CGC Registry

O'Neil's Shadow: Return to Pulp Glory


Set Type: Shadow (1973)
Owner: SW3D
Last Modified: 1/25/2018
Views: 518

Rank: 17
Score: 520
Leading by: 85
Points to Higher Rank: 14

Set Description:

Created by writer and magician Walter B. Gibson, The Shadow made his debut on the radio program Detective Story Hour, on July 31, 1930, and later in print, in the pages of Street and Smith’s pulp The Shadow Magazine, on April 1, 1931. The Shadow is depicted as a no-nonsense, costumed vigilante, not prone to upholding a self-righteous ideology or moral code, like most masked superheroes who refuse to kill. Instead, The Shadow becomes the consummate symbol of a Vigilante Philosophy... a sometimes gray philosophy... born, bred, and nurtured in Oriental mysticsm but practiced in the gritty streets of Depression-Era America. The Shadow can regularly be seen, meting out back-alley justice in a manner best understood by those criminal underworld deviants who are his sworn enemies. The Shadow, who graces the noir pages of the pulp magazines, and in Street and Smith’s latter comic book incarnations (March 1940 – September 1949), is a Force of Nature, who strikes a balance in a very frightening and unforgiving world... a being of both Order and Chaos... a being of the Light and the Dark... an amalgam of Terror and Hope... of Life and Death... a Ying and Yang... a Shadow... for a Shadow, although it represents Darkness, owes its existence to the Light.

Arguably the literary world's first costumed anti-hero, much can be said of The Shadow's influence. As Dennis O'Neil observed in his forward from DC’s 1988 hardcover collection: The Private Files of the Shadow: "(The Shadow) has his own descendants: in the pulps, there were The Spider, The Bat and The Black Bat; on radio, The Green Hornet; and in comics, a small army of masked vigilantes - The Black Terror, The Crimson Avenger, The Hangman, Dr. Mid-Nite, The Sandman, and a dozen more, including of course, The Batman. All probably owe some debt of inspiration to The Shadow."

And, many decades later, O'Neil's observations still ring true, as The Shadow's influence can be seen in the comic pages of both old and new costumed vigilantes such as Charlton's The Question, Marvel's Daredevil, The Punisher, Moon Knight, Marvel UK’s Nightraven, DC's Vigilante, and Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta. The Shadow is the forerunner to such costumed vigilantes, and undeniably has played a critical role in the influence, creation, and core philosophy of a mulititude of fictional vigilantes as portrayed in various medias, and will likely continue to shape a new era of costumed and masked vigilantes as new Shadow adventures appear in the pages of Dynamite Entertainment's latest incarnation.

As for DC's first foray into the world of The Shadow...

...published from November 1973 to September 1975, writer Dennis O'Neil brought back to The Shadow faithful, a much needed homage to his pulp origins. As it so happened, less than a decade prior, Archie Comics dreadfully re-imagined The Shadow as a campy superhero donning a green and blue costume. This forgettable 8-issue run (published from August 1964 to September 1965), ludicrously had The Shadow depicted with blond hair (see issue #2).

Yet thankfully, DC brought The Shadow back from the brink...

...Credit O'Neil for employing an assortment of literary devices familiar to The Shadow canon, which include but are not exclusive to: signature costume (black slouch hat, crimson scarf, crimson lined cloak, and black suit), his beak-like nose, the ruby ring or girasol, communication in code, the Autogyro (a helicopter-plane hybrid), twin .45mm automatics, hypnosis, invisibility-like stealth, bone-chilling laughter, and signature catch-phrases we have all come to know and love: "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!"

Fully restored to his former glory, The Shadow operates under a veil of secrecy, relying on a loyal roster of agents who are in various ways indebted to him, often with their lives. These agents include: taxi driver Moses “Moe” Shrevnitz, nicknamed "Shrevvy", who acts as The Shadow’s chauffeur; the golden coiffed Burbank, a radio-operator and researcher who helps The Shadow to communicate to all agents; the beautiful Margo Lane, who often escorts The Shadow's alter ego Lamont Cranston, as an eye-candy socialite; and hardboiled gumshoe Harry Vincent.

