Sunday, February 28, 2010

Latest News:

Well, first of all, I'd like to thank Jungle Patrol member O.Sollis for sending us another great piece of Phan Art. To see the the new addition, or any of the previous pieces, just click on the link at the top right of the page.

Secondly, unless a whole lot of people vote in the next 15 hours that they DON'T want me to cover Mandrake the Magician from time-to-time, it looks like the pro-Mandrake camp won by a landslide. Therefore, tomorrow will be the first official "Mandrake Monday".

So, a tip of the top hat to those who voted, and to those who wanted no Mandrake, I can only say that I give you my word I didn't hypnotize anyone into voting for it.

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

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Just Where IS Bangalla, Anyway??

So the Phantom lives in Bangalla, in Africa. Except it used to be called Bengali. Which, despite it's obviously Indian name, was also in Africa. Except it used to be on the Indian Subcontinent. Which is funny, because in India, Bengali is an ethnic group and a language which is shared by Northeast India and Bangladesh. Also, in India (where Phantom fandom is HUGE) the comics all say that the Phantom lives in a country called Denkali. Which is near India. Except when it's in Africa. So what's the deal??

Well, the most thorough account I've been able to find on the subject of The Phantom's shifting geography was on "The Phantom Reference Guide" :

  • Way back in the 1936 story, The Singh Brotherhood, the Phantom's home was on the island of Luntok somewhere in the Indonesian archipelago (then known as the Dutch East Indies). At first mention Luntok was off the coast of Sumatra (12 June 1936), but a few days later it was off the coast of Java (15 June 1936). Perhaps it was a floating island!? Of course Luntok is a mythical place, but there is actually a village called Muntok -- it is on the island of Bangka off the coast of Sumatra. And while we're on the subject, Krakatan, the underwater hideout of the Singh Brotherhood was probably derived from the volcano Krakatoa which famously blew itself apart in 1883. Krakatoa is located between Sumatra and Java.
  • Over the next few years of The Phantom strip, creator Lee Falk seemed almost anxious to have the Ghost Who Walks based somewhere in India. In his second story (the 1936-37 classic The Sky Band), the names of three flying boats were India Clipper, Bombay Clipper and Calcutta Clipper.
  • Lee Falk probably accidentally answered the continental whereabouts of Morristown and Bengali in the 1964 daily story The Reef (D88). In that story, Diana writes to The Phantom and addresses her note: "Mr. Kit Walker, Box 7, Morristown, Bengali, Africa".
  • Lee Falk changed Bengali to Bangalla halfway through the daily story The Witchman from 1972 (D116). Bangalla has often been spelt Bengalla, sometimes both spellings appearing within the same story! Morristown was changed to Mowiton in 1971 (D113) and then became Mawitaan in 1972 (D119).
  • Maps showing the location of Bengali/Bangalla in Africa have often been very vague and contradictory. Locations near Zanzibar, Ethiopia, Kenya and Cameroon have all been indicated on maps. Incredibly, it is not even certain if Bengali/Bangalla is on the east or west coast of Africa!
  • The last map of Phantom Country to appear in Lee Falk's lifetime was seen in the 1998-99 Sunday story The Floradon Mystery (S149).

So, Bangalla, Bengali, Bengalla, Bangolia, Denkali is currently in Africa where it will probably stay. No matter how many covers of The Phantom show The Ghost Who Walks wrestling tigers.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Phantom #32- Charlton- Conclusion

And now, PART II of "The Pharaoh Phantom"

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Phantom #32- Charlton

June, 1969
Charlton Comics
Cover: Jim Aparo
Script: Dick Wood
Pencils/Inks: Jim Aparo

I'm usually ambivalent about the art of Jim Aparo, but then I was never very familiar with his run on The Phantom. I think it's some of his nicer work and you're definitely looking at a man at the top of his game here. With out further ado, enjoy Part One of--- "The Pharaoh Phantom"...

Tomorrow: Part Two.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Phantom Artist Profile- Sy Barry

Sy Barry: 1928-

Mr. Barry attended the School of Industrial Art in New York City in 1943. After he completed his schooling, he went to work assisting his brother Dan Barry on the adventure strip Flash Gordon. Sy inked Flash Gordon and occasionally ghosted for Dan. He also did freelance ink work for DC, Marvel and Gleason.

After working on both Flash Gordon and Tarzan, Barry was hired to do The Phantom in 1962. His run on the series lasted until 1994, making his the longest run (as artist) on The Phantom ever (so far).

Friday, February 19, 2010

New Phan Art!

Hey there Phans! We've had our first contribution to the "Phan Art Page". These nifty new pieces come from Jungle Patrolman, Lysdexicus. If you've ever been to his blog, Ten Cent Dreams and seen his UFO Dream Notebook, then you know this cat has an artistic streak a mile wide. AND he lives in Pirate Waters!!

Lysdexicus provided a nice summation of his design ethic:

"I still prefer the original Lee Falk version, and
my doodles are an homage to that style.

