Monday, 29 April 2019

The Shadow

Another one of those all too rare situations where an artist finds the perfect character for them. Originally, when DC got the rights to The Shadow, the book was going to go to Berni Wrightson, as seen in this ad below.

Which would obviously have been amazing. But Wrightson was subsequently offered Swamp Thing, and Kaluta put his hat in the ring for The Shadow, a concept DC was then struggling to find a suitable artist for. ( Steranko, Toth & Aparo all being mooted, but for different reasons, all passed over )

Kaluta's work of this period is obviously fairly rough and untutored, but what it does have going for it is atmosphere, mood and menace in spades. These issues filter both Pulp illustration and the best of Golden Age art through the blender to produce something that, at the time, was quite unique, and still has a depth and potency you just don't see in comic art anymore.
O'Neil's scripts too are spot on. There's absolutely no background provided on who The Shadow is, why his team work for him with such unwavering loyalty, or anything even remotely resembling an origin.
The Shadow is deliberately given no characterization, being a dark force of nature, an unrelenting vigilante who dispenses justice at the barrel of a gun. This obviously makes him difficult to empathize with, but that's kind of the point. This is old-fashioned pulp storytelling, and this hero isn't vaguely interested in being the readers' friend.
Interesting to note also, that during the run, Denny made it clear that Lamont Cranston isn't The Shadow's real identity, but just another guise he uses. No one knows just who, or what, he really is.
But the main draw is Kaluta and his incredible cityscapes and aura of menace. Unfortunately, it couldn't last, and the amount of work Mike was putting in on The Shadow meant that deadlines slipped away, and after only five issues, he was off the book.
Here's Mike's last Shadow, an absolute tour de force of darkness.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

The Kids From Rec. Road In: Kids Of The Stones pt. 15 & YOUR favourite Supporting Character

This week, over at Rec. Road, something strange is happening every time we say our guest star Caroline Munro's name. Well, that's the '70's for you...
While over at:

We're talking supporting characters. Who's the one character you like nearly as much as the title star? I seriously doubt anybody's going to disagree with my choice, but you never know...

Saturday, 20 April 2019

The Son Of Satan in: Madhouse!

Here's a fantastic lost masterpiece from The Son Of Satan's original series, as Steve Gerber & Gene Colan do their own version of The Exorcist, with the added attraction that Daimon, of course, knows all the demons of his father's domain personally. If there is a minus, it's that Frank Chiaramonte is possibly not the most sympathetic inker Gene ever had, but that's nitpicking. This is pure brilliance, through and through.