Promotional art for DC Comics' The Phantom vol. 1, #1 (May 1988), by Joe Orlando and Dave Gibbons
|Publisher||King Features Syndicate, Egmont
and many others
|First appearance||February 17, 1936|
|Created by||Lee Falk|
|Alter ego||Kit Walker|
|Team affiliations||The Jungle Patrol
The Bandar tribe
Devil (wolf); Hero (horse)
|Notable aliases||Mr Walker, Kip, Christopher Standish, The Ghost Who Walks, The Man Who Cannot Die, Guardian of the Eastern Dark|
|Abilities||Is at peak physical and mental fitness, has quick reflexes, a tight costume for maneuverability, and is a sharpshooter.|
The Phantom is an American adventure comic strip created by Lee Falk, also creator of Mandrake the Magician. A popular feature adapted into many forms of media, including television, film and video games, it stars a costumed crimefighter operating from the fictional African country Bengalla.
The Phantom is the 21st in a line of crimefighters that originated in 1536, when the father of British sailor Christopher Walker was murdered during a pirate attack. The only survivor of the attack, Christopher was washed ashore on a Bengallan beach, and swore an oath on the skull of his father's murderer to dedicate his life to the destruction of piracy, greed, cruelty and injustice, with his sons and their sons set to follow him. Making a costume based on the image of an old jungle idol, he became the Phantom. When he died, his son took over the role of the Phantom, and such the mantle would be passed down to new generations, leaving people to give the mysterious figure nick-names such as "The Man Who Cannot Die", "Guardian of the Eastern Dark" and "The Ghost Who Walks", believing him to be immortal.
Unlike many fictional costumed heroes, the Phantom does not have supernatural powers of any kind, but relies on his strength, intellect and reputation of being an immortal ghost to defeat his opponents. He is protected at home in part by the Bandar pygmies, or "Poison-People", whose fearsome reputation is enough to keep the uninvited out of his jungle. He carries two forty-five caliber pistols, and wears two rings that have been worn by every Phantom, one on his right hand which permanently scars villains with the mark of a skull, and another with his good mark, worn on his left hand, which places his seal on those placed under his protection as a warning to others. The twenty-first Phantom is married to Diana Palmer, whom he met as a child while studying in the US, and the couple have two children together, Kit and Heloise. Like all previous Phantoms he lives in the ancient Skull Cave, and also has a trained wolf, Devil, and the horse Hero.
The series began with a daily newspaper strip on February 17, 1936, followed by a color Sunday strip on May 28, 1939; both are still running as of 2010. At the peak of its popularity, the strip was read by over a hundred million people every day.
Lee Falk died in 1999. As of 2010, the comic strip is produced by writer Tony DePaul and artist Paul Ryan. Previous artists on the newspaper strip include Ray Moore, Wilson McCoy, Bill Lignante, Sy Barry, George Olesen, Keith Williams, Fred Fredericks and Graham Nolan.
While the Phantom is not the first fictional costumed crimefighter, he is the first to wear the skintight costume that has become a hallmark of comic book superheroes, and the first to wear a mask with no visible pupils, another superhero standard.
After the success of his Mandrake the Magician strip, the King Features newspaper syndicate asked Lee Falk to develop a new feature. Falk's first attempt was a strip about King Arthur and his knights, which Falk both wrote and drew. When King Features turned him down, Falk developed what would become The Phantom, about a mysterious, costumed crimefighter. He planned out the first few months of the story and drew the first two weeks of a sample strip.
Inspired by his lifelong fascination with such myths and legends as those about El Cid and King Arthur, and such modern fictional characters as Zorro, Tarzan, and The Jungle Book's Mowgli, Falk originally envisioned the Phantom's alias as rich playboy Jimmy Wells, fighting crime by night as the mysterious Phantom. Never actually having revealed that Wells was the Phantom, partway through his first story, The Singh Brotherhood, Falk moved the Phantom to the jungle and turned him into a seemingly immortal mythic figure. He had tinkered with the idea of calling his hero The Gray Ghost (which later became the name of a Batman character, and was alluded in first episode of Phantom 2040) after thinking there were already too many Phantoms in fiction, such as The Phantom Detective and The Phantom of the Opera. Ultimately, he could not devise a name he liked better than the Phantom.
In the A&E American cable TV documentary The Phantom: Comic Strip Crusader, Falk revealed that Greek busts inspired the idea of the Phantom's pupils not showing when wearing his mask. The Greek busts had no pupils, which Falk felt gave them an inhuman, awe-inspiring look. In an interview published in Comic Book Marketplace in 2005, Falk also told that the Phantom's skin-tight costume was inspired by the legendary figure of Robin Hood, who often wore tights in film and stage adaptations.
The Phantom started as a daily strip on February 17, 1936, with the story "The Singh Brotherhood", written by Falk and drawn first by him, for two weeks, followed by Ray Moore, who was an assistant to artist Phil Davis on Falk's Mandrake the Magician strip. A Sunday Phantom strip was added May 28, 1939.
During World War II, Falk joined the Office of War Information, where he became chief of his radio foreign language division. Moore also served in the war, during which he left the strip to his assistant Wilson McCoy. On Moore's return, he worked on the strip on and off until 1949, when McCoy succeeded him. During McCoy's tenure, the strip appeared in thousands of newspapers worldwide, and The Phantom strip was smuggled by boats into the Nazi-occupied Norway during World War II. The word "Phantom " was also used as a password for the Norwegian Resistance, leading the character to receive iconic status in the country.
