The Brave and the Bold #36: "Shadow-Thief Of Midway City!"

The Brave and the Bold #36
"Shadow-Thief Of Midway City!"
June-July, 1961

Story: Gardner Fox
Art: Joe Kubert
Lettering: Gaspar Saladino

There must be someone or something to cast a shadow! Or so it was believed until the appearance of a bodiless shadow which passed through steel and concrete -- committing crimes at will! How could the authorities hope to catch an elusive criminal who could slip through their very fingers? Hawkman and Hawkgirl had to solve this particular problem when they pursue the... "Shadow-Thief Of Midway City!"

During the lunchtime break at Midway City National Bank, a security guard is unable to believe his very eyes! The hapless guard watches as a shadow walks through the bank's revolving doors, and there's no one present to cast it! As the silent shadow moves across the bank floor, the security guard reaches out for the shadowy figure, but his hand fails to make contact -- and there is a cold feeling, as if it were suddenly dipped in ice water! The bodiless shadow continues walking straight ahead through the teller's cage, its hands closing on packages containing bank notes... The stolen bank money is placed within a shadowy bag, and bullets fail to stop the bodiless shadow as it prepares to leave the Midway City National Bank!

Outside the bank, police cars have arrived... and the officers' bullets fail to bring the shadow to a halt! The silent shadow passes through a nearby building... leaving the police officers at a loss to explain what they have just seen for themselves! One hour later, a homing pigeon is hovering outside of the Midway City Museum. Inside, Shayera informs Katar that their spaceship receiviset has just shown their home planet of Thanagar is summoning them to return! They will have to leave the Earth! As Katar ponders using the cover of taking a vacation to protect their dual identities, Shayera spots one of Commissioner Emmett's homing pigeons with a message for them! The musem director and his spouse change to their Hawkman and Hawkgirl uniforms... armed with a crossbow to be used against the Shadow-Thief... Hawkgirl has been asked by Katar to carry a camera! In Commissioner Emmett's office, the Hawks are briefed about the mysterious Shadow-Thief. A police cordon is being thrown around Midway City, and the Hawks will be patrolling the skies! The police officers are to fire flares as soon as they spot the Shadow-Thief!

After winging their way to their orbiting invisible spaceship, Hawkman alters the crossbow bolts, and the Hawks begin their aerial patrol. Spotting a flare, Hawkgirl directs her spouse to fly down to a private residence, where the only complete American coin collection is housed! The Shadow-Thief is in the display room, helping himself to the million dollar coins. Hawkman hopes the crossbow quarrels will stop this mysterious thief! Whatever does happen will be recorded by Hawkgirl and her camera! Its loot is stuffed in a shadowy bag, the Shadow-Thief prepares to depart. The glass knobs on the crossbow bolts contain tear gas! If the Shadow-Thief needs to breathe -- this will make it difficult! Unaffected by the tear gas, the Shadow-Thief continues on its way. Since bullets and tear gas failed to stop it, Hawkman decides to fight it with fire!

Hawkman fires off the bolts again and again until the Shadow-Thief is surrounded by a ring of fire. For a moment, the mysterious criminal hesitates, then passes through the flames, unharmed. There is only one thing left to try -- a smoke screen to restrict its field of vision! FROOOSH This also fails, as the Shadow-Thief continues on its way, and passes through the sidewalk itself! Later, the mysterious criminal enters through the door of a trailer miles outside of Midway City.

The Shadow-Thief turns off the dimensiometer which enables him to assume his shadowy form! Carl Sands recalls how it was his own shadow that caused him to be apprehended while committing a burglary years ago! He had thought himself successfully hidden, but a policeman spotted his shadow, and arrested him! During those years in prison, Sands saw that his shadow could go outside of his cell -- but he could not! He used to pretend that he could command his shadow to seize the guard's keys to open his cell door. After serving his time, Carl Sands read up about shadow facts and fiction. It was once believed that a shadow could be caught within a string! Using a magic-trick book, Sands created a device which would allow him to walk away, leaving his shadow behind. A red light -- then a green light -- and a blue light are cast on a screen...

