I now feel moved to speak. However, my comments are too long and Blogger is having a brain fart. So here's my comments in a separate post.
Lysdexicus: The first thing I thought of when I saw this was "Predator". I am pretty sure that is just body paint, however and not blood.
Bengali Indrajal Comics: Yeah, I don't care much for the looks of it, either.
Pidde: Ha! "Lee Falk spinning in this grave" Classic.
Anonymous(whoever you are when you're at home): " People should not jumping and throwing stones before watching what is really in store. So far this image seems to want to touch heavily on the Supernatural aspect of the character, which is fair game, its one of the three main aspects of the Phantom as a heroic character."
What has to be understood about the reactions Phans have to this sort of thing is this: Australia, New Zealand, India and Scandinavia take an almost proprietary interest in the Phantom. While the US has thousands of superhero comics, in the aforementioned places, the Phantom is THE hero. In Australia and New Zealand, most readers only consider Phantom stories written by Lee Falk as "official" and the rest is only okay if you can't get the real stuff. Sweden, Norway and Finland are a little looser about that, as they began writing their own direct-to-comics material a long time ago, but even there there is little deviation from Falk's formula (although the popular influence of espionage comics is pretty obvious- but I digress).
So, yeah, you go messin' around with how the Phantom looks or how the mantle is passed or where he lives and you get a pretty strong outcry from readers. "Alex Ross never deviated heavily when designing iconic characters like these"- well, no disrespect to Alex Ross, why would anyone bother to redesign The Phantom's costume? At all? It is what it is. It's a superhero costume. In fact, it's the prototype for the superhero costume! I cannot for the life of me understand people who approach superhero comics from the viewpoint that they would be better if they were more "realistic". To me, that's just asinine. It's like the people who made the Punisher movie with Dolph Lundgren. Stan Lee went down to see the filming and asked why the Punisher was wearing a biker outfit and didn't even have a skull on his shirt. He was told it was "Too cartoony". Who the F*** do these people think their audience IS?
Add to all of that the fact that Dynamite has already expressed a desire to change the locale to New York city. Hmm. Okay, I tell you what. I'm writing a new Superman series. I think it will be great, because Superman is a great character that's been around for years and millions of people love him worldwide. And I'm going to make him even better. I'm going to get rid of that cape. And I'm going to hire Simon Bisley to design a new costume. Maybe something in leather? Oh! And there are only so many stories you can do set in Metropolis, so I'm going to relocate the series setting to Dubai. Now, why wouldn't everyone want to read that?
Pidde, Sharp and Anonymous: as to the track record of American publishers-
I think the best run ever was still the Gold Key/King/Charlton run. And it lasted for 74 issues over 15 years. Maybe not 60 years, but pretty impressive for a comic book running congruent to a daily comic strip everybody was getting in the paper when people still read the paper! And why did it work? Because it was still recognizable as The Phantom. any changes to the character were homogeneous and happened naturally over time. You can't just force a new version of a character down the world's collective throat and expect it to say "thank you".
No disrespect to Moonstone, their Phantom wasn't a bad comic. It just wasn't all that "phantom-y". It was a joke in Sweden and Norway, from whom I heard time and time again that readers thought Moonstone's changes and new directions were both arrogant and puzzling. Didn't these people know there were still people publishing The Phantom?
Still Scandinavians and Aussies bought Moonstone's Phantom, just like they bought DC's Phantom and Marvel's Phantom. But only because they felt they had to to complete their collections.
"Think of this as the perhaps the "Dark Knight Returns" for the Phantom, with hopefully no pre teen sidekick and a murdering spree, since that would take it way far, and would be a character and writting FLAW, that got really little to do with his look."
I cannot calculate the damage done by that one Frank Miller mini-series in the time I have right now. But, I will say this-
If you want an American audience to like The Phantom, introduce them to The Phantom. Not a "this-year's-model, flavor-of-the-month version of the Phantom drummed up by whatever creative team brought in the biggest sales last quarter. If people like the Phantom, it's because he's the Phantom, not because he's a Phantom you went out of your way to re-engineer for maximum sales return.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
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