McCoy died suddenly in 1961. Carmine Infantino and Bill Lignante (who would later draw several Phantom stories directly for comic books) filled in before a successor was found in Sy Barry. During Barry's early years, he and Falk modernized the strip, and laid the foundation for what is considered the modern look of the Phantom. Barry's tenure would see Bengalla turned into a democracy, with the character of President Lamanda Luaga being introduced. Barry would continue working on the strip for over 30 years before retiring in 1994, having drawn around 11 000 Phantom strips in total.
Barry's longtime assistant George Olesen remained on the strip as penciller, with Keith Williams joining as inker for the daily strip. The Sunday strip was inked by Eric Doescher until Fred Fredericks became the regular inker in 1995.
Falk continued to script Phantom (and Mandrake) until his death on March 13, 1999. His last daily and Sunday strip stories, "Terror at the Opera" and "The Kidnappers", respectively, were finished by his wife, Elizabeth Falk. After Falk's passing, King Features Syndicate began to cooperate with European comic publisher Egmont, publisher of the Swedish Fantomen magazine, which now went from only publishing Phantom stories in licenced comic books to providing the stories for the newspaper strip as well, by adapting their own Phantom comic book stories into the comic strip format. Fantomen writers Tony De Paul and Claes Reimerthi alternated as writers of the newspaper strip after Falk died, with De Paul handling the daily strips and Reimerthi being responsible for the Sunday strips. As of 2009, De Paul is the regular writer. Some of the stories have been adapted from comic magazine stories originally published in Fantomen.
In 2000, Olesen and Fredericks retired from the Sunday strip which was then taken over by respected comic book artist Graham Nolan, who had previously drawn three covers for issues of Fantomen. A few years later, Olesen and Williams left the daily strip after Olesen decided to retire and artist Paul Ryan, who had worked on the Fantomen comic stories and had been a fan of the character since childhood, took over the daily strip in early 2005. Ryan succeeded Nolan as artist on the Sunday strip in 2007.
The Phantom is one of few adventure comic strips still published as of 2010.
In the jungles of the fictional African country of Bangalla, there is a myth featuring The Ghost Who Walks, a powerful and indestructible guardian of the innocent and fighter of all types of injustice. Because he seems to have existed for generations, many believe him to be immortal. In reality, the Phantom is descended from 20 previous generations of crime-fighters who all adopt the same persona. When a new Phantom takes the task from his dying father, he swears the Oath of the Skull: "I swear to devote my life to the destruction of piracy, greed, cruelty, and injustice, in all their forms, and my sons and their sons shall follow me". (The comic sometimes runs flashback adventures of previous Phantoms.)
The Phantom of the present is the 21st in the line. Unlike most costumed heroes, he has no superhuman powers, relying only on his wits, physical strength, skill with his weapons, and fearsome reputation to fight crime. His real name is Kit Walker. References to "Mr. Walker" are in the strip often 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.
A signature of the character is his two rings. One has a pattern formed like four crossing sabres, "The Good Mark", that he leaves on visitors whom he befriends, placing the person under his protection. The other, "The Evil Mark" or "Skull Mark" has a skull shape, which leaves a scar of the corresponding shape on the enemies he punches with it. He wears the Good mark on his left hand because it is closer to the heart, and the Evil Mark on his right hand. The Skull Ring's original owner was Emperor Nero of the Roman empire, and the Good Mark ring was made after the sixth Phantom founded the Jungle Patrol. It would later be revealed that the Skull Ring had been made from the nails that hung Jesus to the cross.
His base is in the Deep Woods of Bengali (originally "Bengalla", or "Bangalla" and renamed Denkali in the Indian edition), a fictional country initially said to be set in Asia, near India, but depicted as in Africa during and after the 1960s. The Phantom's base is the fabled Skull Cave, where all previous Phantoms are buried. For a period of time, he also lived with his family in a tree house built by the Rope People — a tribe he had assisted. The Phantom has an Isle of Eden in which he has trained animals that are natural enemies to live in harmony, a Mesa in America called Walker's Table and a castle in the Old World.
The Phantom is the commander of Bangalla's world-famous Jungle Patrol, who never know his name but answer consistently to his orders. Due to a betrayal leading to the death of the 14th Phantom, the identity of the commander has been kept hidden from members of the patrol ever since. The Phantom use several ways to stay in contact. These include radio and a safe with a false bottom. At a few rare occasions the Phantom also visited the patrol wearing his patrol uniform. The sixth Phantom originally formed the Jungle Patrol with the help of former pirate Redbeard and his men back in 1664.
Another character who has aided the modern-day Phantom is Guran, chief of the local pygmy tribe, who are the only tribe to know his true nature. Guran is the Phantom's best friend since childhood, and a supporter of his cause.
The Phantom has two helpers, a mountain wolf called Devil, and a horse named Hero. He also has a trained falcon named Fraka. From 1962 on, The Phantom raised an orphan named Rex King, who was later on revealed to be the prince of the kingdom of Baronkhan. He also has two dolphins named Solomon and Nefertiti, and numerous other animals kept on the island of Eden.
In 1978, he married his sweetheart since his days in American college, Diana Palmer, who works at the United Nations. Guran, his best friend since boyhood, was best man. The guests present at the wedding included President Luaga of Bengalla, President Goranda of Ivory-Lana, and Mandrake the Magician (the Phantom would later be a guest at Mandrake's wedding when he married in 1997).
A year later, twins were born to the Palmer-Walkers; Kit and Heloise.
