by Win Scott Eckert
From April 1931 to Summer 1949, Street & Smith published 325 issues of The Shadow Magazine, carrying the byline of Maxwell Grant. Actually, most of the novels were written by Walter Gibson, with some being contributed by Theodore Tinsley and Bruce Elliott.
An adventure-by-adventure timeline of the 325 pulp novels of The Shadow is beyond the scope of this chronology. For a complete listing of The Shadow pulp adventures, refer to Walter Gibson's The Shadow Scrapbook, HBJ, 1979; or Will Murray's The Duende History of The Shadow Magazine, Odyssey Publications, 1980; and Rick Lai's Chronology of Shadows.
A few key Shadow pulp novels are mentioned in this timeline: they provide the core framework of The Shadow's 1929-1949 pulp adventures. These novels also provide some pre-1929 information on The Shadow's history. Integrated into the framework of the original pulp novels is a chronology of every other comic, short story & novel appearance of The Shadow of which I am aware. I have included material that was authorized and licensed by Condé Nast Publications, Inc. (now Advance Magazine Publishers Inc.). The exception is Archie Comics' Shadow comic books from the 1960s, which are not included, and about which the less said, the better. Also included are appearances of The Shadow where he is not named as such, as in The Green Hornet mini-series or The Rocketeer comics. Fan fiction is not included.
A few items or dates are speculative, or based on Robert Sampson's information from his book, The Night Master. Much of the information provided is text-based and Rick Lai's Chronology of Shadows was used extensively as a reference. The greatest speculative leap which I have taken is the notion that the original Cranston (the first Cranston) had a twin brother (the third Cranston) who assumed the first's identity and fortune. Feel free to accept or reject.
This timeline is an attempt to reconcile conflicting information provided in canonical or licensed sources and create a streamlined chronology of the life of Kent Allard, using the 1929-1949 adventures as a base framework. I should also add that this timeline, which includes many comic book and other pastiche adventures of interest to the Wold Newton reader, is a much more humble effort than Rick Lai's Chronology of Shadows. Rick Lai has read each and every Shadow pulp (over 300) and placed each adventure in his fully annotated timeline, which should be considered definitive. This timeline can be used in conjunction with Rick Lai's in order to discern when various comic and other pastiche appearances of The Shadow occur.
With thanks to Robert Sampson and Matthew Baugh for information; Michael Norwitz for several helpful suggestions; and Rick Lai for supplying essential and definitive information.
N = novel
ss = short story
M = movie
S1 = DC Comics' The Shadow, Volume 1
S2 = DC Comics' The Shadow, Volume 2
S2Ann = DC Comics' The Shadow, Volume 2, Annual
S3 = DC Comics' The Shadow Strikes!
S3Ann = DC Comics' The Shadow Strikes! Annual
SM3 = The Shadow and the Mysterious 3 (Dark Horse Comics)
P = The Private Files of the Shadow (some DC Comics reprints, one new story)
CC = Eternity Comics' Crime Classics, featuring the Shadow (1940s comic strips)
B = DC Comics' Batman
GN = graphic novel
m = comics mini-series, various publishers
o = comics one-shot
J = DC Comics' Justice, Inc.
DC2 = DC Comics' Doc Savage, volume 2
R = The Rocketeer (various publishers)
Kent Allard is born.
Allard enters the Secret Service.
Allard is attached to the French embassy in Moscow. He is of service to Czar Nicholas II, and is rewarded with the girasol ring (see pulp novel The Romanoff Jewels). He begins to use the cloak and hat.
With the advent of World War I, Allard enters the flying service and becomes an ace (see pulp novel The Shadow's Shadow), though his main activities are those of an intelligence agent with the Seventh Star, the Czar's intelligence group (see pulp novel The Red Menace). During this period he adopts the alias of The Black Eagle to protect his true identity.
N (by Philip José Farmer)
The Adventure of the Peerless Peer Kent Allard, the man who will become The Shadow, is using the name Kentov. Colonel Kentov is a great World War I aviator and spy known as The Black Eagle, in the service of the Czar, who is assigned to fly Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson on a mission.
Ostensibly working for the Czar, Allard is, in truth, an American agent sent to manipulate the Russian crown and prolong the war until America is ready to enter it. (Disillusions and Illusions).
