Friday, February 26, 2010

An Open Letter to Dynamite Entertainment...

Dear Dynamite,

What are you thinking? Do you really think The Phantom would be a better comic if it was set in New York City?? I mean, that's what you are actually saying you want to do, right? Mr. Barrucci said the following in an interview:

“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. “

Let's take a look at that statement, shall we? First: "you can only have so many adventures in the jungle,” - Yeah, so far 70+ years worth. And the first 63 years of that was written mostly by just one guy. And HE thought of something new to do in the jungle every day. If you think there are only "so many adventures in the jungle,” you need to hire a writer with some imagination. Which brings me to the second part:

“It’s about time we put him back in civilization, and we pit him against the animals of New York City. “ Well, since apparently you couldn't be bothered to read any Phantom Comics, The Phantom has been to New York. MANY times. Also London.

And, if those facts weren't enough, your idea of the jungle hero in the big city is unoriginal on multiple levels. Tarzan went to New York in 1942's "Tarzan's New York Adventure" which was remade, maybe twice. I've also already seen "Crocodile Dundee" and read the debut of The Black Panther.

But even more than that, the idea that the comics industry needs one more urban vigilante is pretty ludicrous. In case you hadn't noticed, that market is pretty well saturated.

I believe you also mentioned "tweaking" The Phantom's costume? Seriously?? Look, you don't tug on Superman's cape, you don't spit into the wind, you don't pull the mask off that ol' Lone Ranger (well, maybe YOU do, your Lone Ranger comics are pretty awful) and you don't make over a character who has been an international success for over SEVEN DECADES !

So, in short, I find the "plans" you have for The Phantom to be laughable. Don't expect it to sell, gentlemen, because I know quite a few people who will not be buying.

Disappointedly yours,

Aaron Bias


  1. Being a Phantom Phan for 40 years, I say, hear hear sir! I'm with you all the way!

  2. w o w ~ ! I guess... a compromise would be out of the question. Who wants to read: 'The Phantom in Suburbia' ?

  3. Being a Phantom traditionalist I can certainly appreciate Aaron's comments. At the same time I believe Mr. Barrucci is free to do what he wants with his portion of the franchise, within the parameters he negotiated with Kings Features Syndicate. What Mr. Barrucci is NOT free to choose are the consequences of his decision. Then again the choice is his.

  4. Mykal and Anonymous: Thanks for the show of support.

    Lysdexicus: Ha! "The Ghost Who Walks To The End of The Cul-De-Sac and Back!"

    Sal Velluto: I do not disagree with you. The reality is that Dynamite HAS a license with King Features Syndicate. I'm honestly quite surprised that KFS would allow Dynamite the kind of leeway they are describing, considering how many times they have (historically speaking)pulled their licsense and moved The Phantom to another publisher in the U.S.. It makes me wonder if KFS has very much confidence in the Phantom's ability to sell here? When you look up licensed characters, KFS can't wait to sell you something with Popeye or Betty Boop... try finding any Phantom merchandise here anymore.

    Anyway, I said what I said and I stand by it. It all sounds like a bad idea to me and no amount of pretty paintings by Alex Ross is going to make a NY-based Phantom comic seem like a good idea. You can't polish a turd.

    Oh, and welcome to the Jungle Patrol, Sal!

  5. Aaron:

    Mr. Barrucci not only is so wrong on the Phantom (gee, what a shock), but apparently, he's never read Santayana. Those who fail to remember history are doomed to repeat it. That said, Dynamite is doing just that by putting their stamp of stupidity on the Phantom as they did with the Lone Ranger, and, I fear, the Green Hornet. How did Moonstone lose the license, anyway?

  6. Hobbyfan: I'm not really sure how Moonstone lost the License. In fact, from what I've read, Moonstone didn't even know they had lost the license until Dynamite announced that they had GAINED the license at Wizard World Chicago (2008, I think?).

    All I really know for sure is, no matter how hard I work on my art, I will probably never end up getting any work from Dynamite.

    Then again, I doubt they will ever read this.

  7. Dynamite needs to read this. So does King Features. In fact, they need to hear from you and your opinions about this — tweet, email, write, or call — they need to hear what Phantom fans think of Dynamite's plans. Their Lone Ranger is like a Western slasher comic. Their Buck Rogers bombed. Their Green Hornet has gotten off to a horrible start. Their Phantom very well could be even worse than it sounds. Let your voices be heard!

  8. This post was certainly a bit premature, don't you all think? If you look at the comic that we're actually getting, I would say most of your fears Aron, was unfounded.

    On the other hand, I suppose some fans will debate to their grave that we got all-new fears that we didn't see coming.

    I'm enjoying the comic however, and I think it was a wise choice of KFS to chose DE as the new Phantom-publisher.

    Give it a try, Aron. It might just surprise you. =)

    A word of warning however: Don't judge it merely on the first issue, because that is quite the grim story, that can break a sensitive phan's heart.

    But it keeps getting better and better, trust me.