The Phantom's family have always played a significant role in the series. His romance with Diana Palmer was an ongoing part of the story from the beginning, and many later stories revolved around the Phantom becoming involved in adventures as a result of young charges including his children.
When the Phantom leaves the jungle, he frequently dresses in a fedora, a trench coat, and sunglasses. The Phantom usually does not allow his unmasked or undisguised face to be seen except by close friends or members of his family. Even readers of the comic have never been shown the Phantom's unmasked face clearly.
The story of the Phantom started with a young sailor named Christopher Walker (sometimes called Christopher Standish in certain versions of the story). Christopher was born in 1516 in Portsmouth. His father, also named Christopher Walker, had been a seaman since he was a young boy, and was the cabin boy on Christopher Columbus's ship Santa María when he sailed to the Americas. Christopher Jr. became a shipboy on his father's ship in 1526, of which Christopher Sr. was Captain.
In 1536, when Christopher was 20 years old, he was a part of what was supposed to be his father's last voyage. On February 17, the ship was attacked by pirates of the Singh Brotherhood in a bay on the coast of Bengalla. The last thing Christopher saw before he fell unconscious and into the sea was his father being murdered by the leader of the pirates. Both ships exploded, making Christopher the sole survivor of the attack. Christopher was washed ashore on a Bengalla beach, seemingly half dead. He was found by pygmies of the Bandar tribe, who nursed him and took care of him.
A time later, Christopher took a walk on the same beach, and found a dead body there, whom he recognized as the pirate who killed his father. He allowed the vultures flying around the body to eat its meat, took up the skull of the killer, raised it above his head, and swore an oath:
"I swear to devote my life to the destruction of piracy, greed, cruelty, and injustice, in all their forms! My sons and their sons shall follow me." 
After learning the language of the Bandar tribe, Christopher learned that the majority of their people were slaves of the Wasaka, a tribe consisting of what the Bandars called "giants". Immediately, Christopher walked into the village of the Wasaka, and asked them to set the Bandars free. He was taken prisoner and laid before the Demon God of the Wasaka, Uzuki, who was supposed to decide his destiny. Christopher was tied up and laid on an altar made of stone, where vultures surrounded him. Christopher was quickly saved by a group of Bandar before the vultures or the Wasaka could do him any real harm. They managed to escape from the village of the Wasaka unharmed.
Christopher later learned of a Bandar prophecy that featured a man coming from the ocean to save them from their slavery. He made a costume inspired by the look of the Demon God of the Wasaka and went to the Wasaka village again, this time with a small army of Bandar armed with their newly-discovered poisoned arrows, which were capable of killing a man in a few seconds. The Wasaka, shocked at seeing what many of them thought was their Demon God come alive, were fought down, and the Bandars were finally set free after centuries in slavery. This resulted in a dedicated friendship between Christopher and the Bandars, which would be brought on to the generations to come after them.
The Bandars showed Christopher to a cave, which resembled the look of a human skull. Christopher later carved the features out to enhance this. This Skull Cave became his home.
Wearing the costume based on the Demon God, Christopher became the first of what would later be known as the Phantom. When he died, his son took over for him; when the second Phantom died, his son took over. So it would go on through the centuries, causing people to believe that the Phantom was immortal. These people gave him nicknames including "The Ghost Who Walks" and "The Man Who Cannot Die".
Over the course of more than seventy years' worth of stories, the backstory "legend" of the Phantom grew to become an integral part of the series. The legend of the "Ghost Who Walks" made the character stand out from the innumerable costumed heroes who have battled crime throughout the 20th century, and has helped maintain his appeal through to the present day.
Much of the underlying, continuing plots and "themes" of the series focus on the continuing legend of the Phantom. The series regularly quotes the "old jungle sayings" surrounding the myth of the Phantom. Perhaps the most well-known of these is the tradition that anyone who sees the Phantom's true face without his mask will certainly "die a terrible death". This is true only for those whom he cannot trust, whom he kills or in whose deaths he is involved soon after their seeing of his face.
The Phantom is feared by criminals over the entire world, and knows how to use his frightening image against them.
The 21st Phantom's birth name is Kit Walker, as was the name of many of the Phantoms before him. Kit was born in the Skull Cave, and spent his first years in the jungle of Bengalla. His mother, Maud Thorne McPatrick, who worked as Rita Hayworth's stunt double, was born in Mississippi, where Kit went to study when he was 12 years old, living with his aunt Lucy and uncle Jasper in the fictional town of Clarksville.
Here he met his wife-to-be, Diana Palmer. Kit was an extremely talented sportsman and was predicted to become the world champion of many different events (even knocking out the world heavyweight boxing champion in a sparring match when the champion visited Clarksville). Despite the opportunity to choose practically any career he wanted, Kit faithfully returned to Bengalla to take over the role of the Phantom when he received word from Guran that his father was dying from a knife-wound.
One of Kit's first missions as the Phantom was to find his father's killer, Rama Singh, who had betrayed and murdered the 20th Phantom by first helping him to blow up a fleet of ships owned by the Singh Brotherhood, only to then stab him in the back, stealing his special gunbelt in the process. The 21st Phantom eventually found him and reclaimed the belt at the island of Gullique, but before he could avenge his father and bring the killer to jail, the desperate Rama blew up his lair, killing himself and his henchmen in the process.
