Friday, August 9, 2013

The Phantom Strikes Back!

"The Phantom Strikes Back!" from The Phantom vol.1 #3 (DC, 1988) by Peter David, Joe Orlando and Dennis Janke
I remember the Phantom as a pretty prominent figure in the old black and white, translated into French, superhero trades I read as a kid. So it's not without some surprise that I didn't see him on the stands when I converted to the original English-language comics. This Phantom guy was nowhere to be seen. Neither Marvel nor DC, the Ghost Who Walks was, at the time, completely absent. I don't have those old trades anymore, but I can only guess that they were reprints of the Charton stories (1969-1977), though Lee Falk's creation had been published in comics form by Harvey, Gold Key and King after starting like as a newspaper strip. In 1988, DC licensed the character and published a 4-issue mini which led into a monthly that lasted 13 issues. Meanwhile, it was Marvel who was publishing books based on the Phantom's cartoon appearances, in Defenders of the Earth (1987) and later Phantom 2040 (1995). In the 2000s, the character was being handled by Moonstone, and in the 2010s at Dynamite (who are really collecting all the pulp characters they can). The haphazard publishing history makes following the Phantom a bit of a puzzle, but I've been wanting to check him out more properly for years now.

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