Noir-ish, pulpy, exciting, and stylishly illustrated by artists Michael Kaluta, Frank Robbins, and E.R. Cruz, DC's The Shadow is a faithful run that was cut way too short, but nonetheless will be remembered as a classic.

DC's Shadow: 1-12
Writer: Dennis O'Neil
Artists:
Mike Kaluta: 1-4, 6
Frank Robbins: 5, 7-9
E.R. Cruz: 10-12

Shadow #1: "The Doom Puzzle"
Issue Synopsis (Spoiler Alert!):

From the deserted boardwalk planks of a Brooklyn waterfront, our attention is diverted to a trio of silhouettes, which inkblot a backlit multi-pane window, situated on the top floor of a non-descript warehouse. Inside, we discover two hard-nosed types in the middle of an illegal exchange: information for money. Their criminal transaction is suddenly interrupted by icy-cold laughter. From the camouflage of darkness emerges The Shadow. Holding out a heavy hand, he demands a scrap of paper. Gunfire! Bullets fly in the Shadow’s direction, who seemingly dissolves back into the fabric of darkness only to reappear in another corner of the room. The Shadow returns fire with twin automatics, finding his mark. The lead gunmen drops. In mortal terror, the surviving gunmen, tosses his gun, and cuts and runs. The Shadow grabs him by the scruff of his collar, and mercilessly throws him over the landing. The scrap of paper is pried from his dead fingers.

The beautiful Margo Lane and gruff Shrevvy, await in a yellow taxi. The Shadow slides into the back seat and reveals to the agents the first part of a puzzle… the scrap of paper contains a hand-written coded message: “To all concerned, flag and gun alike should arrive on land, water, air. Remember, ten have died building freedom’s hope across the mighty avenues of Americas.”

Escorted by sultry brunette Margo Lane, The Shadow's alter-ego, Lamont Cranston, makes an appearance at the Cobalt Club. While in the club, Cranston places a call to Agent Burbank. He gives orders to have Harry Vincent report to the corner of Water and Tenth Streets, at midnight.

Sometime later, gumshoe Harry Vincent leans against a streetlamp at Water and Tenth, patiently waiting for something to happen. Suddenly a speeding police van breaks through the still of the night. Several masked gun-toting men spring from their hiding places and blow out the van’s tires. The vehicle crashes to a halt. Harry Vincent soon joins the gun fight but is felled from a blow to the back of the head by a masked thug. The van doors are blown open and several crooks are freed and make their escape.

At the Cobalt Club, a desperate Shrevvy informs Lamont Cranston what he secretly witnessed while sitting in his taxi at Water and Tenth.

Somewhere in Long Island, Harry Vincent is tied to a tree by rope. Harry is worked over for information by a pair of motley gangster-types, until the demonic laughter of The Shadow interrupts. In lightning fashion, The Shadow makes quick work of the thugs, and frees Harry Vincent.

One of the kidnappers is taken to a secret facility. Under hypnosis, the hood reveals two additional pieces of the puzzle: “Six months ago… steal plans for new kind of ship from Navy Headquarters… tonight, release prisoners… instructions and payment by mail… in code… another job tomorrow night… at eleven.” Burbank informs The Shadow “I’ve learned a Sea Captain was among the prisoners who escaped from the van!” To which The Shadow replies: “An army of criminals… stolen ship plans… and a seaman! Yes… the pattern beings to reveal itself!”

The next day, Lamont Cranston pays a visit to Wall Street and meets with handle-bar mustasched financier, Osgood Bamber. Osgood soon divulges that a shipment of worn-out currency will be transferred from NYC to Washington DC, in armored cars, and escorted by armed soldiers. Indeed, on that very same evening, Osgood Bamber oversees the loading of a million dollars worth of shabby bills into a caravan of armored vehicles.

