Monday, March 22, 2010
My First Phantom- a multi-blog special
This entry is part two of a joint post. The first part of this entry can be found over at Phantom Artist (and Jungle Patrol member) Sal Velluto's blog, The Ghost Who Draws. Sal has been running a series where he invites Phans to write him with their own stories about their first experience reading The Phantom. So, I shared my story with Sal, and he felt we should share the post. Once you've read part one, come back and read part two.
Even though I had been intrigued by The Phantom as a small boy, I forgot about him until 1985 when- hot on the heels of DC comics' "Super Powers Collection" and Marvel's "Secret Wars" 5-inch action figure lines, King Features Syndicate jumped into the game with "Defenders of the Earth" featuring Mandrake, Flash Gordon and The Phantom. The figures were only so-so and I considered myself too old for super hero toys (although I still shamefully purchased the occasional GI Joe figure) and The Phantom once again faded into my subconscious.
In 1996, The movie "The Phantom" was released. My wife, Amy and I went to see it second-run (we paid $1.00 each to get in). Although I thought the movie was kind of campy at the time, I liked the idea of this mysterious guy who was supposed to be immortal. I liked the exotic locale. I liked the Skull Cave. I remembered being 7 and trying to draw The Phantom, laying on my stomach on the TV room floor, fat pencil in hand, carefully trying to draw the shapes on my drawing tablet.
When Christmas time rolled around, we began getting the Sunday paper for the sale ads. Here- in Columbus, OH- they run the Phantom Sunday strip. I finally got to see the Phantom in his own context. For about 4 or 5 weeks. Then we dropped the paper. I forgot about The Phantom again.
The Phantom lay dormant in my mind until the day I read "The Belt" at the Gold Key Comics blog.
After reading that I read the three Phantom stories at Diversions of the Groovy Kind. After that, I beagn searching the net for other scanned Phantom stories...
I went out one Saturday to my local comics shop and scoured all the "P" boxes in their bargain basement. I turned up two Charlton Phantoms and a few DC Phantoms. After I had read them all, I re-read the Charltons. Somehow I had to share these comics. But how?
Well, I already had a comics blog, Silver Age Gold, but these comics were practically bronze age. Also, all I do on Silver Age Gold is break down the oddities and quirks of the comics I love. These Phantom comics needed to be read by people who had never seen them!
So, with about six Phantom comics to work with, I impetuously started a whole blog dedicated to The Phantom: "The Ghost Who Blogs". Now I spend a lot of time and money I don't have trying to obtain vintage Phantoms to post to keep it going.
So, What was my first Phantom? Well, even though my earliest memories of The Phantom center around trying to draw that mysterious-looking guy as a kid, I have to say "The Belt" (Gold Key Phantom #8) was, for all intents and purposes, my first Phantom comic. Thank you Mykal for giving me access to the fantastic world of The Phantom. And thanks to Sal Velluto for encouraging me to share this story.