Trying something new out here. This is all about the best comics you have probably never read. Some of these you may know the names of, some you may have seen around. Others I promise you you have never heard of.
We’re going to start off easy though. This column is about Shadowman.
Not the current valiant series, but the original. You have to go back a ways to find that. The original book predates the video game….and a LOT of people only know the Shadowman story from that game. that’s fine, except the game isn’t really what Shadowman was designed to be. The reboot that Akklaim forced on the character to get out of some outrageous contracts it had gotten itself into. The original Shadowman kicked around the corners of the original Valiant universe form almost the beginning. Some will say he was the company’s analog to Batman, but that’s not entirely true since Shadowman had some powers. The compulsion to fight evil at night wasn’t based on neurosis, but voodoo. It’s likely you saw him in crossovers and maybe picked up an issue or two, but this isn’t a character you can drop in and out of. This is one you have to follow from beginning to end to understand the arch.
What makes Shadowman such a brilliant title is that more than anything, this is the story about how being a superhero can really mess up a person’s life. Jack Boniface never really wanted to be a superhero. NEVER. He was picked by a voodoo cult to be this generations Shadowman, then seduced by an alien who infected him with a poison to dilute the power and render him far less effective.
Being a musician, he works at night. But he can’t work at night if he’s out chasing the evils of the night. Through the course of the series we explore his past, where he grew up and his parents, and we see him thrust in the future where he is told the date of his death.
The series never ended…not exactly. Remember a few years ago and the media circus that Daredevil had to deal with when he was outed? Imagine that only worse. Matt Murdock was an attorny with some power on his side. Jack is nobody. He ends up drug before the court and finally finds himself on a ledge. the last shot of the series is him jumping….but we don’t know what happened next. The series was left open ended like this because at the time no one knew what was going to happen to Valiant. It’s a little bit of a drag to end it like that, but the ride is absolutely worth it.
I picked all of my Shadowman comics up out of .50 -.25 cent bins. With the valiant revival, that may be a bit harder, but definitely give this a shot if you can grab a majority of the series. You won’t be sorry.