Dial S For Shadow
Over here on ComicMix, we’ve been talking about The Shadow a lot recently – prompted by Denny O’Neil’s fine columns and Robert Greenberger’s first-rate interview with Shadow pulp reprint editor / publisher Anthony Tollin. Without belaboring a point, I’d like to refer you to another remarkable effort concerning comics’ most influential icon.
There’s this really great site called Dial B For Burbank. It’s operated by “Robby Reed,” who had previously run an equally amazing site called (wait for it) Dial B For Blog. I bet you thought I was going to say it was called Dial H For Hero; no, that trademark was owned by some publisher. Dial B For Blog had all kinds of wonderful articles about comics, my favorite being an in-depth look at classic letterer / logo designer Ira Schnapp, inventor of most of DC’s logos and house ads from about 1940 until the mid-60s. Schnapp also lettered title cards for silent movies and chiseled the words on the front of the New York Public Library. Robby also did some amazing production work, much of it of a satirical nature – to wit, the Adventure Comics cover shown here, with the genuine Ira Schnapp logo intact.
Let’s just assume “Robby Reed” is his real name.
More recently, Robby shifted his attention to The Shadow and launched the aforementioned Dial B For Burbank. All the effort, all the research, all the amazing production skill we saw on B For Blog is here… and more. Robby also added a 10 part video documentary called The Shadow Knows covering all aspects of The Shadow, from the pulps to radio to comics to the movies to television. He might have missed the short-lived newspaper comic strip; there’s only so much you can squeeze into 124 minutes.
Uncovering rare photographs and selecting some of the best artwork from George Rozen, Edd Cartier, Jim Steranko, Bernie Wrightson, Mike Kaluta and others, his documentary pretty much gives you the full story – not only of The Shadow and his pulp creator Walter Gibson, but of his many predecessors, successors, and imitators. Interviews and voice-overs from such folks as Gibson, Tollin, and Shadow performers Orson Welles, Bill Johnstone, Brett Morrison, and Alec Baldwin abound.
It’s a stunning effort. All the more stunning: it’s free.
You can download it from the Dial B For Burbank website; each of the 10 chapters in a quality sufficient for quality DVD burning, or in a lower-resolution QuickTime version.
If he sold this effort for, say, twenty bucks on DVD I would give it my highest recommendation. For free, well, heck, he’s not going to pay you to watch it, so that’s as good as it gets.