Characters I Love # 21: The Phantom

DIANAMissingCoverEvery Wednesday, I focus on a character from adventure fiction (film, comics & prose) that I simply adore. This week we’re talking about: Lee Falk’s classic hero, The Phantom.

Debuting in 1936, The Phantom has a terrific backstory. In 1536, Christopher Walker’s father was murdered by pirates. Swearing an oath over his father’s skull to fight evil, Christopher became the first Phantom, a line of heroism that continues to the present day. Passed from father to son, the identity has fostered the legends of The Ghost Who Walks, The Man Who Cannot Die and Guardian of the Eastern Dark.

The current Phantom is the 21st and is married to Diana Palmer. They have two children – Kit and Heloise – and live in the Skull Cave in Bengali. While he has no powers, he is a tremendous fighter and knows his terrain better than anyone. He is frequently aided by Devil and Hero, his trained wolf and horse. Armed with pistols and his famous Skull Ring (he is able to leave a mark on anyone that will always identify them as a villain; likewise, he has a mark that identifies them as being under his protection).

I came into The Phantom not through the comic strip but through the Gold Key comics series. I’ve since tracked down the Lee Falk original strips and read many, many issues of American comics and those published through Frew in Australia. I also really enjoyed the Billy Zane film that came out in the Nineties and have fond memories of Defenders of the Earth, an animated series that paired The Phantom with Flash Gordon and Mandrake the Magician.

My favorite Phantom creators are Lee Falk, Sy Barry, Paul Ryan, Tony DePaul and Mike Bullock.

Saturday Matinee: Phantom 2040

Phantom-2040-whatever-happened-to-25229346-332-250Every Saturday I find a movie or clip that I think will appeal to the fans of this blog. Since most of you enjoy action/adventure, I tend to focus on something that falls into that category. This week we’re looking at Phantom 2040! This series took the story of Lee Falk’s Phantom and transported it into the future.Though only 35 episodes were produced, the show is fondly remembered by fans. A video game and a comic book series were spun off from the show.

First up here’s the intro to the show, which does a good job recapping not only the Lee Falk origin but the basic concept of the show:

Up next we have the 15th episode — “The Magician”. Here’s the entire show:

Saturday Matinee: The Phantom (1943)

PhantomserialEvery Saturday I find a movie or clip that I think will appeal to the fans of this blog. Since most of you enjoy action/adventure, I tend to focus on something that falls into that category. This week we’re looking at the 1943 serial The Phantom. Based on Lee Falk’s classic newspaper hero, this serial is one of the better ones in my opinion. It’s interesting to note that The Phantom has a different secret identity in this serial than he’s usually known for — there’s no “Kit Walker” to be found here! The link here will take you to all 15 chapters in the playlist – as each chapter ends, just hit the ‘next’ button to move on through the serial.

Enjoy!