The Shadow’s Nose.

§ December 2nd, 2005 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on The Shadow’s Nose.

So every time I bring up the late ’80s Andy Helfer/Kyle Baker run on The Shadow (this time in the form of my sidebar icon, duplicated to the right here in this post since that icon will be replaced eventually), it always attracts a small amount of discussion. Most of that discussion is along the lines of almost universal agreement that it was indeed a classic run, and that its early ending was quite a shame. And that its ending was brought about by the Shadow’s copyright holders not being terribly thrilled with the fact that their character had been decapitated and has had his head placed on a robot body. The Hurting‘s Tim O’Neil wondered if the “copyright holder” story was perhaps just an urban legend, and that’s a fair question.

A quick Google check brings up several references to the “owners didn’t like the Shadow comic” story (like at this pulp magazine page), but I haven’t found any comments straight from the horse’s mouth (like from anyone at Conde Nast, or anybody from DC). I checked a couple print interviews I had with Kyle Baker, but found nothing there either. I suppose there’s probably something more definite somewhere, and if any of you know where that might be, point me in that direction!

I should note that in the comics themselves, that particular story is denied in an editorial response to a letter of comment in The Shadow Strikes #4:

“No, it is emphatically NOT true that Conde Nast, the copyright holders of the Shadow, ‘pulled the plug’ [on the Helfer/Baker series]. The good folks over there have always been most cooperative and helpful. The true and complete reason the H/B Shadow was cancelled was that the creative team’s schedules proved prohibitive. Plus, they had the Prestige JUSTICE INC. to complete.”

Compare the comment about the creative team’s schedule to Baker’s comment in this interview:

“‘The Shadow’ was easy to draw. I used to do a whole book in a week.”

Also, in the Amazing Heroes Preview Special from January 1989, the entry for The Shadow has brief synopses for events in issues beyond the actual last printed issue (#19), and states that #24 would be the last for Helfer and Baker. So if even if they were just kinda winging it on the series (as commenter Dan relates), it looks like they were still holding out the possibility for more Shadow stories prior to the axe coming down.

That editorial reply in The Shadow Strikes also includes a reference to the theoretical Shadow Special that would have wrapped up the story:

“As for that Special concluding the ’80s storylines, it’s scheduled to come out one of these days….”

Sixteen years on, I’m still waiting for that special!

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