One of my favorite heroes doesn’t originate in the comics. In 1930, pulp publisher Street & Smith wanted to boost sales of their Detective Story Magazine and hired an advertising agency to adapt the stories into a radio serial. One of their scriptwriters, Harry Engman Charlot, felt the serial needed a mysterious narrator to tie the stories together and suggested a variety of names until he hit upon… The Shadow. The results weren’t what the publisher expected. Sales of Detective Story Magazine didn’t go up, but newsdealers were inundated with requests for the Shadow magazine. Not being stupid, Street & Smith commissioned Walter B. Gibson to create The Shadow Magazine and he would go on to write 282 of the 325 stories published over the next 20 years.
The Shadow would go on to thrive as a radio program, at one point being played by the legendary Orson Wells. Movie serials were produced during the 30s and 40s and a feature film was made in 1994. The film starred Alec Baldwin as Lamont Cranston and included Penelope Ann Miller, Tim Curry, Ian McKellen and Jonathan Winters. And the character would exist in comics… from comic strips in the 40s and 50s to comic books with Archie Comics doing an eight-issue series in 1964. The character would bounce around from DC, to Marvel, to Eternity, to Comico, to Dark Horse and so on. In 2011, the Shadow found a new home with Dynamite Entertainment. In a deal with Conde Naste, Dynamite launched an on-going series by writer Garth Ennis. Other comic legends like Matt Wagner and Howard Chaykin took turns on the character and the publisher has crossed him over with the Green Hornet and the Twilight Zone.
This week Dynamite has kicked off a new The Shadow series written by Si Spurrier and Dan Watters with art by Daniel HDR and first issue covers by Kenneth Rocafort, Michael Kaluta, Brandon Peterson,Neal Adams, and Tyler Kirkham. They have also announced The Shadow / Batman crossover series written by Steve Orlando and drawn by Giovanni Timpano. The Shadow was one of the characters said to have influenced the creation of Batman.
To go with the released of The Shadow #1, comiXology is doing a big sale on the Shadow comics from Dynamite. This includes the original 27 issues of the Shadow on-going (25 issues, 1 annual and issue #100). The Shadow Master Series which includes runs by Bill Sienkiewicz and Kyle Baker. The Shadow Now, The Shadow: Year One, Dark Knights: Shadow & Green Hornet, The Shadow: Midnight in Moscow, Shadow: Death of Margo Lane, The Shadow Vol 2, The Twilight Zone / The Shadow and the Shadow Over Innsmouth.
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