Tuesday, October 23, 2007

1970's Flashback: Shade, the Changing Man

Shade, the Changing Man #1 was created by Steve Ditko for DC Comics in 1977.

Shade, the Changing Man told the story of a fugitive (whose full name is Rac Shade) from the militant planet Meta in another dimension. Rac Shade, was a secret agent in the Meta-Zone, a dimension near that of Earth, who had been framed for treason and sentenced to death. Shade was powered by a stolen "M-vest" (the Miraco-Vest) which enabled him to project the illusion of becoming a large grotesque version of himself. Through various events, Shade spent some time on Earth trying to clear his name, and using the retrieved M-Vest in the process, but he encountered resistance from the Meta-Zone authorities at every turn. Shade was attempting to clear his name bit by bit, but he remained a wanted fugitive, and he continued to use the M-Vest. The M-Vest creates a strong force-field that repels weaponry, allows a degree of flight and distorts Shade's appearance dependent on the viewer's mental state or his own.

The character was the first that Ditko had created for a mainstream publisher for many years. Prior to joining DC Comics, Ditko had worked on characters such as his Mr. A. Shade was Ditko’s return to mainstream superheroics, although Shade was set outside the DC Universe. The series ran for eight bi-monthly issues in 1978 before its untimely cancellation in the wake of the notorious "DC Implosion" event, when the company dramatically slashed their output.

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