Faking an air crash, The Black Eagle goes behind enemy lines to set up an espionage network, clashing with Felix Zubian. Allard locates and maps an enemy air base, then escapes in a German plane back to the American lines. (See pulp novel The Shadow's Shadow).
Allard, posing as a Frenchman named Blanton, meets a man in Paris who will later go by the name Cliff Marsland (see pulp novel Mobsmen on the Spot).
Allard's guilt drives him to wander Europe and Asia without purpose except to sell his espionage services to the highest bidder. (Disillusions and Illusions; Blood and Judgment).
Kent Allard meets Lamont Cranston (the first Cranston), a drug runner, in Shanghai, China. (This man is actually not Lamont Cranston; it is Lamont's criminal twin brother, Lafayette Cranston, who is using his brother Lamont's identity and good name.) Their plane crashes and they are rescued by inhabitants of the secret city of Shambala. Allard kills Cranston after Cranston kills some of their benefactors and takes hostages. (Blood and Judgment).
Allard takes the late Cranston's identity (The Shadow (movie novelization)) and, during the years of his disappearance, takes paladin training at Shambala (Blood and Judgment) and studies under an immortal Chinese master (The Revenge of Shiwan Khan) or masters (Disillusions and Illusions). One of Allard's instructors is named Chen T'a tze (Cry Shadow!). Allard (the second Cranston) and the man who will be known as Shiwan Khan first meet while studying with the Chinese masters (The Revenge of Shiwan Khan). Allard is also gifted with an age-delaying elixir used by the Shambalans (Blood and Judgment). All the while, Allard continues to struggle against his dark side and evil impulses (The Shadow (movie novelization)).
Allard returns briefly to civilization and flies a proposed air mail route to South America, discovering the Xinca Indians of the Yucatan. An idol worshipped by the Xincas has two girasols for its eyes, one of which is missing. The missing eye is the stone in Allard's ring from the Czar. The stone had been taken from the idol centuries ago, during the Spanish Conquest, and had eventually made it into the hands of the Czar. The Xincas worship Allard as a god and give him the idol's remaining eye, the second girasol. Allard has a new ring made identical to the first, with the exception that the second ring holds the Chinese sign of Chow Lee engraved on its base, while the original holds the sign of the Seventh Star (the Russian spy group). Later in the year Allard fakes his death in an air crash in the jungles of Guatemala, and news reports spread that aviator Kent Allard has been lost in South America . (See pulp novel The Shadow Unmasks; see also "The Purple Girasol," article by Walter B. Gibson in The Duende History of The Shadow Magazine).
Allard, as Cranston, succumbs to his evil nature and becomes a vicious drug lord in Tibet. In 1928, Allard is kidnapped by a Tibetan tulku, a holy man, and undergoes a forced redemption, accompanied by further mental and physical training (The Shadow (movie novelization)).
Disillusions and Illusions Kent Allard reappears in Istanbul, where he meets the late "Lamont" (really Lafayette) Cranston's twin brother, the real Lamont Cranston (the third Cranston, hereinafter referred to as the "real" Lamont Cranston, for the purposes of the 1929-1949 pulp adventures). Allard is pursued by Rasputniks, who believe that his girasol ring should have been given by the Russian Czarina to Rasputin instead of Allard (see The Romanoff Jewels). Allard creates the identity of The Shadow. He begins gathering agents worldwide in his quest against evil, and again takes the identity of Lamont Cranston (he is the second Cranston), which he will use along with many other identities. Meanwhile, the real Cranston (the third Cranston) becomes an agent of The Shadow; his main usefulness will be in staying out of New York while The Shadow is using the Cranston identity.
In Gotham City, The Shadow captures a group of gunmen and saves the lives of Thomas Wayne and his son Bruce (The Night of the Shadow).
The Shadow meets Walter Gibson.
The 325 pulp adventures of The Shadow, as recorded by Walter Gibson, Theodore Tinsley and Bruce Elliott, all under the pen name of Maxwell Grant. (Only a few of these numerous adventures are listed here to provide a framework.)
