Influences: Walter B. Gibson

Walter Brown Gibson (1897-1985) was a professional magician, better known by his pen name — Maxwell Grant.  Gibson wrote some crime stories as a side-gig for his day job, which was reporter and crossword puzzle writer.  He was approached to produce a series of print stories centering around the character of The Shadow. 

The Shadow, at that point, was simply a voice.  It was the name used by the narrator of Detective Stories radio drama.  Gibson set about to create the character and backstory for the voice.  On April 1, 1931 the first issue of The Shadow magazine appeared.  Six months later, the character had a new radio drama and a quarterly magazine (written by Gibson using the Maxwell Grant moniker).  The popularity of the character exploded and the magazine increased from the planned four issues per year to twenty-four issues per year!  Gibson ended up writing 283 of the original 336 Shadow novels.

The character was soon found in a daily comic strip, monthly comics, and even board games.  Gibson had a hand in scripting many of the comics’ storylines as well as consultant on the radio program.

Gibson is best known for his Shadow books, but he wrote over a hundred books on magic, true crime, psychic phenomena, and many other subjects.  He was the ghost writer for Harry Houdini and Harry Blackstone Sr..

Must reads:

The Living Shadow (April 1931, the first appearance of The Shadow)

The Shadow Laughs (October 1931)

The Red Menace (November 1931)

The Crime Cult (July 1932)

The Ghost Makers (October 1932)

The Creeping Death (January 1933)

Fingers of Death (March 1933)

The Road of Crime (October 1933)

Death Clew (May 1934)

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