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I love Matt Wagner's pulp stuff (Sandman Mystery, Batman: Bad Moon Rising, all his Dynamite stuff) but I could never really get into either Mage or Grendel. But since it's The Shadow, I'll probably give it a shot. Don't know if it'll convert me though (is that old stuff even still in print any more?)
Two classic characters like The Shadow and Grendel should make for a fun and interesting story, don't you think? I totally love all the great things DE is doing with The Shadow right now, especially the core Shadow book, but you got to love the great crossovers featuring The Shadow that have been going on and this match-up with Grendel is a dream come true for many fans of these classic characters. I'm as excited as anyone about this move!
Does it ever say what year in the past it's set in? I know it's the 30's but that's a big decade.
There's a movie marquee showing THE MUMMY - BORIS KARLOFF. That came out in at the end of December 1932. Since it doesn't appear to be Winter, we're probably in the Spring of 1933, closer to the beginning of the Shadow's crusade against crime, but at a point when he's already become well-known to the underworld. Probably takes place (comics-wise) a few years after the events of Matt Wagner's The Shadow Year One, and after the first couple of years of the Shadow's pulp adventures (which began in April 1931).
I was happy to discover that the story requires no real familiarity with the backstory of Grendel on the reader's part.
I am hoping this sells well enough. DE's other co-publishing venture (with DC) Batman '66 Meets The Green Hornet, seems to be doing OK sales-wise.
The dream project I am really hoping to see is Matt Wagner writing and drawing a Batman & The Shadow series, and hopefully that would involve the Batman of 1939, and some of the early villains like Hugo Strange, the Mad Monk, and Doctor Death. Fingers crossed.