ANDY FISH

ANDY FISH is a comic book artist


You're reading his old blog-- so change your bookmarks to his NEW improved BLOG.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

DYNAMITE Comics THE SHADOW!

Batman might have soiled his bat-shorts when he met The Shadow in 1973


Dynamite Entertainment has the license for some really great characters, Zorro, The Green Hornet, The Spider and The Shadow!

If all you know about The Shadow is that he is, in reality, Lamont Cranston, wealthy young man about town who has the ability to cloud men's minds so that they cannot see him then you really don't know much about The Shadow.

Or at least you're not getting at the real meat of a fantastic character.

Born of the bloody pulps from the 1930s-- so named because they were produced cheaply and quickly and provided non-stop action to their multitude of depression era readers under their 10c cover.  Readers ate up the adventures of characters like Doc Savage, The Spider, The Avenger, Operator 8 but none took the reading public by storm like The Shadow.

Written by a variety of authors under the pen name Maxwell Grant The Shadow often solved complex mysteries that his contemporaries never bothered with.  When The Shadow made the jump to a popular radio drama in 1937 starring Orson Welles he was given the Lamont Cranston identity as a sort of amateur sleuth motif with his gal pal Margo Lane-- faithful pulp readers knew that The Shadow was indeed using the identity of Lamont Cranston-- as he did with dozens of others when needed, but that in reality he was possibly more than mortal.

The Shadow inspired Bob Kane and Bill Finger in creating Batman in 1939 to the point that the black clad Bat-Man even carried his own .45 automatic (The Shadow carried a pair) to dispatch his enemies when he saw fit.  Batman eventually succumbed to the moral code of comic book heroes who refuse to take a human life for any reason-- even growing to the ridiculous idea that Batman would even refuse to pick up a gun due to one being the cause of his parents death.

The Shadow never took such a vow, as noted comics historian Jim Steranko has said-- "The Shadow didn't believe in the death penalty-- he was the death penalty."  Batman might have scared you as an underworld figure because he might give you a beating before dropping you off at Police Commissioner Gordon's office-- The Shadow scared you because it was likely his was the last face you'd ever see.

Dynamite has taken a fresh approach to The Shadow while staying faithful to the original canon.  The writing is by Garth Ennis and art by Aaron Campbell-- this is a fresh take and a welcome revisit of The Master of Darkness.