Meanwhile, three hoods set up explosives on the bridge which is on the planned route of transfer. Their attention is soon captured by a low-flying Autogyro, piloted by Margo Lane. Using his mastery of stealth, The Shadow attacks from behind, taking out a pair of thugs. Meanwhile, Margo Lane lands on the bridge, and dispatches the third accomplace with a rifle round.

The intrepid pair take to the skies, in pursuit of a submarine, which The Shadow has deduced as the method by which the criminal ring intends to steal and transport the million dollar loot. Using a telescope, The Shadow spots a periscope skimming the moonlit surface of the river. He drops several depth charges into the water, which explode, disabling the engines of the submarine. It soon bubbles to the surface. The Shadow drops onto the submarine’s top deck and pounces on a trio of criminals including the submarine’s Captain. Margo Lane spots a police boat, which The Shadow reveals has been summoned by Burbank to round this crew of crooks. The dynamic pair re-take to the skies, making an exit before the police arrive.

Just before the dawn, the master-mind behind the entire plot, Osgood Bamber, makes a desperate attempt of escape. Hailing a taxi, Osgood quickly jumps-in and instructs the driver to head for the railroad station. To his shock and horror, the taxi driver is none other than The Shadow.

Shadow #2: "Freak Show Murders!"
Issue Synopsis (Spoiler Alert!):

Somewhere in South Carolina, in the remote mansion owned by Milton Treft, wealthy businessman Steve Kilroy has arrived to make the million dollar purchase of a sculpture. But not just any sculpture, but a statue made of a synthetic metal called Alumite, purported to have the strength of steel but the weight of mere ounces, whose inventor died taking the secrets of the formula to his grave. A costumed gunman who proclaims himself “Harlequin” crashes the scene. Treft, in a fit of rage, confronts the Harlequin, and is shot for his short-sighted heroics. Kilroy runs for his life. The Harlequin, aided by two plainclothes crooks, loades the statue onto a truck. Soon, the familiar wraith-like laughter of The Shadow descends on the trio, who dispatches the two crooks, but not before the Harlequin escapes with the statue.

Lamont Cranston places a call to Burbank with instructions for agent Margo Lane to join the Sorber Carnival in Titusville. The following evening, Margo meets with the owner of the Sorber Carnival, Pop Sorber, and is hired to play the role of Spidora, the Human Spider. She is introduced to the carnival’s roster of sideshow freaks: Panchini, the Tattooed Man; Alhambra, Queen of the Snakes; Benzare, the Knife Thrower; Ajax, the Wild Man; and Nicco, the Cigarette Fiend, and Damon and Pythias, the Inseparable Twins.

Margo soon discovers Ajax to actually be Kilroy in disguise, who is in hiding in fear the police will pin the murder of Milton Treft on him.

The Shadow makes his appearance, and introduces himself and Margo, gaining Kilroy’s trust. Gunshot! The Shadow discovers Alhambra has been murdered. He deduces the snake charmer unwittingly discovered the Harlequin’s identity.

The Harlequin is spotted by Kilroy, at the tent displaying “the Big Stuffed Whale” (which is a gigantic hallowed sculpture of a sperm whale).

The Shadow confronts Harlequin, but their confrontation is cut-short due to the clumsy interference of Kilroy, who trips over the tent’s rope and causes it to collapse on The Shadow, allowing for Harlequin’s escape.

Soon after, Benzare hits on Margo, who reacts with an elbow to Benzare's solar plexus and a palm-heel strike to his chin. On the ground, nursing a bruised ego, Benzare hastily pulls out a dagger to kill Margo. Blam! The Shadow’s bullet knocks the blade from Benzare’s hand.

Having displayed his prowess, The Shadow easily gains the respect of the gathered carnies, as he menacingly commands: “I want all of you in the main tent in five minutes! Be there, or regret it for the rest of your short life!”

