Introducing The Shadow
By Maxwell Grant
(Walter B. Gibson)
The Shadow, weird creature of the night, scourge of the underworld! A splotch of black with gleaming eyes of fire, tapering, white-fingered hands that were clad in black gloves when The Shadow was in action; other times revealed in their grace and strength, with the Shadow's girasol-- a fire-opal unmatched in all the world-- a stone of ever changing hue that betokened the mystery of The Shadow.
The name of The Shadow had become a fixture throughout the underworld. The power of his hand had been felt in every center where organized crime was fostered. In London, in Paris, in Berlin-- even in Red Moscow-- The Shadow had won amazing victories over fiends of crime. But the center of his vast activities was New York. Here, The Shadow was the lone fighter who swung the balances in favor of the law when champions of justice seemed overwhelmed with unconquerable odds.
Gasping, dying lips had cried that name. Rats of the badlands had uttered it with convulsive efforts. Others-- those whose cause was just-- had blurted it forth with thanks; for The Shadow, in his ceaseless war against those who deserved to die was equally vigilant in his actions of saving those who had the right to live.
The Shadow was a being of amazing prowess. A supersleuth, he detected the inroads of crime where others saw nothing beneath the surface. A master of disguise, he had the ability to assume new identities with chameleon rapidity. An indomitable fighter, his mammoth automatics had blazed their way to safety for himself and those who were under his protection.
These roles were portions of the Shadow's strategy. He adopted them as occasion suited. Yet to the underworld and the police as well, The Shadow, in his moments of greatest power, appeared as a phantom clad in black. As such, he materialized himself from darkness. His mission accomplished, he returned to enshrouding gloom, leaving only the echoes of a strident, mocking laugh as token of his victory.
The Shadow seemed superhuman. His weird accomplishments had left their mark. The denizens of the underworld-- toughened, growling mobsters-- who spat their contemptuous desire to meet this mighty being where the first to quail when they gained the desire they had expressed. Through his supernatural measures, The Shadow gained an advantage that served him well. Often had steady trigger fingers trembled when their owners faced the Shadow's blazing eyes. Hesitation had cost more than one hardened gangleader his life. For The Shadow never paused when a death combat loomed. His finger was one that never
Police reports-- particularly those made by Joe Cardona-- contained no mention of The Shadow. Until his identity had actually been discovered, this superfighter must be considered as unknown. Yet Cardona knew that The Shadow was no myth; and his opinion was verified by supercrooks throughout Manhattan. The very name of The Shadow was provocative of awe.
The Shadow had never been traced. His entries and departures from scenes of danger were to well timed for that. It was suspected that The Shadow had agents who aided him in his affairs; but the bridge between the men and their master seemed unpassable.
This was because The Shadow chose to fight alone. He utilized his operatives when he searched for crime; in final combats, however, their parts were purely subordinate. There were crooks who had sought The Shadow's agents, just as they had tried to find The Shadow himself. Some of those crooks had gained their objectives, but only temporarily. Death had been their final lot. They had gone to deserved graves from which they could not speak to warn their fellows in crime.
In all his dealings with his agents, The Shadow used the same surprising secrecy that he adopted in his affairs with the underworld.