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Author Topic: Batman based on the Shadow  (Read 11902 times)
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nightwing
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« Reply #16 on: June 29, 2007, 01:18:50 PM »

Criadoman writes:

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I agree with everything you said til this point, only because I'm not buying so much that comics killed pulps as much as publishers figured people would rather look at pictures than read.  I believe the "exploitive money machine" philosophy had at least as much if not more to do with the death of pulps.

I'm pretty sure that if pulps had still been selling well, they'd have kept publishing them, comics or no comics.  Or anyway I should say "hero pulps".  The likes of Doc and the Shadow saw their popularity dwindle as the fortunes of Superman and Batman rose...the logical conclusion is that kids left the former for the latter.  But "pulps" as a format did soldier on for quite a while afterward, evolving into the lurid "true crime" magazines I remember seeing on stands as late as the 70s (usually featuring photos of women being held at gunpoint in their underwear), and the "Analog," "Alfred Hitchcok Mystery" and  "Asimov's SF" magazines that are still being churned out today.

Also it should be remembered that pulps in general were much racier, lurid and more violent than comics, and if they'd still been big in the 50s it's likely Wertham and Kefauver would've driven a stake right through their hearts.  At least comics had funny animals, teen romances and westerns to fall back on when crime and horror fell out of vogue.

TELLE writes:

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I'm going to have to dig that out now just because you reminded me; even better than the mini was the ongoing series written by Andrew Helfer with art by Bill Sienkewicz first, then Kyle Baker. I still have the originals, but I wish they'd reprint that in TPB (or have they?). It was a great series that got rudely cancelled. The Avenger mini that followed, also by Helfer and Baker, was gold too.

Thank You, YES!  Weren't those great books?  I was beginning to think I was the only one who missed them.  I nearly dropped the series toward the end of Sienkewicz's run, but Kyle Baker knocked my socks off.  This'll sound funny coming from a guy who complains about violence so much, but I loved the sheer meanness of that book.  I remember when two of the (Seven Deadly) Finn brothers threw a guy off a balcony and took a bet on how he'd land.  The one brother goes, "Heads again!  You always win!"  Cheesy  See where a little knowledge of physics can pay off, kids?

Quote
Can't remember what happened to that Shadow series - was it a copyright issue or were they just not selling enough?

Apparently the copyright holder, Conde Nast, was extremely displeased with the direction the series took, and forced DC to pull the plug.  Keep in mind that by the end of the Helfer/Baker run, the Shadow had been killed, his body accidentally destroyed by his dufus half-Tibetan sons and his head attached to a huge robot body.  Probably NOT what the caretakers of his legend envisioned when they let DC borrow him.  Cheesy  An oversized one-shot was announced that would've resolved the plotline, but it never saw print.




I liked the atmospherics and the Barreto art on the next DC series, "The Shadow Strikes!," but it never had the spark of the Helfer run.

Oh, and I didn't dig the Chaykin mini nearly as much.  It was kind of an 80s, "Shadow in Armani" take that didn't click for me.  Plus with all the sex it came off as a poor man's American Flagg, like much of Chaykin's stuff (the worst being his "Blackhawk").

« Last Edit: June 29, 2007, 01:20:55 PM by nightwing » Logged

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Criadoman
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« Reply #17 on: June 29, 2007, 04:12:08 PM »

Criadoman writes:

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I agree with everything you said til this point, only because I'm not buying so much that comics killed pulps as much as publishers figured people would rather look at pictures than read.  I believe the "exploitive money machine" philosophy had at least as much if not more to do with the death of pulps.

I'm pretty sure that if pulps had still been selling well, they'd have kept publishing them, comics or no comics.  Or anyway I should say "hero pulps".  The likes of Doc and the Shadow saw their popularity dwindle as the fortunes of Superman and Batman rose...the logical conclusion is that kids left the former for the latter.  But "pulps" as a format did soldier on for quite a while afterward, evolving into the lurid "true crime" magazines I remember seeing on stands as late as the 70s (usually featuring photos of women being held at gunpoint in their underwear), and the "Analog," "Alfred Hitchcok Mystery" and  "Asimov's SF" magazines that are still being churned out today.

Also it should be remembered that pulps in general were much racier, lurid and more violent than comics, and if they'd still been big in the 50s it's likely Wertham and Kefauver would've driven a stake right through their hearts.  At least comics had funny animals, teen romances and westerns to fall back on when crime and horror fell out of vogue.

