By Todd Allen
The rumor that’s been making the rounds is true: Garth Ennis is the writer when Dynamite launches their ongoing revival of the classic pulp franchise, The Shadow. Joining him as the artist is Aaron Campbell, who’s been doing Green Hornet: Year One and Dark Shadows for Dynamite.
It looks like this will be be set in 1938, not a modern update. It isn’t completely clear what kind of a take on the Shadow Ennis and Campbell will be doing. There have been several different takes on the Shadow over the years. In the original pulp stories, he was a guns-a-blazing vigilante with some mysticism surrounding his origins. Plenty of horror (reoccurring voodoo villains, for instance) and mild science fiction in that version. Then you have the long-running radio version where the guns were gone, but the Shadow had the (vaguely hypnotic) ability to cloud men’s minds so they couldn’t see him and would only hear his disembodied voice. There were more spy-fi-ish paperback novels in the 1960s. Howard Chaykin revived it in the 80s replacing the mystic elements with cybernetic body parts, taking it in more of a science fiction direction. Andy Helfer and Bill Sienkiewicz/Kyle Baker took this science fiction version and veered off in an increasingly satirical/absurdist direction.
It doesn’t appear from looking at the press release, that this will be a satirical take on the character, and the Campbell quote (see below) makes me think this isn’t the Chaykin take on the character, either. If this is the classic version, as established in the pulps, Ennis ought to be a pretty good fit. Think Punisher Max as a period piece with a little bit of magic popping up around the edges. We could very well be in for a merging of the action and horror styles Ennis has done in the past.
Press release and cover art follow:
THE SHADOW #1 ONGOING SERIES BY GARTH ENNIS!
IN STORES APRIL 2012!!!
January 16th, 2012, Runnemede, NJ – Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows! The Shadowreturns to comic stores written by the man born to write him – Garth Ennis. The artist joining Garth will be Aaron Campbell. Featuring covers by fan favorite artists Alex Ross, Howard Chaykin, Jae Lee and John Cassaday. The Shadow #1 his stores in April 2012!
In the first issue of the ONGOING SERIES, it’s 1938 and The Shadow returns in a tale of blazing action and deadly intrigue, as a night of carnage on the New York waterfront plunges the mysterious vigilante into a conspiracy involving the fate of the world itself. As storm clouds gather across the globe, American Military Intelligence meets with a certain Lamont Cranston, determined to beat a host of spies and assassins to the greatest prize of all… but what that might be, only the Shadow knows. Be sure to get The Shadow #1 in April 2012!
“The Shadow is probably the last established character I like that I haven’t gotten around to writing yet, certainly on this side of the Atlantic,” says writer Garth Ennis. “It makes a kind of bloody, bullet-riddled sense: I always had a feeling our paths would cross sooner or later.”
“The Shadow is an awesome character in an awesome time,” adds artist Aaron Campbell. “I mean what’s not to like? You have the old school mystique of eastern mysticism wrapped up with a badass gunslinger!”
“Garth is a writer who was born to write The Shadow,” states Dynamite Entertainment President and Publisher Nick Barrucci. “Not since Howard Chaykin’s acclaimed mini-series have I been this excited for a Shadow series. Garth will take The Shadow to a new level, and Aaron will compliment his scripts well. I cannot wait for fans to see Garth’s take on the character!”
Garth Ennis is a Northern Irish comics writer, best known for his immensely successful revival of Marvel Comics’ Punisher franchise and the DC/Vertigo series Preacher, co-created with artist Steve Dillon.
His work is characterized by extreme violence, black humor, profanity, an interest in male friendship, an antagonistic relationship with organized religion, and irreverence towards superheroes. Frequent artistic collaborators include Steve Dillon, Glenn Fabry, Carlos Ezquerra and John McCrea. Garth Ennis’ current work includes Dynamite’s hit series The Boys.
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 also been featured in comic books, comic strips and at least five motion pictures.
Join the conversation on Twitter with #TheShadowKnows and on Dynamite Entertainment’s twitter page at http://twitter.com/DynamiteComicsTo find a comic shop near you, call 1-888-comicbook or visit www.comicshoplocator.com
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.