Celebrities popping up in comic books has been going on for ever: David Letterman showed up in an issue of The Avengers, Muhammad Ali boxed Superman, several Presidents have made appearances, and even Charles Barkley fought Godzilla in a comic book.
The list could really go on and on. But there is one 90’s celebrity comic book appearance that still makes me laugh today. The comic in question is Shadowman #19 from November 1993, written and drawn by Bob Hall. The issue, for reasons I didn’t quite understand then, guest starred Steven Tyler and the rest of Aerosmith.
In case you’ve never heard of Shadowman, the series was about successful New Orleans saxophonist, Jack Boniface. One night Jack got involved with the wrong girl and ended up possessed by a strange power. Each night, Jack’s “soul” comes forth and forces him to hunt evil spirits. But none of that matter in issue #19 because for some reason, this issue opens with Jack jamming with a couple of old friends who just happen to be members of Aerosmith.
During this, a young man named Moondance, (who idolizes Stephen Tyler), has been made an offer he can’t refuse by Master Darque. He was the big bad in Shadowman, although I never really understood what exactly he was after. It may have been Shadowman’s mask, but I’m not entirely positive. But let’s get back to Moondance…
Moondance made his way into the backstage area seeking an audience with Aerosmith, but I guess he got distracted because Steven Tyler catches him rifling through his stuff. Quite frankly, I don’t know if I would do that, you never know what Tyler is hiding in there. Anyways, Stephen Tyler and the Moondance fellow start duking it out, but soon Shadowman comes running with the rest of the band when they hear the struggle. They get stopped up by Moondance’s bodyguards, a pair of undead goons belonging to Master Darque. But fear not, because its Steven Tyler to the rescue!
Seeing how many times Tyler got to be heroic in this issue, makes me wonder whether Aerosmith had any input on the script. I mean, how it’s not often that the guest-star is gets all the good stuff in the story. Regardless, Moondance makes his escape with Tyler’s hair and belongings, taking them back to Master Darque so that he can steal all of Steven’s musical mojo. And yes, this was as bad as it sounds.
This is more of less where I lost interest in Shadowman #19. By the time Master Darque burns down Shadowman’s house, and tries to transfer all of Steven Tyler’s talent to Moondance, I was wondering why Aerosmith would agree to this.
Valiant Comics made some strange and indefensible decisions in the 1990’s, but Shadowman #19 has to be the strangest decision they ever made. To say it was bizarre seeing Shadowman sharing a stage with Aerosmith would be and understatement. Plus the fact that the entire issue feels much more like an issue of Aerosmith featuring Shadowman didn’t help.
This crossover of sorts just didn’t make sense to me in 1993, but something told me to drop $2.50 on the comic when it came out. That was a lot of money for a single issue back then, and of course now you can probably find a copy of Shadowman #19 for 50 cents.