Black Spider (DC)(01 - Eric Needham)
Real Name: Eric Needham
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The original Black Spider first appeared in Detective Comics #463 (September 1976) and was created by Gerry Conway. Eric Needham was a small time crook who was addicted to heroin. Desperate for money to buy more drugs, he robbed a liquor store and killed the owner, who turned out to be his father. After being arrested, he kicked the habit out of remorse and began a war on the drug trade.
Donning a costume, he became a self-styled vigilante and began killing those suspected of dealing drugs. This soon brought him into conflict with Batman. Needham believed that the two should be allies, as he saw common purpose in their war against criminals. His murderous methods however continually put him at odds with the Dark Knight.
Despite his professed desire to fight criminals, the Black Spider occasionally allied himself with costumed villains (most notably in the gathering of super-villains in Detective Comics #526 and Batman #400). Ostensibly, Black Spider's goal in this was to seek revenge against Batman, or at least, this is how he attempted to justify his actions in his own mind.
During his war, Needham's wife and son were killed by a drug lord who had discovered the Black Spider's identity. In rage, the Spider prepared for one final assault. After being shot multiple times, Needham invaded the drug lord's headquarters and detonated explosives strapped to his back, killing the drug dealers in the process.
Eric Needham later turned up in Neil Gaiman's critically acclaimed fantasy comic, The Sandman, dating supporting character, Lyta Hall. No explanation was given for his resurrection. However, earlier issues of the series depicted the souls of sinners escaping Hell when its ruler, Lucifer abdicated the throne. Presumably, Needham was among these.
Whatever the case, Needham's survival has since been confirmed and the character has made subsequent appearances as the Black Spider, such as in the miniseries Underworld Unleashed. He was last seen in Identity Crisis as an ally of Deadshot, Monocle, Merlyn.
First Appearance: Detective Comics (1937) #463
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View a chronological listing of this character's appearances
#4 Batman (1940)
- 'The Brave...and the Bold'
Batman: Shadow of the Bat (1992)
TPB vol. 01 Batman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told (2005)
- 'Batman: Shadow of the Bat Volume 1'#5
- 'The Black Spider'
Batman: The Widening Gyre (2009)
Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985)
Detective Comics (1937)
#463 Identity Crisis (2004)
- 'The Doomsday Express!'#526
- 'All My Enemies Against Me!'#566
- 'Know Your Foes'
#2 Legends of the Dark Knight: Jim Aparo (2012)
- 'Chapter Two: House of Lies'#4
- 'Chapter Four: Who Benefits'#5
- 'Chapter Five: Father's Day'
Secret Origins (1986)
#3 Tales of the Batman: Gerry Conway (2017)
- 'The World's Finest, Part Three: Running Wild'
Tales of the Batman: Len Wein (2014)
HC The Annotated Sandman (2011)
- 'Tales of the Batman: Len Wein'
The DC Comics Encyclopedia (2004)
HC The Sandman (1989)
- 'The DC Comics Encyclopedia: Updated And Expanded'HC
- 'The DC Comics Encyclopedia'
Untold Legend of the Batman (1980)
#2 Villains United (2005)
- 'With Friends Like These...'
#2 Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe (1985)
- 'Villains United, Part Two: A Fire in the Steppes'#5
- 'Villains United, Part Five: Victims of Aggression'
#3 Young Justice (1998)
- 'Black Lightning to Byth'
- 'Fighting Maad, Part 4: MUBAR'#51
- 'Zand on the Run'
Secret Society of Super-Villains (03-Current)
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