Fans of iconoclastic, innovative comics auteur Howard Chaykin have had a lot to celebrate this year. First, Dynamite Entertainment reprinted the first 12 issues of Chaykin’s creator-owned masterpice American Flagg! a sly, sexy blending of science-fiction and social satire, originally published in 1983. Dynamite followed this comics coup with the rerelease of Chaykin’s scandalous adults-only noir opus Black Kiss, originally published in 1988, while Image scored with the all-new Black Kiss 2, written and illustrated by Chaykin. Now Dynamite is keeping the flame alive with an all-new edition of Chaykin’s long out-of-print The Shadow: Blood and Judgement.
Originally published by DC Comics in 1986, Blood and Judgement is Chaykin’s take on the classic 1930’s pulp antihero Lamont Cranston, aka The Shadow. A millionaire by day and a vigilante by night, The Shadow is a mysterious, inscrutable psychic with ties to eastern mysticism. Chaykin’s vision combines a pulp sensibility with 80′s new wave flair, featuring healthy doses of b-movie violent (The Shadow trades his trademark twin .45′s for a pair of Uzis) and flourishes of dark humor.
Currently featured in a new Dynamite series The Shadow written by Garth Ennis, previous comics incarnations of the character have been handled by such four-color luminaries as Dennis O’Neill, Mike Kaluta, Frank Robbins,Bill Sienkiewicz, Kyle Baker and Russ Heath.
Howard Chaykin began his career as an assistant to legendary artists Gil Kane and Neal Adams before striking out on his own to work on Sword of Sorcery and Weird Worlds for DC in 1973. He soon moved to Marvel where he drew the first 10 issues of their Star Wars comic, as well as issues of Conan the Barbarian. At Marvel, he also created the character Dominic Fortune, a prototype for American Flagg’s Reuben Flagg. While working for the Big Two publishers, Chaykin continued to work in independent comics, creating graphic novels and stories in Heavy Metal magazine (he also did designs for the Heavy Metal movie). More recent work includes runs on Hawkgirl G.I. Joe: Hearts & Minds and Die Hard: Year One.