The Shadow Monthly Poll
Why do you think The Shadow (or any other pulp hero) is not very
well known today?
Want to add your own opinion? Email
me! Don't forget to read the rules,
The popularity of the pulp heroes was biggest before
WWII. I think that a great deal of the world's
innocence died during the war: we could no longer fantasize about
larger than life villains when there were things like the Third Reich in
our reality. Although there had been war before, there had never been a
real enemy so outrageously merciless... Fu Man Chu seems pale in comparison.
And if our innocence was dying in the war, it was capped off by the atomic
bomb. After Hiroshima, "big science" no longer was a shining thing...
it was now a double edged sword.
The generations that grew up reading The Shadow in the 30's went to war
as boys and girls, and came back as men and women... their children were
too young to be exposed to the pulps, and grew up reading comic books. There
were Shadow and other pulp hero comics, but they probably lacked
the "whiz bang" factor when compared to things like Batman or Superman,
who had by now built up a full head of steam by this time. The pulps in
the late 40's tried to become more adult-oriented.
For example: The Shadow's "who-done-it" phase (written by Bruce Elliot)
and the "Doc Savage: Science Detective" period. During the last phase of
their lives, the magazines reverted back to an effort to emulate
their glory days, but the phase was short and the magazines got cancelled.
The Shadow's rights were shuttled back and forth between publishers during
countless movie negotiations... all while the public
was forgetting the character. Even though a few of the books were
published here and there, they weren't published long enough to build up
a new fan following. In the 70's, there was a nostalgia
boom, and The Shadow was exposed for a short time, but the character
sank from view for some reason... Perhaps it's partially due to DC cancelling
their Shadow comic, a mysterious move given that the series was selling
Doc Savage did a little better: his books were
completely reprinted, and although it gave birth to an awful movie, these
reprints gave birth to a new fan following
(which seems to be larger than The Shadow's, probably because of consistency
of reprints). Thankfully, the Shadow movie turned on a new generation of
fans (even though the cult is relatively small), but how many people know
about G-8 and his Battle Aces, or The Spider? Those who do probably know
them through The Shadow or Doc.
Finally, I asked my wife (who is a few years younger than me and doesn't
understand my fanaticism) about this. "Why do you think these characters
aren't popular now?" Her reply, which sadly explained a lot: "Because
they're old." I think the setting of "the old days" doesn't appeal
to todays audience, who only want "new", "next", and "modern".
I wonder if "the kids" would like The Shadow if he was called "The Shadow EXTREME!!". Maybe he could snowboard or bungee-jump. (Just kidding, of course)
I think the reason that the Shadow isn't well known today is partly because
society changed, and partly because even though
he would work perfectly in the present day, he didn't
make the transition very well at all. That was mainly the fault of
the people who owned the property, and partly because, well, they had *too*
much cling to the continuity. If they had sold a license or even
the entire property to, say, Marvel Comic books, expecially at the time
of the creation of Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four, the character might
still be popular, and so forth, provided they were able to bend the character
so that he fit within the Marvel Universe.
Also, I say that the times changed, because when Vietnam
happened and with the protest scene (from what I've gathered), being
rich was being on the side of "the man", and there was the simple matter
of the violence in The Shadow's world. It was violent,
and The Shadow did kill people. Unfortunately, in society then, especially
in the part of culture that was of the age that would buy the comic books,
and listen to the radio shows, they were not into that kind of entertainment,
and some of that culture spread to that period
of American history's Heroic Ideal.
At least, that's what I think.
The Shadow isn't popular today as was yesteryear is becuse people forgot
how to use their imagnations. Everything today is high tech, most
kids today grew up in the Star Wars age and didn't
have a chance to read and dream about being that superhero, or being
that cowboy, or being on that planet. Everything is
done for them!
It's a shame!
Young people do not like to read. They play
video games. Young people miss the excitement of reading. Of course, there
are exceptions. There is no rule without exceptions.
Ah, a very good question indeed. Why has The Shadow disappeared from the
public mind. I believe there are many reasons behind why.
1.) The introduction
of televison, thus people lost interest in listening to the radio.
2.) The death of his
creator, Maxwell Grant aka Walter B. Gibson.
3.) No one actually knows who
owns the rights to The Shadow.
4.) Why bother with a gun wielding (anti-hero),
who is above the law and takes matters into his own hands or (agents taking
matters into their own), when people seem to like
those heroes who are willing to give the criminal a sporting second chance.
Hey, The Shadow gave criminals the same offer, but cross him again... fwtt
5.) Who can bring back The Shadow. I don't
know if this crimefighter could be updated. He could be updated, but it
would be very difficult to update him and for
his fans to acept this update from the man we know and all love him as.