By Todd Allen
You may recall that Dynamite laid hands on the comic book license for The Shadow, a little while back. Come to find out, they also laid hands on the reprint rights for the previous Shadow comics. You know how Dark Horse reprints Marvel Star Wars and Conan comics? Dynamite’s going to be doing something similar with DC Shadow comics, and they’re starting out with Howard Chaykin’s “Blood and Judgement” reboot of the franchise from the mid-80s.
“He’s back… and God help the guilty” was the promotional tagline when this came out, with Chaykin upping the sex and violence levels on the venerable pulp character and swapping out the Shadow’s mystic origins for a science fiction and cybernetics. This was a fairly hot book when it came out and went on to spawn a regular series written by Andy Helfer with art by Bill Sienkiewicz, Kyle Baker and Marshall Rogers.
Besides the Chaykin version and the Helfer & company sequel (which was abruptly cancelled on a cliffhanger as Conde Nast disliked the satirical tone Helfer had taken with his version — hey Nick, could we finally get the ending to that?), Dynamite also has access to other DC material like the Michael William Kaluta 70s run and the later Dark Horse material. As the saying goes, “if sales warrant.”
You get plenty of Famous Comic Creator blurbs about Blood and Judgement in the press release, which follows:
THE SHADOW: BLOOD & JUDGMENT TPB, COLLECTED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OVER 20 YEARS!!!
HOWARD CHAYKIN’S MASTERPIECE WILL BE BACK IN PRINT!
January 13th, 2011, Runnemede, NJ – Written and illustrated by legendary and award-winning comic book creator Howard Chaykin, The Shadow: Blood & Judgment TPB is collected for the first time since 1991!!! Chaykin’s dynamic, visceral style added a new dimension to The Shadow of the 1980’s!
The laugh had vanished…the mocking, sinister laugh that signaled doom for the petty souls whose wrongdoing stained the world. It was gone, lost in the night that echoed it. Now, one by one, his friends and operatives are being ruthlessly murdered. Someone is trying to draw him out. Thirty-five years later, it is time for him to return. The laugh is here again.
“THE SHADOW: BLOOD AND JUDGMENT was the first job I produced after moving to California–a new state, a new studio and a new lifestyle,” says acclaimed writer/artist Howard Chaykin. “I loved doing this book, and learned an awful lot about what it took to revive and recreate moribund characters in the process.”
“I can’t begin to describe how important Howard Chaykin’s The Shadow: Blood and Judgment was to me,” states Dynamite Entertainment President and Publisher Nick Barrucci. “In the 80’s, it helped change the face of comics. It is a privilege that Dynamite is able to put one of the finest comics ever created back in print!
The Shadow is back. God help the guilty. Be sure to get The Shadow: Blood & Judgment TPB in April 2012!
Here’s what the comic industries have to say about Howard Chaykin’s The Shadow: Blood & Judgment!”Not since Walter Gibson has anyone been better suited to The Shadow than Howard Chaykin.”
– Mark Waid
“This is my all-time favorite Howard Chaykin comic book. This is him at the tip-tip-top of his game and, yeah I’ll say it, the best Shadow story ever published!”
– Brian Michael Bendis
“IT’S TIME TO GET OFFENDED AGAIN. Welcome back, Mr. Cranston. Welcome back, Mr. Chaykin… we need you both now more than ever. Who knew that underneath all the cocaine, black marble, and rayon that the Eighties had a heart of pulp? As always, Chaykin — and the Shadow — knows…”
“Chaykin at his ballsiest and most dynamic. This is how the Shadow should be done.”
– Jason Aaron
“Chaykin’s Shadow is a modern legend at his best.”
– Rick Remender
“Sharply written, uber-stylish and dead sexy. Yes, Chaykin made The Shadow sexy!”
– John Cassaday
“Howard Chaykin was one of the few who dared to make mainstream comics different back in the eighties; it was guys like him, Alan Moore and Frank Miller who made sure there’d be no going back. Howard’s work on The Shadow is amongst his very best: razor-sharp character work, sizzling dialogue and an unsurpassed sense of layout and design.”
– Garth Ennis
“The reintroduction of The Shadow in the 1980s in Howard Chaykin’s mini-series was one of the most striking comics of the era. A bold, violent, and modern vision combined with the original caped hero archetype captivated me as a reader.”
– Alex Ross
“A comically insolent and graphically innovative re-invention of the grandfather of the superhero.”
