Monday, December 11, 2006

"The Shadow" Returns

Director Sam Raimi is ready to followup "Spider-Man 3" with another big franchise: "The Shadow." It's sure to be better than the hapless '94 version starring Alec Baldwin. In fact, the now red-hot Baldwin (who turned down the Jack Ryan franchise to do "The Shadow") would make a great villain. He at least deserves a cameo. My one quibble: they're referring to "The Shadow" as a comic book property. Hardly, it began as the name of the narrator of a radio show telling pulp fiction stories. The name so intrigued listeners that the show's backers got pulp writer Walter Gibson to start churning out stories for The Shadow. That led to another radio series (w Orson Welles as the crime fighter, though another man delivered the memorable line "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!") and then spun off into all sorts of merchandise and ultimately, yes, comic books. But "The Shadow" is first and foremost a pulp fiction anti-hero, not a comic book creation.

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