Where strange fact and stranger fiction collide
Well looks like due to my work schedule and other projects that this is going to be part 2 out of 3.
The Shadow and matched .45 1911’s. Before we get to far into Lemont Cranston AKA the Shadow a 30’s pulp hero, let’s address why there have been no other superheroes on this list. One reason is that I chose to make this about firearms, so character defining melee weapons, like Katana’s katana, Captain America’s shield or Elektra’s sais, are out of the running. In most cases superheroes don’t use firearms. There are a few iron age comic exceptions such as The Punisher or Deadpool, but they tend to use a plethora of guns, not one character defining weapon. In most cases, but not all the guns are more likely to be defense against powered individuals.
Then why does the Shadow use pistols, if he had the power to turn invisible? Well the Shadow didn’t always have powers. Originally the Shadow was the Rod Serling like natator of noir radio show, he tied the stories together. Then in the books he became a non-powered vigilante, by the name of Kent Allard (Cranston was the identity of a rich dilettante who The Shadow stole.) He could not turn invisible but was a master of disguise. It wasn’t until the radio show that he could cloud human minds, so they couldn’t see him. The guns were a relic form before that period in his evolution.
If in the 1990’s movie Ronin, the .45 was a symbol of old American tech, in 1930 it was less than two decades old and the height of United States handgun technology. The gun came in to service during the Philippians rebellion where the .38’s the American were using were insufficient against drugged and armored insurgents. So, the .45 of the noir pulps is a symbol of American might.
He dual wields, using a match pair of handguns. In reality trying to shoot two handguns simultaneously is very difficult and its almost impossible to hit two separate targets. But we can all say that it looks cool. It allows our hero to take on twice as many villains as well is a legacy of the two-fisted action of the pulps.
James Bond & The Walther PPK. No character is perhaps so closely associated with his handgun as 007 is with the PPK. Q described it thusly in the movie Skyfall. “The Walther PPK/S nine-millimeter short. It’s been coded to your palmprint so only you can fire it. Less of a random killing machine, more of a personal statement.” When Q bounded him to his gun biometrically to his gun, he literally interlocked the agent with the gun.
The story of how Bond got the PPK is a literature legend. Originally, he used a .25 caliber when firearms expert Geoffrey Boothroyd wrote Ian Fleming and said that Bond wouldn’t have much of a lifespan as a spy with such an underpowered gun. Geoffrey and Ian got together and chose the Walther as Bond’s gun of choice. As a reward the character of Q is based on Boothroyd.
The PPK is a logical choice for 007’s gun. Bond is a spy and an assassin not a solider, so he needs a concealable gun. The German words that make up PPK roughly translats into English as, Police Pocket Compact. The weapon is highly concealable, it may not have the knock down ability of the.45, but for a spy it is worth it, to keep the gun secret. Also, it was rather common in the post-World War Two period, so there would be no way to link it to a specific spy agency. The PPK only appears in six of the Bond movies, but it will forever be associated with the super spy.
Lara Croft & matching USP’s. The second most famous pair associated with The Tomb Raider. Just like the Shadow and The Phantom she is a dual wielder. This harkens back to her inspiration by the two-fisted action of the pulps. This generation’s Doc Savage is a beautiful rich English noble who keeps one step ahead of the law. It also a nod to the fact that Lady Laura’s origin are a point and shot video game.
Unlike the venerable .45 she choses two modern guns that have a near perfect weight to capacity to damage ratio for a young heroine who isn’t going to have a handsome prince swoop in and rescue her. With the autoload backpack that she has in the original Angelina Jolie TR, the movie captures the feel of the God mode video game with unlimited ammo. Laura however as a female has to work twice as hard for the same reward that her male counterparts do, causing her to need twice the firepower.