Jan 23, 2012

Dynamite Releases THE SHADOW in April, to Be Written by Garth Ennis

So the news is out that Dynamite Entertainment is releasing a new THE SHADOW ongoing in April, to be written by Garth Ennis (PREACHER, HITMAN, THE BOYS) and drawn by Aaron Campbell (THE TRIAL OF SHERLOCK HOLMES), with covers by Alex Ross (KINGDOM COME, MARVELS). And I was going to write about it — I really was — but my best friend since the third grade, who is the biggest Shadow fan I know, wanted the chance to do it.

So, without further ado, heeeeeeeere's Pig! (That's his pen name. And what're you looking at? My name is Duy.)

The Shadow Returns
by Pig

The Shadow returns courtesy of Dynamite Comics. To be written by Garth Ennis.

There was one thought in my head when Duy broke the news to me.

OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD.

WHOOOOO KNOOOOWS WHAT EEEEVIL
LURKS IN THE HEAAAARTS OF MEEEEN?

The Shadow. Garth Ennis. Alex Ross.

Sweet baby Jesus, this is pure gold.

I was introduced to The Shadow in 1994, when the movie starring Alec Baldwin came out (I know Rotten Tomatoes said it sucked, but who the hell cares). I never heard of The Shadow till then, but then later found out that the guy predated the Batman, who actually ripped The Shadow (ripped may sound too harsh, let’s say “templated” or “copied, but with variations).

See link: http://dialbforblog.com/archives/391/

(Duy's interjection: also see link: http://www.comicscube.com/2010/07/reclaiming-history-bill-finger-real.html)

But what makes The Shadow so damn cool?

Is it the mysterious origin? The evil laugh? The scarf, cape, and slouch hat? That piercing eye and hawk-like nose, and mouth covered in scarlet? Those shiny .22s (later turned to be .45s, then Uzis) that he brandishes around? The fact that The Shadow will first toy with the guilty, mess with their mind, and then rain bullets on them? The moral ambiguity of a hero that almost verges on the point of villainy?

Fuck. And Yes.

This is a character that has the mystery of Batman, the powers of Professor X, and just about the moral code of The Punisher. PLUS he has agents. Yes, ladies and gents, AGENTS.  And we’re not talking marketing agents. We’re talking about loyal agents who would sooner eat a live snake than disappoint him (direct quote from Chaykin’s The Shadow remake).



You have Harry Vincent, the Hand of the Shadow, whom he saved from committing suicide. Moe Shrevnitz, the Legs of The Shadow, who is the cab driver and chauffer (yes, The Shadow is cool like that to actually be one of the few heroes to have a chauffeur). Margo Lane, socialite (and somewhat “love interest” or sex puppy, don’t exactly know which in The Shadow’s opinion is), who serves as the Shadow’s Eyes. And Burbank, radio operator and communications expert, who acts as the Shadow’s Ears.

Those are only a few of his many agents (read The Shadow 1941 for more info). And this opens a lot of opportunity for plotlines.

And then you have Lamont Cranston. The face of The Shadow.

Note that I said “the Face,” instead of “the alter-ego” of the Shadow. Because unlike Batman, who is in fact, Bruce Wayne, The Shadow stole the persona of millionaire playboy Lamont Cranston.

WHAT?

The real identity of The Shadow is Kent Allard (or so he says), an aviator hired for a sinister mission of smuggling, who crashes in the mysterious East of Shambala and learns to manipulate and cloud the minds of men, and then goes out to steal the very identity of the evil man who hired him for the mission – Lamont Cranston.

His alter-ego is also an alter ego? That’s fucked up.

Hence, we really don’t know who The Shadow really is. Is he really Kent Allard, because he’s not Lamont Cranston either? Or is this one of that “The Shadow is messing with your mind” bit? Most likely.

And really, the history of The Shadow is nothing short of spectacular. The great late Orson Welles voiced him during his radio show in 1937, which launched hundreds of pulp novels in the 40s and 50s. Writers changed, and so did the quality of the novels — intriguing mystery at its mildest, and downright raunchy, hard-boiled and violent at its most edgy. And in fact, it’s the raunchy, hard-boiled, and violent that’s often most remembered of The Shadow. When Gibson wrote The Shadow and stylized him as the dark, mysterious, sinister anti-hero that he is, the fans dug it like gold.

Apart from the pulps and radio show, The Shadow had several motion pictures, and his iconic presence spurred many comic book remakes and GNs. And now, we can all anticipate Garth Ennis’ version of The Shadow. I honestly cannot think of a more appropriate writer to write The Shadow.



The only downside is, as I have learned from Duy, that Dynamite is mighty slow coming out with their issues. But that’s okay for me, as long as they come out with quality material. 

So that’s that for me, anticipating with excitement and ranting about The Shadow. I certainly hope it’s going to be a good one, and by the way things look, it almost certainly feels that it will be. But if not, who knows?



THE SHADOW KNOWS. THAT’S WHO, BITCHES.

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