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.
Created in 1939 (one month after Superman first appeared) by writer Gardner Fox and and artist Bert Christman, Wesley Dodds was a somnambulist-turned-superhero who wore an eerie gas mask and used a sleep-inducing gas gun, a kind of nonlethal variation on the Shadow. Inspired by the success of Neil Gaiman’s SANDMAN series (Gaiman’s Sandman being inspired by the earlier iteration) Wesley Dodds was revived in 1993 by writers Matt Wagner and Steven T. Seagle and artist Guy Davis in Vertigo’s SANDMAN MYSTERY THEATER, a moody crime comic set in the late ’30s.
SANDMAN MYSTERY THEATER artist Guy David depicted the Sandman’s alter ego Wesley Dodds and his girlfriend and confidant Dian Belmont as a rumpled, bookish, roly-poly couple, unusual for mainstream comics. I was inspired by Davis’ interpretation of the Sandman, as well as the rotund, overcoat-wearing protagonist of a Moebius story, To See Naples.
This piece was sculpted with a gray mix of Super-Sculpey and Sculpey III over an aluminum armature, molded in Smooth-On Oomoo 30, cast in Smooth-Cast 300, primed and painted with acrylic paints and accented with chalk and pastels. The finished piece stands about 7″ high.