Norvell W. Page, author
Norvell W. Page (1904 - 1961) is regarded as one of the leading writers in pulp fiction. He was an American newspaper reporter after college, then successfully entered the world of pulp fiction, becoming a regular contributor to the legendary Black Mask, where Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett first achieved recognition. Popular Publications lured Norvell Page to write for Dime Mystery magazine. Soon, Popular Publications, noting the popularity of the best-selling hero pulps Doc Savage and The Shadow, launched The Spider magazine in 1933, with a new novel of the exploits of the masked crime fighter appearing every month, written by Norvell Page under the pseudonym of "Grant Stockbridge." His works only saw magazine publication during his lifetime, but his fantasies and some of the Spider novels were later reprinted as paperbacks.
The magazine was published between October 1933 and December 1943 and ran for 118 issues, ceasing only when the services of Norvell Page were needed for the war effort. During his run, the Spider starred in two Columbia Pictures action serials and his image was successfully merchandised. (Today, a Spider ring in fine condition has a $10,000 value to collectors.) And the pulp is fondly remembered by many of its readers.
He also contributed to other pulp series, including The Shadow and The Phantom, and supplied scripts for the radio programs based on the characters he wrote, science fiction and two early sword and sorcery fantasy novels under forms of his real name, Norvel Page and Norvell W. Page.
The late Charles M. Schulz, creator of the "Peanuts" comic strip, once wrote, "I still remember how he used to leap into a room doing a somersault while his two heavy 45's jumped into his hands. They were great stories." He added, "I could hardly stand to live from one month to another when the new Spider novel would come out."
His influence was tremendous and remains so to this day.
Prior to his pulp career, Norvell was a journalist, often working on crime beats. He didn't dissappear really, though he very much left the impression that he had. He moved back to his native Virginia following the death of his wife in 1943 and, among other things, worked in the Executive Offices of the President on a number of Committees in the Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations.
He died an untimely death in 1961, under rather vauge circumstances around the Bay of Pigs. At the time, he was editor-in-chief for the AEC.
Update - March 8, 2011
I recently heard from a relative of Mr. Page, and she was able to clear up some details about his passing.
"Norvell Page is my uncle, my mother's brother, whom I met and he died of a heart attack alone when he went out to some property to see a place where he was going to build a house."
Either way, we lost a great man that day. May he rest in peace.