Monday, July 21, 2014

Houdini lurks in The Shadow #0

This week Dynamite Comics releases a new graphic novel featuring Houdini and The Shadow. The Dynamite website shows the official street date as July 23, but the book is in-stock now (I already have my copy in hand). The Shadow #0 is written by Cullen Bunn, with art by Colton Worley and a cover by Gabriel Hardman.

In The Shadow #0, Lamont Crasnton, a.k.a. The Shadow, infiltrates a society of evil magicians who are holding Bess captive in Los Angeles in 1936. During the action, Lamont flashes back to memories of New York in 1925 when he learned the art of escape from Houdini himself. A nice touch is that Houdini remains larger obscured doing these flashbacks, as if he is Lamont's very own "Shadow." It's a good, atmospheric adventure, with the final scene set at the Knickerbocker Hotel in Hollywood (site of the Final Houdini Seance). The final panels hint at another Shadow adventure to come, but it's unclear whether it will involve Houdini or Bess.

As far as I know, this is the very first fictional paring of Houdini and legendary pulp crime fighter. Of course, The Shadow was created by Houdini's real-life friend and ghostwriter, Walter B. Gibson, whom Houdini nicknamed "Shadow."

You can purchase The Shadow #0 direct from Dynamite Comics. In October Dynamite will release a graphic novel featuring Houdini and Sherlock Holmes.



  1. How deep did Houdini's relationship with Walter Brown Gibson run? Walter was hired by Houdini, whom he knew but not well, to write three books of simple magic tricks to be sold to the public as written by Houdini. At the time of Houdini's death, Walter had finished one (later published as Popular Card Tricks by WBG). His real relationship was with Houdini's notes on Escapes and Magic.
    I was convinced that Walter's take on the Vanishing Elephant was wrong. We discussed it at length as he and I drove to MGM studios. I had the strong impression Walter had seen Houdini perform it. Later, his writing partner on Houdini on Magic and Houdini's Fabulous Magic, Dr. Morris Young told me Walter had seen him do it -- twice. Later, Joe Fox played a Long John Nevil broadcast for me in which Long John asks Walter if he saw Houdini perform the Vanishing Elephant and Walter answers, "No, I never saw Houdini perform it but I spoke to many people that did."

    1. Someone just asked me on Twitter if Gibson was a member of Houdini's spiritualist "Secret Service" and I said I didn't believe he was. I've seen some Gibson/Houdini correspondence and they seemed very friendly. This is how I discovered HH called him "Shadow." And this is well before Gibson created The Shadow. That's pretty cool.

  2. Houdini let Walter and some other local SAM members perform during the magic section of the 3 in 1 show. However, did he snoop or stooge for Houdini? Probably.