I was doing a bit of studying.  Apparently it is attributed to the combination of comics, paperback novels and TV that killed pulps in the main (in addition to a rising price of publication).  I guess this is pretty much speculation anyway, but there really is no good reason a few pulp mags (like Analog) could have lived and the others just died.  What worked for the ones still alive should have for any other pulp that was worth something or made to be.  Analog is a good example.  It's a little known fact that Analog is actually the retitle to Astounding Science Fiction - one of the most important pulp mags of the 30's, and key to developing science fiction as we know it, thank you one Mr. Joe Campbell.

But, my only real thought on this overall matter is that it has 80-90% more to do with the person or crew driving the publication than the market.  For instance, this site is another good example.  This site I think impacted the heck out of the revamp of Supes in '86 and is one very important reason the Iron Age Supes is over and we seem to have gotten back our Superman.  Who else bothered to try and keep pre-Crisis Supes in all incarnations alive?

As always, you can always tell the real people who matter after some disaster (for the pulps, probably the paper-shortages of WW2, although comics, and paperbacks could be some others for that industry).  They are always the ones still standing, sticking around and getting the show back on the road.  (Kinda like Kirby over at Marvel during the 50's and early 60's.  The word is that whilst Stan was contemplating closing shop, Kirby came in and said we can work this out, and Atlas came back to life and later Marvel was created.)
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« Reply #18 on: June 29, 2007, 04:14:53 PM »

Whoops - that's "John Campbell".
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« Reply #19 on: June 29, 2007, 08:13:17 PM »

Apparently the copyright holder, Conde Nast, was extremely displeased with the direction the series took, and forced DC to pull the plug.  Keep in mind that by the end of the Helfer/Baker run, the Shadow had been killed, his body accidentally destroyed by his dufus half-Tibetan sons and his head attached to a huge robot body.  Probably NOT what the caretakers of his legend envisioned when they let DC borrow him.  Cheesy  An oversized one-shot was announced that would've resolved the plotline, but it never saw print.

That's what it was! I remember now. It may sound horrible, but the multiple desecrations of the Shadow's body were really hilarious. Nice to know someone else misses that series as much as I do.
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« Reply #20 on: June 30, 2007, 01:03:59 AM »

Nightwing and Permanus, I wonder if you would have liked a similar turn of events in a Batman comic.  What if a doofus Robin accidentally killed Batman and they had to attach his head to a robot?  Granted, that sort of thing was maybe ahead of its time but the whole thing just seemed too easy.  Much harder to write/reinvigorate a serious adventure comic with a 50-year old character than to lampoon/deconstruct it.

The sex in Chaykin's Shadow (but no in Blackhawk, which I enjoyed more) was off-putting.  Much more at home in American Flagg!

I remember when Chaykin was interviewed and was asked about fan reaction to his updated "adult" takes on classic characters (I think Harlan Ellison objected to Blackhawk).  I sometimes feel like those critics even though I rarely buy superhero comics and really could care less about many of my childhood idols/idylls.  I just like to see craft and character taken seriously.  Comics need editors.

This sort of conservatism has been battered away over the last decades or so to the point where smashing idols is now called continuity.  On the other hand, this past Wednesday, Darwyn Cooke was intervied on the Space channel here in Canada about the Spirit annual.
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« Reply #21 on: October 20, 2007, 08:51:33 PM »

Somehow, I missed this thread and only stumbled upon the Batman/Shadow connection, yesterday, while perusing through Bud Plant's catalogue. I find it fascinating and look forward to reading the listed Pulps. Anyone read these stories, yet? 


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« Reply #22 on: October 21, 2007, 11:44:29 AM »

Nightwing and Permanus, I wonder if you would have liked a similar turn of events in a Batman comic.  What if a doofus Robin accidentally killed Batman and they had to attach his head to a robot?

Point taken, but actually I think it would have been just as funny in a Batman comic book; even moreso!

The sex in Chaykin's Shadow (but no in Blackhawk, which I enjoyed more) was off-putting.  Much more at home in American Flagg!

Chaykin's sex always puts me off, because it's always so sordid, but it worked in American Flagg because it was so over-the-top. I agree, it was completely inappropriate for The Shadow.
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