humanite assembled a team of criminals in the 1940's, his future self in the 1980's make contact with himself in the past to liberate his Secret Society of Super-Villains from Limbo.  Adventurers from the future, the young scions of the Justice Society known as Infinity Inc. returned to the past and one member, Brain Wave Jr., specifically sought out Jonathan Law based on his publication "Altered Egos: The Mystery Men of World War II".  Together the two sought at the All-Star Squadron to fend off a mentally-dominated Infinity Inc and turn the tide on the Humanite and his allies from the '40's and the '80s.  Victory eventually hinged on changing the loyalties of Amazing Man, who turned on the criminals and ultimately helped the freed Inifintors and the All-Star Squadron turn the tide.  As the heroes and villains from the future returned to their own time, Law was left with the realization that Brain Wave Jr. had revealed knowledge of his future publication, indicating that would in fact achieve is magnum opus (All-Star Squadron #24-26, Annual #2).

For the rest of 1942, the Tarantula was a regular member of the All-Star Squadron tangling Japanese agents Sumo and Tsunami (All-Star Squadron #41-43), Axis agents Night and Fog (All-Star Squadron #44) and Baron Blitzkrieg (All-Star Squadron #46).  Later that year, as red skies enveloped Earth-Two and the Tarantula, along with the All-Star Squadron entered the Crisis on Infinite Earths (All-Star Squadron #50-60, Crisis on Infinite Earths LS).  The later activities of the Tarantula of Earth-Two remain to be recorded.

Powers and Abilities

Jonathan Law was a superb athletic human at the peak of physical fitness. He possessed excellent physical strength and agility.  His rappelling skills were particularly excellent.  He had an above average level of home-based laboratory skills, allowing him to create the adhesive chemicals that loaded and armed his web gun.  He was an outstanding marksman, targeting small structures with his web gun as well as precise aim to ensare human targets.  His uniform, designed by his housekeeper Olga, possessed special suction cups to faciliate his vertical movements and extensive pockets to conceal combat accessories as needed.

Weaknesses and Limitations

Separated from his equipment, The Tarantula was a mortal man who could be killed or injured as such.

Multiversity Villains

Multiversity

Prior Earth-0

In the post-Crisis Timeline, the history of the Tarantula up until 1942 is  thought to mirror his Earth-Two counterpart.  After the Crisis, he remained a member of the All-Star Squadron as well as serving as a periodic mentor to the junior group, the Young All-Stars.   He retired from the adventurer's life and worked his book "Altered Egos: The Mystery Men of World War II", which became a best-seller in the 1960's and '70's.  In the 1990's, he was living in Bludhaven in retirement as freelance write of pulp fiction (Nightwing Vol. 2 #14).  He is believed killed by Blockbuster's arson of the apartment building in which he lived but no remains are found and his death is presumed, not confirmed (Nightwing #2 #89).

Earth-22

The early history of the Tarantula in this timeline is largely identical to his history in other timelines. He is active in the early 1950's when Senator Tex Thompson, secretly the Ultra-Humanite and his ally Dynaman, secretly Adolph Hitler attempt to corral the super-human community into an extensive allied force.  When their subterfuge was revealed, the Tarantula was killed in the resultant battle (The Golden Age LS).

Golden Age Appearances of  the Taranula

Rogues Gallery