Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Shadow Returns, and Returns and Returns

By the time Superman arrived in 1938, the Shadow was already a well-established multi-media superhero who’d appeared in pulp magazines, feature films and dramatic radio, and would soon star in a movie serial, comic books and a newspaper comic strip.
Although the Shadow’s pulp magazine ended its 18-year run in 1949, and his radio drama finished in 1954, the character was too popular to stay invisible long.
Not one but two television pilots were made in the 1950s, and from 1963 to 1967 original paperback novels appeared, published by Belmont and flavored with the spy elements popularized by an exciting new character called James Bond. Something of the same approach was taken in a new Shadow comic book series published by Archie in 1964, and the old radio dramas were revived on stations around the country. Even a hardcover collection — The Weird Adventures of the Shadow — was published by Grosset & Dunlap in 1966.
Bantam Books had been successfully republishing the adventures of the Shadow’s pulp “brother,” Doc Savage, since 1964, and in 1969 began doing the same thing for the Shadow, with striking, sketchy covers by Sandy Kossin. More comic books and paperback reprints followed. What was old was new again, and had never really faded from sight.

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