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Interview: Aaron Campbell on Drawing Garth Ennis' THE SHADOW + Exclusive Art

Aaron Campbell is ready to unleash the Shadow upon the villains of the world.

The Shadow may know what evil lurks in the hearts of men but you can bet artist Aaron Campbell will know what lurks within the Shadow himself. Back in January, Dynamite Entertainment announced that they would be bringing the Shadow back to comics written by Garth Ennis with art by Aaron Campbell.

Dynamite has been killing it when it comes to capturing the essence of classic characters brought to modern times without compromising who they're meant to be. THE SHADOW will be continuing this tradition.

We had the chance to talk to Campbell about drawing the return of the Shadow.

Comic Vine: In taking on a classic character, do you have stronger feelings of excitement , nervousness or both?

Aaron Campbell: I can’t really say that I feel nervous. The one thing about characters like the Shadow that have been in and out of development is that you tend to have a lot more leeway with what you can do with them creatively. Aside from a few diehard fans there seems to be a lot less attachment to one particular take on the character. So I’m really excited about Garth’s take.

== TEASER ==

CV: A lot of people are familiar with the concept of the Shadow but don’t really know him. What will be your approach from an artistic angle?

AC: Well I tend to be a purest. I love just about all the classic aspects of the character - the slouch hat, the red lined cape and scarf, the trench coat, dual 45’s. There’s just no outdoing that. The one thing, though, that I think I bring to the table is a more realistic style. I’m trying to make this very gritty and intense with and heightened sense of time and place.= I want this character to live and breath.

CV: Will there be a different tone between the times when the Shadow is in his ‘hero’ guise and civilian identity?

AC: If there’s one thing that the Shadow knows it’s how to play a role. When it’s the Shadow he’s a hardcore, bad ass, stone cold motherfucker (pardon my French). When it’s Lamont Cranston he’s the playboy about town, suave motherfucker. When it’s Kent Allard he’s just a motherfucker .

CV: Obviously you’ve seen Garth’s scripts or notes, who is the Shadow in your mind?

AC: He is an agent of fate. He is aware of things that no one else can even conceive of and for whatever ever reason he chooses to act on that. He has his own code, as crude as it may seem, but it gets the job done and serves an ultimate good.

CV: The story is set in the late 1930’s, what are you doing to prepare to draw that time period?

AC: I already have a massive amount of reference material from my work on Green Hornet and luckily it takes place in the same year. One of my biggest challenges is this scene in the first issue that depicts the Nanking Massacre. I’ve actually already drawn a very similar scene in Green Hornet. So re-envisioning the scene in a way that didn’t just completely copy my original image has been very difficult.

CV: Is the Shadow only limited to fighting crime during the night? What happens if morning comes and the case isn’t solved? Would the Shadow run around during the day?

AC: I suppose so, but luckily the Shadow doesn’t have to adhere to real world mechanics. So if Garth wants to make sure that the Shadow battles all his foes in the dark of night he can conveniently make sure that all the evil-doers only want to do evil-doing at night. But of course I’m sure we could manage some daytime daring-do if it came down to that.

CV: What’s the one thing you’re looking forward to on this book?

AC: Okay, this is going to be a total fanboy answer. For me I’m just amazed with fact that I’m working with Garth. I think back to when I was in high school reading Preacher for the first time. Garth Ennis was just this name, this distant untouchable idea. The fact that I could one day be working with Garth couldn’t even have been a glimmer of a notion. So I get to fulfill a dream that I couldn’t even conceive of as a kid. Everyday I just geek the hell out.

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

AHHHH!!!!!!!! ::fangasm:: I'm slated to get this come May! May, you gotta get here already!

Posted by pikahyper

Looks pretty awesome.

Posted by jsphsmth

I guess that answers the question about how violent Ennis would be writing this series. I would haver thought him a little more restrained. Conde Nash pulled the license very quickly from DC when they didn't like how the series was being written in the late 80s.

Posted by RoboShark

Wow hope this is as good as it looks and sounds.

Posted by Billy Batson

looks good.

Posted by NightFang

This is what a Shadow movie should look like.

Posted by bladewolf

Looks amazing!

Posted by Hit_Monkey

I really, really can't wait for this book!

