Black Tarantula

Black Tarantula
The comic book history of the Black Tarantula, from Feature Presentation Comics.

The Loophole

Count Rorret woke up one evening...from the dead.

Yeah, he woke up underneath his gravestone that said, "Zoraster Rorret, Born 1101, died..." then, nothing.

Of course, this means that he lives forever... yeah, little known life hack...or...death hack, if the person carving the headstone forgets to put the year of death it's like when the person at Dairy Queen forgets to turn your Blizzard upside down. You get a freebie. You get eternal life. And not like the Biblical eternal life, either. You get to stay down here and mess with stuff.

Those are the rules.

That's where we meet Count Rorret. He pops up in a graveyard at midnight where all the people who died from evil get to pop up in spirit and...listen to his story time.

Yeah. Not only are they dead from being evil, and they have to spend all their time thinking about that - one guy tried to kill his brother because his brother was better looking than him, but he tripped on a root while trying to push him off a cliff and fell to his own death - but, the only time they have about ground they have to listen to Count Rorret talk about that time he was extremely sleazy with a princess.

And, before we get into it, Count Rorret is a detail that really only works in text and is also barely clever. Rorret is "terror" spelled backwards. Like, we get it. You're a guy wearing a cape and a fedora, with claws, fangs, and green skin. Just call yourself Count Terror. You bring people back from the dead to enslave them. Like, there's no need for the wink and the nod. Also, Count Rorret sounds like something Scooby-Doo would say.

Anyway, Count Rorret lived a fairy tale that he was the bad guy in a fairy tale. He wanted to marry the princess Elthena but oops! He was evil and scary-looking. She recoiled, and he learned the princess loved a commoner named Leopold. She said she would rather die than be without him, Count Rorret said ok and killed her with a gaze.

The Love Story

Now, the Count was thirsty and gross, so he transformed into a tarantula and bit the princess, making it so she could rise again, but she was completely under his control.

"Without your consent!"

Her parents heard the thing every parent dreads: "goodbye mom and dad I have joined the legions of the dead," and Elthena left with Rorret. They tried to sic the guards on Rorret, but he turned said guards into puppies which is just the most delightful way to be evil.

Anyway, he kept trying to delay the promise of killing Leopold and turning him into the undead, but the princess would not let it go. Leopold, though, knew something about Rorret's past. Some secret that would bring the Count down.

...and he kept saying so. Over and over again. I'm not going to say don't fight evil in whatever way you want. You want to dress up like a bat and give people concussions? You do you. Want to impale people on your bone claws in a feral rage? Sure. But, if you know the secret of the bad guy's power, maybe don't yell that in his face every chance you get. Keep that little nugget in your back pocket.

When your model is leaning on a table, but you forget to add the table.

A lot of stuff happened next, where Rorret kept making a promise to turn Leopold into the undead, and then he kept breaking it. Eventually the princess gave up on him and was able to leave, and he turned another woman who attacked and killed Leopold when Leopold attacked Count Rorret making it so Leopold was an eternal spider, too. Look, there's eternal torment in the bad place...and then there's being stuck listening to the drama of a teenage love triangle for the rest of your undead life. Six of one half dozen of the other is what I'm saying.

Anyway, Rorret pulled a Koschei the deathless when he told the princess his weakness was being blindfolded. If anything covered his eyes, he lost all of his evil power. If you're wondering how blinking worked, well, we're apparently the only ones.

Surprise, though, that princess who had left him because he's a creepy weirdo murderer wasn't in his lair for the right reasons.

Elthena conspired with the undead Leopold to strip Rorret of his powers with...a sack over his head. Yeah. The guy that can dump villagers in a fire pit, make a medieval fire kaiju, and transform people into goats, rats, and puppies...his weakness empty potato sack.

This is actually pretty metal

The princess and Leopold returned to life, with Rorret's magic being nullified, and they married and lived and died happily ever after.

Nothing lasts forever, though, and I would assume that the bag rotted on Rorret's head, where the couple buried him, so the story ends as it began - with Rorret rising from the grave and telling the evil souls in attendance his story, vowing to go out to spread evil and wickedness with the setting of the next day's sun.

The End...or is it? No, it is.

It also ends ends there, because the evil Count Rorret didn't get another issue. I guess it's hard to have a villain that has endless supernatural powers but whose weakness is a sack.

I mean...they know it now?

But, I don't think he's still out there. Things have been going really great throughout the 20th and 21st century.

Silver lining of this golden age ridiculousness, no one renewed the copyright, so Count Rorret is in the public domain. I posted the comic on the website at, and you're welcome to write your own Count Rorret stories....just maybe change the name. Not because you have to...but because you should.

Marvel did. Perhaps they knew about the Black Tarantula of the 50s. Possibly it's such a blandly generic name that it doesn't even matter, but, surprise, he's a Spider-man villain. His origin isn't as funny and vague as "evil wizard." His ancestor drank a potion somewhere down the line that gave him strength, healing, and eye lasers because why not. He has a long history that's not as interesting to me, but as a final point, they did choose a different name. Instead of Count Rorret, they went with Carlos DeMuerto. I think the real curse of the Black Tarantula is having a painfully obvious evil name.

Want more of the worst comic book villains of all time?

The entire Black Tarantula comic.