Remake & Reboot: THE SHADOW Comic Series

Before Batman, Superman and any of the Marvel heroes came the pulp icons that paved the way. From Flash Gordon to Tarzan and the Phantom, they were the prototypes for the comic book super-heroes to come. And none had more influence than the Shadow.

Created in the 1930s as a radio character, the Shadow rose to higher stature when a series of pulp novels chronicled his adventures. He’s starred in no less than five movies, and took to comics in the late 30s with a newspaper strip. In the intervening years, the Shadow has come to life in comics with comic creators like Dennis O’Neil, Michael William Kaluta, Howard Chaykin, Bill Sienkiewicz, Kyle Baker, Dave Stevens, and even Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel. Earlier this year Dynamite announce it had acquired the rights to do a new Shadow series but there’s been no word on who and how it’s done.

Let’s give them some help.

The Concept:

Although Batman owes much to the Shadow, one of the hardest things about the fedora-wearing hero is his time period. Created in the 1930s, it’s easy to set his stories exclusively in that pre-war time period but to really attract audiences a more modern day approach is needed. Perhaps there’d be a way to bridge that gap and have him both in period drama and the modern day — perhaps the Shadow was stolen from his original time period and transplanted into modern times. A comic series could show the before and after of the Shadow trying to get to the bottom of it and get used to his new surroundings.

Much of this would be left up to the creators of the book, but I think casting the Shadow as a period piece and as a man out of time could provide an interesting backdrop for the series. No doubt Shiwan Khan (or perhaps a descendent) could keep up with the Shadow through to the modern day.

The Creators:

The Writer – Kurt Busiek: You’d never believe it, but in his near-30 year career in comics Kurt Busiek has never written the Shadow. After his work on Marvels, Astro City and Conan that’s hard to believe, but it’s true. Since Busiek is already working hard on the Kirby: Genesis series for Dynamite, he’s a quick phone call away for Barrucci and the boys over there to enlist to bring this dark-clad heroine back to life. He’s done it before reviving Conan for Dark Horse, so imagine what he could do here.

The Artist – C.P. Smith: He might not be a household name in comics, but he’s popped up for short stints on books and really made a name for himself in my book. From his early work on Stormatch: Team Achilles to his two Wolverine stories and work on Marvel’s Noir line, Smith has a unique

The Cover Artist – Jae Lee: You can’t argue — Jae Lee has been destined to draw the Shadow. Looking back even on his early work on Namor and his own series Hellshock, you could see it in the way he lays down lines and plays with shadows. For the past few years he’s been knee-deep in The Dark Tower, but doing covers for a Shadow series would still be possible and could be a signature part of a revitalized series.


  1. I just want another good noir series to follow. Personally, I’d buy a 30s-themed comic but as long as it’s nice and gritty I’ll buy it.

  2. OMG. Love the Shadow. Batman 259, featuring the Shadow, is a classic and helped inspire my love for comics.

  3. I’m down for a Shadow comic.

  4. I love the Shadow. I first got into it via radio dramas starring Orson Welles. Much like the Green Hornet, I think The Shadow is “of a time” and I think is best successful when working within that time. I did, however, really like the late 80s/early 90s DC series that I’ve been able to get my hands on, especially the Chaykin miniseries which did a pretty good job of updating the mythos. I even dug the Alec Baldwin movie. I also have a great affection for The Green Hornet which I discovered via the radio dramas and the NOW Comics series that came out when I was a kid. The new movie and series seem to range from mediocre to crap except for the Matt Wagner-penned Year One series and the Kato spin-off. I’m not sure why these character need to be updated, though. No one thought there needed to be an updated Lone Ranger or Zorro. Unless an updated Shadow is super-gritty and avoids the tropes of flashy gimmicks and technology, a lot of these characters that started out as a regular guy who punches and shoots people tend to get pretty silly when someone tries to “superhero” them up.

  5. You lost me at time travel. Don’t get me wrong I like The Shadow but there is no reason to keep him stuck as a 1930’s character. Even one temporally displaced to the modern day. I’m just sayin’. Would love to see someone do a modern take on what this character could be like…

    • I definitely agree with you. I admittedly dislike time travel as a plot device. However, I’d be happy if they did either a 1930’s or contemporary setting as long as The Shadow is back .

  6. I would eat this up. I also liked the movie, though I seem to be in the minority…

  7. I just started re-reading the Shadow mini-series that Howard Chaykin did back in the 80’s. I love his stuff! I’m really happy to see him doing the Avengers 1959 series too!