At the main tent, the gathered group discovers Nicco, the Cigarette Fiend, to really be The Shadow in disguise: “Nicco is innocent, because I am him! I saw the Harlequin escape from Treft’s! He was running toward the carnival site! As Nicco, I joined the show, hoping the villain would reveal himself!” The Shadow points his gun. He aims the barrel at the Siamese Twins, and pulls the trigger. The blast shatters a mirror exposing a trick… there is only one twin present. The twin pulls out a gun, grabs Kilroy, and aims it at his temple. Watching helplessly as Kilroy is kidnapped, The Shadow reveals the twins to be foreign agents, sent to steal the miracle metal Alumite.

The Shadow silently descends on the railroad tracks where a freight train is ready to transport the Carnival to the next town. Lurking on the open railcar transporting the whale, the costumed Harlequin carries the Alumite sculpture, preparing to hide it inside the leviathan’s mouth. Materializing from thin air, The Shadow stands on top of the whale’s hump, aiming his automatics at Harlequin. To his surprise the other twin emerges, kneeling on one of the whale’s flukes, who points a gun at The Shadow. Standing smack in the middle between both twins, as each twin aims a firearm ready to shoot following a 1-2-3 countdown, The Shadow braces. On the count of three, both twins discharge their weapons, but miss The Shadow, who has vanished into thin air. The plainclothes twin is accidentally shot by his costumed brother and falls to his death.

With the sculpture in hand, the Harlequin bolts for the locomotive. There we discover Kilroy, who has been chained by his wrists to an overhanging bar. The Harlequin pulls the conductor’s lever, setting the train in motion.

The Shadow manifests with both guns drawn. The Harlequin threatens to kill Kilroy and commands The Shadow to drop his weapons. Haplessly, The Shadow complies. With his free legs, in an act of redemption, Kilroy double-kicks the Harlequin in the chin. Taking the opening, The Shadow springs. In a struggle, both men tear at each other, as the Alumite statue perilously totters near an open window. It falls out of the moving car as the train turns onto a bridge. In blind pursuit of the sculpture, the crazed Harlequin throws himself out the window, only to realize too late... it’s a plunge to his death onto the rocky cliffs below.

Shadow #4: "Death is Bliss!"
Issue Synopsis (Spoiler Alert!):

In the dead of night, on a dark stretch of highway, The Shadow, with twin .45mm automatics at the ready, barrels down a speeding truck. He fires both weapons, taking out the truck's tires. It loses control, slamming against the roadside fencing, upending and rolling into a ditch, spilling an illegal shipment of alcohol. Two men crawl out of the wreck, disoriented, but lucky to be alive. They draw revolvers, looking to return the favor. The Shadow, in stealth fashion, surprises the pair, knocking one of the men unconscious, and using a sort of hypnosis to glean information from the other. The Shadow very quickly learns from the fear-induced driver the shipment was intended to be delivered to New York City's Bowery section, to the Bliss Mission. Coldly, The Shadow pistol whips the songbird, knocking him out, and heads back to his awaiting transport... the yellow taxi chauffeured by Shrevvy, loyal agent to The Shadow.

Back in the city, en route to headquarters, the pair chance upon a "vehicular accident", wherein a body lies sprawled on the asphalt covered in a blanket. Clancy, the presiding traffic officer and a familiar to Shrevvy, informs the agent the unfortunate victim was none other than Natchez Nate Johnson, the notorious mobster. We soon discover by words iterated by the Shadow: "Odd... Johnson is the fifth hoodlum to meet an accidental death this year!"

At HQ's secret location, The Shadow instructs agent Burbank to run a trace on the license plate of the truck involved in the bootlegging operation.

