Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Nights Of The Shadow Two!

The second appearance of The Shadow at DC comes not in his own comic, but as a guest-star in Batman #253. The cover is a superb illustration by Mike Kaluta. This story "Who Knows What Evil..?", written by Denny O'Neil and featured artwork by Irv Novick and Dick Giordano (who would've been great choices for the main Shadow book, their lean Shadow is very effective) gives us a tale primarily starring the Batman. (As it should I guess.)

Bats is tracking down some counterfeiters, which leads him out west. All along he's helped here and there by a mysterious force which offers only bullets and a cold laugh. We get the sense Batman might just know who his secret helper might be. Out West, Batman meets a scientist named Lamon Cranston, a distinguished gent with the standard comic book code for age, white temples. Batman doesn't come off in this story all that bright as he thinks Cranston might be the key culprit and so misses the real bad guy. But the timely intervention of The Shadow helps him out again, and the two crimefighters shake hands with Batman expressing his admiration for the Shadow and indicating he'd been a big inspiration for him. There's some talk of The Shadow coming out of retirement, but it's left open at the stories end.

The highlight of this story is the artwork. Irv Novick is a name that rarely gets much mention, but his pencils were vivid and dynamic. (Alter Ego had an issue featuring his work a few months back.) His storytelling was impeccable and on something like this he's an ideal choice. It's a shame he didn't do more Shadow work, as it would've looked outstanding. And Dick Giordano was the ideal inker for him, as he was for so many fine comic talents. 

More to come.

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  1. This was a comic I always wanted when I saw it advertised in numerous DC comics, but like so many other longed for comics before I never saw this in my local newsagents spinner racks. I only picked this issues up around 2 or 3 years ago and agree the art was the star of the show. Decent story but perhaps I had built it up to be more than it was or could be. Novick like Dillin were criminally overlooked artists

    1. Totally agree. Dick Dillin and Irv Novick along with Curt Swan were the nexus of DC in the Bronze Age. Great talents like Kirby, Kaluta, Wrightson, and even Adams added immensely to the comics, but those three guys above carried the water month in and month out.