Walter B. Gibson writing as Maxwell Grant
The 1940s were a lesser decade for the Shadow than the previous one. Perhaps principle Shadow author Walter B. Gibson was fatigued, and the changing tastes of the reading audience toward comic books was dictating creative choices at Street & Smith inimical toward making the character as great as during the halcyon days of the ‘30s. Readership numbers were slipping, leading the publishers to attempt gimmicks to lure new readers. One of these tricks was moving the character of Margot Lane, invented for The Shadow radio program, into the supporting cast of the novels. Margo Lane (Gibson preferred the phonetic spelling) debuted in The Thunder King, the feature novel in the 15 June 1941 issue of The Shadow Magazine.
Margo’s origin is… nothing. Gibson drops her into the story without explanation. She comes “as is” from the radio adaptation, making it obvious that Gibson did not want her in the novels at all, and Street & Smith pressured him to include her so any newcomers who only knew the radio show would find a familiar cast when they picked up an issue of the magazine. The regular readers in the letters column complained about the Margo Lane appearing, but she would remain an important member of the Shadow’s agents for the rest of the pulp run.