As part of the official uniform, the Phantom wears a black mask and a purple skintight bodysuit. He also carries period-appropriate sidearm(s), currently two M1911 pistols, in a special belt with a skull-like buckle. Falk has insisted that the Phantom only uses his guns to shoot out the guns of his opponents, a fact that writer Peter David was unaware of when he wrote DC Comics' 1988 four-issue Phantom miniseries, in which he had the Phantom shoot to wound his enemies.
While there had been masked crime fighters like the costumed Zorro or the business-suited The Clock, the Phantom was the first fictional character to wear the skintight costume and eyes with no visible pupils that has become a trademark of superheroes. Creator Lee Falk had originally envisioned a grey costume and even considered naming his creation "The Gray Ghost". It was not until the Phantom Sunday strip debuted in 1939 that the costume was shown to be purple. Falk, however, continued to refer to the costume as gray in the text of the strip on several occasions afterward, but finally accepted the purple color. In a Sunday strip story published in the 1960s it was shown that the first Phantom chose the costume based on the appearance of a jungle idol, and colored the cloth with purple jungle berries.
Given his oath to fight all evil in the world, The Phantom faces a vast array of villains. The most dangerous and lasting enemy of the Phantom is the Singh Brotherhood, which have been active for centuries and were responsible for the pirate attack that resulted in the death of Christopher Standish's father and the beginning of the Phantom legacy. The brotherhood has evolved from merely being pirates into a modern company called Singh Corporations, led by Sandal Singh, who is the daughter of former leader Dogai Singh and also the current President of Bengalla.
Another major threat against the Phantom and his country was Kigali Lubanga, the President of Bengalla for several years. Other recurring villainous characters are General Bababu, The Python, Manuel Ortega, Ali Gutalee, Goldhand, Bail, and HIM. The Phantom has also fought numerous crime-organizations such as the Sky Band, the Vultures, Hydra and The Flame.
The entire run of the Phantom newspaper strip has been reprinted in Australia by Frew Publications. Edited versions of most stories have also been published in the Scandinavian Phantom comics. In the United States, the following Phantom stories have been reprinted, by Nostalgia Press (NP), Pacific Comics Club (PCC), or Comics Revue (CR), all written by Lee Falk.
In the October 2009 issue, Comics Revue began reprinting the Sunday story "The Return of the Sky Band" for the first time in color.
Lee Falk's entire run of Phantom adventures up until Sy Barry's final story is set to be reprinted in hardcover books by Hermes Press, starting in 2009. The publisher will issue three volumes of daily strips each year and one volume of Sunday strips collecting five years of the strip, in color. Press proofs will be used as the primary source for these reprints so the strip will look better than when it was originally printed. For the Sunday version of the strip Hermes Press will digitally recolor all of the Sundays.
In the United States the Phantom has been published by a variety of publishers over the years. Through the 1940s, strips were reprinted in Ace Comics published by David McKay Publications. In the 1950s, Harvey Comics published the Phantom. In 1962, Gold Key Comics took over, followed by King Comics in 1966 and Charlton Comics in 1969. This lasted until 1977, with a total number of 73 issues being published. Some of the main Phantom artists during these years were Bill Lignante, Don Newton, Jim Aparo and Pat Boyette.
DC Comics published a Phantom comic book from 1988 to 1990. The initial mini-series (dated May-Aug. 1988) was written by Peter David and drawn by Joe Orlando and Dennis Janke. The subsequent series, written by Mark Verheiden and drawn by Luke McDonnell, lasted 13 issues (March 1989 - March 1990). It depicted the Phantom fighting such issues as racism, toxic dumping, hunger, and modern-day piracy. According to Verheiden, the series ended because of licencing issues as much as dropping sales. The final panels of issue 13 saw the Phantom marrying Diana.
In 1987, Marvel Comics did a four-issue miniseries based on the Defenders of the Earth TV series, written by Stan Lee. Another three-issue Marvel miniseries, The Phantom: The Ghost Who Walks (Feb.-April 1995) followed. Written and drawn by Dave DeVries and Glenn Lumsden, it featured the 22nd Phantom, with an updated, high-tech costume. Marvel later released a four-part miniseries (May-Aug. 1995), pencilled by Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko, based on the Phantom 2040 TV series. One issue featured a pin-up by the original two Spider-Man signature artists, Ditko and John Romita, Sr.
The gadgets used by Marvel's 22nd Phantom were slightly reminiscent of those in Phantom 2040, only less advanced. For instance, while the 2040 Phantom had a talking artificial intelligence built into one of his wristbands, the 22nd's wristband contained a sophisticated, but clearly present-day, palmtop computer.
Moonstone Books published Phantom graphic novels beginning in 2002. Five books, written by Tom DeFalco, Ben Raab, and Ron Goulart, were published. In 2003, Moonstone debuted a Phantom comic-book series written by Raab, Rafael Nieves, and Chuck Dixon, and drawn by artists including Pat Quinn, Jerry DeCaire, Nick Derington, Rich Burchett, and EricJ. After 11 issues, Mike Bullock took over scripting, with Gabriel Rearte and Carlos Magno creating the artwork before Silvestre Szilagyi became the regular artist in 2007. Bullock's stories often feature topical issues based on real-life African conflicts. In a 2007 three-part story arc called "Invisible Children", the Phantom fought a fictional warlord called "Him", loosely based on Joseph Kony.
In 2006, Moonstone published a retcon of the Phantom's origin, called Legacy, by Raab and Quinn. That same year, the company published a hybrid comic book and prose book it called "wide-vision", premiering the format with the Phantom story "Law of the Jungle". Moonstone also released the first American Phantom annual. A second annual teamed the Phantom up with Mandrake the Magician.
