The Shadow (1994 film) Celebrates It’s 25th Anniversary

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?

What’s the problem?  Isn’t this movie jogging any memories?  That’s alright.  Many people have forgotten about this one.

The Shadow is a superhero created by Walter B. Gibson in 1931.  He’s actually older than both Batman and Superman.  When placed side-by-side you can clearly tell that The Shadow was used as a heavy influence on the creation of Batman.

In 1994, Universal Pictures gave The Shadow his very own feature film simply titled – The Shadow.  It starred Alec Baldwin as Lamont Cranston a.k.a The Shadow.  Other supporting characters in the film were played by John Lone, Penelope Ann Miller, Peter Boyle, Ian McKellen, Jonathan Winters, and Tim Curry.

The film follows wealthy playboy Lamont Cranston over in Tibet shortly after World War I.  He decides to stay in Tibet, change his name to Yin-Ko, and sets himself up as a drug warlord.  While running his empire, he is kidnapped by servants who work for Tulku.  Tulku knows Cranston’s true identity, and shows off his otherworldly powers.  Cranston is offered a chance to change his life and be an agent of good.  The offer is refused, and he stays under Tulku’s watch for the next seven years.  In that time, Cranston undergoes massive amounts of physical training, learns how to hypnotize others, read minds, and warp the perception of others so he cannot be seen, besides his shadow.  Once the seven years were up, Cranston moved back to New York and resumed his old life.  At night though, he fights the criminal underworld as the vigilante called The Shadow.

Every superhero needs a villain.  That’s where Shiwan Khan comes in.  He’s a former student of Tulku, and a descendant of Genghis Khan.  Of course Khan wants to fulfill the destiny of his ancestor, and dominate the world.  I won’t spoil how it ends.

Released on July 1, The Shadow was planned to be a big summer blockbuster.  Unfortunately it faced tough competition among other movies like The Lion King and The Mask.  It never made it passed #2 at the box office.  It started off strongly, but quickly lost momentum.  Since it’s release on VHS and DVD, The Shadow has gained quite the cult following among fans.

Universal Pictures had plans for The Shadow to be the start of a new franchise.  Once it didn’t make enough money, that went out the window.  Despite that, merchandise for The Shadow was all over the place.  I distinctly remember owning four action figures.

Guess what else The Shadow had?  You got it.  Trading cards.  Topps created a 90-card set for this movie.  A majority of the set consists of photos from the film.  These cards have a very Stadium Club-like look to them.  Other than The Shadow logo in the corner and two green lines going across the bottom, the main focus is on the photographs.

In addition to the movie photo cards, there are (10) Shadow Legend art inserts.  (4) Topps Finest inserts are by far the most difficult cards to pull.

Not a whole lot of value can be found here.  It was mass produced, and even the “rare” cards aren’t in demand.  Alec Baldwin autographs should’ve been included.

I was eight when The Shadow came out.  At the time I wasn’t old enough to see it in the theater.  I had to wait for it on VHS.  The toys stick in my memory more than the actual movie itself.  The hype for it was unbelievable.  I think I watched it a few times, and moved on.

The Shadow drew me in because he reminded me so much of my favorite superhero Batman.  It wasn’t until years later that I discovered Batman was actually inspired by him.

What A Great Week For Topps

This week Topps released Five Star Football, which is going to go down as one of the best products this year.  They have really stepped up to the plate and hit this extremely high-end product out of the park.  Then today Topps releases the following press release stating how they have teamed-up with ABRAMS to produce non-fiction and fiction books.  They also want to move into films.

I think this is a fantastic idea, and I can’t wait to see what comes out of the partnership.  I have so many ideas for non-fiction books its not even funny.  This has been a great week for Topps.

Press Release

“Topps, a leading global marketer of collectibles and confections, has granted ABRAMS, the preeminent publisher of illustrated books, an exclusive license to publish books inspired by Topps’ long-standing presence in sports and popular culture. The multi-year arrangement is expected to yield an array of non-fiction and fiction sports and entertainment-themed books and calendars, which will be published across all of the ABRAMS imprints, including Abrams ComicArts; Abrams Image; Abrams Books for Young Readers; Amulet Books; and Stewart, Tabori & Chang. The deal was negotiated at Topps by Ira Friedman, VP of Global Licensing, and at ABRAMS by Charles Kochman, Editorial Director. The first line of books is slated to release in spring of 2012.

“The word ‘Topps’ conjures up memories of collecting sports heroes and chronicling pop culture phenomena. Plus, who can forget the unmistakable aroma of Topps’ classic Bazooka bubble gum?” said Michael Jacobs, ABRAMS President and CEO. “We look forward to working with the Topps team to capitalize on the appeal of their iconic brand in all kinds of book formats, and look to provide great reading experiences for adults and kids of all ages.”

In 2008, Topps and ABRAMS collaborated on a project for the first time. An exquisitely produced, cleverly packaged full-color hardcover book based upon Topps’ own Wacky Packages parody property generated much acclaim, both critically and commercially, and spawned a follow-up edition as well as the first-ever Wacky Packages calendar. This initial relationship prompted discussions of other possible projects in the vast Topps’ portfolio, which led to the alliance.

“We welcome the opportunity to greatly expand our partnership with ABRAMS,” said Ryan O’Hara, Topps President and CEO. “ABRAMS is a best-in-class publisher whose reputation for quality, innovation, and success is indisputable. They also have a profound appreciation of Topps’ rich history and our powerful impact on consumers today. They not only understand our past but are also aligned with our vision for the future,” said O’Hara.

In addition to a focus on creating top-notch traditional books, the scope of the new venture encompasses cutting-edge formats and technologies, including electronic books. A fiction series geared primarily toward 7-10-year-old boys is also on the agenda. The new fiction will serve as potential media content, consistent with Topps’ strategy to expand into film, TV, and other media platforms.”

Card of the Day: Jimmy Stewart 1939 R.J. Lea Famous Film Stars #31

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Green Lantern Looks Fantastic

I’m a sucker for all comic book driven movies.  Thats why I’m so excited for the new Green Lantern film that hits theaters on June 17th, 2011.  It looks great from what you can see in the new trailer.

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These 1995 Skybox DC Chromium cards are some of the best looking comic book cards from the 90’s.  I still think the 2010 Topps Finest Football Atomic Refractors look like the Green Lantern logo.