Tuesday, April 7, 2015


DC Comics published Steve Ditko's Shade, the Changing Man eight issue series. Michael Fleisher provided the dialogue, with Ditko handling the plot and dynamic artistic chores. Gaspar Saladino & Bill Morse designed the catchy logo!
Back in the early days, the original Changing Man, from one of the Stan Lee/Steve Ditko short stories!
The electrifying first issue of Shade, the Changing Man told the story of a fugitive from the militant planet Meta in another dimension. Shade (Rac Shade) powered by a stolen "M-vest" (or Miraco-Vest, named for its inventor) protected him with a force field and enabled him to project the illusion of becoming a large grotesque version of himself.  Now, if that isn't Ditko, I don't know what is. Perfect!

Shade was the first Ditko had created for a mainstream publisher in years. Rejoining DC Comics, Ditko's Shade was a return to mainstream superheroics, although Shade indicated no apparent connection with the DC Universe.

Shade the Changing Man #1  The Full Power of the M-Vest is unknown -- And Although It Could Destroy Mankind -- I Must Use It To Save My Life!
"Escape to Battleground Earth"
Rac Shade, a secret agent of the world in the Meta-Zone, a dimension near that of Earth, has been falsely framed for treason and sentenced to death. But a freak accident teleports him and other Meta criminals into the Zero-Zone between Meta and Earth, and he uses a sensor to enter Earth's plane. There, Shade uses the illusion-creating and body-defending illegal M-Vest to spearhead his drive to find another agent, Lt. Emp, who may be able to clear his name. But his former lover, Mellu, has come to Earth in search of him, hoping to execute him in revenge for the crippling of her family. And another Meta criminal is already loose on the planet, Zokag the Demolisher.

Shade the Changing Man #2  Die Shade, My Enemy! -- Die Shade, My Friend! -- Die Shade, My Lover!
"The Forms of Destruction"
While Mellu comes to Earth to negate the gaseous Metan criminal Form, Shade battles Lt. Emp, the one man who can clear him of treason charges.

Shade the Changing Man #3  Seeing is Believing -- but The Cloak is Invisible--Unbelievable--and Deadly!
"Escape Into...the Trap"
While Shade tries to force Capt. Majan to confess to framing him for treason, both are attacked by Cloak, an invisible minion of Sude.

Shade the Changing Man #4  
"To Rescue My Destroyer"
When Gola Zae teleports Mellu into the Zone of Madness, Shade must rescue her and then fight a desperate battle with the help of Dr. Sagan to preserve her sanity and her life.

Shade the Changing Man #5  Shade Escapes his Captors Only to Face Death at the Hands of--The Supreme Decider!
"The Captive of Changing Captors"
Mellu learns that Shade risked his life to save her, and joins Shade's secret allies in an attempt to break him out of government custody, while one of the Supreme Decider's rivals, Khaos, breaks away from the Crime Council to attempt to conquer Meta on his own.

Shade the Changing Man #6  Beware of Khaos--Lord of Destruction! For He Can Destroy Your Defense--Your Life--Your World!
"Khaos, the Lord of Terror"
The Supreme Decider is injured, and Khaos makes his play for control of Meta by attempting to kill President Olon, with only Shade standing in his way.

Shade the Changing Man #7  The Battle for the Meta-Zone Rages on--as Shade Lies Trapped Within--The Color Coma!
"The Color Coma"
Shade suffers a "color coma" after having destroyed Khaos, while Mellu and Sgt. Barak go after the Cloak to prove him the killer of Capt. Majan, and Dr. Z. Z. prepares to strike at Earth.

Shade the Changing Man #8  "We Have the Traitors Trapped in the Presidential Palace!" "We are Completely Surrounded--and Shade is Helpless!"
"The Gambles"
Shade reveals the truth of his last assignment as a government agent to President Olon, Col. Kross, and Dr. Sagan, as Col. Lopak prepares to send troops into the presidential palace to see if Shade is within.

Cancelled Comic Cavalcade #2  Trapped in the Zero-Zone! Attacked by the Murderous Hordes of Zekie! And Shade's Only Chance of Escape Lies in the Hands of--The Deadly Ally

On his way to help fight Dr. Z. Z. on Earth, Shade falls victim, in the Zero-Zone, to Zekie, a conqueror who has already beaten Xexlo. Unfortunately, most of this storyline is unresolved.

The series has since been reprinted, along with the Cancelled Comic Cavalcade issue, in my treasured The Steve Ditko Omnibus Volume One hardcover published by DC Comics. Don't forget, The Odd Man is included in the awesome book!

Published under the Vertigo imprint, Shade, the Changing Man was a popular series in the Nineties. Talented writer Peter Milligan scribed the resurrected series. 

Live Large My Friends!

Thank You! 

1 comment:

  1. I'll have to read these start to finish now that i have the courage complete series. Never really been into the sci fi stuff like this, though.