At noon the following day, with Shrevvy in tow, The Shadow, posing as his alter ego, Lamont Cranston, the devil-may-care millionaire philanthropist, pays a visit to the Bliss Mission. They are greeted by a thuggish giant of a man named Ambrose Devlin "Devil". The two enter with the pretense that Lamont Cranston is looking to add the mission to his list of charities. A rotund fellow named Mr. Homer Bliss, the mission's financier, enters the scene and graciously rejects Cranston's charitable request. Denied any further entry and at the rude and impetuous behest of Ambrose Devil, are forced to leave. Before the two can exit, a distraught and disoriented man, covered in facial bandages, enters from a secret operating room, begging for help. He's ferociously pummeled by Ambrose and knocked back inside the operating room. Cranston and Shrevvy courageously react but are quickly set-upon with equal violence, but manage to elude capture as Cranston does a quick change into The Shadow.

Meanwhile, in the late afternoon, Agents Margo Lane and Harry Vincent, having received the truck owner's address from Burbank, visit the Blissful Gardens, a cemetery situated off the Long Island Sound. Their cover: a well-to-do husband and wife pair looking to purchase side-by-side family plots. They're introduced to none-other than the portly Homer Bliss. As the pair cordially depart, Harry Vincent notices a windsock, perched on a tower-like crypt.

Later that evening, the intrepid pair return to investigate further, as Harry Vincent informs Margo Lane: "The Windsock atop that crypt! What's it doing there? The dead have no need to know what direction the wind is blowing, but... but a Sea-Plane does!" As a small seaplane touches down on the Long Island Sound, the pair witness Bliss in the company of bandaged mobster Natchez Johnson, awaiting to board the craft and take it out of the country. The hulking Ambrose Devil surprises the agents. Harry Vincent puts up a valiant struggle but is quickly caught in the iron grip of Ambrose Devil, who applies a vise-like bare hug, rendering him unconscious. When he eventually comes to, Homer Bliss explains the scheme of his operations: "You see, Mr. Vincent, for a price, I can arrange the "death" of any underworld figure who wishes to... retire, shall we say? An unrecognizable corpse that matches my client's physical proportions is provided by one of the countless derelicts from my salvation center... then, once my client is officially dead and buried, a new face and identification allow him to return to the world at large a new man!"

In the nick-of-time, The Shadow saves agents Lane and Vincent from another staged accident: this time a speeding station wagon covered in gasoline, heading straight for a surefire plunge off a roadside cliff.

The Shadow, in pursuit of Homer Bliss, who has commandeered a sea-plane, manages to jump onto the plane as it lifts-off. The pair struggle, but The Shadow wrestles pilot control away from Homer Bliss, who is thrown from the plane, falling to his death, ironically landing into an open plot, as The Shadow recites his signature catch-phrases: "The weed of crime bears bitter fruit, Homer Bliss! Crime does not pay! The Shadow knows!"

Shadow #6: "Night of the Ninja!"
Synopsis (Spoiler Alert!):

It’s a fog-laden, cold winter’s night, in Manhattan’s Chinatown. Standing guard at an open doorway, a shotgun toting member of the McMaster Mob is pistol-whipped and knocked unconscious by The Shadow. Agent Shrevvy arrives to warn The Shadow of the impending arrival of the police who are converging on the scene to raid the McMaster’s drug den. A scream from within the tenement-like edifice leads The Shadow to the second floor, where he finds a horrific scene: the prone body of a man who has been bludgeoned to death, and two of McMaster’s mobsters facing the lethal threat of a sword wielding Ninja. In swift fashion, the Ninja stabs another victim and raises his sword to claim a third, but not before The Shadow opens fire and severs the Ninja’s sword nearly to the hilt. The Ninja flees. While in pursuit of the Ninja, The Shadow discovers yet another victim, a seemingly innocent Chinese man, impaled in the chest by the Ninja’s broken sword, cradled by his grieving daughter. The Shadow races up to the roof of the drug den, and discovers the rooftop empty… the Ninja is nowhere to be found. Soon the police arrive, determined to round up the McMaster Mob and an additional prize: The Shadow. From the rooftop ledge, about sixty feet up, The Shadow leaps, catching the window sill of the below floor, evading the police. Within minutes, The Shadow emerges from the building and quickly escapes into the back of Shrevvy’s taxi.

