Monday, June 12, 2023

THE SHADOWED CIRCLE Strikes Back! (No. 5)

Editor Steve Donoso and his agents are back—with another issue that will leave you itching to strap on your automatics, don your hat and cloak, and wreak some justice on your own corner of the world.
The late Dick Myers leads us off, digging into the expenses of the man in black’s many agents and associates. There’s plenty of food for thought: Does Moe Shrevnitz take other fares? Does Harry Vincent play the stock market? Was Burbank forced to be on duty for 35 years with no time off? How much do Cliff Marsland and Hawkeye make as mobsters? Are there special facilities to maintain all the Shadow’s vehicles? Myers adds it all up, reaching an astounding total, and prying open a mystery as great as any our hero faced in print or on the air—how the heck did he pay for it all? I expect he’ll offer some insight on that in Part 3.
Tim King then does some fine detective work, uncovering the location of the B. Jonas dead drop. And that never-ending font of arcane knowledge known as Will Murray investigates the amazing three months in which Walter Gibson didn’t write a single Shadow story. As in Will’s Dark Avenger (reviewed in this issue by Steve Donoso) his citations of various stories make them all sound like must reading. Jeez, Will. Unlike you and Walter, some of us need time to sleep!
Malcolm Deeley brings new life to a 1989 serial from The Shadow Strikes! comic, in which our hero tangled with history’s mad monk Rasputin and romanced the lost Princess Anastasia. I’m rereading that now!
M.J. Moran has begun the herculean task of reading both the Shadow and Doc Savage pulp adventures in order of publication, and delivers a thought-provoking comparison of the two series.
Todd Severin’s look at comic books of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s provides a lot of new-to-me info about the “high-camp” Archie series (and its connection to the equally non-canonical Belmont paperbacks) and DC’s revival of the real Shadow, featuring Mike Kaluta (thumbs up) and Frank Robbins (thumbs down).
I also enjoyed Sam Oakley’s in-depth look at the one-and-only Shadow TV pilot, 1954’s “Case of the Cotton Kimono,” and Lloyd Auerbach’s reminiscence of an encounter with Walter Gibson, Ghostbuster.
As usual, it’s all attractively packaged with new artwork by cover painter Joe Booth and several others. The back cover, by “Rover,” is sort of like the MAD feature “Spy vs. Spy” on steroids. Great work, everyone!

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