In 2009, Moonstone re-launched the series as The Phantom: Ghost Who Walks, starting with issue 0, a retelling of the origin of the first Phantom. The goal of this launch was to make the comic darker, grittier and more realistic, like the stories of Lee Falk and Ray Moore from the 1930s. It also updated the character of the Phantom by giving him more modern day accessories, and introduced many supporting characters and villains. The Phantom frequently fights reality based enemies in the series, such as modern day terrorists, organ-smugglers and Somalian pirates.
2009 would see Moonstone Books launch the 21 issue maxi-series Phantom Generations, with each of the twenty one Phantoms spotlighted in their own story, crafted by different creative teams including writers such as Ben Raab, Tom DeFalco, Tony Bedard, Will Murray and Mike Bullock. Artists on the project include Pat Quinn, Alex Saviuk, Don Hudson, Scott Brooks and Zeu. Moonstone will also publish The Phantom Handbook, featuring entries for all 21 Phantoms and many supporting characters.
Moonstone will also publish "Phantom Action", a story written by Mike Bullock that sees the Phantom meeting Captain Action, a five issue mini-series in black and white called "The Phantom Double Shot: KGB Noir", and a two part mini-series called "The Phantom: Unmasked".
Egmont Publications has published original Phantom stories in a fortnightly Phantom comic book published in Norway as Fantomet, in Sweden as Fantomen, and in Finland as Mustanaamio ("[the] Black-Mask").
The first issue of Fantomen was cover-dated October 1950. Over 1500 issues have been published.
The first story created originally for the Swedish Fantomen magazine was published as early as 1963, and today the total number of Fantomen stories is over 800. The average length of a Fantomen story is 30+ pages (compared to 20-24 pages for most American comics). Among the most prolific artists and writers that have created stories for Fantomen are: Dick Giordano, Donne Avenell, Heiner Bade, David Bishop, Georges Bess, Jaime Vallvé, Joan Boix, Tony DePaul, Ulf Granberg, Ben Raab, Rolf Gohs, Scott Goodall, Eirik Ildahl, Kari Leppänen, Hans Lindahl, Janne Lundström, Cesar Spadari, Bob McLeod, Jean-Yves Mitton, Lennart Moberg, Claes Reimerthi, Paul Ryan, Alex Saviuk, Graham Nolan, Romano Felmang, and Norman Worker. The artists and writers working on these stories have been nicknamed Team Fantomen. Instead of the American purple version, the Scandinavian Phantom's costume is dark blue. In later years, the Team have started to experiment more with the character and his surroundings, by having Singh Brotherhood member Sandal Singh taking over as President of Bengalla, giving the Phantom and Diana marriage problems, and exploring the Phantom-canon more.
Egmont are also well known for their numerous historical Phantom adventures, detailing the lives and deaths of former Phantoms and having them appear in real historic events.
Another country where the Phantom is popular is Australia, where Frew Publications has published a fortnightly comic book, The Phantom, since 1948, celebrating 60 years of uninterrupted publication in September 2008. Frew's book mostly contains reprints, from the newspaper strips and from Fantomen (in English translation) and other The Phantom comic books, but has on a few occasions also included original stories, drawn by Australian artists. The editor-in-chief is Jim Shepherd. Frew's The Phantom is the longest running comic book series with the character in the world, and is Australia's best selling comic. The Frew comics are also imported and sold in New Zealand. The comics appear in numerous Perth Royal Show showbags.
The Phantom also has a long publishing history in India. The Phantom first appeared in India in the 1940s via a magazine called The Illustrated Weekly of India, which carried Phantom on Sundays. Indrajal Comics took up publication of Phantom comics in English,Hindi and other Indian languages in 1964. They ceased publication in 1990. This same year, Diamond Comics started publishing Phantom comics in digest form, again in many languages including English. This continued until 2000, when Diamond Comics stopped publishing Phantom comics; Egmont Imagination India (formerly Indian Express Egmont Publications) took up publication the same year. They published monthly comics (in English only) until 2002. Since then they have only brought out reprints of their earlier stories with new covers and formats. Rani Comics published Phantom from 1990 till 2005. However, Rani comics were available only in the Tamil language. It may be noted that, for the most part, Indrajal Comics, Diamond Comics, and Rani Comics all published reprints of Lee Falk's daily or Sunday strips. Egmont Imagination India printed the Scandinavian work. Euro Books India has launched 15 titles of the Phantom comics in large format along with compilations in 2007. In West Bengal the Phantom is published daily in a newspaper called Anandabazar Patrika in the Bengali language, and monthly in the magazine Anandamela. the Phantom is known in various names as Aranyadev(Bengali), Betal.
Italian publisher Fratelli Spada in Italy also produced a large number of original Phantom stories for their L'Uomo Mascherato (The Masked Man) series of comic books in the 1960s and 1970s. Among the artists that worked for Fratelli Spada were Raul Buzzelli, Mario Caria, Umberto Sammarini (Usam), Germano Ferri, Senio Pratesi, Angelo R. Todaro, Mario Caria and Felmang. Ferri, Usam, Felmang and Caria have all later worked for the Swedish Fantomen magazine.
Different Phantom comics are published and have been published in England, Israel, Spain, Poland, Russia, Denmark, Hungary, Germany, Turkey, New Zealand, South America, France, Thailand, Singapore, Netherlands, Greece, Yugoslavia, Fiji and Venezuela. In Turkey, where the comic has been very popular for decades, the Phantom is mainly known as the "The Red Mask" (Kizil Maske), and published under that title.
