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.
It was revealed that Needham's paraphernalia and missions as the Black Spider were bankrolled by a man who, it turned out, was actually secretly involved with narcotics and wanted to take out the competition. Despite his professed desire to fight criminals, the Black Spider occasionally allied himself with costumed villains. 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. Needham also faced King Faraday and Nightshade in a brief encounter.
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 dating Lyta Hall. No explanation was given for his resurrection. Whatever the case, Needham's survival has since been confirmed and he has made subsequent appearances as the Black Spider.Needham later became an ally of Deadshot, Monocle, and Merlyn during the Identity Crisis.