Created in 1930 as a disembodied narrator for radio crime dramas, the Shadow eventually gained a persona, backstory, and has had many bloody adventures on radio (voiced by a young Orson Welles, among others), pulp magazines (mostly written by magician-turned-author Walter B. Gibson under the pen-name Maxwell Grant), comic books, and film (a 1994 feature starring Alec Baldwin). Having learned to “cloud men’s minds” in the Far East, Lamont Cranston (a.k.a. Kent Allard) returns to his native New York City and wages a brutal war on crime, aided by agents from many different fields of expertise. His famous catchphrase “who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?” was often accompanied, on radio, by his chilling, humorless laughter.
The Shadow was a precursor to Batman, and a huge influence on Batman’s creators Bill Finger and Bob Kane. Batman spent his first year occasionally toting a gun and dispatching criminals as ruthlessly as the Shadow did.
This 1/6th scale mini-bust was sculpted with Sculpey Firm, Super Sculpt, and Apoxie, and painted with acrylics and cel vinyl.
Every year near the Winter Solstice, Hub Comics in Somerville, Massachusetts holds an exhibition of Batman art by local artists. My 12 Days of the Batman mini-busts were on display, as well as numerous other works by some great artists.
Does the Joker need any introduction? I’m going to guess he’s the most famous comic book villain of all time.
I’ll just tell you a little about my version here.
With a nod to Conrad Veidt from The Man Who Laughs,whose look inspired the Joker, I think of the Joker as a handsome man whose only deformity is his bleached skin and green hair. Otherwise, it’s his violence and unpredictability that make him a monster. I updated his traditional jacket-with-tales and bolo tie with an ensemble which, while still old-fashioned, is sharp and tailored. The Joker’s a dandy.
I also left one shoe untied. Ultimately, the joke’s on him.
I enjoyed BATMAN BEYOND, but never loved Terry McGinniss as a character. I liked the “Dirty Harry teamed with Spider-Man” dynamic Old Bruce and Terry shared, but Terry was never more than adequate. I once complained to a friend that Terry had none of Batman’s detective skills, that other than a gung-ho attitude he had little that wasn’t provided by the powered armor he wore. “That’s because Bruce isn’t training a replacement,” my friend said, “Terry is his arm.”