Your friendly neighborhood Spider
The spider wears a firehawk-red and black head-to-toe skin tight costume.
Derek Drake is far less impressive. Perhaps with a hair cut and the confidence to stand up straight he could be mistaken as attractive.
From: The Spider
To: All Grand City News Outlets
December 9th 2024
There is a lot speculation out there on who is The Spider. He is an alien, mutant, hero or foe. I’m writing this to clear the air and after reading it, you can decide.
My name is Derek Drake and I’ve just turned 17. I am a junior at Empire High School in Mid Town Guardian City. I’m the only son of Meredith & John Drake. I never knew my father as he left us when I was only an infant. Further tragedy struck when my mother died in a car wreck from a drunk driver when I was only six. With no way to locate my father I got my first piece of good luck and was taken in by my mother’s Aunt June and Uncle Roy.
Life was pretty normal for a while. In High School I’m mostly ignored by girls and never missed by bullies. I have spent most of those lonely lunches studying alone in the library and have been called a prodigy in science once or twice. I don’t know about that, but I did end up winning the Grand City science fair last year, which earned me a small internship at OmniCorp under research scientist and part time College Professor Fenton “Fen” Iris. I’d like to think we struck up a friendship naturally as we both longed to change our lives. I couldn’t wait to hatch out of the high school nerd I am and into a college student, even if only slightly less nerdy. Dr. Iris suffers from Darvon’s Disease, a rare thyroid condition weakening his body so much that he requires a wheel chair to move around. He hopes that one day through science he can find a cure transforming him back into a man of vigor that he used to be.
At home I always received more than my share of love and support. Uncle Roy was a true renaissance man, a mechanic by trade, but one who could often be found quoting 19th century poets and philosophers. He very much encouraged my scientific pursuits even giving me a spot in his commercial garage to tinker a bit. He was always quoting Voltaire to me “With great power, comes great responsibility” saying one day I’d change the world.
A few months ago I was working on a new scientific project, a chemical coating that could be applied to engine parts to prevent overheating. The heat goo as I called it worked, it nullified the heat perfectly and when dried became as hard as steel, but it was unstable and would return to a liquid state and just slide right off of the engine parts. Stumped I went to visit Dr. Iris at OmniCorp midtown lab. Dr. Iris was using a new catalyst that he found hidden deep in the archive storage tombs. Its origin was unknown only a simple label noting “Chameleon Serum IV”. The doctor began testing it on a variety of creatures to spectacular results. The serum altered the subjects’ DNA. The recombinant potential was amazing and even remained stable in a spider, which he first tested it on weeks ago.
Frustrated after another series of failed attempts to stabilize my heat goo I thought to examine the Chameleon Serum IV under a micro-scope. While extracting the serum from its case I accidently knocked over a shelf holding the first test subject of the serum, an orange-red and black spider. Not wanting Dr. Iris to know what a close call I just had almost spilling the serum I quickly scrambled to pick up the brightly colored spider. When I did it bit me! Pumping enough venom into my hand that the spider died and truth be told I didn’t feel too much better myself. In a haze I got myself home and slept the entire next day.
When I awoke I felt a changed man. No longer needing my glasses and filled with energy and grace of moment I’d never known before. My new powers began to manifest over the following weeks; wall crawling, heightened strength, stamina and agility along with an uncanny sense to danger.
I was eager to share these changes with Dr. Iris, but his illness had taken a sudden dip and his wife made it clear he was to have no visitors. Exploring these changes myself and using a reverse engineering approach and I created a new stabilizing catalyst for my heat shield goo. It remained liquid only for moments before hardening and remaining stable. While attempting to test it on an engine through a sprayer it shot out like a web. It was both as strong as steel and resistant to heat. I worked all night and well into the next morning to created small web-blasters, one for each wrist. The next night I was swinging through the city by moon light feeling a freedom I’d never known.
A few weeks later I read an ad in the Daily Sun Online promising a cash prize for photos of a true crime in progress. Eager for some spending money, maybe enough for a used car I set out to capture a crime in progress. King’s Row where my uncles’ shop resides always seemed to have crime about. Staking out the area didn’t take long before a bodega was held up. I caught the whole thing on my camera phone and going for extra credit even pursued the robber while the police gave chase. It was a piece of cake to keep up. Before I knew it the man had ran to my uncle’s shop and broken inside to hide. I didn’t think much of it as Uncle Roy would have closed shop up many hours ago. Then I heard a gunshot. A sound I’ll never forget.
I stormed in and found my uncle wounded and dying. Uncle Roy had come back to the shop to check on me because I had been spending most nights out here tinkering, or so I told him. The man shot him when surprised by Uncle Roy’s presence. He died in my arms telling me to always be a good man, the world need more good men.
Enraged I gave pursuit of the robber turned murder. I caught him and beat him nearly to death. With a final fist pulled back ready to strike I wanted to kill the man and with my new strength I could…but I knew my Uncle was too good of a person to want that kind of justice, so I left him there for the police.
Any anger I had left turned to guilt when I look at Aunt June. I should have stopped that man when he robbed the store and my Uncle would still be alive. After Uncle Roy’s funeral I recalled his quoting of Voltaire “With great power, comes great responsibility”. So I put together a costume to hide my identity and set out to make a difference by putting a dent in street crime where ever I could, so no other good man would be lost on account of my inaction.
After that several online new papers began reporting on Grand City’s newest vigilante, some calling me The Spider, other’s The Web because of how I left criminals cocooned for the police to find. The Daily Sun Online painted me a villain speculating I was likely working for a criminal organization grabbing up more turf.
After two months of having no word from my mentor I was shocked when I received a late night call from an excited and frantic Dr. Iris asking me to meet him at OmniCorp’s Midtown lab. There I found an even sicklier version of my friend and mentor. He called me there to film his newest experiment. He had combined the Chameleon Serum IV along with wolf DNA. Explaining that the North American wolf has one of the strongest endocrine systems of any mammal and that combined it could cure those like him with Darvon’s Disease.
I attempted to reason with the Doctor not to try the serum on himself and to listen to what I had been through since the spider bite. Dr. Iris cut me off saying he had already taken the concoction before I arrived. Just then the doctor entered a violent seizer. When I went to hold him down Fen throw me off with amazing strength. By the time I got to my feet he had turned into a giant man-wolf and in a foaming rage tried to tear me apart. I was barely able to stay alive let along stop him and the Doctor got away.
Over the next several days he tore up the city like a mystical beast of ancient lore. In one such battle I noted Dr. Fen Iris was now more like Fenris the Norse wolf-monster and the name Doctor Fenris stuck in the papers. Eventually I created an antidote to save my friend and not a minute too soon. Doctor Fenris had planned to recreate a scene from something he lived through as a young man when an old timie villain called The Chameleon nearly turned all of Grand City into Hyena men.
With my antidote Dr. Iris was retuned back into his himself although still very much afflicted with Darvon’s Disease. He was sent to Argus prison awaiting a psych evaluation and testing. This was also the first real positive exposer for The Spider, well in all the city’s news outlets except for the Daily Sun Online, who named me a conspirator. All well another quote Uncle Roy was found of “You can’t please all of the people all of the time”.
So that’s me, your friendly neighborhood Spider. Although after writing this all down I suppose it’s not important what others think of me, let them wonder. All that matters is that I do my best at being a good man.
This letter is crumbled up and thrown into a wastepaper basket