The Shadow is a collection of serialized dramas, originally in 1930s pulp novels, and then in a wide variety of media. Details of the title character have varied across various media, but he is generally depicted as a crime-fighting vigilante with psychic powers posing as a "wealthy, young man about town". One of the most famous adventure heroes of the twentieth century, The Shadow has been featured on the radio, in a long running pulp magazine series, in comic books, comic strips, television, serials, video games, and at least five motion pictures. The radio drama is well-remembered for those episodes voiced by Orson Welles.
Introduced as a mysterious radio narrator by David Chrisman, William Sweets, and Harry Engman Charlot for Street and Smith Publications, The Shadow was developed fully and transformed into a pop culture icon by pulp writer Walter B. Gibson. The character would go on to become a major influence on the subsequent evolution of comic book superheroes, in particular, Batman.
The Shadow debuted on July 31, 1930, as the mysterious narrator of the Street and Smith radio program Detective Story Hour. After gaining popularity among the show's listeners, the narrator became the star of The Shadow Magazine on April 1, 1931, a pulp series created and primarily written by the prolific Gibson.
Powers/Abilities: The Shadow: Master of Darkness possesses incredible physical abilities. He possesses astonishing reflexes and is an incredible marksman with a gun. He also has incredible muscular control and can slip his body through the bars of a prison cell like a contortionist or can actually distort and alter his very facial features at will by manipulating his facial muscles. He can also survive for hours without air and was also ambidexterous. He is regarded as highly experienced in various disciplines of hand to hand combat as well.
His greatest power is his ability to “cloud men’s minds”. He can hypnotize people instantly so that he can move as an invisible shadow. He can also hypnotize people so they forget things or to command them to perform certain acts (he once forced a criminal to write a detailed account of his past crimes). The Shadow wears a fire opal ring known as a girasol on his hand which he uses to focus his hypnotic abilities. He is an expert in many different languages and is also a master ventriloquist (he can project or “throw” his voice).
He is also a master of disguise and has been known to impersonate others, even fooling their friends and family members. The Shadow is apparently an expert aircraft pilot and skilled in infiltration and information gathering techniques due to his experience as an intelligence agent.
He wields a pair of .45 pistols and employs a fleet of automobiles and aircraft in his various operations.
by The Centurion January 25, 2013
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