The first novel about the Phantom was published in 1944 by Whitman Publishing Company, and was called "The Son of the Phantom". Written by Dale Robertson, the book was based on Lee Falk's comic strip story "Childhood of the Phantom", although Falk had no involvement with the novel. It featured a cover drawn by Wilson McCoy.
Avon Publications in the United States put out 15 books based on Lee Falk's stories. The series ran from 1972 to 1975, and were written by Falk himself or other writers. The covers were done by George Wilson. Many of the books were translated into foreign languages.
In 2006, the books The Story of the Phantom: The Ghost Who Walks and The Veiled Lady were released as audio books in Norway and Sweden, as part of the celebration of the seventieth anniversary of the character.
To coincide with the 1996 Phantom movie, Avon published The Phantom, based on the Paramount Pictures film. It was written by Rob MacGregor.
In 2007, Moonstone Books released The Phantom Chronicles, a collection of short stories written by authors Mike Bullock, Ron Fortier, Jim Alexander, David Michelinie, Craig Shaw Gardner, CJ Henderson, Clay and Susan Griffith, Jim Alexander, Will Murray, Mike Oliveri, Nancy Kilpatrick, Ed Rhoades, David Bishop, Grant Suave, Trina Robbins, Richard Dean Starr, Dan Wickline and Martin Powell.
The book was released in both a softcover and limited hardcover edition, and featured an introduction written by Lee Falk's daughter, Valerie Falk.
A new book called The Phantom Chronicles 2 will be released in 2009. It features a story where the Phantom teams up with Green Hornet, written by Harlan Ellison, and has a foreword written by Diane Falk.
In Umberto Eco's novel The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, the main character describes his childhood experiences of reading The Phantom, as well as other comic strip characters like Flash Gordon and Mandrake the Magician. The book also features illustrations of the Phantom, drawn by Ray Moore.
A fifteen-part movie serial starring Tom Tyler in the title role was made in 1943, with Jeanne Bates as Diana Palmer, Frank Shannon as her uncle Professor Davidson, and Ace the Wonder Dog as Devil. The story was about the Phantom's first mission after taking over the mantle of the Ghost Who Walks from his murdered father: to find the Lost City of Zoloz and prevent the evil Dr. Bremmer, played by Kenneth MacDonald, from building a secret airbase in the jungle.
The Phantom's real name in the serial was Geodfrey Prescott, as the alias of Kit Walker had not been mentioned in the strip at that point. However, he goes by the alias of Mr. Walker after having become the Phantom.
Two episodes loosely adapted Lee Falk's story "The Fire Princess" for the screen, and fit it into the plot of the Phantom's fight against Dr. Bremmer.
The serial was a success, and a sequel, to be called Return of the Phantom, was filmed in 1955 starring John Hart, but after problems with the rights to the character it was partially re-shot and re-named The Adventures of Captain Africa.
The Phantom was also adapted into a live-action movie in 1996. Produced and released by Paramount Pictures, the movie was set in the 1930s, and incorporated elements from several of the Phantom's earliest comic-strip adventures. It starred Billy Zane in the title role, Kristy Swanson as Diana Palmer, and Catherine Zeta-Jones as Sala, an aviatrix. It was directed by Simon Wincer, after director Joe Dante and producer Michael Douglas dropped out of the project, and was written by Jeffrey Boam, who also wrote Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Cult-icon Bruce Campbell was another choice for the role , but Zane, already a huge fan of the comic strip since being introduced to Australian Frew comics on the set of Dead Calm, ended up getting the part after actively lobbying for it for years. After his casting, he feverishly pumped iron for a year and a half to fill the Phantom's costume, refusing to wear a Batman-like costume with moulded muscles. He also closely studied panels of the comic to capture the character's body language. Though the film did not become a success in its theatrical release, it was the reason why Zane was cast as Caledon Hockley in Titanic, the world's most commercially successful film , and has sold well on VHS and DVD.
The movie was filmed on location in Australia, Thailand, and in Los Angeles, and featured the Phantom in his attempt to stop madman Xander Drax (Treat Williams) from obtaining a weapon of doom, the legendary "Skulls of Touganda". The story also features the Sengh Brotherhood, a fraternity of pirates who are held to be the killers of the first Phantom's father; the all-female clan of air pirates known as the Sky Band, of whom Sala is leader; and a subplot wherein the 21st Phantom recovers his father's gunbelt and avenges his father's murder, inspired by the Lee Falk/Wilson McCoy story "The Belt". The film also has elements taken from the 1936 story "The Singh Brotherhood", the first Phantom story, and its 1937 continuation "The Sky Band".
In 2008, syndicated gossip columnist Liz Smith claimed that Paramount was putting a sequel into development, with Zane returning to play the title role, due to the good VHS and DVD sales of the first film. The Phantom was released on Blu Ray February 2010. The Blu-ray was released by Lionsgate.
On December 15, 2008, it was announced that Sherlock Symington Productions had secured the rights to the Phantom, and are set to make a film called The Phantom: Legacy (unrelated to the Moonstone Books 2006 graphic novel of the same name and any other screen incarnation of the character). The film is set to have a budget of $130 million, and is written by Tim Boyle.
Bruce Sherlock, executive producer and head of Sherlock Symington Productions, said that The Phantom: Legacy would follow the lead of films like The Dark Knight and Iron Man, and present a serious treatment of the character. The film will be set in the present day, and revolves around the relationship between the Phantom and his son, and what it means to be the Phantom. Work on the film is expected to begin in 2009. The movie will be filmed in Australia, and producers are in talks with both Australian and international actors to work on the film.
