The Phantom

From Academic Kids

For other uses, see Phantom.

Template:Superherobox The Phantom is a comic strip created by Lee Falk, recounting the adventures of a costumed crime-fighter called the Phantom. The series began with a daily newspaper strip on February 17, 1936, which was joined by a colour Sunday strip in May of 1939; both are still running as of 2005, although Lee Falk has passed away, and the comics are now written by a Scandinavian team.

The Phantom is credited as being the first "costumed superhero", i.e. the first crimefighter to wear the skintight costume attributed to comic book superheroes. Previous fictional crime fighters, such as Zorro and Doc Savage, were not designed especially for newspaper comic strips or comic books.


The character

The Phantom wears a mask, a purple skintight costume, and carries two .45 pistols. His base is in the Deep Woods of Bangalla, a fictional country in Africa where he is the secret commander of the Jungle Patrol. He is particularly the enemy of pirates.

It is notable that he has no supernatural powers. However, in the 1980s cartoon series Defenders Of The Earth, The Phantom was able to use supernatural means to give himself increased strength and speed, by saying the incantation:

"By Jungle Lore/ The Ghost Who Walks/ Calls forth the strength of ten tigers'"

Doing so would give him a massive, but temporary, boost in power. It is only in this cartoon series that the Phantom has such an ability.

In the African jungle, the Phantom is called "The Ghost who Walks" and "The Man who Cannot Die" because he seems to have been around for generations. This is because the Phantom is descended from twenty previous generations of crime-fighters that all share the same persona. Frequently the strip highlights the adventures of previous Phantoms, set in the past, and some European publications have featured the Phantom's children as future crimefighters.

The Phantom has two helpers, a mountain wolf, Devil, and a horse, Hero. He is married to Diana Palmer-Walker, who works at the UN. They have two children, Christopher and Heloise.

"There are times when the Phantom leaves his jungle home and travels as an ordinary man." When he does, he wears a fedora, sunglasses, and an overcoat and is known as "Mr. Walker". References to "Mr. Walker" are traditionally accompanied by a footnote saying "For 'The Ghost Who Walks'", although some versions of the Phantom's history suggest that Walker was actually the surname of the man who became the first Phantom.

In comic books

In the US, the Phantom has been published by a variety of publishers over the years. Thru the 40s, strips were reprinted in Ace Comics published by David McKay. In the 50s, Harvey Comics published the Phantom. In 1962, Gold Key Comics took over, then King Comics in 1966, then Charlton Comics in 1969. This lasted until 1977. No Phantom comic would be published in the US, until DC Comics did so from 1988 to 1990. Marvel Comics would do series in 1987 and again in 1994-1995.

In addition to the two newspaper strips, original stories are published by Egmont Publications in Scandinavia (where the Phantom is very popular). Egmont publishes a fortnightly Phantom comic book in Norway (as Fantomet), Sweden (as Fantomen), and Finland (as Mustanaamio {"Black Mask"}). Most of the writers and artists who have worked on the newspaper strips since Lee Falk's death have been members of Egmont's talent pool.

Another country where the Phantom is popular is Australia, where Frew Publications has published a fortnightly comic book, The Phantom, since 1948. Frew's book mostly contains reprints, from the newspaper strips and from Fantomen (in English translation), but has occasionally also included an original story.

In 2002, Moonstone Books in the United States began publishing original graphic novels based on The Phantom, and a comic book series followed in December 2003.

In other media

Missing image
Billy Zane as The Phantom

The Phantom has appeared in two animated series. Phantom 2040 is about the adventures of a descendant, the 24th Phantom. In Defenders of the Earth, the Phantom teams up with fellow King Features adventurers Flash Gordon and Mandrake the Magician.

The Phantom was also made into a movie in 1996. It starred Billy Zane, Kristy Swanson and Catherine Zeta-Jones. The Phantom's real name was Christopher "Kit" Walker.

External links

  • The Phantom at King Features (
  • Fantomen ( - Swedish official site (in Swedish)
  • Fantomet ( - Norwegian official site (in Norwegian)
  • The Deep Woods ( - fan site with very complete reference section; also the closest thing to an official Frew site
  • A Phantom FAQ ( - includes list and short bios of the 24 known Phantoms
  • The 21st Phantom's Deep Woods ( - fan site about the Phantom, with an Indian perspective. It features info about the Phantom, Indian comics, Indian links, etc. It also has a popular Daily Comic Strip section where you can view the Phantom daily and Sunday newspaper strips as well as Mandrake strips online.
  • Toonopedia (

fi:Mustanaamio no:Fantomet sv:Fantomen


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