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Writer's Commentary: Dan Watters Talks The Shadow #3

Dynamite Entertainment has sent us a writer's commentary by Dan Watters on The Shadow #3 that he co-wrote with Si Spurrier. Covers by Tyler Kirkham and Michael Kaluta with interiors by Daniel HDR.Writer's Commentary: Dan Watters Talks The Shadow #3


PAGES 1-3:
Some familiar faces here, though we've not named them, and they may be somewhat more creased and weathered than they were last seen in The Shadow's pages. As we've established, he's been gone a long time. What happens to those he leaves behind?

The poster on the wall of Mary's bedroom pertains of course to her chosen profession, and also to a major theme running through the book; bodies, be they human or societal.Writer's Commentary: Dan Watters Talks The Shadow #3 Writer's Commentary: Dan Watters Talks The Shadow #3 Writer's Commentary: Dan Watters Talks The Shadow #3

Luisa's apartment — somewhat in contrast to Mary's sparse place back on page one. The posters on these walls potentially less packed with symbolism — but then again, they are displaying her rather fine taste in dark electro, which I feel may be just as important.

The shiny-yet-ominous 'hospital' that Mary sees in the distance here is somewhere that we'll be revisiting (or rather, visiting,) in future issues.Writer's Commentary: Dan Watters Talks The Shadow #3

Once a symbol is out in the world, anybody can adopt it for their own — it becomes a prism through which the world can be viewed. It's amazing what people manage to claim for their own by cherry-picking through ideologies, and here we see how the Shadow has been adopted disastrously, ironically yet straight-faced. Or at least his "skin" has.Writer's Commentary: Dan Watters Talks The Shadow #3

Some may recognize here the signature tactic of Jericho Duke. I can't help but love a character who's managed to make smashing-heads-together-to cause-vomit-inducing-concussions iconic.

PAGES 7-9:
Few answers for Mary herself here, but perhaps a few more puzzle pieces in place for the reader once the dust has cleared.

Here we also wanted to touch on the damage that the Shadow might have unwittingly done to his agents. Longevity may seem a gift, but when coupled with aging minds and the general wearing-downs of life, and with their direction vanished from under them, it may seem almost unconsciously cruel. And yet, here they stand at a moment's notice, ready with arthritic fingers to pick up the torch to put the world to rights — or pick up the large calibre handgun, in Hawkeye's case. This is the path that Myra is warning Mary against walking on page 9. Yet at the end of the scene, Mary is the one who's ended up holding the red scarf…

PAGE 10:
As we move into this issue's flashback, our steady eight-panel grid begins to break down at the bottom of the page, fragmenting into nine-panel grid territory.

PAGE 11:
That nine-panel grid seems somehow particularly fitting for this wartime flashback to me, perhaps because of the general claustrophobia of it, or perhaps because at this stage it feels in some regards "old-school". This page is probably worth paying particular attention to for those seeking to understand the nature of Leviathan. Indeed, I hope I'm not giving too much away by pointing to the young Worthy's speech here, drawn from James Burnham, whom we may remember from last issue, as something of a nexus-point which Si designed this arc to circle around.

PAGE 12:
"Herr Shadow"… it felt particularly joyous pitting the 1940s Shadow against monocle'd, luger-wielding, pompous Nazi spies. I've always really enjoyed O'Neil and Kaluta's Hitler's Astrologer.

PAGE 13-14:
I think this is probably the most aggressively we've seen the Shadow use his powers of persuasion thus far, in this arc at least. There seems something particularly Watchmen-esque about that second panel on page 14. Blood in the gutters, I suppose.

PAGE 15:
The middle tier of this page is probably my favourite thing in this issue. The slowness of the knife, the expression on both of their faces, the perfectly timed dropping monocle and utterance of a dread syllable. I think Daniel HDR has done outstanding work here.

PAGE 16:
And there's Leviathan, making its appearance for this issue — ever bigger, ever more pervasive. And Worthy Delaney comes face-to-face with the Shadow for the second time in his life. Daniel has once again made great use of the nine-panel grid here.

PAGES 17-18:
Looks as though Mary may have overdone it with the epinephrine, huh? I suppose there was no way we were realistically going to get through this book without some naked arse-kicking. Love how that red scarf emerges at the beginning of page 17, then slices through the blue of the pages like a scalpel. Huge props to Natalia on that one. Also the disappearing Crispy at the bottom of page 18 — an iconic silhouette, deconstructed, which I guess is kind of this book in microcosm.

PAGE 19:
A somewhat rare occasion on which we've used all eight panels of our grid without knocking any of them through to create larger panels. This sometimes works for slightly more talky pages (i.e. page 9 of this issue), but here speeds up Mary's panicked search- something of a nightmare for a trainee doctor to lose a patient from under their nose, I'd imagine, particularly if that patient is potentially a terrifying and deadly angel of vengeance.

PAGE 20:
And here they are, face to scarf at last. Tune in next month, where they're going to be having a very stern chat about his behaviour. Same Shadow-time, same Shadow-place.

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Dan WicklineAbout Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.
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