“There are many reasons to consider Howard Chaykin a comic visionary. This is one of them.”
– Brian Azzarello
“The iconic 80s miniseries is back. Some creators use noir themes and images as though they’re throwing them into a shopping basket. Chaykin makes them look as though they didn’t even exist until he came along.”
– Mike Carey
“Who knows how to write and draw great suspense, action, and characters that literally pop off the page? THE CHAYKIN KNOWS — HAHAHAHAHA!!!”
– Peter J. Tomasi
“Sex, money, intrigue, betrayal, revenge. This is Chaykin. Try to keep up.”
– Andy Diggle
“Bloody, brutal, vital and violent, with a striking sense of energy and a huge amount of style on every kinetic page. Howard Chaykin transference of The Shadow from its pulp roots to the comic book gold rush era of 1987 is a gem. It’s good to see it back in print.”
– Rob Williams
“My favorite comic growing up in the eighties was THE SHADOW. Howard Chaykin’s Shadow was a breath of fresh air to me and I gobbled up every frame of that miniseries. Chaykin didn’t go onto the regular series when it launched, leaving me to look around for other comics Chaykin had done.”
The Shadow is a collection of serialized dramas, originally in pulp magazines, then on 1930s radio and then in a wide variety of media, that follow the exploits of the title character, a crime-fighting vigilante in the pulps, which carried over to the airwaves as a “wealthy, young man about town” with psychic powers. One of the most famous pulp heroes of the 20th century, The Shadow has been featured in comic books, comic strips, television, video games, and at least five motion pictures.
Howard Chaykin began working for Marvel Comics in the early 1970s drawing-one off stories for publications such as Marvel Spotlight. He created a short-lived sword and sorcery title, Ironwolf. In 1976, Chaykin landed the job of drawing the Marvel Comics adaptation of Star Wars that proved a great success and also got him work doing illustrations for the numerous tie-in projects. Chaykin produced a number of projects for the Heavy Metal and Star Reach anthology magazines including the space opera hero Cody Starbuck that revealed an interest in sexually explicit material as well as graphic violence.
In 1982 Chaykin launched American Flagg! for First Comics, writing and drawing the first twelve issues exclusively. The series was a massive critical and popular success, winning a number of awards. In 1985 Chaykin also wrote and drew a re-launch of The Shadow for DC Comics and produced Time2, a quasi-spin-off to American Flagg! that allowed him to indulge his love of Jazz and New York. The mini-series based on Blackhawk of 1987 was another chance to indulge in the 1930s mileu as as provide a witty recasting of a defunct DC character.
Some of Chaykin’s recent comics work includes: the graphic novel Mighty Love, the mini-series Challengers of the Unknown and City of Tomorrow, as well as a one-off issue of Solo, all published by DC Comics. Chaykin has also been active in television since the 1980s, acting as Executive Script Consultant for The Flash and Viper, and has most recently acted as head writer on Mutant X.
Howard had recently written and illustrated The Avengers: 1959 for Marvel!
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About Dynamite Entertainment:
DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT was founded in 2004 and is home to several best-selling comic book titles and properties, including The Boys, Green Hornet, Vampirella, Warlord of Mars, Bionic Man, Game of Thrones and more!
In addition to their critically-acclaimed titles and best selling comics, Dynamite works with some of the most high profile creators in comics and entertainment, including Alex Ross, John Cassaday, Garth Ennis, Michael Avon Oeming, Mel Rubi, Marc Guggenheim, Stephen Sadowski, Mike Carey, Jim Krueger, Greg Pak, Brett Matthews, Matt Wagner and a host of up and coming new talent!
DYNAMITE is consistently ranked in the upper tiers of comic book publishers and several of their titles – including Alex Ross and Jim Krueger’s PROJECT SUPERPOWERS – have debuted in the Top Ten lists produced by Diamond Comics Distributors. Several of their titles have also hit The New York Times Best-Sellers list: The Boys, Vampirella Archives, Robert Jordan’s New Spring and Wheel of Time graphic novels. In 2005 Diamond awarded the company a GEM award for Best New Publisher and another GEM in 2006 for Comics Publisher of the Year (under 5%). The company has also been nominated for several industry awards, including the prestigious Eisner Award.
Todd Allen wears a lot of hats. At various times he’s been (alphabetically), a bouncer, college professor, humor columnist, Internet producer and an NBA/WNBA Beat Writer, among other things. He’s the author of Economics of Digital Comics. You should probably read it.