When Sands stepped back, his shadow image was imprinted on the screen! This trick would not allow his shadow to walk around. One evening while he was experimenting, Carl Sands heard a faint cry for help. Following the voice's instructions, he kept the color disc spinning at a steady rate, and learned in a dimension adjacent to his own, a creature needed his aid. After placing some iron filings under the revolving disc, Sands learned that these items powered a strange type of ray-gun. ZSST The creature had run out of iron and thanks to the third dimensional man, he was able to disintegrate the rock which had trapped him. In gratitude, the creature sent a dimensionmeter from his laboratory, and Carl Sands found it beneath the revolving disc. The rotating colored discs opened a gateway between their two dimensions!

Activating the dimensiometer, Carl Sands found his body shifting to another dimension which was a geographical duplicate of Earth! Although he was now in another dimension, he was able to cast a shadow on Earth! A pair of ebony gloves appeared after the dimensiometer. These gloves would enable Sands to reach from the other dimension into his own world! Sands wore the device and a specially designed uniform when he robbed the Midway City National Bank! All that could be seen of him was his shadow! When he returned to his trailer, he learned from the creature that the dimensiometer affected Earth's magnetic lines! If he continued using the device, he would cause another ice age! Blizzards would rage over the surface of the Earth! The oceans would be frozen solid! There would be no more food because all animal life would die out and nothing would grow! Mankind would soon follow...

Carl Sands refused to listen further and smashes the color disc which bridged their two dimensions. He intended on using the dimensiometer again and again... no matter what! CRASH As the Shadow-Thief, he would continue to rob whatever he could carry! No one was going to stop him! At Midway City Museum, Shayera and Katar ponder how they could defeat a shadow? She would not like to leave Earth for Thanagar without knowing they had been outsmarted by the Shadow-Thief! Even if they knew where he was, how could they capture him if they can't even touch him? Katar recalls the motion pictures Shayera took! After watching the footage, they make a profile still view of their suspect! At Midway City Police Headquarters, Hawkman browses through the mug book until he finds what he has been looking for. Carl Sands is their Shadow-Thief! Commissioner Emmett prepares to order a city-wide search for the recently released criminal suspect!

Hawkman points out they have to figure out a way to capture him or else he will slip through their fingers again! One hour later in Hawk Valley, Hawkman commands his feathered friends to find the evil man who steals from the Hawks' own people! Minutes later, the trailer is spotted, and Carl Sands is seen pouring a cup of coffee at the window! As the Hawks swoop towards his trailer, Hawkman tells Hawkgirl what they are going to do!

The two Thanagarian police officers grasp the trailer at opposite ends and activate their anti-gravity belts at full power, lifting it into the air. If Carl Sands becomes the Shadow-Thief, he will fall to his death! Realizing his predicament, Sands tries to trick Hawkman by agreeing to surrender! When the trailer is back on solid ground, he will exit once again as the Shadow-Thief! With the trailer back on the ground, Sands activates the dimensiometer, and believes that he has just outwitted Hawkman!

The Shadow-Thief lunges through the trailer and over the side of a cliff! Sands will fall just as hard in the other dimensional world as in this one! He must make himself visible again so that the Hawks can save him! A terrified Carl Sands yanks off the dimensiometer from his wrist, and it is caught by Hawkgirl! After catching the shaking Sands, the Hawks turn him over to the authorities, and Hawkgirl throws away the dimensiometer because its delicate mechanism was upset when Sands tore it off! It is now time for them to return to Thanagar! From the other dimensional world, the creature realizes that if Hawkgirl had been successful in activating the dimensiometer, the subsequent ice age would have ended all life on Earth!

This story was reprinted in DC Special #8 (July-September, 1970).

Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of the Shadow-Thief? Carl Sands knows!

I first learned of the Shadow-Thief in the 1975 Secret Origins Of Super-Villains tabloid edition.

The Shadow-Thief's sudden appearance at the Midway City National Bank made those present suffer from a bad case of withdrawal.

The authorities had a flare for the dramatic appearance of the Shadow-Thief.

The Hawks had a few crossbow quarrels to settle with the mysterious criminal.

"Ring Of Fire" was a popular tune sung by Johnny Cash.

Carl Sands' shadow had quite a reach, but he could not elude the long arm of the law.

Red, green, and blue are popular colors with the Lantern Corps.

A shadowy profile introduced each episode of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents".

The Hawks wheet, while other people tweet!

Carl Sands refused to sit through the trailer, rushing into the main feature, and a sudden drop in height.

Steve Chung
"Shadow-Review Of Midway City!"