When I first opened the package it came in, I was surprised! The magazine was so much smaller than other issues I have. It is physically smaller, as you can see in the picture below where I compare it with the July 1, 1941 issue. It has 130 pages compared to the July '41 issue that has 114 pages. By this time The Shadow was no longer a bi-monthly publication as beginning with the March 1943 issue, it had transitioned to monthly publication. (Based on some research I did, the paper shortage during WW2 had a significant impact on magazines and comics published during the war years. Paper, gasoline, rubber and even food was rationed during the war years. Please see this brief article here for some good info!)
The magazine's cover tells us what the inside story is, "The Mystery of the Crystal Skull." The artwork shows a skull, but I notice that The Shadow is missing! The price is 15 cents - that's up from the 10 cent price of the 1941 issue.
The table of contents indicates it features a full novel length story of The Shadow and two novelettes (short stories). It also has several special features, including Codes by Henry Lysing. I personally wish the Codes section of The Shadow magazine would be included in The Shadow reprints that are available. Finally, it has a feature called The Shadow Says. What I don't see is any reference to The Shadow Club or Highlights on The Shadow as have been in other issues.
Here are some pages from inside the magazine. (Sorry the pictures aren't that great. The binding on this issue is starting to come apart so I was being careful to not cause any more damage.)
The back cover is a full page ad for Calvert.
Inside are ads for Listerine and Gillette, and a reminder from Uncle Sam on price controls for the war effort.
I found most interesting the feature called The Shadow Says which is on page 6. It leads me to believe that this issue may have been the first, or one of the first, issues that were a smaller size (what they call a 'handy size.') It says, "In the transition from the larger book, to this present handy size, many adjustments were necessary." Another interesting part of The Shadow Says is a defense of the character Margo Lane! If you remember, Margo Lane was first a character on The Shadow radio show that began in 1937. She made her first appearance in The Shadow magazine in the June 15, 1941 issue. Newer fans to The Shadow loved her appearance in the pulp while other long-time Shadow fans hated her inclusion. Well, it appears there are still complaints about the lovely Margo Lane in 1944! It says in part, "Now we come to Margo Lane! Good old Margo is in trouble again with some readers and defended by others." The writer does a good job of painting a picture of the love/hate relationship fans have with Margo!