Friday, December 31, 2010

Lo! There Shall Come Endings! The Shadow and E-Man

It's New Year's Eve 2010, Groove-ophiles! It's become a bit of a tradition here in Groove City to say goodbye to the old year by checking out classic final issues from the Groovy Age, and this year is gonna carry on that tradition. This year, we're looking at the finales of two of Young Groove's fave mags--DC's The Shadow and Charlton's E-Man.

The Shadow was a masterpiece, and I could never figure out why it didn't last longer than 12 issues. The writing (mainly) by the great Denny O'Neil, who could write the kind of hard-boiled, atmospheric whodunits you'd expect for a pulp crime-smasher, was top-notch. The art was provided by three highly distinctive and wildly talented artists: Mike Kaluta, Frank Robbins, and E.R. Cruz, all masters of mood and period-pieces. I can't think of a single issue that I didn't dig, but there weren't enough like-minded fans to suit the powers-that-were at DC, t'would seem. The Shadow went out with an appropriate "bang" though, with this O'Neal/Cruz classic from May 1975..."Night of the Damned!"

E-Man was a major cult fave and definitely on Ol' Groove's short-list of best mags of the Groovy Age, but, alas, it wasn't a great seller. Nick Cuti and Joe Staton's masterpiece lasted only 10 issues in the 70s, but made a major comeback in the 80s and then jumped in and out of print during the 90s and early 2000s. Low seller it might have been, each ish of E-Man was a true gem, right down to the final issue's (June 1975) Al Capp tribute (or is it parody?), "The Witch of Hog Wallow". Dig it!

Here's wishing all of Groove-dom the happiest of New Years! Ol' Groove hopes 2011 will be your best year ever! See ya tomorrow as we kick off a brand new year! Huzzah!

1 comment:

  1. The reason for the Shadow's failure rests squarely on the shoulders of Denny O'Neil. A left-wing writer, trying to work on a right-wing character. Each issue ends with some variation of the villain slipping and falling to his doom by accident, as the Shadow looks on. No wonder he was always laughing.



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