Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Shadow Part 2 by Andrew Luckett

Much like Batman, The Shadow possessed many mental and physical skills to rely on in his campaign against crime. A genius intellect paired with impressive deductive skills allowed The Shadow (whose most persistent alter-egos were pilot Kent Allard and rich playboy Lamont Cranston) to outthink his foes, sometimes by the use of elaborate disguises.

So vintage!

The Shadow's Olympic-level physical prowess enabled him to perform acrobatic feats of strength and stealth. Unlike Batman, however, The Shadow (in his film and radio adventures, but not the magazine or prose tales) had an extrasensory skill that set him apart: learned from his travels through Asia, The Shadow had gained the ability to "cloud men's minds" through hypnosis, giving him a great advantage in a fight.

The Shadow has enjoyed a robust career in live action as well. His first appearance onscreen was in a series of six short films beginning in 1931 and featuring a rotating roster of actors as the man in the hat and cloak.

In 1937 The Shadow received his first feature-length film, The Shadow Strikes, starring Rod La Rocque. It was followed by a sequel, International Crime, the next year. The series didn't continue beyond those two films, but in 1940 The Shadow (much like Batman and many of his heroic brethren) scared up a 15-installment serial that invaded theaters starring Victor Jory.

This attempt featured a slightly more fantastical approach, featuring a villain called the Black Tiger spreading terror and mayhem. The Shadow himself also wore a covering over his lower face, which was not part of the costume in the earlier two films.

After the serial, three more low-budget films were produced that rebooted the character with a new actor (Kane Richmond) and a modified costume: The Shadow Returns, Behind the Mask and The Missing Lady.

After a rejected television pilot for The Shadow was converted into the theatrical release Invisible Avenger in 1958, the character sat on the silver screen sidelines for decades.
Until 1994, that is, when a major motion picture was released starring Alec Baldwin in the title role, supported by Penelope Ann Miller, John Lone, Ian McKellan, Tim Curry, Peter Boyle and even Jonathan Winters.

Baldwin's Shadow was pitted against Lone's Shiwan Khan, the only descendant of Genghis Khan, aiming to complete his ancestor's dream of conquering the world by force. The film was one of a small group of "pulp hero" update films conceived and released after the success of Tim Burton's Batman that also included The Mask/Legend of Zorro, The Phantom and Dick Tracy.

Following a brief flirtation with a new film from Sam Raimi in the mid-2000's (whose own Darkman was itself an alternative to the Shadow film Raimi was unable to get the rights to make), The Shadow has been absent from live action adventures, though he is thriving in the comic world with adventures overseen by talents such as Garth Ennis and Alex Ross.

A rebooted film franchise for The Shadow has been rumored on and off, but who knows when audiences will see the mysterious crusader on screen again?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Shadow Batman's Dads part 2 by Andrew Luckett

No fictional character is ever created in a vacuum. In the last part of this article, we covered Zorro and Dick Tracy's contributions to Bob Kane's and Bill Finger's creation of Batman and his world. This time we cover another pulp hero who lent some of their own traits to our favorite Dark Knight.

The Shadow
Borrowed from Comicymass2012

Perhaps The Shadow's greatest gift to Batman is a mysterious look and tone. In the late 1920s, Street and Smith Publications were looking for a way to raise sales of their periodical Detective Story Magazine, and they decided to bring in an independent advertising agency to help.

The result was the Detective Story Hour, a radio program that would showcase the magazine's offerings. It was a good plan, but it needed a topper; something to cement it in the public consciousness.

The idea of a mysterious, slightly frightening narrator for the program was tossed around, and after some brainstorming "The Shadow" was the name given to this strange host.

He debuted at the end of July 1930 and was an instant sensation (in fact, Orson Welles himself voiced The Shadow for some time).

But the new character's popularity had a strange effect. Instead of increasing sales of Detective Story, radio listeners thought that The Shadow had his own magazine. Not being stupid, Street and Smith brought in writer Walter B. Gibson, who proceeded to write almost 200 tales of The Shadow's exploits under the pseudonym Maxwell Grant (again attaching an element of mystery to the character and the series).

Much like Zorro, The Shadow crafted his moody persona by donning a dark costume with a wide-brimmed hat. In The Shadow's case, he would begin with a dark suit covered in a black overcoat with an upturned collar lined in deep red that hid part of his face. In later years, he was often depicted with a flowing red scarf covering the bottom half of his visage

Another unexpected element of The Shadow's modus operandi was his willingness to engage in vigilante-style or even criminal behavior to defeat his foes. He also wasn't shy about killing those he fought using his twin sidearms, and this characteristic was borrowed liberally by Bob Kane and Bill Finger for their first few Batman stories (the first Batman story was even adapted from one of Gibson's Shadow tales).

However, Batman's creators soon realized that Batman would despise using the type of weapon that had slain his parents, and thus he ditched his own gun and gained a more stringent rule against killing.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The John Cena 31" Poseable Doll from Wicked Cool Toys!

May I introduce you to the ultimate John Cena  merchandise out there. Now you may look at this picture and say, "oh that's just an action figure. Well let me point out that this figure is 31 inches tall. And you maybe thinking that all he does is stand and stare at you. Well with 9 points of articulation this guy is fully poseable. (And bonus, ladies, he's shirtless) And all that is thanks to Wicked Cool Toys

That's one big guy!

All these features take him out of the little league action figures and into the major leagues to take up residency as the Superstar of your shelf. Do you want to leave him in the box and make him a major display for your WWE love, great! Do you wanna pose him up and make him reenact your favorite Royal Rumble match? You can do that too. He works as either a display or a play thing. But one thing is sure you won't have anything in your collection as cool as this!

He's staring you down. Can you feel it?
Now the one big problem if you aren't a fan is that it's HUGE! If you're a fan it's fine and as a kid it should be awesome. His likeness is fairly accurate and he's made of strong durable plastic. This would be great for your older kids or your husband who is just young at heart. But you might find a little conundrum here. If you're not a fan you just have no space for him. If you are a fan then you...will...make...the space!!!

So if this guy does warm the cockles of your wrestlemania heart please enjoy this little guy. But the important thing to remember... you still can't see me!!!