Real Name: Arla

Identity/Class: Extradimensional (1950s era) (see comments)

Occupation: Unrevealed

Group Membership: None (see comments)

Affiliations: Brad Norton

Enemies: None

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: (Temporarily) a mansion, somewhere on Earth;
(originally) "a world of shadows" (see comments)

First Appearance: Strange Stories of Suspense#10/2 (August, 1956)

Powers/Abilities: Due to her extradimensional nature, Arla cast no shadow. Seemingly by physical contact, she was able to heal Brad Norton's injuries, and brought him back from the brink of death. She apparently had immense powers (the least of which seemed to be telepathy and telekinesis), because she was able to manipulate time and alter reality (The full extent of Arla's abilities was unrevealed, but while speaking to Norton about her people, she stated "We of the shadowed world have many powers!").

Apparently motivated to escape the lonely and depressing conditions of her home dimension, Arla came to Earth to find beauty and love--she required the adoration of Brad Norton to tether herself to the earthly plane.

Height: 5'6" (by approximation)
Weight: 130 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Unrevealed
Hair: Black

(Strange Stories of Suspense#10/2 (fb) - BTS) - The past of Arla is largely unrevealed, although she longed to leave her world of shadows in another dimension and go to Earth, so she could find beauty and love (...things which didn't exist in her own world); but she needed the love of a human to keep her on the earthly plane.

(Strange Stories of Suspense#10/2) - Brad Norton lost control of his airplane, crashed in an open field, and he was thrown from the aircraft; as he lay dying on the ground, his final thoughts were that he regretted having lived a reckless, foolish life. Then, from somewhere far away, yet close, Norton heard a voice (Arla's) that mingled with his thoughts, telling him "Choose"; Norton resolved that if he could live his life over again, he'd find a girl that he could love, and settle down with her.

   As two passing policemen rushed to the crash-site, Norton revived to find his head cradled on the lap of a beautiful woman. Norton stood up next to the woman, but the policemen advised him not to move, because he might be hurt; Norton admitted he was a little shaken, but despite having been in a deadly plane-crash, he had sustained no injuries--not even a broken bone. The woman introduced herself to Norton as Arla, and she offered to drive him home. Brad Norton was drawn to the girl, fascinated by her, and she became the most important thing in his whole life, so he asked her to marry him; Arla consented, and so they were wed.

   Arla was everything Norton wanted in a wife--sweet, tender, wonderful--yet he soon felt an uneasiness toward her; this feeling was exacerbated when odd events occurred in their home (...such as when Arla was able to open a door without touching it). Norton began to brood about the feeling that pressed in on him, and he wondered if the plane-crash had done something to his head.

   One moonlit night, Norton was standing out on their mansion's terrace, when Arla stepped up alongside him--he was shocked to see that she cast no shadow in the moonlight! Arla dejectedly admitted that she had been foolish to hope Norton would never notice, and she explained to him that she wasn't human. Arla told Norton of her extradimensional origin, and of how she required the need and love of a human to bring and keep her on Earth; she revealed that it was her voice he heard calling "Choose," and when she heard his thoughts, she granted them and came to him as the woman he wanted.

   Then Arla implored Norton to forget everything she had just told him, and to remember only that she loved him, and that she was the woman he wanted; but having learned of her true nature, the horrified Norton only backed away from Arla. When she saw the look of dismay in Norton's eyes, the heart-broken Arla realized that their relationship was over, and she tearfully wished him good-bye. Time and reality altered as Arla and the mansion faded away, and night came crashing in on Brad Norton...

   Brad Norton found himself laying on the ground, having just been thrown from his plane when it crashed. Two passing policemen rushed to the crash-site, and they advised Norton not to move, because he might be hurt; but Norton was uninjured (apparently a parting gift from Arla), although he had the strange feeling as though this had all happened before, like a cycle repeating itself... but he figured a man couldn't be this lucky twice.

   Norton walked away from his crashed plane, and for a fleeting second, he felt as though some great love had given him this gift of life... but he also felt a great sense of loss, as though something wonderful was gone... something he had let slip away. Brad Norton couldn't understand his feelings, and figured it was probably just a reaction to the crash...

Comments: Created by an unidentified writer and Reed Crandall (artist).

This story--In the Shadows--only ran 4-pages, so events (such as the whirlwind romance of Arla and Brad) were rather rushed; and specific details were sparse--for example, it was unclear if Arla created the mansion she and Brad Norton lived in, or if it was actually Norton's existing home.

It was unrevealed if the depictions of Arla in the story was her true form, or merely an appearance she assumed to present herself to Norton. And we can only speculate about the specifics of her background...

Perhaps Arla's "world of shadows" had some connection to this Shadow Realm... or this one... or this one.

Or, since she was seeking love, maybe Arla was really a succubus ( of whom lived amongst the Witches of New Salem).

Or maybe Arla was from the same dimension as Markham Moros (...who also had a healing touch; and although it wasn't specifically stated in his story, I didn't notice him casting a shadow).

Or, considering her godlike abilities, perhaps Arla was one of Those Who Sit Above in Shadow (...whose membership included two females).

(Of course, all of the above speculation is assuming that Arla even existed, and that she wasn't just a dream/hallucination that the delirious Brad Norton had following the crash...)

Profile by Ron Fredricks.

Arla has no known connections to:

Brad Norton has no known connections to:

Brad Norton

One day, bachelor Brad Norton was piloting his airplane when he suddenly lost control; he crashed in an open field, and Norton was thrown from the aircraft.

As he lay dying on the ground, Norton regretted the reckless, foolish life he had led, and he resolved that if he could live his life over again, he'd find a girl he could love, and settle down with her. Norton's final thoughts were heard by the extradimensional Arla, who came to him and healed his injuries. Norton immediately fell in love with Arla, and they were married shortly afterward.

Initially, Norton treasured Arla, for she was everything he ever wanted in a wife; but he soon began to feel an uneasiness about her, and when he eventually learned of her true origin, he was horrified. The heart-broken Arla realized their relationship was over, so she tearfully wished Norton good-bye, then she--along with every trace of their life together--disappeared, as time and reality altered.

Having no memory of his vanished wife, Norton awoke by the crash-site of his airplane--he was uninjured (apparently a parting gift from Arla), but he felt a great sense of loss, as if  something wonderful was gone...

--Strange Stories of Suspense#10/2

images: (without ads)
Strange Stories of Suspense#10/2, p3, pan1 (Bodyshot - Arla opens door without touching it, Brad Norton (right) )
Strange Stories of Suspense#10/2, p3, pan6 (Headshot - Arla tells Brad Norton (right) that she comes from another dimension)
Strange Stories of Suspense#10/2, p3, pan7 (Arla explains to Brad Norton (left) why she came to Earth)
Strange Stories of Suspense#10/2, p4, pan4 (mansion begins to disappear as Arla returns to her own dimension, Brad Norton (right) )
Strange Stories of Suspense#10/2, p1, pan2 (injured Brad Norton, laying by crashed plane)
Strange Stories of Suspense#10/2, p2, pan1 (injured Brad Norton lapses into unconsciousness, regretting that he never married)
Strange Stories of Suspense#10/2, p2, pan4 (revived Brad Norton first meets Arla)
Strange Stories of Suspense#10/2, p2, pan7 (Brad Norton begins to have second thoughts about Arla)

Strange Stories of Suspense#10/2 (August, 1956) - unidentified writer, Reed Crandall (pencils and inks), Stan Lee (editor)

First Posted: 11/05/2019
Last updated: 11/05/2019

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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