Whether it’s for a few years or a few panels, all comic book characters change costumes over the course of their publishing history. In Costume Consensus, we poll our readers about which costumes they’d prefer to buy when their favorite characters are finally turned into action figures. This week: The Shade!
How this column works is easy. We show you some pictures, provide a little background, and then ask you what you think. As always, If you have a suggestion for a character to be featured in this column, drop us a line at Submissions@ItsAllTrue.Net .
Mattel’s finally released the line-up for DC Classics Wave 19, and I was a bit disappointed. For the longest time rumors circulated that this wave would focus heavily on Justice Society of America characters, in particular the Jay Garrick Flash and The Shade. While the rumors weren’t entirely wrong, this wave is very Golden Age/JSA centric, I was sad to see Flash and Shade were absent.
But it’s not all bad, because now we can poll the fans just to see which version of this character you all really want.
1. The Shade first appeared in Flash Comics #33 back in 1942. A villain for both the Golden and Silver Age Flash, The Shade was given the powers to manipulate shadows with this magical cane. Even though he joined the Injustice Society, most of Shade’s villainy was nothing more than petty crimes. Pre-Crisis Shade is probably best known for being the main antagonist for Jay Garrick and Barry Allen in the “Flash of Two Worlds” story arc.
The original Shade had an interesting look for the Golden Age of comics. Most of the heroes and villains of the time either wore a suit or a costume. But with his top hat and cane, Shade’s duds were more reminiscent of Victorian England. Even his clothing gave him the look of an evil chimney sweep.
2. It wasn’t until post Zero-Hour that The Shade would be given a fully fleshed out character in the new Starman ongoing by James Robinson. Not only was he christened with a real name, Richard Swift, but he was given a lush back-story, immortality, and a terrific sense of fashion. Although the origin of his powers still remained a mystery it was explained that they were magical in nature and were actually generated by him and not his cane. Probably the most interesting trait this “new” Shade exhibited was his ambiguity when it came to being a hero or villain. His criminal past was committed mostly out of boredom, and any truly heinous act usually had an altruistic reason.
Where Golden Age Shade’s suit hinted at Victorian influences, the modern day Shade actually wore clothes from that time period. Long gone were the costume effects. This new version of Shade may have kept the hat and cane, but he was much more posh and definitely a stickler for looking ones best whether fighting demons, punishing museum vandals, or murdering the occasional Ludlow.