Posted by db8coach

Aaron Campbell is the right person for this. His work on GH YO was outstanding.

Posted by BlackArmor

@RedheadedAtrocitus said:

AHHHH!!!!!!!! ::fangasm:: I'm slated to get this come May! May, you gotta get here already!

Edited by Fantasgasmic

I've said it a million times, Golden Age characters that haven't stuck around, like The Shadow, don't work for modern audiences. If it's treated like a period piece, it could work as a miniseries. I'm always skeptical about story with these kinds of things, it's easy to turn them into a caricature or stereotype of every film noir movie ever.

That said, the art is pretty freaking great!

Posted by Deadcool

Looks awesome!

Posted by wdchefdave


The beginning of "The Shadow" movie is almost the same as "Batman Begins"... even if Alec Baldwin and his ego and his ex-wife and his giving Harrison Ford two GREAT movies... his NOSE was perfect for the Shadow!

The next Shadow movie should be as dark as it gets.

I don't remember him ever pistol whipping ANYONE!

He just kills everyone in the room.

The original "Crow" movie got it as close as you can on film.

Posted by RoboShark

The original Crow novel is so dated now. The haircuts are amazing.

Posted by JonesDeini

@RedheadedAtrocitus said:

AHHHH!!!!!!!! ::fangasm:: I'm slated to get this come May! May, you gotta get here already!

Thank goodness THUNDER Agents ends in may, because Ennis is my dude. Shadow is one of my favorite fictional characters period. Can't wait to see what happens when the two combine. And Campbell's work looks even better than I had imagined it would. Also looking forward to Liss Spider book.

Posted by Supreme Marvel

I enjoyed the film years ago. I would like to read the comics as well. :D Been looking forward to this since I heard they're remaking the film. Sam Raimi I heard wanted to do it.

Posted by longbowhunter

Aaron Campbell is a star. He did amazing work on Green Hornet: Year One.

Posted by The Poet

I am thinking about it...

I don't like the publishing dates set by Dynamite (every other month?), but I might make an exception. I want to see an actual preview or something...

Posted by The Impersonator

The Shadow is a motherf*cking b@d@$$! =P

Posted by nonfiction91

Lamont Cranston! lol, big fan, dug the movie with baldwin, this guy is the epitome of noir comic heroes

Posted by FadeToBlackBolt

Garth Ennis is writing this? That's a shame. 

Posted by turoksonofstone

Sounds like it will be very good.
Gary Gianni did some great work on the Shadow at Dark Horse, those stories read just like the Pulps and are worth a look too..

Posted by ThomasElliot

Garth Ennis naysayers only naysay based on their knowledge of Punisher or Preacher... maybe the Boys.

Try any of his Battlefield mini's, or Battler Briton, Streets of Glory, Back To Brooklyn, etc. Then you would know that Ennis knows what works and doesn't work in the context of the subject matter. The guy can write an uber-violent, debaucherous tale in one book while giving you a serious and dramatic war story in another. He's a lot more dynamic than haters think.

But I'm not a total fanboy either... Jennifer Blood wasn't too impressive and I didn't care much for Crossed either.

Posted by Decept-O

Nice language. Really.

Posted by KidSupreme

@Billy Batson said:

looks good.

I agree!!

Posted by cbishop

While it may be realistic, with all of those bullets flying around, I have never really been a fan of all that blood and gore on-panel. Much more a fan of the Alfred Hitchcock notion of doing it just off-panel, and letting blood spatter on a nearby photo of the victim, or seeing a convulsive shadow, instead of the actual body - allowing the viewer's/ reader's mind do the rest of the gruesome work. They will always make it worse than can be shown, and really, if it's too gory, it takes you out of the story for a minute while you process it. I don't think the blood and gore goes well with a classic character like The Shadow.

Posted by MysteryMan38

This is awesome! I am only 19, and have read so many reprints of the original Shadow pulp novels and listened to CD after CD of the radio shows. Truly, a character that has withstood the test of time, and come back again and again, each time, with fresh stories being added to the pantheon of adventures that are his glory days during the 1930's and 40's. This art is fantastic! I cannot wait to pick up my copy of this book.

Posted by maxicere

The Shadow rocks!!