Friday, May 15, 2020

Currently Reading - Kings of Crime


I have started reading this paperback issue of The Shadow story, Kings of Crime.  This issue was published by Pyramid Books in February 1976.  It features nice cover artwork by Jim Steranko.  It is the classic Shadow with an automatic in one hand and the ace of spades in the other.  A skeleton holds 4 king cards, each with a different thug and weapon!

I also like that Pyramid includes the "From The Shadow's private annals as told to Maxwell Grant."  This was a feature of the pulp magazines that I really liked and am glad they carried it over to their paperbacks.



The original pulp issue of Kings of Crime published on December 15, 1932.



Pyramid Books (which became Jove Books) published a total of 23 of The Shadow's stories.


Sunday, May 10, 2020

The Shadow Knows....May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month!



Ok, so this post really has nothing to do with The Shadow, but I did want to share that May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month.  

Skin Cancer is not something that was on my mind too much in the past.  Then, several years ago, I lost an uncle to Melanoma.  And recently I've had my own experience with skin cancer.  I had a spot removed from my leg that turned out to be benign.  But last year I went through 4 surgeries to remove skin cancer from my face and then have reconstructive surgery to repair the holes in my skin that were left from removing the skin cancer.  This week I have another round of surgeries to remove skin cancer from my left ear.  I am not sharing this for pity - I'm sharing this because skin cancer is real, it should be taken seriously, and you should make checking your skin a regular part of your health care.  

Here are some facts to consider:

  • There are over 5 million new cases of skin cancer diagnosed each year in the US
  • 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by age 70
  • 2 people die of skin cancer every hour


For more information, you can check out these web sites:
Skin Cancer Foundation
American Cancer Society

Ok, so skin cancer does have something to do with The Shadow now that I've thought about it.  I avoid too much exposure to the sun by staying in the shadows!  I know this was a different type of post, but I am trying to play a small part in letting people know about skin cancer during this month of Skin Cancer Awareness.


  

Saturday, February 15, 2020

The Shadow Annuals

The Shadow had an impressive publishing run from 1931 to 1949.  One mystery to me is why there were only 3 Shadow annuals published over that stretch of time?  I don't have an answer yet but will keep digging.  Here's a brief look at the 3 Shadow annuals.

The first The Shadow Annual published in 1942.  It featured a cover of The Shadow in the guise of Lamont Cranston.  It featured the following Shadow stories:  The Living Shadow, The Ghost Makers, and The Black Hush.  It was 144 pages, and based on what I can find, Graves Gladney was the artist for the cover.



The second The Shadow Annual published in 1943.  The cover states, "A selection of the best Shadow novels."  It contained the following Shadow stories:  The Voodoo Master, Hidden Death, and The Gray Ghost.  I've not found a difinitive answer to who the cover artist was.  I've seen the artwork attributed to George Rozen, Modest Stein and Graves Gladney.



The third and final The Shadow Annual published in 1947.  The stories in this issue are:  No Time for Murder, Toll of Death, and Murder by Magic.



As I find more information on these three Annuals, I'll be sure to update this article!!!


Thursday, August 29, 2019

Two Year Anniversary!

Today marks the second anniversary of this Shadow blog.  I say thank you to each person who takes time out of their day to stop by my blog and look around.  I sincerely hope you find it worth your time!

Things have been busy for me the past several months so my posts have been pretty sporadic.  I hope to be able to get to a more regular cadence of posting.



Sunday, August 18, 2019

A Shadow Comics Mystery - A Question of Character!



When Shadow Comics first began to be published, The Shadow character of the comics mirrored the character of the pulp magazine.  Many, if not all, of the first Shadow Comics were based on stories straight out of the pulps.  But then in the 11th edition of Shadow Comics (published April 25, 1941*) the editors let us know that The Shadow of the comics will now mirror the character from The Shadow radio show!

From Editors note in Shadow Comics 11 (sorry it's blurry!)

The editor tells the readers, "In this issue we show THE SHADOW in pictures for the first time doing the "invisible man" act.  THE SHADOW in the comics is now exactly the same as THE SHADOW over the radio.  You'll be thrilled by it!"  The story in Shadow Comics 11 is from the radio show as well - The Leopard Strikes (which aired on January 5, 1941.)!

This is a mystery to me!  The Shadow radio show was only in it's 4th season and while the radio show was very popular and successful, had it eclipsed the popularity of the pulp magazine?  Was The Shadow character of the radio show more popular than the character of the pulps?  Or could it be that The Shadow character of the radio show better lent itself to the pages of a comic book (and its intended audience) than did the character of the pulps?

I don't have an answer to this mystery but found it quite an interesting development in the history of The Shadow.


*Mike's Amazing World of Comics


Sunday, July 7, 2019

Norgil the Magician



Did you know that Walter B. Gibson created another character named Norgil the Magician?  Not only did Gibson write the vast majority of The Shadow stories, he also created the character of Norgil the Magician and penned over 20 short-stories featuring Norgil.  

November 1937 edition of Crime Busters

The first Norgil story was published in November of 1937 in Street and Smith's Crime Buster pulp.  In all, 23 Norgil stories were published.  Just like The Shadow, Gibson wrote using the Maxwell Grant pen name.  Norgil the Magician has a supporting cast made up of Miriam, his assistant and Fritz his stage assistant.

The Mysterious Press reprint

In 1977 and 1979, a collection of the original Norgil stories were published by The Mysterious Press.  These books featured original cover art by Jim Steranko and introductions by Walter B. Gibson.  Only 16 of the 23 Norgil stories were collected in these two books.

Sanctum Books has republished some of the Norgil stories in their reprints of The Whisperer.

Sanctum Books reprint of The Whisperer

While I have not read a single Norgil story, I am looking forward to reading them and getting to know this character.  Based on what little I do know, he sounds like a bit of Mandrake the Magician and The Shadow mixed together!  I know Walter B. Gibson was a master magician himself so I'm sure his knowledge and craft was woven into the stories.  Hope you've enjoyed this brief look at another one of Gibson's great pulp characters!


Monday, July 1, 2019

25th Anniversary of The Shadow Movie!



July 1 marks the 25th anniversary of the 1994 The Shadow movie which starred Alec Baldwin as Lamont Cranston/The Shadow and Penelope Ann Miller as the lovely Margo Lane.

The movie debuted as the number 2 film, up against stiff competition from Disney's The Lion King.  Unfortunately, it didn't carry the momentum into the following weeks and didn't have a long run at the box office.  Because of its poor reception, plans for sequels were ended.

I personally love this movie.  It  has the right blend of The Shadow's attributes from the pulps and the radio show.  When Alec Baldwin is The Shadow, he looks like he's ripped from the cover of one of the pulp stories.  Yes, it is not a perfect film, but it is the best Shadow film ever made!

Here's a link to articles on my blog about the 1994 film:  1994 The Shadow Movie