Detective Story Hour is first aired. To make his voice known among the underworld, The Shadow agrees to act as announcer on these broadcasts. He also makes arrangements with Gibson and Street & Smith to publish his adventures.
The Shadow recruits Harry Vincent (see The Living Shadow). He begins to make investments designed to make him independent of the Cranston fortune. His first adversary, Diamond Bert Farwell, is imprisoned.
Agent Claude Fellows is murdered (Gangdom's Doom) and Cliff Marsland is recruited (Mobsmen on the Spot). The Shadow and Detective Joe Cardona meet for the first time. He also meets Commissioner Ralph Weston and recruits Clyde Burke, Dr. Rupert Sayre, Slade Farrow, Hawkeye and Tapper, among others, as agents.
ss (by Philip José Farmer)
After King Kong Fell Doc Savage and his boys, along with The Shadow and Margo Lane, witness the aftermath of Kong's plunge from the Empire State Building. Although Margo Lane was not yet operating as one of The Shadow's agents at this time, she did know Lamont Cranston. For more on Margo, click here.
The Golden Quest
M, N (by James Luceno), m 1-2
The Shadow (movie and novelization) First appearance of Margo Lane (as an agent) and of new agent Dr. Roy Tam. The Shadow battles Shiwan Khan. (Margo will continue to be kept in reserve and will not often appear in The Shadow's adventures for a few more years.)
The Dark Death
S1 1, P
The Doom Puzzle
Bells of Doom
S1 3, P
The Kingdom of the Cobra
Crooks Go Straight
S1 4, P
Death is Bliss
Mardi Gras Mystery
Rasputin Returns The Shadow battles Moriarty's son, Rasputin. The Shadow had previously encountered Rasputin while in the service of Czar Nicholas.
The Secret Life of Margo Lane
Murder Every Hour
DC2 17-18 and S3 5-6
The Conflagration Man Doc Savage's first teaming with The Shadow.
To Cloud Men's Minds
Atoms of Death
N (pulp), CC 3-4
The Fate Joss aka "The Shadow vs. Hoang Hu."
Danger on Shark Island
Death Rides the Skyway
Fireworks The Shadow and Shiwan Khan renew their previous acquaintance.
The London Crimes
The Ghost Murders
Out of the Past
The Chinese Tapestry
The Shadow vs. the Chicago Mob
The Yellow Door
Death Sits Down
City of Doom
The Star and the Twisted Cross Albert Einstein appears in this case.
The Radium Murders
The Revenge of Shiwan Khan Death of The Shadow's agent Claude Fellows; the reports of his death in the pulp novel Gangdom's Doom must have been greatly exaggerated? It is revealed that The Shadow and Shiwan Khan both previously studied with a centuries-old master in China. Shiwan Khan is also very long-lived, probably due to an elixir similar to that of Fu Manchu. Mao Tse-Tung appears in this adventure. Margo Lane uses the name Myra Reldon; although not featured in this case, the real Myra Reldon is also an agent of The Shadow.
The Golden Masks
The Gray Ghost
Aloha Takes place just after The Revenge of Shiwan Khan. Amelia Earhart appears in this adventure.
City of Crime
Partners of Peril
Vengeance is Mine!
Hell's Heat Wave
Loot of Death
S1 6, P
Night of the Ninja
The Cup of Confucius
The Night of the Beast
The Pooltex Tangle
The Shadow Unmasks When the real Lamont Cranston (the third Cranston) is reported injured in a plane crash in Europe, and Cranston (The Shadow, the second Cranston) is simultaneously seen in New York, The Shadow retreats to his true identity of Kent Allard: Allard "returns" from South America and becomes another alternate identity used by The Shadow.
The Night of the Mummy This story features The Shadow in his Kent Allard identity and the real Lamont Cranston (the third Cranston).
The Yellow Band
Fate's Free Fall Takes place before In the Coils of Leviathan.
Cold Day in Hell
The Case of the Shrieking Skeletons The Shadow and Doc Savage cross paths again.
N (pulp), CC 1-2
The Sealed Box aka "The Riddle of the Sealed Box"
The Mystery of the Sleeping Gas
The Rocketeer: Death Stalks the Midway Cliff Secord, the Rocketeer, does some work for The Shadow in New York.
