|Richard Swift was an English gentleman present at an undetailed mystical tragedy. He (as well as the mysterious dwarf Culp) survived the event, but he was left linked to a reservoir of darkness, a man but also a monster of sorts, never aging and rarely feeling any pain or true connection to others. In Victorian London, he would make enemies of the corrupt Ludlow family, whose efforts to kill him would span 150.
|As time passed, Swift would come to call himself the Shade, and move to the frontier town of Opal City in America. He would often play the rogue although never in Opal City itself but just as often play the hero, befriending Opal City's sheriff, Brian Savage. All the while, he would amass a personal fortune while rejecting conventional morality. When the age of costumed heroes began, the Shade sought combat for its own sake and challenged the new heroes.