Written by Peter Milligan , this series was meant to be a new take on Steve Ditko's Shade, the Changing Man . It became one of the intellectual and "mature" titles DC Comics was publishing at the time. So when Karen Berger (who happened to be an editor on the book) got her Vertigo imprint, this series became one of the six core titles that switched over, this series doing so with #33. From that point on the series continued for several more years, releasing more issues under the Vertigo imprint then it had with DC until it ended in 1996 with a seventy-issue run. Through that run the series went through three distinctive eras, the first was from #1-32 (Shade's first lifetime), coincidentally ending with the final issue before the addition of the Vertigo label. The second era was from #33-50, mostly taking place in a setting referred to as Hotel Shade and dealing with a characteristically different Shade. The final era of the book was #51-70 and for the most part took place in New York City, during which Shade tried to find meaning to his life once again.
Peter Milligan wanted to end the book with issue #50 but DC wanted to continue the series and Milligan wrote it till its last issue due to not wanting let the characters go.
Unlike some other big titles by Vertigo, this one has never been fully collected but it may be that Vertigo has finally decided to begin righting that wrong as three trade paperbacks have currently been released, the latter two being in recent years. Based on previous patterns of the imprint collecting its back-catalog it is presumable that a new trade will be released every year, but a new trade has not been released since 2010. So far, the trades available are:
- #01-06: The American Scream
- #07-13: The Edge of Vision
- #14-19: Scream Time
- #20-70: N/A