In the Coils of Leviathan
River of Death
City of Shadows
The Night of the Falling Death
The Night of the Killers Takes place just after The Night of the Falling Death.
The Night of the Avenger The Shadow and his agents fight with The Avenger and his agents against Shiwan Khan.
The Night of the Damned The adventure The Night of the Killers was one month ago.
N (pulp), S3 16-17
Death's Harlequin Features the real Lamont Cranston.
The Shadow vs. the Bund
N (pulp), CC 8-9
The Golden Master aka "The Shadow vs. Shiwan Khan." Takes place just after The Shadow vs. the Bund.
N (pulp), CC 9-10
Shiwan Khan Returns aka "The Shadow vs. Shiwan Khan."
Prince of Evil Features recurring bad guy Benedict Stark.
The Man Who Died Twice
The Shadow vs. the Swindlers
Night of Neptune's Death Europe is at war. Story continued in Justice, Inc.: The Monster Bug (J 3).
Masters of Death
Crime Over Long Island
Crime at Lake Calada
City of Fear
The Veiled Prophet
In the Toils of Wing Fat
The Spy Ring
Mid April 1941
The Blackmail King
The Devil's Feud
Sting of the Green Hornet The Green Hornet and Kato encounter The Shadow, who is posing as a government agent.
N (by Ron Goulart, aka "Kenneth Robeson")
The Purple Zombie Cranston (most likely really The Shadow posing as Cranston) is briefly glimpsed at a Hollywood party.
Messenger of Death
N (pulp), S1 2, P
The Freak Show Murders
Fragment of the Sun, Part I
Beginning with The Blackest Mail, The Shadow (Kent Allard) is on a secret assignment elsewhere (the details of which the world is not yet prepared), and the real Lamont Cranston (the third Cranston) is put in charge of The Shadow's network of agents. When and if The Shadow actually appears in these stories (a rarity), it is the real Cranston using the Shadow identity. Cranston's relationship with the other co-workers -- not agents -- is quite friendly, as opposed to Allard's arrogant disposition. The final story of this period, which is much more grim and violent, is called Reign of Terror, in which the real Shadow (Allard) reappears. (Issues of Shadow Mystery written by Bruce Elliot from 1946-1948. Walter Gibson returned to the magazine with Jade Dragon, and continued for the final five issues in 1948-1949.)
The Black Circle
ss (by Walter Gibson)
The Riddle of the Rangoon Ruby
ss (by Walter Gibson)
Fragment of the Sun, Part II (Prologue to Shadows and Light).
When Mao takes over China, Allard is recalled to Shambala and the city's existence is totally concealed and cut off from the outside world. (Blood and Judgment).
Birth of Kent Lane, son of Kent Allard and Margo Lane (click here for more information).
Who Knows What Evil--? The Shadow and Batman are involved in an investigation into a band of counterfeiters that leads Batman to a small town in the Southwest.
The Night of the Shadow The Shadow makes a brief return to the West, as he and Batman (Bruce Wayne) deal with an escaped convict that The Shadow captured years before, when Bruce was a young boy.
The Shadow contacts Burbank for the first time in ten years, looking for news of the outside world. (Agents).
Through his contact with Burbank, The Shadow realizes that the international terrorist group called CYPHER is close to discovering the existence and location of Shambala. The Shadow instructs Burbank to begin reassembling The Shadow's agents, in preparation for a conflict with CYPHER.
The Shadow temporarily returns to the West to deal with CYPHER; he also becomes embroiled in other adventures.
N (by Walter Gibson)
Return of The Shadow
N (by Dennis Lynds, author of many of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. digest magazine novels in the 1960s, under the pen name of Maxwell Grant)
The Shadow Strikes
N (by Dennis Lynds)
N (by Dennis Lynds)
N (by Dennis Lynds)
The Shadow's Revenge
N (by Dennis Lynds)
Mark of The Shadow
N (by Dennis Lynds)
N (by Dennis Lynds)
The Night of The Shadow
N (by Dennis Lynds)
The Shadow - Destination: Moon
The Shadow destroys the CYPHER organization once and for all, and returns to Shambala.
Birth of Ching Yao Chang, son of Kent Allard.