In an interview with Dark Horizons, Boyle said the film will feature two main antagonists, one taken from the comic and one created for the movie. The Phantom's costume is also expected to be updated for the screen, with Boyle seeking to make it more reality-based . Characters such as Diana Palmer, Kit and Heloise Walker, Colonel Worubu, President Lamanda Luaga, and Guran will also appear. The film is said to be heavily focused on the mythology of the comics, with the origin of the 1st Phantom expected to be devoted a lot of screen time. The Phantom's eyes behind his mask will also be white, unlike what it has been in previous film-versions. Actor Sam Worthington is considered to play the Phantom, after having worked with Boyle on the film Fink.
Boyle was originally considered to direct the movie, but has confirmed he is only attached as the writer.
The Phantom made an appearance alongside other King Features characters in the 1972 animated movie Popeye Meets the Man Who Hated Laughter. He also appeared in the animated Beatles movie Yellow Submarine.
At least three unauthorized Phantom movies were made in Turkey. Two were made in 1968 and both were titled Kızıl Maske (the Turkish name for the Phantom, translated as "Red Mask"). The Phantom was played by Ismet Erten  and Irfan Atasoy . The costume worn by Irfan Atasoy bears little resemblance to the one seen in the comic strip, but the uniforms worn by Ismet Erten and in Kızıl Maske'nin Intikamı ( Revenge of the Red Mask) both stayed close to the original outfit.
In 1971, Kızıl Maske'nin Intikamı (The Phantom's Revenge) was released.
An unaired color Phantom TV-pilot was made in 1961 starring Roger Creed as the Phantom, with Lon Chaney Jr., Paulette Goddard as the antagonists and Richard Kiel as an assassin called "Big Mike" in supporting roles. It was called "No Escape", and saw the Phantom breaking up a slave camp in the jungle.
The pilot also featured the Phantom's horse Hero and his wolf Devil. Made on a limited budget, the pilot features fight scenes and the Phantom terrorizing villains in the jungle. Writer John Carr originally wrote four episodes, but due to the fact that the pilot was not picked up by a network, the remaining three were never filmed. Actress Marilyn Manning had originally been cast as Diana Palmer, but never appeared in the pilot.
In Defenders of the Earth, which ran from 1986 to 1987, the twenty seventh Phantom, voiced by actor Peter Mark Richman, teams up with fellow King Features adventurers Flash Gordon, Mandrake the Magician and Mandrake's bodyguard and assistant Lothar. The cartoon also featured a daughter, Jedda Walker, who briefly took on the Phantom mantle in an episode where she believed her father to have perished.
Other episodes of the series featured classic Phantom villains like the Sky Band, the Phantom's evil older brother Kurt Walker (created specifically for the show) and a flashback to the days of the first Phantom. The episode "Return of the Sky Band" also featured lengthy flashbacks to the Phantom of Lee Falk's comic strip; the 21st Phantom, showing him and his wife, Diana Palmer, and their encounter with the original Sky Band.
In the original presentation pilot for the series, The Phantom had a son, Kit Walker, and Flash Gordon had a daughter, but this was changed for the final series.
In 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 Law
The Ghost Who Walks
Calls forth the strength of ten tigers"
It is only in this cartoon series that the Phantom has such an ability. In the series, the Phantom also used a special helicopter nicknamed "The Skull Copter", and had an updated Skull Ring that would shoot a laser on to the faces of antagonists, marking them for life.
The complete series has been released on DVD.
Premiering in 1994 to critical acclaim, Phantom 2040 is about the adventures of the 24th Phantom. Young Kit Walker, living happily with his aunt Heloise (daughter of the 21st Phantom) in the city of Metropia (previously known as New York) in the year 2040, knowing nothing about his family's legacy, when one day, The Phantom's friend Guran turns up to reveal the secret of the Phantom legacy. Kit takes up the mantle of the Phantom, and starts a battle against the evil company Maximum Inc., and their plans to destroy Earth's ecosystem while a select few seal themselves in a controlled environment. He also tries to solve the mystery of the death of his father, the 23rd Phantom.
The series lasted two seasons, and spawned a large number of merchandise, a comic book series and a video game. The Phantom/Kit Walker was voiced by actor Scott Valentine, Margot Kidder voiced main antagonist Rebecca Madison, Ron Perlman played tortured cyborg Graft, Debbie Harry played Vain Gloria, and Mark Hamill lent his voice to the character of Dr. Jak.
The first five episodes of the series was edited into a feature length film and released on DVD in 2004, called "Phantom 2040: The Ghost Who Walks". Other episodes of the series were released on VHS in 1997.
On July 29, 2008, screenwriter Daniel Knauf announced he and his son and collaborator Charles Knauf had completed a four-hour TV-movie script for SCI FI Channel, later re-named Syfy, starring the 22nd Phantom. On March 23, 2009, Sci Fi Channel announced that they have formally ordered a 4-hour mini-series in two parts, which will also serve as a backdoor pilot. The mini-series, simply called The Phantom, is scheduled to air there in 2010, and is produced by Muse Entertainment and RHI Entertainment. It premiered in Canada on The Movie Network in December 2009, as a two-part mini-series, a total of three hours.
