Official: Garth Ennis Relaunches The Shadow at Dynamite

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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


Shadow01 Cov Ross Official: Garth Ennis Relaunches The Shadow at Dynamite

Shadow01 Cov Lee Official: Garth Ennis Relaunches The Shadow at Dynamite

Shadow01 Cov Cassaday Official: Garth Ennis Relaunches The Shadow at Dynamite

Shadow01 Cov Chaykin Official: Garth Ennis Relaunches The Shadow at Dynamite

Comments

  1. Jeremy Holstein says:

    Dang, that Chaykin cover is pretty fantastic.

  2. Wow- awesome news. Between this Dynamite series, the upcoming 12″ action figure from Go Hero, and Anthony Tollin’s wonderful reprints, 2012 is going to be a very Shadow-y year indeed.

  3. Well this will be really cool. I”m imagining a gritty Punisher Max style Ennis stories….and Aaron Campbell does some great period work (green hornet etc), so i’m excited for this.

  4. MBunge says:

    Everyone is rightly going to focus on Ennis, but I’m with Joey. Campbell absolutely kicked butt on Green Hornet: Year One and he’s turned this from a maybe-buy to a must-get for me.

    Mike

  5. Cole Moore Odell says:

    “Howard Chaykin revived it in the 80s replacing the mystic elements with cybernetic body parts, taking it in more of a science fiction direction.”

    The cyborg stuff was all Hefler/Baker, in their ongoing after the Chaykin miniseries, which merely updated the traditional Shadow to the 1980s, and ran off the juxtaposition of the Shadow’s authoritarian misogyny with the era of Repo Man & Reagan.

  6. Great news. Looking for some new titles other than DC and Marvel.

  7. Any idea what the cover price is?

  8. MBunge says:

    “Any idea what the cover price is?”

    Dynamite will sometimes make the first issue a buck, but $3.99 is their standard price.

    Mike

  9. Charles Knight says:

    “The cyborg stuff was all Hefler/Baker, in their ongoing after the Chaykin miniseries, which merely updated the traditional Shadow to the 1980s, and ran off the juxtaposition of the Shadow’s authoritarian misogyny with the era of Repo Man & Reagan.”

    Which if I remember correctly, their series was killed mid-storyline and then a more traditional shadow popped up a few years later. Wasn’t it the case that Conde Nast pulled the plug when they found out what was going on or is that just a rumor?

  10. I personally don’t feel that Ennis is the perfect fit for this if he’s going to lace it with a bunch of profanity and gratuitious sex and head exploding or limb flying scenes.

    I rather have someone with more experience, who knows his way around a pulp magazine revival at the helm such as Will Murray who actually wrote some great post Lester Dent Doc Savage novels.

    The Shadow has been pretty much a character I fell in love with at such an early age. I just remarking to someone yesterday at the Shrine Show who was selling the pulp reprint trades that I had done a book report in the fourth grade on the Crime Master which was a reprint in the Pyramid paperback series, and I had done a film strip book report on The Romanoff Jewels the next year for the fifth grade, and I also used to bring in lps of the radio show for listening day. So at a young age I was always shoving Shadow and Doc Savage books into the faces of my elementary school classmates, even going to as far to even dressing up like him for Halloween in the sixth grade, although I could only find one .45 prop gun.

    I don’t know – I guess I’ll give Ennis a chance- but I know just from the gist of the project- it’s going to be a short glib dialogue reading affair that’s not going to take no longer than 10 minutes to read that’s not going to feel worth plunking down four bucks a month for.

    ~

    Coat

  11. Charles Knight says:

    “I personally don’t feel that Ennis is the perfect fit for this if he’s going to lace it with a bunch of profanity and gratuitious sex and head exploding or limb flying scenes.”

    People said the same thing when he did Dan Dare and that series contained none of those things…

  12. eallengd says:

    Is the artist any good? My not aware of Aaron Campbell’s work.

  13. Jeremy Holstein says:

    @Charles_Knight – “Wasn’t it the case that Conde Nast pulled the plug when they found out what was going on or is that just a rumor?”

    Helfer and Baker claim that they left the book because they were barely making any money, and not because of Conde Nast objections. Why DC chose to instead relaunch back in period instead of continuing the plotline with different talent is the mystery.

    @eallengd – “Is the artist any good? My not aware of Aaron Campbell’s work.”

    He’s VERY good, and very good at capturing the flavor of the era. Look at Green Hornet : Year One and the first Dynamite Sherlock Holmes series.

  14. Cole Moore Odell says:

    While much more traditional, the Gerard Jones/Eduardo Baretto “The Shadow Strikes!” that replaced the Hefler/Baker version was a lot of fun in its own right. I’m a sucker for the kind of historical research Jones was putting in on that book.

  15. eallengd says:

    Thanks Jeremy, I’ll definitely look out for it.

  16. Roberto Briceno says:

    I’m looking forward to this series.

  17. @CharlesKnight re: Dan Dare: Yes, Ennis is fully capable of subsuming his own voice in a character. He’s written an excellent Superman, and when given a chance to take the piss out of Daredevil in his early Punisher work, he explicitly declined. (“Giving him the first round is easy. I don’t stand a chance against him. Never have.”)

    Ennis can be savage in his satire of the worst kind of superhero stories (See: Hitman #1,000,000), but he generally respects characters.

  18. I like Howard Chaykin’s artwork … I just wish he wasn’t determined to show The Shadow unmasked in every panel or cover.

  19. Why does Dracula got two guns?

  20. Marwan says:

    Ennis is the king!

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