Shadowman has always been one of Valiant Comics most interesting characters since back in the beginning of the original Valiant Universe (1992). Jack Boniface makes his first cameo appearance in X-O Man-O-War issue 4 and then found himself in his own ongoing series. Over the course of the last 23 years Shadowman has seen some drastic changes and development to his character and history, as well as some exposure on the video game market.
In his own series, Jack was a sax man in New Orleans who found that after he was bitten by a spider alien he would become someone else at night. When the sun would go down, Jack’s personality would become darker and more edgier. He would go on to become New Orleans very own midnight vigilante with his elderly house keeper, Nettie as his guide. Jack would fight against murderers and pedophiles until Master Darque, a necromancer makes himself aware to Jack and his nightly Shadowman activities.
This is where everything changes. Having been to the future Jack learns he doesn’t die until the year 1999. This affords him to be able to take risks. Also, Master Darque seems to know more about Shadowman than he lets on. Truth be told, Shadowman is a title which is handed down from generation to generation. Jack’s house keeper, Nettie turns out to be a Voodoo Priestess who is trying to help Jack realize his potential. Master Darque had beaten Nettie to finding Jack and had one of the spider aliens infect Jack with a virus which will only allow him access to the Shadowman Loa at night instead of all the time.
There is one drawback, Jack is the only one who can kill Master Darque and Master Darque knows that he cannot kill Jack until 1999, for that is the year which Jack dies defeating Master Darque. It however does not stop the two from trying to beat one another to a bloody pulp over time.
Who could ever forget the time rock stars Aerosmith and Shadowman met in a Valiant comic book?
Over the course of the series Jack meets many Shadowmen and learns more about the past and present of his Shadowman legacy as well as his own future. The series ends on a huge cliffhanger of Jack attempting suicide long before the year 1999. The rest of the original Valiant Universe went under before his fate could be decided.
In the Acclaim Universe, Shadowman was altered to be more of a Voodoo warrior, a zombie hitman if you will. It was this Shadowman which dominated video games during the time Acclaim was making Valiant characters for game consoles. However as Jim Shooter the founder of Valiant Comics returned to the company for Unity 2000, it became apparent that Shadowman’s feud with Master Darque was the same everywhere as both the original Shadowman and the Acclaim Shadowman were brought face to face by the original Solar. It seems, Shadowman would be a link between various Valiant Universes.
Valiant would lay dormant for almost 12 years. When Valiant began its recent resurgence 3 years ago, Shadowman would see a new series and origin. Once again linked to the fates of Master Darque and their endless feud. Not much has been disclosed about the current mantle of Shadowman as it was a short series followed up a mini-series which pitted Jack against a monster named Mr. Twist. This will all change soon as Ninjak #10 is set to debut a brand new Shadowman for a more modern era of voodoo action. For more on the new era of Valiant’s Shadowman, check out PopCultHQ’s Spotlight article: Valiant’s All New SHADOWMAN!