January 26, 2006

Shade, the Changing Man #3 [1977]

SHADE was one of Ditko's major mainstream works of the 1970s, a decade during which he mostly drew stand-alone short stories and stories from other writers. He did plots and art for SHADE, though, with Michael Fleisher handling the script. The book lasted for 8 issues, with a 9th issue only showing up for copyright reasons in the CANCELLED COMICS CAVALCADE #2 photocopy package.

The series was pretty densely written, with a lot of characters and concepts introduced in the first few issues, and a pretty unusual pacing, with a lot of short scenes jumping from character to character. A very weird sort of intensity, and also some weird visuals, perhaps none moreso than the villain, Sude, who operates behind a giant red globe head with hands. Seriously, what's that about?

In this issue, "Escape into...the Trap!", Shade escapes from his love, Mellu, who thinks Shade is behind a bomb attack on her parents. Shade returns from Earth to Meta and is on the run, hoping to find a way to clear his name, while Sude has sent another agent, the invisible Cloak. Shade manages to escape, but not before being framed for another death, and going back on the run.

Ditko plots and draws the 17-page story and draws the cover.

"Escape into...the Trap!" J-4720
Cover C-475


  1. wouldn't this make a nice trade paperback collection?

    Nick Caputo

  2. Always a big fan of Shade. I wonder if fandom at large even remember the Ditko run anymore, given the character's later Vertigo makeover.

  3. I'd love to see a collection, especially if it included the unpublished #9. A couple of years ago I'd have said it was unlikely, but now that I've lived to see a reprint of Metamorpho I figure anything's possible.

  4. Shade is so so so great. i have all 8 issues, wish i could get my hands on that unpublished 9th story.

    it's so pathetic, that DC did not have the guts or the imagination (or the freedom from the bottom line) NOT to rely on the name of a great creation by a noted creator, when it "re-launched" shade by someone else. the honorable thing to have done would have been to give this all new creation an all new name, instead of riding on ditko's coat tails.

    which is to say nothing about not letting steve finish what he started.

    when all is said and done, the "re-vamped" shade will appear to have been of its time, while the real, original shade will simply be "of ditko."



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