Surreal Thursday: Beware The Spider !
Well this Surreal Thursday brings together a number of topics and cross-inspirations. There is no cross dressing, but there are disguises. Now one of my fellow bloggers, George – She Kept A Parrot, mentioned that I haven’t done any weird stuff lately. Recently George commented on the cobwebs in a Lemony Shots post that was titled Oil Can Collection (beautiful compositions, check them out). Well synchronicity weaved a web of happenstance and what should show up on our window screen, but a rather huge spider. It was on the outside of the screen but was casting a wonderful shadow on the inside. Now that created the perfect opportunity to capture some interesting shots for some surrealizing ( I know, bad pun) images.
The large spider reminded me of the swollen foot I had in late June. While doing some yard work I seemed to antagonized a creature that bite/stung me. My foot did swell a bit and several people suggested that it was a spider bite. I acquired no powers from this encounter, but I did not end up climbing the walls from discomfort either. Spiders are getting larger as the milder winters have allowed them to survive and continue growing. Perhaps this larger size has increased the potency of their bites.
Ah, The Spider’s Shadow, now there is a title for Pulp Magazine tale. Plus it mentions two significant Pulp Magazine heroes, The Shadow and The Spider. For more on The Shadow see my post, Existential Friday: MEMENTO MORI & The Fruit of Knowledge . The Spider was a Pulp Magazine hero, Richard Wentworth that was specifically created (1933) to compete for the same target audience as The Shadow. Creepier and more violent, The Spider wore an elaborate disguise that included fangs, a fright wig of long witchy-hair , and a hunch back. The Spider also carried a thin silken line (his “web”) which had a breaking strain of several hundred pounds. One distinguishing feature of The Spider was his “calling card.” Wentworth often left a red-ink “spider” image like a drop of blood on the foreheads of the criminals that he slew so others would not be blamed for his crimes. His portrayal on the magazine cover was more in keeping with the romantic masked hero.
Dynamite Comics, which has recently began publishing The Shadow in comic-book form has also followed with a version of the Spider. The designs have been created by Alex Ross. It was inspired by the movie serial.
The tradition of the masked figure who takes on evil and fear by becoming the image of fear is very powerful, at times horrific, while at other times dashing and romantic. The Scarlet Pimpernel is a literary template of this figure. It is obvious that these figures hold a powerful influence on us. After all Both The Shadow and The Spider influenced the creation of The Bat-man and all comic-book superheroes . The connection to The Amazing Spider-man who climbs walls and uses webbing can be traced to these early pulp figures. The following images are intended to suggest some of the mystery of the mask and the spider that holds our fascination, even in this era. The colours imitate the lurid bloody pulps.