The Shadow has a tortuous history. He began as a narrator on an anthology series, had his character adapted into a series of pulp novels in which he became a bonafide, if sinister, hero, and then returned to his original medium as the most successful super-hero of radio's Golden Age. He could "cloud men's minds" so that they could not see him. At first thought, invisibility on radio might not seem very impressive. However, a character who manifests as a disembodied voice certainly mimics the experience of a radio program.

The Shadow influenced Bob Kane's Batman, and while they never met in the 1940s, Batman #253 features an encounter between the 70s version of Batman and his earlier, aged predecessor.