Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dumbest move EVER!!!!!

Okay, so I've not been too wild about the Phantom comics Moonstone has been publishing for the last several years. I mean, they're okay, but they really wanted to make The Phantom "more like a modern comic" and I don't like modern comics all that much. But now (and I admit I'm late to catch this one) King Features is moving the Phantom's license to Dynamite Entertainment. I love the Lone Ranger. And Zorro. And I HATE the takes on those characters that Dynamite has offered up. But wait, it gets worse, as this quote from an interview on the subject will attest:

He pre-dates Superman, and he’s now moving to Dynamite Entertainment. According to company President Nick Barrucci, Dynamite has acquired the rights to produce The Phantom comics – with Alex Ross attached.

Created by Lee Falk in the mid ‘30s, “The Ghost Who Walks” has been in virtually continuous publication since 1936, either as a comic strip of comic book. Most recently, Moonstone held the license for the character.

“I don’t know all the particulars about whether or not the other publisher let go of the license, or how, but we were approached,” Barrucci tells Newsarama. “We liked the idea, and we have a take that I think is a great one, and Alex Ross has sat down with me to go over the direction of the series. Basically, Alex likes our idea, and has already started on some drawings that we can’t show, because they’re just initial sketches, and he doesn’t want to show them to the world just yet.”

According to Barrucci, Dynamite’s treatment of The Phantom will be a reboot, similar to what the publisher has done with The Lone Ranger and Zorro. “Our take is going to be an interesting one – we are going to reboot it in such away where we will explain his costume – which will be tweaked – differently. Anyone who knows Alex knows that his idea of tweaking involves taking the best of what is there, and make it contemporary while including those elements. I think, in broad strokes, how we see the character can be described in three sentences:

“He will start in the jungle.

“He will be ‘born’ in the jungle.

“He will come to the concrete jungle of New York City.”

Those familiar with the character and Falk’s original take on it will recall that The Phantom was originally meant to be in the city, but the creator later moved him to the jungle – according to some sources, due to legal pressure that resulted from his perceived similarity to Batman. But with Dynamite, he’s heading back to town.

“One of the things we felt with the Phantom is, you can only have so many adventures in the jungle,” Barrucci explains. “It’s about time we put him back in civilization, and we pit him against the animals of New York City. “

Currently, a writer is under consideration, Barrucci says. “We are talking to someone who is on a similar level with Alex Ross – someone like a [Lone Ranger writer] Brett Matthews who can reinvent the character, who can not only take out the essence of the character while making him contemporary as well.”

The first storyline of the new Dynamite series is called “Born in Blood,” and Barrucci says a launch date will be announced shortly.

Yeah, 'cause there was a shortage of comic books about vigilantes who fight crime in New York City! Also, The Phantom started his adventures in an urban setting. Falk decided to place his home in the jungle well before the end of 1936. Batman didn't exist until 1939. I don;t know who these "sources" referred to are, but they need to do some @#$! research.


  1. Ghost: This sounds absolute blasphemy. I hate when they try to "Reboot" a classic character. It sounds like the Dynamite children really don't have any love for the character, don't understand the character, and have no respect for the Phantom heritage. Oh my God. The Phantom set in in the "stone jungle" (an Edgar Rice Burroughs rippof for a start)of NYC. I really think I'm going to puke. -- Mykal

  2. Mykal: I couldn't agree more. "One of the things we felt with The Phantom is, you can only have so many adventures in the jungle, " I think that's code for "We don't have any good writers...". It's kind of like Aquaman. Remove the word "jungle" and insert ocean and there you have it. Idiots.

    And yeah, the first thing I thought of was "Tarzan in NY".

  3. These reboots are unnecessary, and are done to try to make the classic characters, such as Phantom, Zorro, & Lone Ranger more marketable to today's generation. If it isn't broken, why fix it?

    As one of my teachers used to say, stupidity runs rampant.

  4. I've read the above. Just briefly:

    > "Those familiar with the character and Falk’s original take on it will recall that The Phantom was originally meant to be in the city, but the creator later moved him to the jungle – according to some sources, due to legal pressure that resulted from his perceived similarity to Batman."

    This is quite simply nonsense. In the first Phantom adventure, Falk presented Jimmy Wells, a filthy rich and idle socialite whom he intended as the alter ego of The Ghost Who Walks. Early on in the course of that first story, "The Singh Brotherhood," Falk dropped the idea (leaving Wells as a minor, incidental character) -- and later in the adventure firmly established The Phantom in his jungle realm, complete with "Devil", the Bandar, the Skull Cave, the Skull Throne, the origin story in its entirety, etc.

    This comic run finished up in 1936, three years before Batman made his debut (as you pointed out).

    Of course, there were more Phantom stories between "Brotherhood" and Detective 27.

    "Legal pressure"? "Perceived similarity to Batman"?

    Actually, the so-called creator of Batman, the biggest swiper in the business, came up with Bruce Wayne who is Jimmy Wells with a different name, and gave us a costumed character with a cowl, an eyeless mask, a pistol, trunks over his tights, and tall boots.

    Think about it.

    > "you can only have so many adventures in the jungle"

    Well, all I can say is, this shows a marked ignorance of the character. Not only has The Phantom been having adventures in the jungle for over 70 years, he has had innumerable adventures in cities and exotic locales all around the world.


  5. Hobbyfan: Agreed.

    Anthony: I find it troubling that, not only are the future license holders obviously ignorant (and disrespectful) of the property they plan to adapt and publish, but that the "reporter" who covered the story couldn't even be bothered to do the most rudimentary research. I found and confirmed all of the details of the Phantom's publishing history in about 5 minutes on Google.

    As to "percieved similarity to Batman"... Well, Bob Kane wasn't terribly original. The tights and trunks were more likely stolen from Superman (who Kane was assigned to replicate), who stole his from the Phantom (and Flash Gordon), the blanked-out eyes DEFINITELY came from The Phantom, though. As to idle, millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne/Jimmy Wells- well, there are similarities, but I suspect Kane and Falk BOTH stole that one from Zorro.

  6. Well, I left out Superman so as not to complicate the matter, but the trunks over tights, the skintight costume, the character with an emblem inside a triangle, the bare hands... From there, another step to Batman. (Yes, I see The Phantom as a significant part of the mix.)

    Now, Zorro... If you want to dig further into the past for that particular inspiration, you'd have to at least mention the Scarlet Pimpernel before Zorro.

  7. Anthony: I don't disagree with you that Batman was most likely highly influenced by The Phantom. I was just saying that he wasn't the first of the new comic book heroes to steal the tights. Oh, definitely the Pimpernel. I'll concede Johnston McCulley snagged Don Diego DeLa Vega's double life from Percy Blakeny's. But actually, Bob Kane cited both The Scarlet Pimpernel and The silent film version of "The Mark of Zorro" as the inspiration for Bruce Wayne. Of course, Kane seems to have a tendency to remember things differently than his collaborators.

    Great discussion.