Birth of Hsu-Tei, son of Kent Allard.
N (by Lin Carter)
Invisible Death In this second Prince Zarkon adventure, Zarkon visits the Cobalt Club (frequently seen in the Shadow novels) and consults with fellow member Lamont Cranston. It is unclear whether Zarkon is meeting with Allard himself (the second Cranston), returned from Shambala, or whether he is meeting with the "real" Cranston (the third Cranston). However, due to the fact that Zarkon encounters other agents of The Shadow through the 1970s (in subsequent Zarkon novels), as well as the fact the Cranston is continually referred to in the subsequent novels, it would be my supposition that Zarkon consulted with Allard, who is splitting his time between Shambala and New York, in preparation for The Shadow's future return to the West.
ss (by Philip José Farmer)
Skinburn Kent Lane, son of Kent Allard and Margo Lane, is a private detective (click here for more info).
ss (by Harlan Ellison, in Weird Heroes, volume 2)
The New York Review of Bird Kent Allard is again in the West. While speaking to his nephew, writer Cordwainer Bird, Allard "reveals" that he viciously murdered Margo Lane back in 1958, after discovering her participating in an orgy (without him, presumably). Allard makes other fantastic statements to the effect that he knows of Billy Batson and Batson's connection to the New York Subway system. (Billy Batson probably is a real person in the Wold Newton Universe, as is Freddy Freeman; however, there has never been any evidence to support the notion that either Batson or Freeman were granted the magical powers of Shazam in the Newtonverse.)
Allard's assertions would normally be dismissed as the delusional ramblings of an old man, since Margo Lane is still alive and well (at least as of June 1978; see Lin Carter's The Earth-Shaker). However, although he is in his early eighties, Allard is not truly an old man at this point, at least in terms of his physical condition, due to the Shambalan age-delaying elixir. Indeed, Allard is back in the West on a mission, one that requires him to pose as an old man, and once again use the Phwombly identity. The "delusional" statements that he makes are merely part of the cover. It is also interesting to note that Allard appears to have been using the "old man Phwombly" cover for some time, and is having a grand old time putting one over on his nephew Cordwainer, who believes he's helping out old Uncle Kent by continually getting his girasol ring out of hock.
N (by Lin Carter)
The Earth-Shaker Margo Lane appears briefly in this fourth Prince Zarkon adventure.
The Shadow meets Burbank in New Jersey and together they begin the recruitment of a new set of agents, in preparation for The Shadow's eventual return to the West. (Agents).
Blood and Judgment Deaths of agents Clyde Burke, Hawkeye, Cliff Marsland, Moe "Shrevvy" Shrevnitz, Dr. Rupert Sayre, and Jericho Druke. Agents Harry Vincent and Margo Lane, as well as Inspector Joseph Cardona, are still alive. The Shadow returns to New York and poses as Lamont Cranston, Jr. (the fourth Cranston). The "real" Lamont Cranston (the third Cranston) must be dead by now. Meanwhile, the original Lamont Cranston (the first Cranston), thought dead in 1922, actually survived and, after changing his name to Preston Mayrock, built a criminal empire.
Shadows and Light Shiwan Khan appears to have run out of his age-delaying elixir. Agents Burbank, Rutledge Mann, and Dr. Tam are still alive. Preston Mayrock II, the cloned "son" (the fifth Cranston) of the original Lamont Cranston (the first Cranston), appears in this adventure, as does Benedict Stark, the Prince of Evil. Sequel to Fragment of the Sun.
Harold Goes to Washington
The Seven Deadly Finns
Body and Soul, Part I
Body and Soul, Part II Shiwan Khan appears. The Avenger, now 78 years old, teams up with some of The Shadow's agents; Dr. Tam recognizes The Avenger from the incident in 1939 when they both fought against Shiwan Khan (see The Night of the Avenger). The adventure concludes with The Shadow's living head attached to a cyborg body. Will The Shadow somehow get a new organic body? The rest is silence.
Or is it?
Ghost and the Shadow The Shadow, apparently fully resurrected from the events of Body and Soul, is released from cryo-freeze. But it remains unclear whether this is a true Shadow adventure or whether it takes place in a parallel universe, the Dark Horse Comics Heroes universe.