I like the idea of less visible muscles, and more texture on
the shirt part of his costume, to show that it is a REAL fabric,
thus making him more human, less Super, and hence, more
vulnerable !"

Thanks for contributing!

The King Comics Corner Store

This in-house ad was run in issues of King Comics. Amongst the everyday toys and games for sale, they offer Captain Action, one of the most bizarre and versatile superhero toys of the 20th century. Although the good Captain had tons of alter-ego costumes for characters from Marvel and DC, King has gone out of their way to offer you only two choices, Flash Gordon and The Phantom! After all, they're the only heroes that matter. ;)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Double Helping of Bill Lignante

Since Bill Lignante was the Artist of the day yesterday, it seemed like a great time to showcase a little of his work. First up, we have "The Phantom's Boyhood, Part III- SCHOOL" from Gold Key Phantom #7- May, 1964. (note the spectacular -as always- cover art by the polished and prolific George Wilson)

Next up, we have "SOS Phantom: The Pirate Raiders" from King's Mandrake The Magician #2 - November, 1966:

And if those weren't enough Bill Lignante for you... stop by my good friend Mykal Banta's blog, Gold Key Comics and check out Gold Key Phantom #11: "Blind Man's Bluff" !

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Guess Who's 74 Years Old Today??

No, not my wife Amy (aka Spectergirl) although today IS her birthday, also. No, today is the 74th birthday of The Ghost Who Walks. Yep, today, February 17th, 1936 the first Phantom comic strip hit newspapers and the superhero adventure comic was born!

Happy Birthday, Mr. Walker!!

He looks pretty good for a man of 74.

Phantom Artist Profile- Bill Lignante

Bill Lignante: 1925-

A graduate of the Pratt Institute, Bill Lignante first became associated with The Phantom when he was asked to finish a strip which had been uncompleted at the time of Wilson McCoy's death in 1961. He then went on to draw the Sunday strip from August, 1961 to May 1962.

Lignante was hired to draw The Phantom for the comic books which were licensed by King Features Syndicate to Gold Key and King Comics.

(From "The Belt" The Phantom #8, Gold Key, 1962)

He also worked as an artist at the Hanna-Barbera animation studio for 16 years and worked for ABC news as a courtroom artist for 26 years, illustrating the trials of Charles Manson, Sirhan Sirhan and Patty Hearst, among others.

For more on Gold Key Comics, and to read "The Belt" in it's entirety, be sure to visit Mykal Banta's Gold Key Comics Blog

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Phantom Artist Profile- Wilson McCoy

The artist himself had THIS to say:

Wikipedia adds some further, posthumous details:

R. Wilson McCoy (1902-1961) was the second artist on the (still running) The Phantom comic strip. He started out as Ray Moore's assistant, but when Moore retired from the strip after a war-injury, McCoy took over the entire strip (1949).

McCoy is well known for his unique, naive style of drawing. Unlike Ray Moore, he always drew with tremendous attention to details, and used photographic references for every drawing, having his family and friends pose for him and act out the different situations happening in the stories he worked on.

Like Phantom-creator Lee Falk, Wilson McCoy was a world traveler with an adventurous spirit. He frequently visited far off jungles, and visited several native tribes, among them the Ituri tribe, consisting of pygmies, much like the Bandar tribe in the Phantom strip.

Wilson McCoy studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, The American Academy, and Washington University's School of Fine Arts, where he later served on the faculty. Working as a commercial artist, he made paintings for Liberty Magazine covers, calendars, prints, pin-ups and advertisements for major companies. When his friend Ray Moore served in the military during WWII, McCoy took over the responsibilities of illustrating the syndicated newspaper strip, 'The Phantom'. His wife, Dorothy, did the lettering. McCoy continued drawing the strip until his death in 1961, after which it was continued by Bill Lignante for a short while, and then Sy Barry.

Robert Wilson McCoy was born in Troy, Missouri on April 6, 1902. McCoy died on July 20, 1961 after a heart attack, with Sy Barry succeeding him on the Phantom. He was survived by his wife Dorothy and two children, Robert and Carol.

His Phantom stories are occasionally published in the Australian Frew Publications Phantom comic, and the Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish Phantom comic books, and also in hardcover editions.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Phantom Artist Profile- Ray Moore

Raymond S. Moore

Moore drew sixteen separate storylines for the dailies and eight separate storylines for the Sunday strip from 1936 until 1949 when he retired as the result of a war injury he received as a pilot during WWII.

Moore started as an art assistant to Phil Davis on Lee Falk's adventure strip Mandrake The Magician. When Falk realized he was not going to be able to handle drawing The Phantom on a regular basis, he hired Moore to take over the art chores.

Moore's period on The Phantom is known for it's moody and atmospheric- if sometimes simplified- quality.

Falk was pleased with Moore's work and was especially impressed with his ability to draw beautiful women. It's for this very reason that Falk wrote several stories featuring gangs of women criminals, such as "The Sky Band".

Mr. Moore passed away of natural causes in 1984.

(images swiped from Google images)