THE SHADE

Real Name: Unrevealed

Identity/Class: Human technology user

Occupation: Freelance thief

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: None

Enemies: Fantastic Four (Human Torch/Johnny Storm, Invisible Girl/Susan Richards, Mister Fantastic/Reed Richards, Thing/Ben Grimm)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: New York City

First Appearance: Marvel Presents the Fantastic Four Annual (UK) 1981/2 (Winter 1980)

Powers/Abilities: The Shade wears a belt that incorporates a manually operated matter-transmitter (teleportation) device that can transport him a maximum of twenty feet at a time by breaking his body down into energy and reforming him elsewhere; the belt is described as broad and made of black leather studded with gleaming metal and woven with electric printed circuits, with the device control in the buckle. The device can teleport other objects with the Shade, up to and including small vehicles such as the Fantasticar. He is also a skilled pilot.

Height: 6' (by estimation)
Weight: 175 lbs. (by estimation)
Eyes: Unrevealed
Hair: Black

History:
(
Marvel Presents the Fantastic Four Annual (UK) 1981/2 (fb) - BTS) - The Shade was a freelance criminal who specialized in stealing government secrets and advanced technology to auction off to the highest bidder. Able to teleport via a device built into his belt, the Shade garnered a reputation for appearing suddenly, ghosting through high security establishments like a shadow and disappearing with his target before security could arrive on the scene. After setting up a hideout to store his ill-gotten gains in a coastal cavern only accessible via teleportation, located a few miles outside of New York City, the Shade began raiding several high security establishments, flying off from one in a prototype fighter-bomber and a week later stealing government defence papers from another.

(Marvel Presents the Fantastic Four Annual (UK) 1981/2) - The day after the defence papers theft the Shade targeted the Baxter Building, home of the Fantastic Four, intent on stealing their Fantasticar. With his matter-transmitter he easily breached the building, but also triggered Mr. Fantastic's alarm system. Confronted within moments by the Invisible Girl, who snared him in a force field only for him to simply teleport straight out of it. He reappeared by the elevator just as the doors opened to reveal Mr. Fantastic, Human Torch and the Thing, coming in response to the alarms. Mr. Fantastic wrapped his stretched arms round the Shade, who casually teleported himself away once more. Mr. Fantastic quickly deduced that their intruder was wearing a matter-transmitter, but meanwhile the Shade had reappeared on the floor above, near where the Fantasticar was housed. As he fired up the engines, the roar alerted the Four to where he had gone, so Mr. Fantastic ordered the Human Torch to surreptitiously follow the fleeing felon to his lair.

   The overconfident Shade either never thought to check for pursuers or was so cocky that he ignored the Torch deliberately as the hero flew along behind and below him. Flying straight to his hideout, the Shade brought the vehicle close to the hidden cliffside entrance, then finally looked behind himself to see the Torch. Unconcerned, the Shade waved contemptuously at his pursuer and then teleported both himself and the vehicle into the base, sure that to the Torch it would look like he had simply vanished into thin air. However, when the rest of the Fantastic Four arrived in their Pogo Plane soon after it only took them moments to figure out that the cliff was hollow, and the Thing easily smashed his way in through the eighteen feet of rock between them and the cavern. 

   Seeing his lair breached, the Shade angrily admitted he had underestimated his opponents, and fled along the beach using a string of short teleportational hops. The three male members of the Fantastic Four pursued while the Invisible Girl circled round to be ready to attack him when her teammates drove the crook in her direction. When the Shade lost his footing after accidentally appearing a foot above the ground, he finally moved his hands away from his belt's control device, and the Invisible Girl swiftly threw a hooped shape force field round the Shade's waist, blocking him from accessing the teleport controls. As the Shade fought to break free, the Thing tried to run over to hit him, but found it slow going as his heavy body caused him to sink into the soft sand, so the Human Torch grabbed him and with great effort hoisted him briefly aloft, then dropped his rocky teammate right on top of the Shade, knocking him out cold. Mr. Fantastic then removed the Shade's belt, intending to study its technology, and the team took the thief back to the Pogo Plane for transport back to the city to be handed over to the authorities.

Comments: Creators unknown. Sadly the U.K. annuals don't include credits for writers, artists or anyone else for that matter. Like most UK Annuals, it would have been released a few months before the end of the year, in time to be bought for Christmas. Typically annuals which had the year printed on their cover were actually released the year before, so that children receiving them as presents on Christmas Day would not think they were getting an out-of-date product. However a lot of British Marvel annuals of the late seventies / early eighties didn't carry a date on the cover, and the date given in the copyright section of the indicia is often wrongly used for the year distinguisher - so if you are looking to buy the annual, be aware that online listings might be mixing up the years. The one you want has a cover showing the Fantastic Four in what I presume is the Negative Zone, moving between floating rocks with energy flaring in the background.

   During the 1960s and early 1970s, U.S. Marvel stories were largely reprinted in comics belonging to either Alan Class Comics or Odhams, and the latter also usually handled any reprints in annuals. That changed in the 1970s, around the time Marvel took things in-house and established Marvel UK. However, despite the existence of Marvel UK, the UK annuals were generally published via one of a number of established companies that specialized in publishing the hardcover annuals for the Christmas market, and who got the rights to do so could change from one year to the next. This particular annual was published by Marvel Comics Group "in association with" Grandreams. Up until the late 1970s these were purely reprints with no new fiction, but right at the end of the decade and into the start of the 80s, just as Marvel UK began producing its own stories in the weekly comics, the annuals started carrying text stories sprinkled with a handful of illustrations.

   This profile was completed 09/28/2021, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary's celebratory event.

 Profile by Loki.

CLARIFICATIONS:
The Shade has no known connections to:


images: (without ads)
Marvel Presents the Fantastic Four Annual (UK) 1981/2, p11, pan1 (main image)
Marvel Presents the Fantastic Four Annual (UK) 1981/2, p13, pan1 (battling Invisible Girl)
Marvel Presents the Fantastic Four Annual (UK) 1981/2, p14, pan1 (squashed by Thing)


Appearances:
Marvel Presents the Fantastic Four Annual (UK) 1981/2 (Winter 1980) - credits unknown


First Posted: 09/29/2021
Last updated: 09/28/2021

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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