In the back of the cab, The Shadow does a quick-change into his alter ego: Lamont Cranston. As the pair motor from the scene, they soon spot young reformer and budding District Attorney G. Oyle Proud, holding court in front of a group of newspaper reporters. Proud, displaying his political and public speaking skills, denounces the current state of drug trafficking originating from the Orient and hitting America.

At HQ, The Shadow and his agents discuss the Ninja, and it is revealed by The Shadow: “I studied with a Ninja Master years ago! I learned much from him! Anyone familiar with those arts could be a formidable opponent!” Orders are assigned: Burbank must telephone their underworld contacts, and pay for any pertinent information on the Ninja; Margo Lane is to question the Chinese girl whose father was slain by the Ninja; Harry Vincent is to be on stand-by.

At noon the next day, Lamont Cranston arrives at the entrance of the Cobalt Club, where he meets up with G. Oyle Proud. As they converse and leisurely stroll the city sidewalks, a throwing star nearly finds its intended victim: Proud. Cranston declares Proud be put under protective custody.

Meanwhile, in Chinatown, Margo Lane arrives to question the daughter of the slain Chinese man, and is knocked unconscious. She is bound to a chair. We soon discover the girl and her two brothers, horde stolen drug money, stuffed in laundry bags, to be used as payment to bring their relatives over from China.

Agent Harry Vincent, under orders of The Shadow to safe-guard and protect Proud, sips tea at Proud’s swanky Midtown apartment. Unbeknownst to Harry, the tea is laced with a harmless sleeping agent. Before he completely succumbs to the effect of the narcotic, Harry discovers The Ninja in the apartment, and Proud missing. He telephone’s Burbank: “Hello, Burbank! Listen, quick… the Ninja’s taken Proud and I’m useless… been fed some sort of poison!”

In the late evening, The Shadow descends on Chinatown, to free Margo Lane. He quickly dispatches the two Chinese brothers, and disarms their knife-wielding sister, who, in Ninja-like fashion, also hurls a throwing star. Margo mistakenly believes the girl to be the Ninja. Laying out her guilt with her head held low, the girl admits to her father’s involvement with drug traffickers, and declares the drug money was to be used to free her people. As she is about to reveal her American connection, window glass shatters, and the girl’s life is tragically cut short by a Ninja spike.

The Shadow races across town, to the Midtown apartment of G. Oyle Proud. Camouflaged in a shroud of darkness, we witness the Ninja arriving, only to be greeted by the menacing laughter of The Shadow. The final revelation: G. Oyle Proud is the Ninja. He studied the Ninja Arts and worked with the McMaster Mob and the Chinese, to traffic drugs into America. Proud’s ambition and greed got the better of him: in an effort to control the whole drug operation, Proud began murdering those involved, one-by-one, in the guise of the Ninja.

In the final showdown between The Shadow and the Ninja, Proud draws his sword and confronts the silhouette of The Shadow, standing motionless in front of a window. Intending to ram the blade into The Shadow’s heart, Proud lunges at full-force, but to his shock, quickly discovers an empty cloak, as his momentum sends him through the window, plunging several stories down onto his death.

Slot DescriptionCert #GradeScore
Shadow 1 0187271025 9.8520 Shop eBay
Shadow 2 No Comic    Shop eBay
Shadow 3 No Comic    Shop eBay
Shadow 4 No Comic    Shop eBay
Shadow 5 No Comic    Shop eBay
Shadow 6 No Comic    Shop eBay
Shadow 7 No Comic    Shop eBay
Shadow 8 No Comic    Shop eBay
Shadow 9 No Comic    Shop eBay
Shadow 10 No Comic    Shop eBay
Shadow 11 No Comic    Shop eBay
Shadow 12 No Comic    Shop eBay

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