In New York City in the early 1900s, criminal bootlegger Albert Goldman and his wife, Miriam, gave birth to their first child, Roger. Albert's illegal activities precluded him from assuming the role of a traditional father, but his commitment towards his family changed upon the birth of Roger's sister, Celia.
Roger's inevitable mental instability began to develop in early childhood. As a youth, he took his aggression out on small animals, including the family dog. Albert quickly recognized that something was wrong with his son, but Miriam continued to coddle the boy, preferring instead to live in a world of alcohol and denial. She refused to accept the possibility that her beloved son was anything but normal. She continued to dote on him, even when he was kicked out of private school for attacking female students and killing a teacher's dog.
Roger's failure as a child was matched only by his failure as an adult. He lost a fortune of his family's money in gambling debts and the Internal Revenue Service eventually caught up with him for neglecting to report his losses. Albert used his family influence to keep Roger out of prison, but decided that it was time for the boy to take some responsibility in his life. He placed Roger in control of the Evergood Milk Bottling Company. Albert used Evergood as a front for his liquor smuggling operations. After the repeal of Prohibition however, Roger could not keep the company afloat and filed for bankruptcy.
During this time, Roger learned that his father had been sexually molesting his sister Celia for several years. As his daughter grew older, Albert actually came to fall in love with her. Celia took advantage of his affection, and actually turned the tables on him, using her sexual whiles to get everything she wanted from him. As such, Albert created a trust, which left all of his holdings in Celia's name. Ultimately, he left nothing to Roger or his mother but a failed milk bottling company.
Albert's sexual infidelity was not exclusive to his daughter however. He also carried on an affair with a younger woman named Catherine Van der Meer. By this point, Miriam Goldman had discovered all of her husband's dirty secrets and conspired with Roger to get revenge upon him.
Roger donned a black hood and began calling himself the Tarantula. He went out early in the morning and abducted Catherine Van der Meer just as she was arriving home from an evening of carousel. He brought her back to the cellar of the Goldman brownstone, where he bound her in chains and suspended her body from a row of pipes running across the ceiling. Keeping her locked up for several days, he took delight in brutalizing her at every given opportunity. Miriam meanwhile, released an anonymous letter stating that the Tarantula had kidnapped Catherine Van der Meer. She made no public demands concerning a ransom, and local authorities suspected that the kidnapping was the handiwork of a serial killer.
A costumed mystery man known as the Sandman learned about the Van der Meer abduction and began conducting his own investigation. Although his efforts kept him in constant struggle with the local authorities, he eventually discovered the Tarantula's lair.
By this point, Roger decided that his next victim would be his own sister. He abducted her from her bedroom, and dragged her down into the cellar, where he bound her next to the near lifeless Catherine.
That evening, Miriam and Roger both came down into the cellar, prepared to kill both of Albert's lovers with an axe. The Sandman arrived and succeeded in disarming the insane Miriam Goldman. Her weapon deflected off the wall, damaging an electrical circuit box. While the Sandman kept the Tarantula at bay with his gas gun, a groggy Celia Goldman managed to kick one of the live wires into a small puddle of water. The Tarantula stepped backwards into the puddle, whereupon the wires electrocuted him.
Although the Tarantula did in fact carry a handgun, he preferred using blunt objects with which to torture his victims.
- This version of the Tarantula is based upon a character concept originally developed by Gardner Fox and Bert Christman.
- Fox and Christman's Tarantula was a man named Crossart who abducted a wealthy heiress, Vivian Dale, in Adventure Comics #40. He probably encountered the Sandman in June 1939, on Earth-Two.
- The revised Tarantula, Roger Goldman, was developed by writer Matt Wagner and artist Guy Davis. He probably encountered the Sandman in January or February of 1938, on New Earth.
- Neither of these characters has any relation to Jonathan Law, a member of the All-Star Squadron, who likewise took the name Tarantula.
- Sandman Mystery Theatre #1
- Sandman Mystery Theatre #2
- Sandman Mystery Theatre #3
- Sandman Mystery Theatre #4
- 4 Appearances of Roger Goldman (New Earth)
- 3 Images featuring Roger Goldman (New Earth)
- Quotations by or about Roger Goldman (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Roger Goldman (New Earth)