Cover Versions: THE SHADOW

March 11th, 2013

Being an irregular series wherein I spotlight some particularly beautiful cover runs, from some comics you might have forgotten about, or never seen before. This time it’s Andy Helfer and Bill Sienkiewicz / Kyle Baker’s wonderfully gonzo and short lived 80′s version of The Shadow.

Of all the radical character reinventions of the mid-80′s ‘mature’ boom, the Andy Helfer helmed Shadow series was one of the most brazenly strange; quirky, black-hearted and surreal, with gorgeous art from Bill Sienkiewicz and a young Kyle Baker. Following Howard Chaykin’s controversial mini-series Blood & Judgement, that reimagined the steely eyed pulp vigilante for the smart and cynical 1980′s, Helfer took the set up and ran with it.  He also stripped out some of the weird misogyny and nihilism from the title, bringing in a healthy sense of surrealism to the revisionism. This was a black hearted, New York art school comic, masquerading as a superhero comic, and it was thrillingly unusual as a monthly read. It lasted 24 issues, before DC pulled the plug on it, after facing severe backlash from ardent fans, and pressure from the owners of the trademark. It’s possibly my favourite of the slew of character reinventions from the late 1980s; it’s wild, creepily unsettling and beautifully drawn throughout.

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SILENCE! podcast #7

March 20th, 2012

Sweet singing Jesus! This is it. THIS IS THE ONE! No hyperbole, no exaggeration, this is IT. This gonna be the one the kids bicker over! This is the one that’s gonna change the game, this…this…

Sorry I can’t remember what the hell I was talking about. Forgive me. Been hitting the bottle harder than my man Starks on payday.

So what is this? It’s the seventh episode of SILENCE! the ‘award winning’ new podcast that’s sweeping the netosphere. In this episode you get two, count them TWO superhero songs: Gary Lactus’ ‘Variable Hulk’ featuring guest vocals from the soft Glaswegian brogue of Illogical Volume, and The Beast’s ‘Saga of the Swamp Thing’ super-ballad. That would basically be enough for most podcasts, but not SILENCE! God no. After that you get ‘hot’ ‘comics’ ‘gossip’ in SILENCE! NEWS! before the two launch into a heady discussion of BKV’s Saga no.1, Avengers Bendicise no.1, Captain America (and the loveliness of Alan Davis in general), Wolverine and the X-Men (again!), The Incredible Hulk (why not?), Casey and not-Fox’s disco bloodbath Haunt, the derangement of Elektra Assassin, The Secret History of DB Cooper from Oni, Shade from Robinson and Pulido [during which The Beast turns into a f*cking robot AGAIN!], the increasingly less yellow Fantastic Four, Saucer County,and SPACE: Punisher (fucking yes). they soil their minds at the awfulness of the Gearheart: Steampunk Revue no.2 in the fan-favourite You Should Have Known Better. Then the beast rhapsodises (in blue) about the lost classic Batman: Jazz from Gerard Jones and Mark Badger in The Beasts Bargain Basement (and yes there’s a cocking jingle!). There’s a quick discussion of the surprisingly brilliant Rise of the Planet of the Apes in Notcomics. Add in some America’s Top Model and the scintillation of the Coming Attractions, and you have yourself an aural swingers party.

So stick on your headphones, pour yourself an extreme beverage and CHOOSE THE FORM OF YOUR DESTRUCTOR!

 

PART 1

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PART 2

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