Ryan Carnes plays Kit Walker, the new Phantom. Cas Anvar plays Rhatib Singh, head of the Singh Brotherhood, Isabella Rossellini plays the villainous Lithia, and Sandrine Holt was cast as Guran. Cameron Goodman plays Kit's girlfriend Rennie, with Paolo Barzman directing. The series was shot in New York, Costa Rica and Montreal.
The story sees law student Kit learning that he was adopted, and that he is actually the son of the 21st Phantom and Diana Palmer Walker. He joins the Phantom team in the jungles of Bengalla, and is trained in martial arts and combat, emerging as the next Phantom to battle the Singh Brotherhood. The 22nd Phantom wears a modified costume that is impervous to bullets, blades and falls, doubles his strength and can make him move faster. 
The mini is set to air at SyFy June 2010.
An Indian TV serial named "Betaal Pachisi" (meaning Phantom XXV), starring Shahbaz Khan, Tom Alter and Sonu Walia, and directed by Sunil Agnihotri, was inspired by the Phantom, after the producers failed to obtain the rights to make an actual series about the character. It was first aired in May 1997 on the Doordarshan TV network of India. Each episode was half an hour long and in the Hindi language. 49 episodes were made.
Paul Hogan, of Crocodile Dundee fame, continually parodied the Phantom on his Australian TV-show, The Paul Hogan Show. He would dress up in the purple Phantom costume, and act out different humorous situations. The Phantom has also been frequently parodied on Scandinavian television, in different humour programs.
In the Adult Swim show The Venture Bros., the character The Phantom Limb bears a strong visual resemblance to the Phantom, right down to the same purple suit and mask, except that the Phantom Limb's limbs are invisible, making him look like a floating torso. However, The Phantom Limb is a villainous character.
The myth surrounding the Phantom also provided Turkish humorists with a lot of material. The humor magazine Leman has published many comic strips some of which were inspired by the (imaginary) saying "in the jungle, it is rumored that the Phantom has the strength of ten tigers" where Phantom runs into trouble with 11 or more tigers.
In 1996, the A&E Network created a documentary about the history of the Phantom for television, called The Phantom: Comic strip crusader. Narrated by Peter Graves, it featured interviews with creator Lee Falk, actors Billy Zane and Kristy Swanson, director Simon Wincer, Frew-editor Jim Shepherd, George Olesen, Keith Williams, and president of the US Phantom fan club Friends of the Phantom, Ed Rhoades. The documentary was released on DVD in 2006.
To promote the 1996 Paramount Phantom movie, a HBO special called "Making of The Phantom" was made. It featured behind-the-scenes information on the movie and the comic.
An original documentary presentation called History of the Phantom was shown at the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention in September 2008.
On MythBusters season 5, episode 17 "Superhero Hour", it was tested whether when you punch someone while wearing a ring it would make an imprint on them (as it does in the case of the Phantom's skull ring). The result was the myth was "busted", in that hitting a person in the face hard enough to leave a ring imprint on the skin requires more than enough force to crush a human skull.
Nevertheless, the Phantom's ring has sharp edges and is covered with a permanent ink from plants in the depths of the Bengal jungle, leaving a scar-like mark that will never come off.
A musical about the Phantom was produced in Sweden in 1985. It was written by Peter Falck and Urban Wrethagen and starred Urban Wrethagen as the Phantom. A recording of the songs was released on LP and a comic adaption of the story was published in the Swedish Fantomen magazine. The Falck-Wrethagen musical was also performed in Perth, Western Australia in 1989. The Phantom was played by Robert Peron.
Another musical called "Fantomets glade bryllup" ("The Phantom's Happy Wedding") was made in Norway, with actor Knut Husebø as Fantomet and popular Norwegian singer Jahn Teigen composing the music and playing the antagonist. This humorous take on the character included the Phantom clashing with Tarzan. Teigen also had a hit song about the Phantom's relationship with Diana Palmer.
In the 1990s, Toadshow produced a Rock Opera entitled Phantoad of the Opera, about the Phantoad, the Ghost Who Hops, a masked musical genius wanted to appear on Broadway. The show uses elements of many different stories including The Phantom, Phantom of the Opera, Greystoke, and even The Pirates of Penzance. This rock opera continues to be produced by schools.
The Phantom has appeared as a playable character in two video games, Phantom 2040 and Defenders of the Earth. Both were based on the animated series with the same titles. However, in Defenders of the Earth, the Phantom was not the only playable character, as players were given the choice to control Mandrake the Magician and Flash Gordon as well.
In Phantom 2040, released on Sega Genesis, Game Gear and Super NES, the Phantom was the only playable character. He had use of a number of his special skills and high-tech gadgets from the Phantom 2040 TV-series. The game had a complex storyline, and featured several different endings, dependent on the choices the player made during the game.
In 2003, a video game made for Game Boy Advance was announced, called "The Phantom: The Ghost Who Walks". It was developed by 7th Sense, and produced by Microids, and was described as a free-roaming jungle adventure. During the development process, Microids went bankrupt, and the game was never released.
In 2006, a The Phantom Mobile Game became available for cellphones, where the Phantom fought zombies, floating skulls and other magical creatures to find his kidnapped wife, Diana Palmer. It was described as a free-roaming jungle adventure, with a film-like plot.
"Fantomenland" ("Phantom Land") is a part of the Swedish zoo Parken Zoo, Eskilstuna, where audiences can visit the Skull Cave, and several other places from the comic, like the Whispering Grove and the headquarters of the Jungle Patrol. Visitors can also meet actors dressed up as the Phantom, and witness short plays featuring the characters of the comic. Fantomenland was inaugurated by Lee Falk in 1986.
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